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October 2019
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of September 2019

Monday 30th September 2019
08:08 BST
  It seems that this time of year, just after the autumn equinox, the weather is too complex for the great, mega-logic, ultra brain, weather forecasting computers to produce anything more definite than a vague guess at what the weather will be like. Yesterday featured quite a few unpredicted sunny intervals, and rain at just about any time except when it was supposed to fall. Apart from most of the day being dull, the temperature being no higher than 19° C, and the occasional light showers, it probably wasn't a bad day. Not one to enjoy though. During the night the temperature dropped lower than it has done since last spring.
tonight the month of september will be washed
  My thermometers generally agreed that at 7am the temperature was closer to 10° C that the predicted 11° C, but apart from the alarm that the temperature was almost in bloody chilly single figures, the prediction was actually close enough to say it was about right. If the predictions hold, the temperature should rise to 17° C this afternoon. I think it is probably time to start wearing coats again. There should be sunny intervals this morning, but the sky looks totally overcast to me. From mid afternoon it is supposed to be definitely grey, and it should start to rain. That rain starts off light, but by 5pm it could be rather heavy, and there may be worse to come. By 10pm there could be some thunderclaps, but oddly enough the temperature will be rising again by then. Tomorrow should start milder than today, but still only 15° C. There may also be some sunny intervals during the morning, but there is a small risk of showers. That small risk turns into almost definite by the afternoon, and towards the end of the afternoon there is another threat of thunderstorms predicted.

  I didn't want to totally give in to my cold yesterday, but my one attempt at trying to ignore it didn't work well. I thought it was too damp to go in the garden, and had I done so I would have probably aggravated several failure points around my body. With hindsight is is easy to see that doing quite a big pile of laundry (by hand) could have a similar effect. Fortunately I was sensible, and took a couple of breaks when it seemed to be getting a bit too much like hard work. Eventually I had three t-shirts, a pair of lounge pants, and several pairs of underwear hanging up indoors to dry.

  It felt like a great achievement while I was feeling ill. I doubt it made things any worse, but it did bring one particular problem to the fore. Yesterday my cold went up a notch, and my nose started to get drippy. Now there is nothing worse than your nose filling up while manhandling soapy clothes, and wearing marigolds. I had no real choice except abandoning my laundry half way through, or just let my nose drip freely into the bath (where I was doing my laundry in two big builders buckets). It was all rather disgusting.

  I made sure that I didn't do anything else that would not leave me with dry hands, and within grabbing distance of a box of tissues. I still didn't want to sit around doing almost nothing. I have no idea what popped the idea into my head, but I suddenly had the idea of trying to get my TV connected to the internet again. The last time I tried it, which must have been months ago, it refused to connect. This time it did, although it was very flaky.

   I had suspicions that maybe my firewall, which acts as a DHCP server, allocating I.P. addresses and routing information to any equipment connecting to it, might not have been configured correctly. I decided I would see what happened when the TV was connected directly to the raw, unfirewalled, connection direct from the cable modem. The result, after a trying many options that the TV offered was "DHCP Fail".

  The next thing I tried was to connect my laptop to my firewall, and note all the information. I then used the same lead to connect to the TV, and tried manual configuration. Result - "Connection Failed". At this point I was about to give up, but before I did that I reset the TV back to all the defaults, just like when I had first ever tried it, and gave it one more try. It connected straight away ! I now had another 12 channels available to add to the other hundred that I have no intention of ever watching !

  There is still a problem with the internet connection, and it could be a hardware or software problem. It is fortunate that there is no actual practical advantage of having the TV connected to the internet because the connection randomly failing would be a really annoying thing if I was relying on it to watch something. One hardware problem could be easy to fix. It is possible (although perhaps not terribly likely) that the ethernet connector has became corroded after after years of never being used before. There could also be dry joints on the circuit board it is soldered too. A worse problem could be a failing power supply rail.

  On the other hand it could be a software problem. That is my favourite diagnosis. It is obvious in general use that the processor that controls all aspects of the TV is very underpowered. Many things happen really slowly. Maybe trying to control an Ethernet connection just confuses the poor little beast. It could also be that JVC have concocted some sort of twisted control software to avoid paying licensing fees to, for instance, Sony, for a more straightforward, but patented/copyrighted bit of software.

  I could have done with a few more distractions like playing with the TV in the afternoon. I was really looking forward to the rest of my Thai takeaway for dinner - even if it was a fairly small and simple dinner. The more my mouth watered, the slower the clock seemed to go. Eventually I managed to hold out until 6.30pm, a little later than usual, but the only way I could do it was to have a cheese and biscuit snack at about 5pm. I am happy to report that the Thai food was, as hoped, delicious !

  During the day my cold had advanced to my the point where my nose was getting very runny, and it felt like I truly had the common cold. Once the afternoon had finished another symptom started to appear - a cough. At first it was just an occasional little tickle in the throat, but by bedtime I was coughing a bit more frequently, and coughing up a tiny bit of mucus. I rather expected it to ruin my night's sleep, but maybe I was still judging it all by my heavy smoking days. In those days I would be heading towards pneumonia or something.

  In fact the cough didn't really interfere with my sleep at all, and last night I think I slept much better than the night before. I kept the heater on low last night, and I didn't really have to worry about the duvet for most of the night. That may have been one reason why I slept better, but maybe it did have a downside. I was aware of it when I woke up in the early hours of the morning, but far more aware of it when I finally got up at just before sunrise - my back was really stiff and sore, and my chest was hurting.

  That is the second (or third ?) time I have woken up with bad back ache. This morning there was a slight bias towards lower back pain, but like yesterday morning, I also had middle and upper pain as well. Hopefully, like yesterday, it will fade away very quickly, and indeed it almost has as I write this, but I expect that like yesterday I will still retain enough tenderness to warn me off doing anything stupid - like trying to rip tree stumps out of the ground !

  I am rather hoping that this cold will be on the wane very soon. I now have a full house on the symptom bingo card. The sore throat that started it seems as good as gone now. My nose has sure run enough now, and I am now coughing. I guess either could get worse, but I have noticed that while sitting here typing, my nose is fairly clear for long periods of time. I could easily convince myself that it is drying up. If it is, then the cough should soon follow. After that I should be back to full health ! Yeah, it is silly optimism, but why not ?

  I might, or might not get a chance to see how I am feeling soon. It is not essential, but I would like to go and get some shopping this morning. I have plenty of food here, but I fancy something nice, and maybe some bottles of beer. There is one fly in the ointment. I might be expecting a few items from Amazon being delivered today. I haven't had the official notification, but the tracking details show my parcel arrived at the Dartford depot at 4.53am this morning. I am expecting the status to change to out for delivery almost any minute now. I will probably still be safe going out if I am quick, but my afternoon could be devoted to listening out for the doorbell. I don't know what the panic is though. Nothing I have ordered is needed right away. Indeed the most expensive bit is just some spare batteries, and two other items I am only ordering out of curiosity. I have no need for them at all - although I will still probably use them.
Sunday 29th September 2019
11:08 BST
  The weather was not nice yesterday, but for some reason it didn't seem to be terrible. Maybe that was because I spent nearly all day indoors trying to ignore what was outside. There was a bit of sun in the early morning, but it was generally overcast from mid morning until sunset. Soon after sunset it began to rain, and some of that rain was quite heavy. The afternoon temperature was probably about the forecast 19° C but from 4pm it fell to just 15° C in about 4 hours.
another dull day
  It was a fairly cool night, but started to warm up even before sunrise. If the forecast holds it could be 19° C by midday. Through most of the daylight hours there is a persistent threat of rain ranging from drizzle to thunderstorms, but it seems no one knows when it will fall. The latest prediction is that the last rain will fall sometime around 5pm today. That later prediction also says the temperature may peak at 20° C in the early afternoon. There was, and wasn't some brightness this morning. It all depended on where you were looking. At 8.20am the view from my bedroom window was of a sky filled with dirty grey skies, and with rain drops on the window panes. The view on the north side of the house was different !
a big streak of blue
  It wasn't very bright out there, and I have artificially made this picture a little lighter so some of the foreground becomes more visible, but the big streak of blue sky is exactly want I could see with my naked eye, although my memory of it was that it may have been a more vivid blue.

  Heavy rain is currently forecast for tomorrow, but it may not start until mid to late afternoon. The morning may be OK for doing something outside (shopping or gardening maybe). Sadly, but typically for this time of year, it is going to be a rather cool day compared with today. An afternoon peak of just 16° C seems to be the best the current forecast can offer.

  I was expecting my cold to flare into action yesterday, but not much changed. My throat seemed mostly OK provided I kept it nice and wet with frequent sips of assorted drinks. I was really expecting my nose to start pouring, but it didn't. There were long periods when I didn't even pay any attention to it apart from a very occasional blow. It did seem sensitive to cold air though, and going into the kitchen or bathroom, neither of which is heated, would often cause a few explosive sneezes. In some respects it was more like hay fever than a cold, and yet I don't think I would be particularly exposed to any allergens in the air in those rooms.

  At this time of year I have noted some reaction to what I believe are probably fungal spores, but the Loratadine tablets, originally prescribed by my doctor a year or two ago, and now bought over the counter, seem to take care of my mild spring and autumn allergies. At worse they used to make me cough rather than affect my nose. I think I definitely have a cold even if it is not really doing much...or wasn't doing much yesterday !

  I took things very easy yesterday. I did go out once in the late afternoon to the corner shop. Being out in the fresh air did partly have the effect I thought it might - it sort of felt nice and fresh, and if anything it cleaned my nose out, but on the other hand, on the way back I did feel a sort of lack of energy. I preferred to walk a tiny bit slower than I usually would. There was also a definite feeling that it was nice to get back home and continue being ultra lazy again. One of the troubles with any cold is that you can seem to feel almost normal until you try and do something, and find it is harder work than usual.

   I think that sums up most of yesterday. While I was warm and lazy I felt almost normal except for a little corner of my brain saying "you'll regret it if you try and do that". Sometimes I probably took that too literally, and I could have spent a bit of time in the kitchen cooking up a nice dinner without stressing myself. The plus side of the argument is that it seemed like the perfect excuse to order a take away.

  Last night I tried a restaurant I had never used before. It was primarily Thai food, but of course they did the common Chinese dishes. I stuck to their Thai offerings, and they were very nice. I typically ordered some spare food for a meal today, but it is going to be a slightly smaller meal because I ate part of it last night ! Of particular note were some Thai style spare ribs. I think they were described as traditional, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were inspired by Chinese spare ribs in their different forms and flavours. The Thai spices/flavours worked well, and those ribs were rather delicious.

  I washed dinner down with a couple of bottles of Bishops Finger beer, and bottle of Bank's golden ale. By the time I had drunk the beer, and watched two episodes of Space:1999 on Forces TV (on Freeview) it seemed like time for bed. As a side note; I didn't realise Forces TV were showing Space:1999 - it was never quite a favourite, but it is infinitely better than "Strictly Come Dancing" which seemed to be occupying most of BBC1 last night.

  As soon as my head hit the pillow I didn't fall asleep, but my nose started to feel very blocked. Before going to bed I needed the occasional blow, but my nose was not producing much mucus at all. That didn't really change when I went to bed, but I was probably much more aware of it. Initially I tried to sleep under the duvet, but it felt too hot and uncomfortable, and instead I pushed the duvet to the side, and turned my heater on low.

  After a while I fell asleep. I think I must have woken up once an hour after that. I would wake up with my mouth and throat feeling dry because I couldn't breath through my nose. I would take a gulp of drink, and then give my nose a good blow, and then, if I didn't need a wee, which with three bottles of beer inside me was quite often, I would fall asleep again. It may have been at 3am (plus or minus 20 minutes) that I felt too hot, and turned the heater off. After that I slept comfortably under the duvet.

  Possibly to compensate for the amount of times I woke up in the night, I slept a lot later than usual. I was most probably helped by the fact that it was so dull and miserable outside - there was no obvious sunrise this morning. It just went from black to dark grey. I think it was about 8am when I got up and took my morning medication (instead of typically 6am). It was just after that when I took the picture further up the page. I then decided I would go back to bed. I didn't really expect to sleep, but evidently I did, because I don't remember over 2 hours passing while awake !

  This morning I don't feel much different to yesterday morning. Maybe my throat is less fact I am not sure of it is sore or not at the moment (but I have been keeping it very well lubricated). My nose is still not pouring, but I am having to blow it quite frequently to stay comfortable. I have no idea what clue I am picking up on, but I seem to feel my nose is going to get worse quite soon, but for the moment it is completely manageable.

  One possible positive thing is that I know I jarred my chest in the night, and it felt sort of stiff and sore at 8am, but I think it has worn off faster than I expected. I was expecting to have to take some Ibuprofen, but maybe I don't need any now. Against all expectations the sun has just come out, although most of the sky is still filled with horrible dirty grey skies. A bit of sunshine might tempt me into the garden this morning. I feel I would have to be very careful to not push myself to far if I did - although comfortable now, I can feel my back is a bit stiff, and that it would probably be rather easy to provoke it. On the other hand, all the rain must have softened the ground, and some of the weeds must be easier to pull out now.

  I think if I do go out into the garden it will be a spur of the moment sort of thing. One thing I will definitely do today is to to do what I didn't do yesterday - have a good shower, and wash my hair. I was just too busy being lazy to do it yesterday. I do feel pretty yucky this morning (and I would surprised if I didn't stink). I am not expecting to see anyone today, and so that wouldn't matter, but I do have some standards - even if they keep slipping !
Saturday 28th September 2019
10:03 BST
  For one reason or another I didn't really pay much attention to yesterday's weather. Maybe it was because it was a bit bland - except for early morning when it was notably sunny. After that there were occasional falls of light rain, and occasional periods when the sun managed to shine through the clouds. In a way it sort of averaged out to an almost bright and damp day. One notable thing that I did remember was how the temperature started to fall after the not very high spot of 17° C at midday. The temperature may only have fallen a single degree by 1pm, but 16° C did feel rather cool - not cold, but cool !
                    sunny start, and a wet finish
  I didn't get to screenshot the forecast early enough to show the early morning sunshine. By 9am the sun was still trying to shine, but the gathering clouds won, and dropped some light rain. It looks perfectly dry again outside now, but the sky is still nothing but grey clouds. All there is to look forward to is 19° C for a few hours this afternoon, but like this morning, the afternoon is going to be grey and overcast. By 8pm it will have probably started raining, and in another hour or so the rain could get very heavy. It is likely to rain all night. The rain will then continue through most of tomorrow, but there could be a few hours in the morning when the clouds are broken enough to let a few rays of sunshine through. The temperature is probably going to be similar to today.

  I didn't feel very good yesterday. I did mention yesterday morning that my back was sore and stiff, and that I seemed to have a sore throat. The pain and stiffness in my back, upper lower and middle (!) mostly, but not completely faded out by late morning. A slightly wrong moved proved that there was still a remnant of it even by late afternoon, but if I did nothing to provoke it I was perfectly comfortable. The same can not be said about my throat.

  I have to admit that my throat was not sore all the time - there were times when I briefly forgot about it until I had to swallow anything from spit to sprouts. I knew it was the start of something, but I was not sure what exactly...although maybe I did know that it could be the precursor to the common cold. Later that did seem to be the case, although as I write this I am having some doubts.

  With all those aches and pains I didn't feel inclined to do anything physical yesterday, and I stuck to that idea all day.  I did feel that a walk in the fresh air might have been good, but I didn't do that either. On then whole I had a lazy day, and spent much of the day either at my PC or laying on my bed. I would have thought that either would have made my back pain worse, but strangely it didn't. The most important, or productive thing I did during the day was to select and process the rest of the pictures I had taken on Thursday night.
caught like a rabbit
                        in a cars headlights
  This picture is far from flattering, but it was a case of catching that split second when Michael realised I was taking a snap of him coming back from the bar with a Guinness for me, and a pint of some sort of Porter for himself (that he regretted buying).
Simply Retro
  This is Simply Retro who did the main part of the evening at The Catford Bridge Tavern. There was some open mic before they started, and 5 to 10 minutes of open mic when they took a short break. It is unfortunate they had no stage lighting. My flash makes it all look a bit stark, but I reckon that is better than some muddy grey picture with some silhouettes visible in it.
Simply Retro's drummer.
 bass player
Simply Retro's bass player.
  I think the only other things I did yesterday was a small amount of washing up, and a small bit of cooking. My dinner was half healthy, half unhealthy. It was a couple of gammon steaks (unsmoked unfortunately) that I first grilled to get rid of some of the fat (but not all), and then after dicing it, I cooked it with a small heap of sprouts. It was nice, but would have been nicer if it had been smoked gammon.

  It was possibly mid afternoon when I had the first of quite a few tots of vodka or rum to sterilise my sore throat. They probably did no good, but I enjoyed them anyway. Strangely enough I didn't go over the top. I think I had intended to, but I actually went to bed mostly sober. Had I been drunk I would probably have slept a bit better for at least the first part of the night. I felt very hot when I went to bed, and went to sleep mostly uncovered.

  An hour or two later I woke up feeling cold. I then put my heater on low, and after a while I managed to fall asleep again. It was during that time of try to get back to sleep that my nose started to feel sort of heavy - as if it was blocked. A good blow did help ease the feeling, but it was not really a productive blow. A few hours later, maybe around 3am, I woke up feeling too hot and turned the heater off. By 5am my room had cooled down enough for me to feel cold again, and so I turned the heater back on. I suspect that I may have had a mild fever once or twice in the night.

  This morning I woke up convinced I was on the brink of a major nose flood. I thought that yesterday's sore throat was the lead up to a bout of the common cold. Maybe it was, but after a few sneezes, and clearing out a stuffy nose, nothing more seems to be happening. My throat still has a little tickle now and then, and my nose needs a very occasional light blow, but it is not feeling like a cold any more. In some ways it feels like the tail end of a cold. It would be nice to believe that.

  At this point in time I am unsure what I might do today - except for one thing. I am very sure I will be going to the corner shop for a couple of things. It is possible that if I start to feel better I may go further. If my sore throat, (potentially) runny nose, and some growing twinges from my back all clear by late afternoon I may consider going to a gig. I have the choice of two. I would like to surprise everybody by going to the first set of Chain's gig in Oxted. By going via London Bridge it is simple to get to Oxted station, but then there is something like a 10 minute walk from the station. That would be fine on a warm dry night, but maybe not in heavy rain.

  Alternatively I could go to see The Konks - a Kinks tribute band, and popular word has it that they are very good. They are playing somewhere, probably upstairs, at The Shortlands Tavern - a pub I know well from my Thursday drinking sessions. I would still have an almost 10 minute walk in heavy rain to Catford station, and so maybe it is not a good idea to go out tonight. In which case I might treat myself to a takeaway. Maybe a Chinese takeaway for a change, but I might try something completely different. One day I might try some Polish food !

  One thing I might do today is to see how a bit of garden clearance feels. I think the fresh air could be good for a cold, but if my back is going to play up then it might be foolish. Maybe a long walk to the shops in the fresh air might be a better idea.

Footnote: This morning I opened a new pack of toilet paper. It was bought from the Pound shop. It is lovely quality paper, but each sheet is little bigger than a postage stamp. Wherever it is imported from they must have very small bottoms ! (Fortunately I have plenty of proper toilet paper to fall back on).
Friday 27th September 2019
09:44 BST
  The weather forecast changed a few times during the morning as the forecasters tried to pin down when it would rain yesterday. They were probably about right when it came for the duration of the few showers we had, but not when they would happen. All the rain was over by midday, and maybe a bit before that. There were going to be sunny periods in the early afternoon, and then there weren't, and then there was some, but if you blinked you might have missed them. At least it was close to warm, about 19° C, and despite the cloud, it wasn't that dull for most of the time.
                    sunny start to the day
  The forecast undersells the amount of sunshine so far this morning. I guess you could say it is sunny spells, but it is more sunshine than not at the moment. Even the latest revision to the forecast is adamant that by 11am the sky will fill with black clouds, and there will be showers until just after sunset. The temperature is slowly rising now, but at 11am it will peak as a mere 17° C, and then from midday the temperature will fall back to 16° C for the rest of the afternoon. By midnight it will probably be down to 13° C ! Tomorrow may be dry until some early evening rain, but apart from a few sparse sunny spells in the morning, it will probably be a rather dull day. However, it may be warmer than today with the afternoon temperature reaching 19° C.

  Yesterday was yet another odd day. I had no definite ideas of what I was going to do except for a desire to go out in the evening. Prior to the evening I ended up doing those old standbys - laundry and shopping. There were no towels in yesterday's laundry. It was just a few t-shorts and some underwear. I didn't even consider hanging it outside to dry, and hung it on a clothes horse inside to dry.

  My shopping trip was a sort of spur of the moment thing. I thought I had better replenish my stocks of lager in case I ever get another visit from Sue. That is possibly less unlikely than I sometimes think. When she was here on Wednesday I explained the sheets hanging on a frame in my living room. They are intended to be a photographic back drop, and Sue did say that was still interested in my doing a photoshoot with her. As well as lager, I also bought more bottles of ale, and a bit of feed too.

  I spent a little while yesterday trying to find where I have hidden my good stapler. I am currently using a 99p shop stapler, and it is so flimsy that I barely dare try and staple more than three sheets together !  While rummaging about in some drawers in my old computer desk, dusty with ancient fag ash, I came across some letters, and a Valentines card that must date back to the early 1980s. They were from an "admirer" of mine, and were nicely rude. To preserve her anonymity she signed herself as "Sexy Samantha". Of course I knew exactly who she was, and what happened to generate such suggestive letters. It was all the fault of beer, but still rather exciting !

  It is strange how busy I sometimes seem to be while doing nothing of note, but much of yesterday I was somehow too busy to do any decent relaxation. It didn't seem to take long before it was evening, and time to take a wander to The Catford Bridge Tavern. For yet another Thursday there was an open mic session there. This one was a bit different though. The mic was only "open" for a while before a full gig from Simply Retro, and for 5 minutes between their first and second sets.

  Simply Retro are very good at their craft - playing old pop songs. To be honest I couldn't say they were exciting, but they were pleasant, and I would be happy to see them again if it was at a convenient time and place. I was hoping that Angela might turn up, but she didn't this time. Michael did turn up though, and kept me company during the evening. We both left a little early - about 10.30pm. We both felt we had drunk enough by then. I took a load of pictures that I shall work on today, and I shot some video. It wasn't the best song the played (that would probably have been Green River), and the lighting was very marginal, but the sound is still good on this...

  When I got home from the pub I had some supper waiting for me in the oven. It was some "buffalo wings" (who knew that buffalo even had wings !). The pack says you can eat them cold, straight from the pack, but they are so much better after spending 20 minutes in the oven (and then another 5 minutes to heat them back up after they cooled down while I was in the pub). Soon after eating them I went to bed. It was good that I fell asleep very quickly, but in the end I didn't sleep well. I slept for 2 or 3 hours before waking up almost shivering because I had thrown the duvet aside.

  Maybe getting cold like that was instrumental in waking up with back ache after another couple of hours. When I finally got up my back was really stiff and painful. It was lower, middle and upper back pain at the same time. On top of that my chest was aching where I had squished my ribs at some time(s) in the night. I did not feel good at first. I feel wary of testing my back by doing anything like gardening, but since getting up the pains have almost faded away, and I hope they stay away. However, now those pains are not bothering me I am becoming increasingly aware that my throat is feeling sore.

  I think my plans for today may well revolve around keeping warm and resting until I can be sure that my sore throat is not a herald of some bug. On the other hand, the best cure for a stiff back is to do some walking. Maybe I'll take my new, as in not yet used despite being bought some weeks ago, coat for a walk. It is probably about the right weather for it. It seemed to be thicker in the shop (Tesco), but on reflection it is not well padded at all, and so is probably best suited to autumn and spring. I have warmer coats for winter.
Thursday 26th September 2019
09:57 BST
  Yesterday's weather didn't follow orders ! There was supposed to black clouds and light rain until midday. There was rain, just not as much as suggested by the forecast, and the sun managed to break through the clouds for a few brief moments a couple of times. The rain was supposed to finish at midday. It was as 1pm approached that we had what seemed to be the heaviest rain of the day. It was heavy for about 10 minutes, and that was followed by some light rain for another 10 - 15 minutes. After that the sun came out, and while I wouldn't swear there was absolutely no more rain, I prefer to remember it as a mostly sunny afternoon (the forecast said light cloud for the rest of the day). The afternoon temperature may not have quite hit 19° C, but it was very close to it.
                    brighter day
  The forecast has been revised a little since I took the screenshot above. The most significant change is a prediction for rain at 11am, but there could also be some sunshine too. There have been occasional brief sunny periods several times this morning already. The sunny periods shown for midday until 2pm are now shown as light cloud. One other small change is that the highest temperature of 20° C is only shown for 2pm, the rest of the afternoon may only be 19° C. Apart from 11am, no rain is predicted to fall, but the chance of rain is still reported to range from 10 to 20% through the day. So it might not be quite as dry as the forecast says. Tomorrow could feature a lot of sunny spells, but rain is also predicted. As we get deeper into Autumn the afternoon temperature (and night temperatures) is slowly falling day by day. Tomorrow may only be 17° C (but it might feel like 18° C !).

  Yesterday was a bit of an odd day. I was sometimes very busy, and doing a lot of exercise (going up and down the stairs) but achieving very little in the grand scheme of things. Before that sort of being busy I was busy washing a couple of towels. One was another bath towel, but not as big as the one I washed the previous day. Fortunately the 24 hour soaking in detergent had not caused any new smells, and it was just the smell of old tobacco smoke that needed washing out. I still find it a bit odd that so much smoke could have got into a wardrobe that was never left open.

  In theory the two towels (and a face flannel) should have been a relatively easy hand wash, and in a way it was, but I was still suffering from what ever I had inflamed in my chest during the night. I had several instance of momentary medium strong pain when making certain movements through most of the morning. The pounding of the items while washing them didn't cause any problems that I can remember, although lifting the biggest soaking towel out of the builders bucket gave a few twinges. The worst twinge was holding up that big towel while pegging it on the line.

  On the whole, putting that stuff on the line was a bad idea. The brief painful twinge was obviously not nice, but there was worse - in a different way. The weather forecast said the rain had finished for the day, and it had brightened up a lot. I assumed that my towels would get partly dry over the next 5 hours or so, and I could finish them off indoors with ease. So happy of a job well done, I went back to my bedroom, and lay down to read and cool off. The next thing I was aware of, maybe only 10 to 15 minutes later, was that it was pouring with rain !

  It was very heavy rain too, and I was reluctant to go out in it to bring my washing in. Another 10 minutes passed and it seemed like the rain had stopped. In fact it was still drizzling, but I went out, and wrung out the towels again before bringing them in to dry indoors. 10 minutes after that the sun came out, and as far as I am aware, the rest of the afternoon was dry, and frequently sunny.

  I was while hanging the towels up to dry indoors that I noticed that one of my outside temperature sensors was giving a very wrong reading. It was also showing a low battery indicator - something that I didn't think my sensors could do. Also, one sensor seemed to be dead. I spent what felt like several hours running up and down stairs, checking this and checking that, plus changing batteries in sensors. They now all have Lithium batteries in them. They work much better when temperatures drop below freezing - which is going to happen sooner or later as Autumn bites deeper and deeper.

  At the end of my rushing around all sensors were working OK, but my "weather station" downstairs was still showing a very weird temperature on sensor 1. I am now thinking that is not showing my sensor, but maybe a remote indoor sensor of next door's central heating system. Nice to know that part of their house is 24° C. If the low battery indicator I can see is a correct reading, then it may not stay 24° C for long !

  Once I had done all I could with my temperature sensors and displays, I did very little, or in fact almost nothing of note except for one brief thing...
more drink testing
  Once again I looked at the odd bottles of booze in my kitchen, and decided to re-taste a couple of them. The 7 year old ron (aka rum) was once an impulse buy from Aldi - probably over 6 years ago. I didn't like it the last time I tried it, and the bottle was still almost full. My opinion about Lamb's Navy Rum had changed a lot over the years, and I wondered if this rum would taste any better. It did. It was fairly drinkable, but nowhere near as nice as the Lamb's Navy Rum.

  I can't remember when I bought the Metaxa. It could have been 20 or more years ago. When newly purchased I though it tasted pretty disgusting. Last night I found it, or more likely, I had changed. I could detect some almost floral under flavours, and an interesting tang to it. I still wouldn't like to drink it for pleasure, but at least it is drinkable now. I am left wondering if these changes to my taste are the result of not smoking for 6 years. It could be true, but it doesn't seem intuitive. I would have thought that killing my taste buds with smoke (as is supposed to happen) would reduce nastiness, and not increase it, but whatever...

  I had very little booze last night, maybe no more than a single shot glass in all (I was only tasting the booze, not drinking it), but by 9pm I was feeling very tired, and ready for bed. I am unsure what the time was when I turned out the light, but I seem to think I fell asleep very quickly. I seemed to sleep well again, although with hindsight I sometimes wonder why I think that. I remember having two odd dreams. One was most perplexing...or at least trying to remember what it was I had dreamed.

  The first dream I recall having was perplexing in as much as I can't remember my role in it. I don't know if I was watching events happen as if I was watching TV, or if I was a cameraman, or if I was actually the subject of the dream. It seemed to be about some runners, or at least were running at some point, and them needing medical attention for simple maladies - at least I think they were simple. It is possible I was one needing medical help, or I could have been the person providing medical help, or I might not even have been there at all !

  The second dream was no less weird, but is more easy to picture. I can't really remember how it started, and maybe not even how it finished. The bit I do remember is being in a double decker transit van going down a motorway like road in an industrial area. What is more is that it was raining, and we seemed to be going backwards ! I wanted to open one of the back doors, but the rain just blew straight in. I guess that out of several minutes of dreaming, I just remember a whole two seconds as described.

  This morning I have already done three things. I have had a shower, and washed my hair, and I have had some breakfast. I also phoned the surgery to try and make an appointment to see Julia, the practice nurse who was recommended by my doctor as the one to syringe my wax blocked ear. I didn't try and phone at 8am because that is when everyone is trying to get appointments to see a doctor. I phoned at 9am, and got through straight away. I also got an appointment straight away, but it is not until 5pm next Tuesday. I have an awful long time to wait now, and my blocked ear is ripe for syringing now ! I will continue to treat the wax with oil, and maybe it will mostly clear itself by next Tuesday, but in the meantime I will have to put up with the itching and discomfort as the wax swells, and moves around in my ear. After washing my hair, and getting water in my ear it felt horrible, and it was difficult to resist poking around in my ear. Fortunately I did resist because past experience (from 20 years or so ago) was that I would just make things worse.

  Breakfast was unusual. I usually prefer to not have any breakfast, but I have been giving into it a lot lately. This morning it was Red Leicester cheese on Marmite on multigrain crackers. Very unusual, but very nice ! Now I have to think how I will use the rest of the day. I could potentially jump on a train to somewhere, but I don't think I would go very far, and do much walking.

 I need a bit of energy to go out again tonight. There is yet another open mic at The Catford Bridge Tavern tonight. It is being hosted by Retro-Muso (or something like that). They seem to be an oldies cover band (oldies music covered by old musicians !). Apparently it starts with an open mic, and then once everyone has had their turn (which could be as little as none) the band will play a normal gig. It is possible that Michael and Angela will be there. I think that this time I will make a point of saying hello to Angela even if I choose not to sit with her and the inevitable lover boy.
Wednesday 25th September 2019
09:24 BST
  Yesterday's weather was complicated. The first important thing is that the day was far from as bad as the forecast painted it. There were long periods without any rain, and not much of the rain that did fall could have been described as heavy (there were a few very short periods of heavy-ish rain, but most was little more than drizzle). For once, the mysterious weather symbol that features black cloud, one or two rain drops, all surrounded by sunshine, turned out to be apt. There were quite a few periods when it was bright and sunny. It felt mild to close to warm during the day, and into the evening, but the afternoon temperature was only about the forecast 19° C.
                    but maybe mostly dry
  It is difficult to know what to make of the forecast for today. Only light rain is forecast for this morning, and that does seem to be the case. The rain seems persistent enough to keep the road outside wet and shiny, but the rain is so light I can't see it falling. The forecast also says there should be black clouds this morning, but now and again it gets quite bright as if the sun has almost made it through the clouds. After midday the rain should stop, and the rest of the day may well be dry, but still overcast. Once again a temperature of 19° C is forecast for this afternoon. Tomorrow may well be very similar to today.

  Early yesterday afternoon I did something similar to what the Cardiac Rehabilitation nurse suggested I should do - I extended a shopping trip by walking the long way home. Of course I actually did it because it was the logical route I should take considering I had two ports of call that were separated by 6 or 7 minutes walk. As I say, this was in the early afternoon. I didn't fancy going out in the morning because while there was little heavy rain, it was still rather wet and grim out there.

  There was an even better reason for going in the afternoon, and that was to go to the pharmacy to collect the drugs that had to be ordered for me, and the afternoon was the safest time to be sure they had been delivered. I actually went to Savers first to buy some shower gel. Before I left the vicinity I went to the 89p shop. This was previously the 99p shop, maybe one of the last ones in London, but they are closing down, and anything left on the fairly bare shelves is on sale for 89p. Maybe today the sweeping from the floor will be going for 79p !

  There was nothing I particularly wanted from the "89p shop", but as usual I managed to pick up a few items whose total cost was just under £5. With my business there concluded I walked all the way up the high street, passed my own road until I got to the pharmacy. My drug was there, and with it in my pocket I walked back home. My whole outing probably took 30 to 40 minutes (including time spent in shops), and during that whole time it was bright and sunny. It felt rather glorious !
blue skies and
                        sunshine to the south
  This was the view to the south as I neared home. There is a slight hint that all is not right in the top right corner of the photo, but otherwise it could have been taken on a summers day. At the time I took this photo the forecast was predicting thundery showers. From this view that seemed ridiculous, but turn through 90° to the west.....
view to the west
  The sky to the west looked really threatening - all dark boiling clouds - but it was still sunshine when I entered my house. 5 or 10 minutes later and it was raining, For a few minutes it was quite heavy rain, but it quickly turned into little more than some drizzle. After 10 - 15 minutes of that the sun came out again, and it seemed like the rest of the afternoon was bright, and often sunny, although I think there were periods of time when more drizzle fell.

   My grand plan to meet Sue in the afternoon seemed as if it has fizzled out. I made an offer to meet her at Catford station, which she can get to with only a moderate amount of annoyance (all caused the the poor service of the R6 bus - the only bus that goes with 15 minutes walk of Sue's home). My plan was to take Sue shopping for a few essentials for her while she was skint again, and then come back here for a few beers.

  It turned out that she had been sleeping into the afternoon (after being up much of the night), and had her phone on silent. The afternoon was running out when she finally called me. She was actually quite keen to meet up. That shows her level of desperation because she is normally reluctant to travel to Catford. I initially suggested she might prefer to try again today so she didn't have to come to Catford in the dark, but she said she was happy with that.

  Initially there was a bit of panic over the R6 bus, but it turned up on time. Then there was a bit of panic over whether it would get to Orpington station in time. I have experienced that panic myself, but despite slow moving traffic through Orpington High Street it still seems to make it to the station in time to connect quite nicely with the train. If I recall correctly, Sue caught the 17:02 train, and arrived here about 20 minutes later (it is quicker than it usually feels). It is very lucky she did manage to get that train - the following one was cancelled !

  I met Sue at the station, as promised, and escorted her to Tesco where I bought her some fags, and some essentials like potatoes and baked beans. We actually ended up with quite a heavy bag of stuff, but it only cost just over £10 - rather considerably cheaper than my usual shop in there ! With the shopping done we came back here to drink quite a lot of my stock of beers. We had a nice chat, and even had a cuddle. The latter was very nice, and a bit of a treat for me.

  Time seemed to fly by quite quickly, and it got to the point where the next train was going to be the last one of the day to Orpington - at about 11:30pm. That should have arrived at Orpington 10 minutes before the last R6 bus left, but it was running a bit late, and then got stuck somewhere between Bickley and Petts Wood because of an obstruction on the line. Things were not looking good for Sue ! Luckily she had thought the last R6 departed 3 or 4 minutes earlier than it was actually scheduled to do so (and the driver may have noticed the late arrival of the train, and held on for a minute or two). The train finally arrived at midnight, 10 minutes late, and Sue had to run for the bus, but made it OK.

  Once I had heard that Sue was safely on the bus I could relax, and go to bed. It was a lot later than I typically go to bed, and I had got in a fair amount of exercise during the day. There was the long shopping route, and two trips to Catford Station and back. OK, it's not record breaking stuff, but on the other hand I am not sure when, if indeed ever, have I done a fast walk to Catford station, and with only a 3 minute break, waiting for Sue's train to arrive, walk back home again at a brisk pace. It actually felt like a good achievement.

  I fell asleep easily last night, and if I recall correctly I had two lots of good sleep lasting about 3 hours each, and then one of a single hour. Once again the paradox strikes - it felt like it was good sleep, but I still feel like it would be good to go back to bed for more sleep. Maybe it was good sleep, and like a good meal, or good beer, I just want more because it was good.

   I think that apart from one thing, I feel pretty good this morning. That one thing is my chest. Like the night before, I think I must have rolled on my chest a bit carelessly in the night, and now part of it feels very tender, and some movements are a little painful. If it is like yesterday it will take until early afternoon until it wears off, although I could, if needed, speed things up with some Ibuprofen.

 There is one definite thing I'll be doing this morning, and that is to finish washing a couple of smelly towels. One was smelly because it had been stored in my smelly wardrobe, and the other just from recent use. The latter towel could be even smellier now it has been soaking in cold detergent for almost 24 hours. It's going to be another job where I'll leave the hot water running into the tub the towels are soaking in until the water is a bit warmer, and it is a less unpleasant experience. Once I have done that job I have no idea what I will be doing for the rest of the day.

Tuesday 24th September 2019

10:01 BST
  Yesterday started bright and sunny, and it felt nice in that sunshine despite the temperature being only 17 or 18° C. The process seemed very gradual, and so it is hard to say when it started, but gradually it started to cloud over, and by about 4pm it started to rain. The rain was intermittent, and as far as I am aware, it was always very light. It didn't even feel particularly cold and nasty while I was out in it. The afternoon temperature was initially forecast to be 20° C, but later revisions said just 19° C. Reality might have been the original 20° C.
                    rain, rain and more rain
  The forecast got one thing right this morning - it was and is certainly raining - but as far as I am aware it is fairly light rain, and not the thunderstorms and heavy rain forecast, although I guess there is still a lot of time for those to happen. In fact, upon checking the latest revision to the forecast, the predictions of heavy rain have been replaced by "showers", and even the thunderstorms downgraded to "thundery showers". I guess that is some sort of improvement, but the rain, in one form or another, is predicted to continue right through the day, and halfway through tomorrow. Even that won't be the end of it. It is possible that this coming Saturday may be dry, and even have a bit of brightness, but the current forecast shows all the other days for the next week being wet to some extent. Today, as well as being very wet, will be mild with an afternoon temperature of 19° C.

  The important bit of yesterday came in two parts - doctor in the morning, and then pharmacy in the afternoon to collect my big bag of assorted medication. The first hurdle was the doctor, and as I explained yesterday, it turned into quite an extensive visit ! On my way home from the surgery and pharmacy I popped into the corner shop to buy some crisps, bottles of pop, and yet another new edition of New Scientist. I am getting well behind on my New Scientist reading again !

  I rested for a bit, and then tackled the big job of the day - the big bath towel I had left to soak before going to the surgery. Like so much that has been stored in my wardrobe for countless years, it was impregnated with old tobacco smoke, and although I had no immediate, or indeed any need for it, I wanted to freshen it up. It is by far the biggest bath towel I have, and it took a lot of manhandling to hand wash it, but I got it done. Despite the threat of later rain, I hung it on the line outside where it wouldn't matter if it was still dripping despite my best efforts to wring it out.

  After that hard task I could relax for a few hours before going out again to pick up my drugs, and also to get some shopping in Aldi while I was there. I read a bit of New Scientist, and had a snooze. I think it was about 3.30pm when I went back to the pharmacy. They had made up my prescription, but I still had to wait while it was re-checked. I was happy to see that everything was there this time - including the Empagflozin tablets that I had been warned were out of stock, but only 28 days worth, with a note to say they owed me the other box of 28 tablets. They should be there, ready for collection this afternoon.

  Aldi is just around the corner from the pharmacy, and it was most convenient to get some shopping at the same time. I didn't want, and didn't buy much food, but I did want a few items of instant gratification. I bought some sandwiches, and a chicken and leek gratin. The latter was a huge disappointment. Basically it was two bits of stringy chicken breast with a bit of flavourless crunchy sludge on it. I did rather better when it came to booze !
a selection of beers
  I prefer cans of beer for the simple reason that they clank less when carrying them home, and are less easy to break, but on the other hand the flavour of bottled beer is often better. The picture above shows my little haul of beer form Aldi. I haven't opened any yet, but I suspect some will be very enjoyable. What is not shown is that I also bough a small bottle of Hopkings (Aldi own brand) dark rum. I did try that, and it was OK, but not nearly as nice as the Lamb's Navy Rum I was drinking on Sunday afternoon, The Aldi version is only 37.5%, to save a few pennies of duty, and seemed very thin by comparision.

  The only thing of note that I did yesterday evening was to finally go through the photos I took on Sunday night. On the whole I was quite disappointed with them. Many were poorly focussed, and the colour temperature looked very weird on most of them. The last photos I took with flash, and they look very cold and drab by comparison, and yet they are a more faithful reproduction of the real colours inside the pub.
Martin and Rob
  I've "cooled" the look of this picture of Martin and Rob, and I think, or hope, the colours are about right now. This was taken as Martin was opening the open mic session.
Gerry Scales
This picture of Gerry Scales seemed slightly soft focus for some reason, and so I flipped the auto focus toggle on the lens. Unfortunately I had turned the auto focus off, instead of turning it on. A whole load of pictures were ruined because of it until I realised what I had done. I still don't know why Gerry looks a bit out of focus in this picture.
Martin, Dylan Vickels and Vince
It is slightly unusual for a bass player to take the lead spot, and he needed backup from Martin on guitar, and Vince on cajon. He did a song that was almost, but not quite reggae. Maybe it was supposed to be reggae, but Martin and Vince played straight rock.

  I felt tired quite early last night, and I was fast asleep not long after 9pm if I recall correctly. It was definitely more than 3 hours later, but less than 4 hours when I woke up again, and then found it almost impossible to get back to sleep - or so I thought. Logic tells me that some missing time must have been spent asleep, but it didn't feel like it at the time. I seemed to be about 5am when I got back to sleep properly, but only an hour passed before I was awake again. I got up for a little while for the usual rituals, but an hour or so later I went back to bed. For a few minutes it felt like I would never get to sleep again, and then mysteriously two hours had passed !

  This morning I can't make up my mind if I want even more sleep or not. I do feel mostly OK, but I have, or had a sort of hangover like headache. I don't think I drank enough for a hangover last night, and the headache is probably something to do with bad sleep. Another confounding factor, that also may have interfered with my sleep, is my right ear. I filled it with more almond oil last night, and it has been clicking and popping a lot. I can feel pressure in my ear which I assume is the wax expanding as it absorbs the oil. I really want to try and pick at it, but I am resisting that because past experience tells me that could make it worse. I will try and put up with it for another couple of days, and then try and get an appointment with the practice nurse to get it syringed.

  I don't know how today will turn out. With it being so wet I doubt I will be going out anywhere, although it doesn't seem to be raining now, and it is getting slightly brighter out. Maybe the worst predictions of the weather forecast are wrong - again ! I feel almost certain that she won't take me up on my offer, but I have invited Sue to pop over this afternoon, and have a few beers. I have laid out a lure in the form of a packet or two of cigarettes because I know she can't afford any at the moment. It's up to her...
Monday 23rd September 2019
12:05 BST
  Yesterday was forecast to be dull, wet and miserable, and that was mostly wrong. During the first part of the morning there were a few short periods were the sun managed to shine through small gaps in the cloud, and later on the cloud cover was more complete, but quite often the cloud was thin enough to appear as light grey, and so it wasn't that dull. There were no thunderstorms at all, and what rain did fall was usually very light. I think all the rain had finished by early afternoon, and the evening turned out to feel pleasantly mild. I guess the afternoon high was around the forecast 20° C.
                    sunny morning
  This morning started a bit cool, and I guess it is not quite warm yet, but it has been deliciously sunny - a rather pleasant change to yesterday, and unexpected according to forecast for today made a day or two ago. Maybe the clouds will eventually obscure the sun by early afternoon, and maybe those clouds will drop some rain on us early this evening, but it doesn't really feel like that will happen at he moment. The only change the latest revision to the forecast shows is that the highest afternoon temperature will only be 19° C instead of the brief 20° C shown in the screenshot above. Tonight's rain will lead on to some heavy rain tomorrow morning, and once again there is a prediction for thunderstorms for almost any time tomorrow. Curiously enough, most hours in tomorrow's forecast use that curious mix of dark clouds with lightning bolts surrounded by the rays of the sun. Does this mean there might be some sunny minutes between flashed of lightning ?

  I have to admit I had a very lazy day yesterday. One thing I did do nearly ended as a disaster. It was when curiosity lead me to re-assess the half empty bottle of Lamb's Navy Rum that has been undisturbed in the kitchen for many years. Maybe yesterday was the first time I tried it neat, and I found I liked it - a lot ! I had several small(ish) tots of it, and then had to exercise strong will power to avoid writing the rest of the day off in a happy, but drunken state.

  I was saving myself for going out to Stretchy's Open Mic in The Swan & Mitre in Bromley. Somehow I also managed to save myself from eating too much before going out. It turned out to be a very good night, although I did leave a bit early because I needed to get up early this morning, preferably without a hangover, for my appointment with the doctor at 9.30am this morning.

  There wasn't any really memorable music played last night, but I have some video on my phone, plus pictures in my camera to process some time today. One highlight was that a certain person, whose mere presence I don't like, left the pub mid evening, and that meant I didn't have to. The real highlight was when I left the pub. Just as I did a 320 bus came along, and got held at the traffic lights. I decided I ought to try and run to the bus stop - and I did ! I have no idea how far I ran. In the grand scheme of things it was practically nothing, but for me it seemed enough. I estimate it was between 100 and 150 feet.

 The amazing thing was that at the end of that run I felt absolutely fine. I had no pains, and I hadn't even started to breathe heavy, let alone gasp for breath. It makes me wonder just how far I could run if I tried. Ideally I would want a very sympathetic person who could set a slow pace for me. Without that I might go hell for leather, and knacker myself in a 100 yards, but at a gentle trot maybe I could manage more than I could ever imagine. I guess I'll never find out though.

  It might have been better to have got a 208 bus instead of a 320. The latter bus does drop me off too near the fried chicken shop, and I gave into temptation last night. I had a very tasty supper before going to bed. That and the Guinness sent me to sleep very quickly, and I slept solidly for three hours or so. After that I had difficulty getting to sleep again, and staying asleep when I did manage to fall asleep. I think I had some unpleasant dreams, but after all this time I can't even remember their themes, let along their content.

  It is sods law that I just managed to start sleeping normally just as I wanted to get up to get ready to go to the doctor.  Part of my preparation was to take a blood pressure reading to add the a spreadsheet of readings taken this month to show the doctor. Just the thought of seeing a doctor made my first reading quite high - although these days "quite high" is actually not that much above text book normal. I did my best to relax, and took another reading, and it was acceptably low.

  My appointment was for 9.30am, and I arrived at the surgery at 9.20. I was actually seen 15 minutes late, but I regard that as still being within acceptable limits. Later on I was even more forgiving about it because the doctor I saw was very much old school, and wanted to take his time to make sure everything was OK. I don't think I had seen him before, but if I ever get a choice, he would be one of my two choices.

  We discussed my recent hospital visit, plus my two follow on appointments at the Ambulatory Care Clinic. It was about the latter that the doctors "old school" charm showed through best. Without me asking he explained what they were testing for in regards to "low renal function". Something, possibly infection, probably the dye used for the angiogram had stopped my kidneys doing their job properly. Apparently, as I noted, it can be symptomless, and can really only be detected by blood tests. He also said that very often it is just a brief blip of bad function, and soon restores itself back to normal. That seemed to be my case, and that I have nothing further to worry about.

  The main reason for my appointment was to get my repeat prescriptions altered to reflect an extra drug and a change of dosage of another. Apparently it was easier to delete my old prescription, and to issue a new one. He did just that, and said to go to the pharmacy and ask them to request a repeat prescription. That wasn't quite how it worked in practice ! Before I left the surgery I asked if the doctor could have a quick look at my right ear. It has been feeling a bit waxy recently, and some almond oil to soften the wax has lead to some painful clicking and popping as the wax has soaked up the oil and expanded. This morning I woke up deaf in that one ear. The doctor suggested I keep applying oil, and with luck it might clear itself, but otherwise I could make (or try to) an appointment with the practice nurse to syringe the ear out.

  After leaving the surgery I went next door to the pharmacy to request my new repeat prescription. The assistant in there check the computer and said the doctor had deleted the old prescription, but hadn't sent a new prescription, and that I should go back to try and get it printed out by the doctor. I went back to the surgery, and explained this to the receptionist. She sent an urgent e-message to the doctor, and then I had to wait. In think at that point he had just started a new, and quite long consultation. I must have waited for something like 40 minutes before I had the printed prescription in my hand.

  It was quite a thick bundle of printouts - basically 6 lots of prescriptions for 2 months supply each. The good news is that as I hoped, the first 2 month supply can be dispensed today, but rather than hang around for another long wait, I will be going back later this afternoon to pick them up. I'll also be popping into Aldi for some shopping while I am out.

  I'm not sure what other stuff I might do today. I have started washing a fairly large bath towel, and I must get that finished soon so it can hang outside for a few hours to drip dry enough to finish drying indoors. Other than that, I once again have a backlog of magazine stuff to read, and if this afternoon is going to be wet and dull then maybe reading might be just the thing.
tomato starting to
  One bit of good news from yesterday - I noticed that one of my tomatoes has finally started to ripen. Hopefully more will follow suite soon. I have been told that the plants will by fine until the first frosts. So I probably have at least another month for others to ripen.
Sunday 22nd September 2019
09:19 BST
  I believe that yesterday, the 21st, was the official end of summer according to the pagans, and probably many others too, although "Autumn solstice" is not a name I was previously familiar with. In one respect the weather acted accordingly. Yesterday was like summer, today not. There was loads of sunshine yesterday, and the temperature reached 24° C, but once the sun went down there were signs in the sky that things were changing - clouds !
reality doesn't seem quite this bad
  The clouds that started gathering last night have brought some rain this morning, although not much of it, and certainly no thunderclaps. For one the sun symbol around the black cloud and lightning bolt makes some sort of sense. At the moment the clouds are not that dense, and can only seem to manage some drizzle, and every now and then the sun almost peeps through the gaps in the clouds to give some weak hazy sunshine. Maybe there will be some heavy rain later, but I note that the latest revision to the forecast has moved the first bolt of lightning to 11am, and the first heavy rain to 4pm. As I write these words I am being dazzled by sunshine - I never expected that to happen today ! Today it is supposed to be late morning, and early afternoon when the temperature peaks at about 20° C - it was 18° C when I checked 30 - 40 minutes ago. The latest revision to the forecast says the temperature will very slowly drop from about 1pm, but it is still going to be a mild night. Also in the revised forecast is some good news about tomorrow. It should feature a lot of sunny intervals, and even some extended periods of sunshine. The temperature should rise to 20° C - maybe summer is not fully over yet.

  I felt fragile yesterday after the painful night I had the night before last. I wasn't actually in any pain, but it frequently felt like that pain was just one small incorrect movement away. That feeling was worse when not doing anything, but went away when doing the sort of things that might cause some problems. One such thing was going shopping to Tesco.  It felt surprisingly good while walking to Tesco in warm sunshine. Maybe it wasn't so surprising considering that at least some of my aches and pains are triggered by cold damp weather. Like the previous 3 or 4 (or 5 ?) times, I am once again dreading winter. Those cold and damp days hurt !

Tesco grain vodka  Walking to Tesco was very pleasant, and walking home again was still very pleasant despite carrying heavy(ish) shopping. If anything hurt while carrying that shopping it was my right wrist, but only mildly. I've never noticed that complain before, but it could be an extension of what is most probably carpal tunnel syndrome - a problem that mostly causes discomfort when typing. It is a quick and easy operation to cure it if I feel I need to go that far. Maybe I will someday, but I usually have more important things to discuss during my rare, and difficult to get, appointments with a doctor.

  I was fairly selective about what I bought from Tesco. For some reason I was very alert to not get sucked into buying stuff just because it had a tiny, miserly reduced price. Maybe I have been seduced by Sainsburys who seem to reduce their stuff to half price when it gets too near it's sell by date. Tesco sometimes do no more than knock 10p of an item costing £2.50. It would be nice if everyone could start ignoring such insulting offers like I aim to do. Eventually Tesco may come to realise they are insulting every one with their miserly reductions.

 Of course some stuff is sold as "loss leaders" at half price, and this was the case with a couple of things I bought. Other stuff seemed cheap because it was near end of season. I bought a big punnet of tomatoes for about 80p. Unfortunately they were not very nice tomatoes - almost bitter, and not very tomato-ey. Even lots of fresh basil failed to make them seem nice. The Tesco Grain vodka, pictured on the left, was on special offer - just £16 for a litre bottle.

  I think this is the vodka that Angela rates very poorly. He first choice is Smirnoff vodka, but I reckon this Tesco Grain vodka (i.e. not made from potatoes) is pretty good, and I had a couple of small spirit glasses of the stuff last night, and enjoyed it as much as I would my favourite whisky (also Tesco own brand - "Special Reserve").

  I was back from Tesco in time to have a slightly early lunch. It was some smoked cheese on rice cakes - not very adventurous, but I wanted to eat something that was almost, but not quite very light. I was still wary of some food after the bad acid reflux I had suffered the night before. In truth I probably could have got away with eating almost anything except home made vegetable curry !

  There were several things I could, and maybe should have done yesterday afternoon, but I got a bit carried away with resting on my bed - either reading or snoozing. I didn't snooze that much, but I did do a fair bit of reading. Maybe wasting the sunshine was an offence, but it still felt good laying on my bed with sunshine streaming through my bedroom window. Eventually that became a bit boring - particularly after not being able to fall asleep again after a couple of short naps.

  Once again there were things I could and should have done, but after laying down for so long I was feeling sort of fragile, and didn't really fancy doing much. My eyes settled on some shot glasses that had once had candles in them, and I wondered if they could be cleaned up, and re-used as shot glasses. Before I could do that I had to do some washing up to clear the sink. One container in the sink had the remains of my vegetable curry in it. It most almost only gravy, but there were one or two solid bits in it.

  Like it seemed to do to my guts, it blocked the sink. The sink waste pipe has been slightly blocked for ages, and every now and then I leave bleach in it over night, and that seems to cure it. Yesterday, to speed things up, I poured three kettles full of boiling water down the plughole. That got things moving OK, but to an excess. I became aware of water dripping under the sink. Fortunately most of it was dripping into an old washing up bowl under the sink. I had no choice but to almost do what I had been dreading - fiddling about with the U-Bend !

  I could have done a proper job, and removed the U-Bend and cleaned it out, but the first plastic gland nut I touched was loose. I remember when my friend Lee installed it I was scared of his slapdash plumbing methods. Fortunately the only thing to leak so far has been that join to the U-Bend. I tightened it up, without using tools, as is recommended for plastic plumbing, and it now seems water tight. I checked the other joins while I was at it, and they seem OK.

  The final good news is that the sinks seems to empty with no problems now, and I could go on to try and clean up those shot glasses with some nylon pan scourers. I'll need to check them today, now they should be dry, to make sure that there is no trace of wax left in them, but of not I now have 6 shot glasses - quite big shot glasses ! I just need some booze to put in them. I think they are just big enough to contain all the contents of a typical miniature, but I am not going to start drinking my collection of miniatures.

  I felt perfectly fine doing all that work in the kitchen - both plumbing and scrubbing. As soon as I sat down at my PC my chest started to feel very slightly sore. It was at a perfectly ignorable level, or would be at any other time, but it was of some concern after my recent pains. In fact it was ignorable, and without realising it, that is what I ended up doing. Later on I had a nice none threatening white fish pie for dinner, and followed that by a couple of large vodkas (neat). By 8.50pm I was heading for bed.

  I read in bed for a while, but I was fast asleep well before 10pm. I first woke up almost 3 hours later for a pee, and then slept for maybe another three hours. I don't think I can recall dreaming during that first two periods of sleep, but after that I slept much lighter, and did dream, but any details have now evaporated - and that is a pity because for some reason I seem to think that one dream was very interesting. Quite how I can think that when I can't remember a single detail is left as a mystery.

  I possibly got another three hours of sleep in one hour sessions before getting up. I seem to have a mild stomach ache at the moment, but everything else seems in fair working order. I had some low fat, lemon flavoured Greek yoghurt for breakfast (not the "no added sugar" version unfortunately", and that seems to have made this stomach ache worse instead of better. At the moment it is just a background annoyance, and even simple things can distract me from it. Maybe it will go when I go to the toilet soon. I know that home made vegetable curry must be very close to exiting - I've been doing some very gross, cauliflower flavoured farts since the middle of the night ! It will be nice to finally get rid of that curry once and for all, and I think I feel it is going to happen very soon now ! ......  10 minutes pass .... Ah, that's better.

  I have one plan, or maybe it is an aspiration, for today, and that is to go to Stretchy's Open Mic tonight. I probably shouldn't stay there too long, or maybe I shouldn't drink too much Guinness because I am seeing my doctor tomorrow morning. I have no idea what I will be doing from now until then, but it will probably be indoors because of the rain. Actually I have to confess that I do have a sort of childish wish to go out in the rain, and maybe I will, but I have to remember it is 20° C outside (or soon will be), and most of my raincoats would be wetter inside from sweat than outside at this temperature. I guess I could go out in an ordinary light coat and just get wet...or I could just stay in, and that is the mostly likely outcome.
Saturday 21st September 2019
08:38 BST
  Yesterday was yet another day that defied the rules of Autumn, and was warm and sunny. It was also another dry day, and the afternoon temperature was a respectable 20° C
                    all down hill after today
  Maybe today will be the latest last day of summer. The sun is shining warm (behind glass) and bright, and should continue to do so until almost sunset. This should raise the afternoon temperature to a very nice 24° C. At the end of the day it is supposed to cloud over, and those clouds will help keep the heat in. So it will be an almost warm night, but tomorrow those clouds will start to leak. By this time tomorrow we could be having thundery showers. It will still be a warm day with the temperature around 20° C, but it is likely to be a very wet day - as will the next few days after it !

  Yesterday was one of those days where you do a lot but achieve nothing, or at least very little. That is specific to one particular job. I did do some other stuff that did achieve a little. Specifically I did two lots of laundry. I could have taken a risk and done it all in one lot, but I was washing a white t-shirt, and I thought it would be better to do two small washes - one of light coloured stuff, and one of mostly black stuff.

  The white t-shirt is one I haven't worn for years, and I thought it lost, but I found it right at the back of my wardrobe. It is long sleeved, and that is one reason why I have rarely used it over the last 30+ years ! I'm not sure it will fit me, but if it does I will have to find a reason to wear a Sol beer t-shirt. Also found deep in my wardrobe were some towels, and I washed one of them, a pale coloured hand towel, along with the t-shirt.

  The two lots of laundry were my only physical work yesterday. I have no idea what inspired me to do for a great deal of yesterday. It was a twist of a project I have been meaning to do for absolute ages - get a new firewall up and running. My current firewall is based on an old Pentium II based PC that is, and has been for a year or so, spread out all over a desk in my back room. A year or two ago the motherboard failed because of dried up capacitors (a fault that affects many motherboards of similar age). A quick and dirty fix, that was only supposed to be temporary until I sorted something else out, was to power the motherboard from a very big chunky power supply meant for a far more hungry computer.

  After the success of using an old Toshiba laptop as a server for these web pages, I suddenly had the idea that I should use an old laptop as a firewall. The advantage of doing so was that the laptop battery, assuming it could hold a small charge, would act as a backup during a rare mains failure - and that has happened once to the web server. So the next thing was to select a suitable candidate from my small selection of beaten up, outdated laptops. At first I thought it would be an old Dell laptop.

  I used to use that Dell laptop at work as a sort of backup machine, and I had installed Linux Mint on it. It was a bit slow, but worked fine except for one small niggling fault, or indeed a double fault. The main battery was so knackered that it would only power the thing for about 10 minutes. In that respect it was fine for my purposes, but the BIOS backup battery was completely dead, and if left unpowered for long it would forget all the BIOS settings. That wouldn't matter so much if it didn't hang during the boot process waiting for a key press to either reset the BIOS, or ignore it.

  When I first turned it on it booted up to Linux Mint after I pressed F1 to ignore the incorrect BIOS settings, but after not being used for a couple of years there was a huge heap of software updates that it wanted to download and install. It seemed a shame to go through all that, and then delete the whole operating system in favour of firewall operating system. With the benefit of hindsight I am glad I decided to use another laptop, and leave the Dell in working order - apart from the dead BIOS backup battery.

  I did once try and change the BIOS backup battery, but I couldn't find it, and I think I had other more important stuff to do at work that day. I did subsequently find out where I should have been looking for it, and maybe I'll have another go some day. Although I hate pulling laptops and similar things apart - loads of tiny screws, and connectors that sometimes are reluctant to be disconnected.

  My next candidate for a firewall was an old Sony Vaio laptop. It once had Linux Mint Debian edition on it. I can't remember how it happened, or indeed when it happened, but it seemed to be corrupt, and it accepted no input from the keyboard or mouse. So it was impossible to log into. Wiping that installation wouldn't matter, and so I fitted a PC-Card network interface card to use as the Green port (internal network) while the internal network port would become the Red port (outside network).

 I then wasted loads of time trying to get a back up disk made by my existing firewall. There are two ways to do it. The simplest is to write the configuration data to a floppy disk. The existing firewall has a floppy drive that I assumed worked, but it didn't ! The other way is to export an image file of a floppy disk to another PC on the network, and then write that image to a floppy disk on that machine. The obvious thing is that you need a machine with a working floppy disk in it - or an external USB floppy disk. I had the latter, but every attempt to write the image file to a floppy failed. I even fired up the Dell laptop I had been playing with earlier because that has an internal floppy drive. It wouldn't work on that either...or maybe it did, but in a format I couldn't read, and later on, neither could the firewall software that would have written it.

  I then wasted a lot of time installing the firewall operating system onto the Vaio laptop. It was all going fine until it tried to read the floppy disk. There were lots of whirrings and head movements in the floppy drive, but after a long wait the installation program said it couldn't read the disk, and I would have to start again, and configure things manually. I started again, and everything went smoothly until it was time to configure the network ports. The software could only find the internal interface. There could have been ways to get around it, but essentially the standard installation does not include drivers for PCMCIA cards, and so the second interface could not be found.

   That rather spoiled my idea of using a laptop as a firewall. I think I need to go back to the Mini-ITX, Atom based computer I was going to use (seemingly) years ago. That installation only failed because the SATA connector plug to the hard disk was loose, and came out halfway through the installation. I did re-route the SATA cable to (hopefully) stop that happening again, but at the time I didn't have the time to complete the installation. Maybe it should be a project for a boring Sunday. In the meantime I re-installed an old version of Linux Mint in the Vaio. It works OK, but it is too old, and the update depositories have all changed, and I can't update it - another job for another day.

  Last night my dinner included a home made (except for the sauce) vegetable curry. I only mention this now because it would be very significant later on. I spent a lot of the evening watching several documentaries about Fleetwood Mac on BBC4 (although I carried on working on the Vaio laptop during some of my TV entertainment.  Eventually though it was time for bed. I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and during a bit of vigorous brushing I managed to "pop a rib". I was left with a nasty pain under, and partly to the right of my right "moob". It is a typical place for such a pain.
my pains - colour
  I have shown roughly where the pain was in the picture above - it was the pink tinted area to the right of me.  The area above my left "moob" (or man boob) started to ache in sympathy when I got into bed. It commonly happens when I get the pain on the right. To make matters more interesting, when I laid down on my right side I started to suffer from acid reflux. With every burp I could taste that vegetable curry again (albeit in a slightly mild form). The acid reflux pain was straight down my sternum. With the three areas all hurting it was very similar to the pain I experienced when I walked into hospital during my recent heart attack.

  For a time I was wondering if it was another heart attack, but this time some Ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation, some Paracetamol to reduce the pain, and some antacid to reduce the acid reflux, started to work, and eventually I was comfortable enough to get some proper sleep. I did doze off a few times while I was in pain, but I didn't manage to get to sleep properly.

  You may wonder what the yellow tinted areas are in the picture above. They were bad pains when I woke up. A painful shoulder and painful right elbow are not new things when I wake up. The elbow is most probably a legacy of when I had a dislocated elbow for over a month before it popped back in when I got an electric shock from a TV I was repairing. I have no idea why my should should also being suffering from something I suspect to be arthritis or similar.

  I also still had some pain from my ribs on the right hand side, and so once again I took more Ibuprofen and Paracetamol and I now feel mostly OK (although the elbow is starting to feel a bit stiff again). None of these things matter for the moment because I am still working out what I might do today, and can avoid anything that might aggravate these things. I think that at some point I may go to Aldi to buy a few things - including some more booze (it could be useful as a pain killer). There is a small chance I might go to a gig this evening, but it could be a lot of messing around for very little reward. Mostly I shall just make up today as the day passes.
Friday 20th September 2019
08:50 BST
  It was another nice sunny day yesterday. It was probably pushing things a bit far, but I was still out in just a t-shirt (plus trousers and stuff) after dark. By 9pm it was getting a little cool, probably about 16° C, but provided I kept moving... The afternoon temperature was around 20° C, and it felt warm in the sunshine.
                    than yesterday
  I thought today was going to be warmer than yesterday, but I think I was confusing today with tomorrow. Today is forecast to be the same temperature as yesterday, but with full sunshine instead of sunny intervals, it should feel very nice (although the sunny intervals yesterday afternoon were so long that it might well have been just called "sunshine"). This afternoon should see the temperature hit 20° C for a couple of hours, but it was cool of very slowly after 4pm. It is thought that it will be sunny all day tomorrow, and the afternoon temperature will rise to 24° C (no one knows why the headline temperature is shown as 25° C). Autumn resumes on Sunday, although apart from the rain, it seems it is still likely to be quite mild next week.

  I'm trying to remember if I did anything worthwhile yesterday morning. I don't think I did - apart from a little bit of washing up, and a bit of cookery. I prepared, and mostly cooked a sort of curried vegetable stew. I should have eaten it last night, but I had other stuff to eat. I guess I must have spent the rest of the morning reading - which is fair enough. I still have a backlog of stuff to read, although I have now finished reading "The Stainless Steel Rat Sings The Blues" by Harry Harrison.

  It wasn't until the afternoon that my adventures started. I allowed plenty of time, which I didn't need because I didn't feel as bad as I thought I might, to walk to Catford station to catch the 15:50 train to Orpington. I had arranged to meet Sue at Bromley South station, but she let me know she was running late thanks to the stupid R6 bus. To avoid standing around at Bromley South for ages I stayed on the train all the way to Orpington to meet Sue there. I still had about a 10 minute way before her bus arrived outside the station.

  We had enough time to walk to the front of the next train to Bromley South, and find some seats a carriage length from some manic schoolkids before the train departed. Once sitting on the train I passed the money I was  lending to Sue, and showed her the workings of a bluetooth selfie stick that she was interested in using, and is now on indefinite loan to her. I am hoping it will achieve the impossible - force her to use her phone in landscape mode. The only way to use it is with the phone in landscape, and I know that it is possible for her iPhone to record video like that because I have seen many others manage it.

  I said goodbye to Sue at Bromley South. She wanted to go and stalk one of the members of Glamstar who is frequently seen drinking in the North Bromley Wetherspoons on a Thursday afternoon/early evening. I stayed on the train to get to Shortlands for my regular Thursday drink there. I arrived 20 minutes late because of Sue's trouble with the R6 bus, but I soon caught up with the others.
Pear and Andy
(Picture taken by Chris Mayer).
  Yesterday saw a special visit from Andy who now lives in Brighton. He was accompanied by his Thai partner Pear. Strange name here, but maybe not in Thailand. She seemed very pleasant. Until now  had wondered if she was an 18 year old ladyboy...well, you do, don't you ? I think it was mentioned she was just over 10 years younger than Andy, and so probably a good match.

  I only stayed for my usual 3 pints before getting the 1845 train back to Catford. Originally I was going to go straight home to eat the vegetable curry that I had prepared in the morning, but I thought I could find a bit more energy before having a full dinner. I still wanted a quick snack of something or another, and so I went into Sainsburys on the way home. I bought my usual couple of ready made Greek salads, and a few other bits and pieces - all of which were reduced price.

  hen I got home I had what I consider to be a light snack. It was a couple of packs of reduced price, Sainsburys chicken and vegetable sushi. They filled a small hole, and boosted my energy to go out again. I can't remember how many times a month it is, but on some particular Thursday(s) in the month the Marco Buono Blues Band host an open mic at The Catford Bridge Tavern. Having been before I know it to be quite boring, but last night I knew of 2 or three people who would also be there.

  I knew that Angela would be there, and I strongly suspected she would have lover boy with her. She did, although it was more like he had her on an invisible leash. They came in about 15 minutes after I arrived, and walked directly towards me, and I raised my glass to them, but they were looking for a seat, and away from where I was standing. Even though Angela must have passed no more than 4ft from me, I don't think she saw me - or if she did she disguised it well.

  I did not want to approach them because I know it would only upset lover-boy, and his presence makes me feel very uneasy, or to put it more accurately, his presence really pisses me off. Not only that but she is now a different Angela to the one I knew and loved. This version looks like she has had all the life taken out of her. I spent the next 7 minutes (badly) videoing the band before finishing my Guinness and leaving.

  Once I was home I sent a txt message to Michael to say that Angela was there with lover-boy. I had been expecting to see him there, but evidently I had left some time before he arrived there. He sent me a txt message about 20 minutes later asking where I was. I said I had got bored, and had gone home again. He seemed to have some sympathy for that because he later saw my video, and said they were still playing the same song 30 minutes later - implying that most of their songs follow a fairly strict format, and thus sound very similar - heard one, you've heard them all !

  It took well over an hour to process the video, and it wasn't until gone 10pm before I went to bed, and even then it was only to read until about 11pm. After that I went to sleep, and it seems I slept well again. I know I got up to pee twice, but both times were almost dreamlike, and I can't recall having any trouble falling asleep again within minutes of getting back in bed. I woke up this morning feeling better than I did yesterday.

  My chest felt quite sore, but the muscles I had strained in the garden the day before, seemed to have healed yesterday. As yet I am unsure how much get-up-and-go I have. I did have ideas about going back to bed, but I did seem to wake up about an hour later than usual this morning, and decided that I probably didn't need to go back to bed again. On the other hand, I have no special plans for today (although I do have a possible, but unlikely plan), and certainly none for this morning. I may still lay on my bed, start reading, and then fall asleep until something inside me says it is time to wake up again.

  I did have a very vague plan, or maybe idea is a better word, to meet Sue again this afternoon, and go on a short pub crawl with her. I was going to show her how to get to a couple of pubs, but she was not sure what plans she had for this afternoon. Not only that but yesterday evening she visited one of the pubs I was going to show her how to get to. It was The Fellowship And Star where Gerry Scales was having an open mic night last night. Maybe there is no need to show her how to get there after all. Maybe I might go out somewhere by myself this afternoon...or maybe not.
Thursday 19th September 2019
09:00 BST
  It was very comfortable, but I am not sure I would call 18° C "warm". After almost non stop sunshine that is all the temperature could rise to yesterday. As the days slowly cool down, the nights are cooling even more. Just 9° C in early morning, and down to 13° C by midnight.
                    sunny days continue
  I was expecting this morning to be chillier than yesterday, but it seems there is some warm air blowing our way. Not very warm, but it seems to be adding a few degrees to the temperature compared to yesterday. Today the non stop sunshine may only last until 1 or 2pm, and from then on there will just be sunny intervals. The afternoon temperature should be a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday at 20° C. Depending on how the breeze feels, that should cross that invisible, and not really defined, point where I call it warm. Tomorrow should see similar temperatures, but there should be more sunshine. The day after tomorrow could see a tiny bit more sunshine, and the temperature should rise to 23° C before it all goes horribly wrong from Sunday onwards.

yesterday's beer  My predictions for yesterday turned out to be about right. The first thing I did was to change the sheet, pillows and duvet cover on my bed. I then washed the sheet and pillow cases, and hung them on the line to dry. I think I put them on the line at about 10am, and by 5pm they were dry. Actually I thought they might still have been a bit damp, but I think it was just because they were feeling quite cool. They had only been indoors for a few minutes when they felt bone dry. I'll be washing the duvet cover later - maybe today, but if not then "soon".

  After doing that laundry I had a shower, and then allowed half an hour or so to pass so I could cool down, and then got dressed to go to Aldi. I was wearing what I will call fast shoes (some shoes seem good for walking fast, and others seem to slow me down - and I have no real idea why). I was over three quarters of the way to Aldi and I was thinking it seemed like hard work. I guess my mind was pre-occupied with the sun and blue sky, or something unknown, and it took a moment to realise I was walking at full speed (but not overdrive - that is reserved for passing slower pedestrians).

  When I got inside Aldi I was disappointed that the Honey Beer that my friend Michael had recommended had all gone. In it's place was another honey based beer called Waggledance. The name seemed very familiar. I felt sure that Waggledance was a beer brewed by Youngs in their Wandsworth brewery. Late on everything became clear. It was Youngs who originally brewed Waggledance - as this old postcard confirms.
Postcard featuring
  Later yesterday evening, when I decided to taste the two bottles of beer I had bought (the other being Medusa), I read the back of the label on the bottle. It said that The Eagle brewery was in Bedford, and owned my Marstons - the brewery that was originally supposed to partner Youngs, but took them in, chewed then out, and spat out the remains. Not only that, but despite all their claims, they ruined the taste of all Youngs beers when they moved production to Bedford when the Wandsworth brewery was closed down. This Waggledance actually tasted very pleasant, but very different to how the label described it, and very different to how I remember the original Waggledance.

  The Medusa, ruby red ale was OK, but I was not struck on it. I doubt I will be buying any more of it, but I may consider buying more Waggledance. I also lugged home four cans of Benno craft lager (just 330ml cans). They call it lager, but in some ways it is more like a very light ale, and very enjoyable. With all the drink I bought I was careful not to buy too many other things that weighed a lot. I still managed to include some items that I really shouldn't have bought because they are too tempting - or they were not what I thought.

  One thing I bought that I shouldn't have, was a pot of Greek style yoghurt. It looked identical, except for some variations of the label design, to the lemon flavoured, fat free, no added sugar, yoghurt that Tesco sell. The big difference is that the Aldi variant has quite a lot of sugar in it. I compounded the error by buying a cheery flavoured yoghurt from the same range. That had even more sugar in it ! I've got to be very careful when eating those yoghurts !!

  At this point I seem to have forgotten the order of events. I was about to do one of two things when I got distracted. It was a very rare phone call from Sue. Typically it lasted a long time - just over 2 hours. It was nice to have a chat, but it wasn't just a social call. It transpired that Sue had her knickers in a twist about several things, and needed someone to talk to so she could work things out for herself - up to a point.

  I think it was after that call that I completed another little job - hand washing a hand towel, and a couple of pairs of underpants. With that lot washed, and hanging up to dry, there was still enough a little bit of sunshine sloping down low over the roofs of the houses to the west, and I finally went out into the garden to clear some weeds. It was more a matter of desperation rather than enjoyment. I wanted to get at least a decent layer of vegetation over a lot of food waste. I put all my food waste in the garden waste bin because it is all compostable, and I know the dustman do it anyway.
another patch of
                        mostly cleared garden
  Yesterday I concentrated on the left hand side of the back of the garden. I'll admit it wasn't a very thorough job. The fence post to the right of the picture above is halfway across the back fence, and the area to the immediate left of it still has a lot of weeds - but I did thin them out a lot, and I did manage to clear right to the bottom of the fence. You can see under it now !
bottom of the fence
  When I got this far I was beginning to suffer. There is only so many times I can bend over to pull up weeds, and some of those buggers have really long roots, and it felt like I was pulling my arm out of it's socket ! Maybe I was, because this morning I had to take some Paracetamol to dull some of the aches that were a legacy of my work yesterday.
major headache
  Although previous work did thin things out a bit, the back, right hand corner of the garden remains a big headache. The ivy clad tree stump is going to tax my patience, and stamina -  a lot ! There is also a lot of rubble in this corner, and some of it is quite big. I will eventually be using some of it to block the gap under the back fence, but first I have to get to it - and it is going to have to be a day when I feel I have an excess of energy - and bravery !
guardian of the corner
                        of the garden
  The area where I worked yesterday had been guarded by a wasp eating spider whose web stretched from one side of the garden to the other. Yesterday I found the web in tatters, and got rid of the rest of it using my rake with it's nice long handle. Yesterday I couldn't get to the back, right hand corner of the garden because it was being guarded by this sheep eating (possibly) spider. With luck a bird, or something, will have flown through it when I need to start on that corner of the garden.

 I was looking forward to a nice early night under my fresh bed linen last night, and I was in bed soon after 9pm. As usual I read for a while before turning out the light. I expected to fall asleep quite quickly, but sleep didn't seem to come. That was quite lucky because I was contacted by Sue again. I think I then found out why she was being so unusually friendly. She is completely skint for the next week, and while she wasn't asking for a loan, I think she was hoping I would offer her one to keep her out of trouble, and I did.

  We eventually stopped exchanging text messages in time for me to try to get to sleep at about 11pm. It was actually close to midnight when I eventually fell asleep. I don't think I slept as well as I thought I would, but maybe I was expecting something extra wonderful after changing the sheets and stuff. I am sure that the one dream I remember a bit of must have some deep psychological meaning, but I don't know what, and maybe I would rather not know.

  The bit of dream I remember started off inside what I think was my house...or maybe a slightly bigger version of it. I went through a door and found myself on the top deck of a bus. Seconds later it started to rain. It was a torrential downpour, and I remember thinking that if my house was washed away I could still live on the bus. Then the bus started to move, and very soon we were going through very unfamiliar streets. I remember desperately trying to remember the route in case I had to walk back. I woke up very soon after.

  One of the first things I always do when I get up is to take my morning medication (sometimes before, but usually after going for a pee). This morning I followed those drugs with some painkillers to dull the aches caused by my time in the garden yesterday. I am happy to say that the worst of them has faded away now. At precisely 8am, as soon as teh second hand hit the top of the clock, I called the surgery to have another go at getting an appointment with a doctor.

  Despite my timing I was still fourth in the queue, and when I finally got through to a receptionist I was tole that all appointments for this morning had gone. I was expected to be offered an afternoon appointment, but fortunately I wasn't because that would have ruined the smooth course of my day (or something like that). I was actually offered an appointment for 9.30am next Monday (the 23rd). That suits me OK - I will just be running out of one of my drugs on Monday, and provided I get a prescription that I can take direct to the pharmacy for dispensing some time in the day, I will be happy.

  Later this afternoon I will be taking a train to Bromley South station where I shall be meeting Sue to give her a sub to tide her over until she is paid. Then I will go back into the station to get a train to take me the one stop to Shortlands station for my regular late Thursday afternoon/evening drink with the Thursday crew. Today we should be getting a visit from Andy who moved to Brighton late last year, and who we only see now on rare occasions. Even rarer is that he will be bringing his Thai girlfriend with him. Should be interesting.
Wednesday 18th September 2019
08:30 BST
  The sun returned yesterday, and even if it wasn't actually so, it seemed like it was sunny from dawn to dusk. It was a bit sad that it only reached 19° C, but it felt warm enough in the sun, and the sun coming through my front windows warmed the front rooms up nicely.
another sunny day
  This morning was quite chilly. I haven't checked to see if the forecast is actually correct, but I could well believe it was just 9° C at 7am this morning. Once again we can expect bright sunshine from dawn to dusk, but the temperature will struggle to exceed 18° C (although the latest revision does say it will hit 19° C for a while at around 4pm). Paradoxically tomorrow may see a little less sunshine, but may be a couple of degrees warmer.

  I should have been full of "get up and go" yesterday, but I found it very hard to motivate myself. For some reason I felt tired - not in a physical sense, but as in sleepy, and I did have several snoozes. I thought I had been sleeping OK recently, and that I shouldn't need any more sleep, but apparently not. I expect it was all in the mind. A sort of bored depression or something. Some days are definitely less exciting than others, and all too often it is hard work turning a dull day into an exciting day.

  I did manage to motivate myself to do a little bit of laundry. It was literally just two t-shirts and a pair of underpants, and I could have waited another day to add another t-shirt and another pair of underpants to the wash, but it was something to do, and also part of a long term (24 hours) plan. Today, while the sun is shining, and it is dry, I plan to wash my bedsheet and pillow cases. (I may do the duvet cover tomorrow).

  During the early afternoon I noted that my friend Michael had posted a picture of his bandaged elbow on a social media website. He had hurt it while gardening. One of the things I was trying to motivate myself to do was to do some more garden clearance yesterday afternoon. That picture put me off because my own right elbow was feeling a bit stiff and sore yesterday, but more importantly it seemed like a good excuse to take a few cans of beer around to Michael to drink in his garden, and find out what was going on.

  What was supposed to be a quick half hour visit turned into a very enjoyable hour and a bit, and many diverse things were discussed - health, women and gardening ! The only small problem is that at this time of the year the sun soon low enough in the sky to be blocked by nearby houses - including Michaels house. After half an hour or so of sitting in the warm sunshine we had to take our chairs into his front garden to catch more of the sun.
tomato plant
  One interesting thing was this tomato plant growing in a pot in Michael's garden.  Like mine it is still flowering, but unlike mine it has ripe tomatoes on it. Apparently Michael has harvested "loads" of ripe tomatoes on it. It am sure it gets much more sunshine than my tomato plants. My tomatoes are still green, but maybe there is still hope that they will eventually ripen in the last sunny days of the year.

  I got home in time to sort out what I was going to have for dinner with a spare 20 minutes to relax before turning on the TV for the 6pm news broadcast. I'm not sure why I ever bother to watch it because it brings little joy, and I sometimes just watch it without soaking up any information at all. Last night I did note that Boris Johnson is getting ever closer to being convicted of an illegal act as our first dictator in many centuries. Maybe there is hope he will be jailed, and the farce that is Brexit brought to an end.

  One little project I started the day before yesterday was to note what episode of Star Trek (the original series) The Horror Channel was showing. It has always felt that they keep repeating episodes after what seems like very little time. I have finally worked out why that seems so. There were 79 episodes of the original Star Trek made, and they have being showing 5 episodes a week. That means that they go through the entire series every 15.8 weeks, or about every 5 months. I have to confess it is only just this morning that I have done the maths, and having done it, I think it feels like I have seen episodes repeating more frequently than that. Maybe some episodes are still banned, and maybe some episodes are not available to The Horror Channel for some unknown reason.

  The last thing I watched on TV last night was QI, and that finished at about 8.45pm if I remember correctly. I am very sure that I had brushed my teeth, and was in bed slightly before 9pm. I am happy to report that I didn't go to bed with toothache last night. A couple of days ago I bought a brand new Wisdom branded tooth brush for sensitive teeth, and the first few times I used it I formed the opinion that what that meant was that it would make your teeth sensitive ! The good news is that it seems to have settled down now, and brushing is no longer a source of pain.

  I read in bed for less than an hour, and possibly less than half an hour, before turning out the light, and as far as I can recall, falling asleep very quickly. Once again it seemed like I slept very well last night. It remains to be seen if I feel the same way this afternoon if I am not doing anything to distract myself. What I do know it that the extra 10 minutes in bed, I treated myself to, turned out to be almost an hour more sleep. Once again I was not awake in time to call the surgery to try and get an appointment to see a doctor to get my repeat prescription modified as per the hospital's recommendations.

  I think there are three things I want to try and do today. The first, as I have already said, will be to change the linen on my bed, and to wash the bottom sheet and pillows. The next thing, once I have cooled down, will be a shopping trip to Aldi to top up my beer supplies, and get some food in too. The final thing, unless I am distracted in some way, is to finally get around to a bit more garden clearance.
Tuesday 17th September 2019
08:26 BST
  Yesterday was dull and grey, and there were several times in the afternoon when there was some light rain. From before midday until almost evening the temperature was a fairly constant 19° C.
                    to sunshine
  Most of today will actually be a little cooler than yesterday, although for just two hours, 5 and 6pm, it will match yesterday's 19° C. The reason for the cooler start is clear skies letting all the warmth out last night, and after that the sun only has enough strength to warm things up to just 19° C. At the moment we are having a very long sunny periods - so long it might last a whole hour ! By 11m the forecast predicts it will be 100% sunny until 5pm when we will get sunny intervals until sunset - maybe. Today sees the start of another run of sunny days that, if the forecast holds good, will peak on Saturday with the temperature reaching 24° C. After that there may be several cooler, dull and raining days.

  The dull weather didn't really inspire me to do much, or indeed anything at all, but I forced myself to do a small load of hand laundry in the morning. Actually, now I think of it, it wasn't so small. It included a small to medium sized bath towel, and that needed a lot of manhandling. It's a shame it couldn't be dried in the sunshine, but there was no sunshine, and the line outside won't see any sunshine again until next June or July ! With the aid of a 12" fan blowing on it, it is dry and ready to use this morning.

 The other thing I did yesterday morning was to go to Poundland to stock up on a few odds and ends - including a big bag of wasabi flavoured crisps. I have to confess that such a "luxury" didn't last the day until I ate them all ! The core reason to go to Poundland was to buy a couple of tubes of sealant, plus a spare tool to squeeze the sealant out. Earlier on, before going out, I opened a tube of builders adhesive, and used that as sealant to fill some of the holes under the front step. There is a grill there that I had partly sealed years ago because it was obvious that wildlife was getting through it.

  That must have been 10 or 12 years ago, and the biggest hole was big enough for a rat to get through, and I am pretty sure that one or more rats did get in, and roam underneath the floorboards. I sealed that hole with expanding foam, and it is still sealed now, but the original grill under the step features holes that mice can easily get through - they are at least half an inch wider. Half of them are covered with some aluminium mesh that I had laying around many years ago. By my reckoning that mesh still provides ample air flow to keep the underside of the house dry, and so I have plugged the remaining holes in the grill. At least I thought I had, but last night, in quite bad light, I think I spotted a clear hole when I came back from handing over a parcel I had taken in for next door. I'll check that in daylight today.

  On my way back from Poundland I saw a poster in a shop window that I had been seeing for months now, and this time I decided I had to stop and take a picture of it ! I don't think that the shopkeepers first language is English !
less than perfect
  Apart from a misguided choice of shoes, I went almost full steam ahead when walking to Poundland, and only slightly less coming home again. However, once I got home I suddenly felt like all my energy had drained away. Maybe those shoes had something to do with it, but I don't know how. The shoes in question were cheap slip on plimsoles. The original, Chinese made versions were superbly comfortable. Then they changed manufacturing to Pakistan, and ruined them. The sole was far too narrow, and made of a hard plastic that didn't flex at all. They were not sold for long because they were crap. Then the moved manufacturing to (if I recall correctly) Korea, and things improved a lot, but the shoe is still a bit narrow. They are now really odd because they are comfortable to wear, but uncomfortable to walk in, and I am not sure why. They don't seem to rub or pinch, and they don't cause any injuries, but are still just not comfortable to walk in.

  In the afternoon I started to feel what I can only blandly describe as "bad". Perhaps the only obvious thing was chest pain. It wasn't your common or garden heart attack chest pain. This was really high up my chest - almost as high as my neck. I am pretty sure it was another facet of what is probably, but never officially diagnosed as Costochondritis. Some Ibuprofen calmed it down a bit, but I still felt sort of uncomfortable. For some unknown reason laying down tended to transfer some of the discomfort to my lower back.

  None of this discomfort was particularly debilitating, but it did act as the sort of cream on top to my general low feeling caused by the leaden grey skies. It is unfortunate that laying down didn't provide much relief (although it was usually a bit more comfortable than sitting at my PC) because laying on my bed reading was probably one of my objectives for the day. I still haven't finished the previous New Scientist, and this Friday another edition will come out !

  The one thing that did relieve most of the discomfort was booze - and not a lot of it. It was just after dinner (I think) when I poured the last of my bottle of Tesco Special reserve whisky into a small tumbler, and drank it. It did make me feel a lot better, and while I watched a bit of TV I also drank two small cans of Aldi "craft lager". It is very enjoyable stuff, but even with the help of the whisky, far too little to get drunk on. On this occasion I didn't need to, nor want to get drunk. The lager was purely for enjoyment.

  While I consider that I was still very sober, I may have had enough booze, maybe even the ideal dose, to get to sleep quickly, and fairly deeply. I think I only woke up twice in the night, and each block of sleep was over 2 hours long. I may have even got the ideal 8 hours of sleep last night. I know I had some seemingly lengthy dreams last night, and that is usually a sign of light sleep - at least I think it is.

  Apart from a vague, detail-less, memory of dreaming, there is one dream where I can almost remember a few hazy details, but I do remember one very significant thing. I had travelled by train quite a long way to the west of London to visit some place that featured railway restoration. It may well have been a preserved railway, but my vague memories were of being in workshops. The one thing I do remember with great clarity is the price on my rail ticket when I got it out to use it to go home again. I can't remember what stations were printed on the ticket, but the price was just £5.25, and I thought that to be very cheap for the long distance I had covered - I have a vague memory of not looking forward to several hours of travel to go home again.

  This morning I sort of feel fairly OK, and could probably do something, or go somewhere, but I haven't decided that yet. What I do know is that once again I managed to miss the 8am deadline to try and call the surgery to get an appointment to see a doctor. I could, and might try to call at 1pm if I am still in, and on a sunny day maybe I won't be. I may go out, perhaps with my camera, or I may stay in and do some garden clearance. I did have vague idea I might have done some garden clearance yesterday, but the dull cloudy sky just soaked up any enthusiasm. Today the sunshine may enthuse me.
Monday 16th September 2019
08:58 BST
  The forecast predicted that yesterday would start sunny, and that from about 2pm the sunshine would give way to just sunny intervals. I'm not sure it actually happened like that. The morning was definitely gloriously sunny, but it didn't really seem like the sunshine in the afternoon was ever interrupted for long. Maybe it is because I tend to think of "sunny intervals" as being like odd glimpses of sunshine in a mostly overcast day. Yesterday it was more like an occasional passing cloud would interrupt the sunshine for a minute or two. I definitely remember thinking that there was still a lot of blue sky in the afternoon. All that sunshine, plus some warm air blowing in from the east, raised the temperature to 25° C.
                    but still almost warm
  The warm air blowing in from the east, probably originating from the Caribbean, continued to keep the night warm, and today warm. The highest temperature today will be from as early as 11am, and last through to 4pm. It is forecast to be 19° C. That is not that warm, but probably good for a day when not a single glimpse of the sun is forecast. There is also a small, but not ignorable, chance of a shower at any time today. Tomorrow, and the next few days, will probably be no warmer, but should feature a lot of sunshine.

  Yesterday, being a Sunday, was a bit of a dead day, but apart from the middle of the afternoon when time passed at less than half the usual rate, it was not a boring day. The first thing I did was to finish the laundry I had left soaking overnight, and half of the day before. It was disgustingly cold and nasty before I turned the hot water on, and left it overflowing for 5 minutes. That warmed it enough to feel just about OK to handle.

   Once it was washed, triple rinsed, and fabric conditioned, I hung it on the line outside. The still temporary line outside the back door never sees the sun now the peak of summer has passed, and my laundry was very slow to dry despite it being quite a warm day. A bit more of the warm breeze would have helped, but it was dry enough to bring in at about 6pm. This morning, after leaving it on top of stuff, rather than packed away, it should be bone dry, and ready to wear (except for the two small towels - that are too small, by a factor of 100, to wear !).

  My other main job was to finish selecting the best of the pictures I had taken on Saturday night for editing - often no more than cropping and resizing, but some benefited from more intensive work. The final score, if it can be called that, was that some of the later pictures I took using manual focus, were about 50% good (or good enough), and 50% were utterly useless ! For one reason or another I found I didn't have the concentration to do all the pictures at one sitting, and didn't finish the job until late afternoon.

  Probably the biggest lure away from the photos was reading matter. It wasn't long after I had finally had a shower that I went to the corner shop. I don't really know why I went there because there was nothing I really needed, but I came away with two bottles of pop, two magazines, and two very naughty (probably high calorie and high sugar, but I didn't dare look) muffins. The latter were nice, but maybe it was the guilt that made them only just nice instead of superbly delicious. Maybe it was because they were vegan, and sunflower oil was used in the recipe.

  When I got home I plonked the magazines down on the floor buy my bed, and thought about what I had just bought. One of the magazines was the latest edition of New Scientist, and I hadn't finished reading the previous edition. So I had two and half magazines to read plus half a paperback SciFi novel to read. It strongly influenced what I did yesterday, and it will today as well. Today it doesn't matter because it is a dull and gloomy day, and any distraction from the outside world is welcome.

  I did a bit of cookery in the afternoon. I had one quarter of so called peri-peri chicken left from my Friday night takeaway, and I converted that to a stew with some potatoes and gravy. I sealed that into a container after it was cooked, and I'll be eating it today. Yesterday's dinner was beef stew that I had made a few days earlier, and left sealed and chilled until I gave it a thorough zapping in the microwave. It tasted much nicer after being marinaded in gravy for 24 (or 48) hours. I had it with some green beans, and sadly they didn't seem to go well with it.

  During the evening I started drinking some vodka as I mainly watched TV. There was a nice programme about Johanna Lumley exploring Japan that was the last amusement of the evening. It seemed I had drunk rather more vodka than I really intended. I felt perfectly OK until I stood up to go for a wee. I definitely felt a bit wobbly ! After having a wee I brushed my teeth, and I was ready for bed. I think that was about 10pm.

  I slept well for the first 3 or 4 hours, but did have a little trouble as my hangover kicked in during the small hours. I found it hard to relax and get back to sleep for a while, but once over that I slept well again. I slept until it was just getting light when I got up. I took morning medication, and did the other early morning rituals. What I probably should have done next was to wait an extra 10 minutes until the phone lines opened at my doctors surgery to try and get an appointment to see a doctor.

  I thought about that for 15 seconds before deciding to go back to bed. I lay in bed thinking that I wasn't going to fall asleep again, and then suddenly over an hour had passed without realising that any time had passed. This morning I am doing my best to ignore the grey outside, and so not get depressed about it. I feel moderately OK now I have been awake for some time, but initially my upper chest felt quite sore. I seem to recall that my right shoulder and right elbow were rather sore when I first woke up, but those pains faded to almost nothing in a minute or two.

  I guess I feel good enough to possibly indulge in half an hour, or more, of garden clearance sometime today. I have a feeling I'll be going out shopping at some time today. For all those high ideals (?) I suspect I may well spend a lot of today laying on my bed reading, and occasionally dozing off !

Sunday 15th September 2019

08:37 BST
  Yesterday was probably the peak of the little run of good weather that we have had recently. It was bright and sunny all day long, and with an afternoon temperature of 22° C it was pleasantly warm.
warmer, but less sunshine ?
  If the bright sunshine, that has been shining since sunrise, could last until sunset then today would be better than yesterday, but sadly the sunshine will give way to just sunny intervals mid afternoon, and before the evening starts the sky will have clouded over ready for an awful day tomorrow. It is feint compensation that the temperature may peak at 25° C today - although only briefly. Tomorrow will be almost warm at 19° C, but it will probably feel cooler because we will be wrapped in thick grey clouds, and although no actual time is predicted, there will be a small chance of rain at any time tomorrow. Fortunately next Tuesday looks like it might be a nice day.

  Only two things of note happened yesterday...or when I think about it, it is actually three things - even if the last thing on the list is a complete anticlimax. Let's get the third thing out of the way first. I started, but didn't finish some laundry. It is still sitting in it's big bucket of now very cold soapy water this morning, and it is going to be unpleasant to get started again until I've changed the cold water to hot, and it's all warmed up !

  The first thing of real note was going to Aldi to get some shopping. I ended up with quite a heavy shopping basket because I think I bought rather too much. I couldn't decide what I wanted to eat, and so I bought a variety. It's a shame it has a limited shelf life because I am going to end up eating more than I should - at least more less healthy options than I should. I ended up having a couple of pack of sandwiches for lunch yesterday, and that was sort of OK. I had another two packs for breakfast this morning, and maybe that wasn't such a good idea.

  As predicted, I didn't really have much to do in between going out shopping, and going out to a gig in the evening. There was one thing I did that I should have added to my list of things I did yesterday, but for some reason I didn't think of it just now. It was to get the hoover out again, and do a more thorough job of hoovering under my PC desk to remove any dropped crumbs that might tempt the mouse (that I have only ever actually seen once) that appears to be living in my house (although leaving hardly any evidence of it).

  This time I pulled everything out from under the desk and found a broken cracker under a heavy box. I am fairly sure the mouse couldn't get at it, but it might still have been a temptation. What I didn't do is to see if there was anything I could throw away in that big box. It is mostly filled with boxes that had, or have computer and mobile phone bits in them. At least one box I believe to be empty, and it just serves as a reminder of what graphics card I have in my PC - at least I think it does, but I have a nagging feeling that I might have changed it since.

  Eventually it was time to go out. I thought I would allow a full hour to get to the gig. That hour includes walking to the bus stop, waiting for a bus, and finally a long boring ride on a 160 bus. My estimate was not that far wrong ! I think I arrived at The GPO in Eltham at 8.20. That was 10 minutes early, but nearly 20 minutes before the full band were there ! They set up, and did a sound check in record time. I think they actually started just before 9pm.
MT Pockets
  I think this picture as actually taken during their one song sound check. When I first arrived at the pub the lights were dim and sort of romantic. As soon as the band started to set up the lights were dimmed further. Maybe I am just making it up to show my displeasure, but I think the lights were almost turned off once the band started to play. That might have been OK if the band had any lighting, but they don't. I had to learn some new photography skills to cope with the lack of light. It was so dim that my camera rarely managed to auto-focus.
Matt Murphy - bass
  It was often the case of waiting for some extra source of light, perhaps a stray reflection from someone dressed in white, before the camera would focus. It was about halfway through the first set that I found an alternative way of doing things. I am not very good at focussing by eye at the best of times, but the image in the viewfinder was so dim that I couldn't even begin to guess when it might be in focus. What I started to do was to wait until the camera managed to auto-focus, and then turn off auto-focus. A bit of experimentation showed that if I then turned the focus ring about 2° clockwise the focus would be perfect, and I could snap away provided I, or anyone in the band didn't move too far !
MT Pockets using
                        manual focus
  I think this picture of the whole band was taken on manual focus. To help matter along I was using a higher ISO value, and my flash gun turned up a bit so I could use a smaller aperture to make the depth of field deeper. I haven't checked more than 10% of the picture I took, but I think most, once I had locked the focus, came out nice and sharp. The only problem is that it did spoil the spontaneousness of it. If Dan walked over to Matt, as he did once or twice, he would go out of focus.

  At the end of the first set I felt like I had already drunk too much Guinness, and I had more then enough photos in my camera to make a reasonable photo album. I had a word with Dan, and recommended he tries to get a gig at The Fellowship And Star in Bellingham - where I hope they will have the full theatre lights on, and being controlled by a competent operator. Ten I said my goodbyes, and headed for the bus stop.

  I was very lucky when I got to the bus stop. The Countdown display said the next 160 bus was just a minute away. It was probably actually two minutes, but I am not going to quibble over a single minute. What I will moan about every time I use that bus is the silly route it now uses. Once upon a time it went straight down Eltham Hill, and then straight along the South Circular road back to Catford. When the traffic is light, as it was on Saturday night, I would have been back in Catford in about 15 minutes. The new route goes around loads of narrow roads, with speed humps, in an estate near Eltham, and then in Catford it diverts to a few back or minor roads, also with speed humps every few hundred yards. It almost triples the journey time, and all the speed humps make you almost feel seasick !

  It was a joy to get off the bus by Catford Bridge station, and do a brisk walk to home. Once indoors I had part 2 of the previous night's takeaway to savour. It was called peri-peri chicken, but to me it was just grilled chicken. Maybe I was spoiled the first time I ever tried peri-peri chicken. It was from a shop that didn't last long because they insisted on cooking each order from scratch. It meant it was no longer fast food. It used to take about 20 minutes from order it, until it was ready. Under such circumstances I think most people gave up on it. That was a shame because it was really nice, and also very hot and spicy - something that most peri-peri chicken is not, and that which I ate last night didn't seem to have a hint of spice. It was still very nice though.

  Soon after eating I went to bed. I can't be certain, but I think I may have been in bed, and asleep before midnight. If it wasn't before, then it must have been very soon after. As I have done for the last couple of nights, I put in ear plugs to avoid being disturbed if the mouse made any scratching noises. If it did, then I didn't hear any, and I slept quite well for it last night. However, I could still hear some noises, and some were quite interesting.

  The ear plugs cut out most sound, but bass notes still make it through, or maybe around the plugs. I can also hear internal noises such as the squelch of saliva in my mouth. What was most interesting though was the bass frequencies. I'm sure I could hear next door dragging a dead body across the floor, but I expect there was a far less sinister reason for the dull thumps that I could hear on the edge of perception.

  The most fascinating thing was music, and one song in particular. That song was "Sweet Dreams" by Yes - one of their very early tracks. It was like in some music documentaries where they going into the recording studio, and play back the original multi-track recording, and concentrate on just one of the recording tracks to illustrate some particular guitar effect (or something). With my ear plugs in I could mostly just hear the bass line of the song that was playing quietly from my PC. I had obviously heard it before, but this time I HEARD it (in uppercase !). I never appreciated it was so complex before, and sounded rather wonderful.

  Having drunk about 4 pints of Guinness it would be obvious that I would be waking up several times in the night for a pee, but other than that, I slept just about normally. My bed seemed more comfortable (although nothing had changed), and on the occasions I got up to pee I was probably back to sleep again within a few minutes. I can barely even remember having any dreams. I don't mysteriously lack any of the usual pains this morning, but maybe they do seem to feel weaker this morning. More importantly is that I think I feel more refreshed, although I can't put my finger on any one thing, or even several things, to say why I should feel more refreshed. I wonder how long the feeling will last.

  Today is Sunday, and by tradition it is wrist slashingly boring and awful. There is a very small chance that this Sunday could be less awful than most.  I might meet Sue for an early afternoon drink somewhere - if she is up to it. Before then I have the little matter of the cold bucket of unfinished laundry to attend to. It is going to feel awful until I have rinsed it with hot water once or twice. Later on, if it turns out that I am not seeing Sue, I think I might go into the garden, and hack my way through some of the huge spiders webs, and see if I can clear another square yard of weeds and stuff/
Saturday 14th September 2019
08:32 BST
  It was certainly very sunny yesterday. It is a shame it wasn't warmer than 21° C, but even that was good compared with some recent days. Even the evening didn't feel too cool. Of course, with all the sunshine it was a totally dry day.
another warm and sunny day
  Today should be a very slightly warmer version of yesterday. I'm not sure where the headline figure of 23° C comes from because I can only see 22° C on the chart, and that includes the "feels like" temperatures. Well it is 1° warmer than yesterday, and yesterday was nice enough. Tomorrow should be another 2° warmer - 24° C in the afternoon (and once again the headline figure of 25° can't be found anywhere in the details of the chart. The only thing about tomorrow is that the sunshine will give way to just sunny intervals before the maximum temperature is reached between 2 and 3pm. Lets hope that the forecast for Monday changes before Monday itself. It is shown as a uniformly grey day with a small chance of rain at any time, but it might still be warm at 20° C.

  My suspicions were correct yesterday. I had been tracking the progress of a couple of parcels/packets from Amazon, and although I didn't seem to get any notification that they would be delivered yesterday, the tracking information strongly suggested they would be. Sure enough, by about 11am the tracking information said they were out for delivery. That is when I usually get a message to say they would be delivered "today" (as in yesterday). In turn, that meant any schedule I might have had for yesterday had to be put on hold until the packets arrived.

  I had no clue as to when they would arrive, but experience suggested it would usually be mid afternoon - often in that critical period around when I would be wanting to go out if it was a Thursday. In fact it was earlier than that - about 2pm if I recall correctly. Until that time I made sure I kept a close ear out for a knock on the front door/ring on my doorbell. That limited me to doing stuff like reading or washing up or laundry. I did use the time to wash a couple of small hand towels and a few other bits and pieces. I even managed to almost fully dry it on the line outside - despite the sun now being too low in the sky to ever touch that line.

  When the packets did arrive I was very slightly disappointed in one of the items I bought. It was a set of lens filters sold under the brand name of Polaroid - a name that is just licensed from the holders of the Polaroid company which went buts years ago. There were three filters, and I obviously didn't read the description of them very carefully. One is a 4 point star filter. That one will be useful on bright sunny days at the seaside. It can make the waves extra sparkly. Another filter is described as "warming". It looks like plain, untinted glass, and as such it might be useful as a protective screen for a lens, but it doesn't look like it would do anything else, but I will have to experiment before condemning it. The last filter is descibed as "soft focus". It might be useful for portrait work, but These filters are for the smaller lens used on my Nikon camera, and I want to use that mainly for landscape photos.

  The nylon pouch lens filter holders I bought were immediately useful to hold the lens filters I bought - including the other set of three I bought. They were a 4, 6, and 8 point star filters. That means I have two 4 point star filters, but that is useful because I have two lenses that I mostly use with the Nikon - a telephoto lens, and a wider angle lens. I can put on on each lens before doing any photography of large expanses of water - lakes, rivers or the sea - when the sun is glinting off the top of the waves. They could be useful for any night time photography too. They basically make sharp points of lights glitter.
nice blue sky
  I took this photo yesterday afternoon, soon after the lens filters arrived. It was taken through a star filter, but with no sharp points of light there are no stars ! What I would have liked was a graduated blue sky filter to make that blue sky look even richer. I have to confess that I used a graduated filter in post production to make the sky a little more strongly blue. I was blue before, but looked a little pale, and I thought it would look more magnificent if the blue was stronger.

  One thing about yesterday was that it went by a lot quicker than expected when I consider how little I did to help pass the time. Once my packets arrived I was going to have a shower, and go out shopping, but for whatever reason I didn't get around to it. I freely admit that by the evening I must have been really stinking. I did have enough food in the fridge to eat OK, but I didn't really fancy anything I had to hand, and with no shopping trip, I had to resort to a takeaway. Well I didn't have to, but I did anyway.

  I ordered some fish and chips from a place I had never tried before, and the cod was delicious. The chips were also proper chip shop chips as well. I also ordered some peri-peri chicken that I shall devour today. Another I ordered was a saveloy. I am not sure why, but I just thought I fancied one. I didn't eat it last night, but I had it for breakfast this morning. What I didn't realise was that it was wrapped in foil, but I didn't see that because it was further wrapped in paper. I am surprised there were no fireworks when I tried to microwave it earlier this morning. I ended up eating it cold, but it was still enjoyable.

  One of the things about last night was that it was a full moon. It was also Friday 13th, and I know some people who were very excited about it, and so I thought I would take a picture of the full moon for them. I used my Canon 600D camera with 300mm lens to take a snap. I was a bit disappointed with the result. I think you get a better picture just before, or after the full moon when the edge of the lit portion half illuminates the mountains down the dark edge. it makes it look "rustic" (or something). The absolute full moon looks slightly bland by comparison - or maybe this picture is not as good as some others I have taken in the past.
Full moon at approx
                        9.30pm last night
  I first tried to take this picture a little earlier than 9.30pm. I could see the moon from my bedroom window, but it was still too low down, and hidden by the houses at road level. When I first opened my front door at about 9pm I saw some movement on the path, and it was a mouse skittering across it. When it realised it was being watched it turned around and rushed back into the undergrowth. I felt very concerned that somehow it would get up the step, and rush into the house !

  The reason for my fear was all to do with the mouse I saw in my bathroom a fortnight ago now. I have not seen that mouse since, but I thought I had seen evidence of it in the kitchen. Fortunately the little black mouse poops were more likely tiny seeds from some crackers had some time ago. They were among some bottles on the counter top of the kitchen. Maybe they were fossilised mouse droppings. All I know is that they seemed very hard - rather like seeds !

  If what I saw in the kitchen was just a false lead then I also hoped that what I thought I had heard in my bedroom over a couple of nights was just my imagination. I thought I had heard something some days ago, and part of my unscheduled hoovering a few days ago was to make sure there were no dropped crumbs under my computer desk. I thought I heard scratching noises a few nights since then, but I saw no evidence of anything until the day before yesterday.

  I noticed a waxed paper fairy cake holder (or whatever you call them) that seemed to have been dragged between two boxes underneath my desk. I wasn't sure it hadn't always been like that, but it didn't feel right. One thing about it is that the only time such a cake holder/wrapper would have been under my desk was when I used it for some mouse poison as much as 10 years ago. Yesterday that wrapper (a crinkled disk of waxed paper about 3 inches across when fully flattened) had changed position. It had moved about a foot, and looked as if a mouse had tried to drag it under a little tunnel like ruck in the rug under my desk. I stamped on the ruck to flatten it, and to flatten the mouse if it was in there.

  Yesterday I put down a few mousetraps in strategic positions, and then slept with ear plugs in ! This morning they were all still there, all still set to despatch an unlucky mouse. I have no idea where the mouse sleeps through the day, but I rather hope it will die there for lack of food if it stays in my bedroom. With luck it will dry out, and become mummified rather than start to smell and attract flies. I just hope that the lack of more evidence suggests it is just one individual mouse that has somehow got in. It is even possible it has found some mouse poison left over from last time. If I recall correctly, none was touched up here last time, and I probably just left it down right at the back of my desk with other stuff in front of it.

  The ear plugs, the same as I use at very loud gigs, seemed to work last night, and I wasn't woken by any suspicious noises. I still didn't sleep that well though. I am going through a phase of my bed being too warm and/or too lumpy, and the pillow often seems to be too lumpy and of the wrong height. I very much doubt anything has changed since it all seemed very comfy a week or two ago. It must be just me...although having said that, it is also the case that it has warmed up again since changing the duvet to a thicker and heavier duvet.

  It was still dark when I first got up at about 5.30am. As well as my usual medication, I also took a couple of painkillers because my neck and shoulder, and some other bits, felt very stiff and painful. Once the painkillers seemed to be starting to work I went back to bed again, and was soon asleep again. I think it was a light sleep, but I probably slept for about 90 minutes. It was sunny when I woke up again feeling pretty awful !

  The new set of stiff bits and pieces has mostly faded away now, and apart from some lingering stiffness across the very top of my chest (at collarbone height) I mostly sort of feel OK. At least I think I do. I have some definite plans for today, but there is a big empty period of time between them. This morning one of my highest priorities is to get under the shower. Once I am clean, and no longer stinking, and also have cooled off a bit, I will be going shopping in Aldi. Saturday morning is not the them most pleasant time for it, but there is no real alternative.

  Tonight it is my intention to go and see M.T. Pockets in The GPO, Eltham. I hope that this time I go there, and come back on a 160 bus. The last time I went there the first bus on the Countdown display was a 124, and I got on that rather than wait another 10 minutes for a 160. It was a false economy. The 124 takes a much slower route back to Catford, and it broke down last time, and I had an extra 20 minute wait for the next one (we were in the middle of nowhere, and no other transport was available).

  At this point in time I have no idea how I will fill in the time from finishing shopping, and getting the bus to Eltham. I guess I'll find something to do - maybe inventing a better mousetrap !
Friday 13th September 2019
10:19 BST
  The weather forecast for yesterday was almost right. The afternoon temperature was indeed around 23° C, and it was less humid than I feared. The morning was sunny. Actually it was a bit more sunny than the sunny intervals that were forecast, although the clouds did eventually start getting in the way of the sun a little later in the morning. By, or soon after, midday the clouds mostly won out, but the sun still managed to come out a few times in the afternoon. I think it was about 5pm when the cloud really thickened up, and it seemed like it might rain, but it stayed dry, and the cloud thinned a bit in the last hour or so before sunset - at the early hour of 7pm last night.
sunshine !
  The highest temperature today may only be 21° C, but even the latest revision to the forecast says it is going to be sunny all day, and the skies should be the purest blue (I might have made that last bit up). It seemed to be sunny as soon as the sun rose this morning, although I might have slept through any times that the sun popped in. Looking at the sky now I can see some very high wispy clouds, and so my fantasy about a clear blue sky is just that - fantasy, but it's not that far from the truth. Today should be just a nice warm and dry day. Tomorrow should be the same, only better - a whole degree warmer !

  I made a mistake about what I was expecting by parcel delivery yesterday. It was a guitar tuner, and not a lens pouch that came yesterday. The lens pouch could arrive today or tomorrow. The guitar tuner arrived nice and early(ish) - I think it was something like 11am. That allowed me plenty of time to test it on my guitar (that I can't play). It worked pretty much as expected, but it has shown that there is something strange about one of the strings on my guitar. It is something I sort of noticed before with the general purpose tuner unit I was trying to use before. The third string seems most reluctant to come into tune, and then won't stay in tune. At this stage I am unsure if it is a problem with the machine head that tightens the string, or if in some weird way it is the string itself. If I remember correctly I was warned that I might need to put new strings on it. If I ever resume trying to learn how to play the guitar, I will buy a new set of strings. I can get them via Amazon, and won't have to buy them in a shop. That will be good because I really have no idea what  should be asking for. If the prices on Amazon are low enough I might be a few types and experiment.

  With the parcel delivery out of the way I was able to do something that I had been thinking about earlier. I left extra early for my late afternoon drink at The Shortlands Tavern. The extra time allowed me to do a bit of photography on the way there. I have been wanting to get a bit of practice in using my Nikon DSLR camera for outdoor photography. Yesterday I got some, and found that I didn't really need any practice. The only thing different to my Canon DSLR camera(s) is that the controls are all in different places, and the lens unscrews in the opposite direction.

  After taking a couple of snaps my "muscle memory" kicked in, and I didn't really have to think about changing settings as needed. I did get one surprise though, and it concerns folders, or directories on the SD memory card. Canon cameras let you make a new folder on the card at the click of a button. It just does them in a numerical sequence. The Nikon needs you to actually type a name in for each folder. Once you have started using that folder you can't see anything else in another folder - which I am sure you can on the Canon. In some respects the Nikon system is better even if more long winded to use.
Bellingham station
  I took a few practice shots at Catford station, but it was at Bellingham that I got some new views. I think I have only used Bellingham station twice in my life. The first time was probably in the 1960s when me and my mate Kevin started exploring the railways at the tender age of 10 or 11. The second time was when I went to a gig at The Star And Fellowship pub next door to the stations.
train arriving at
                        platform 2
  One of the strange things I find is that being on the train gives you no appreciation of how the track can curve. Until I took this picture I don't think I even knew that the approach to Bellingham (from the Catford direction) is so curved. The effect of the telephoto lens makes it look sharper than it actually is in real life, but the line is far from straight. I had imagined that you would be able to see a long way up the track to see a train coming, but evidently not.
Train passing the
  Bellingham station itself is nothing special, but it has a feature that is fairly rare these days - it retains a set of working sidings. They are to the south of the station, beyond the road bridge that crosses the line at the south end of the station. There were no trains stabled there yesterday afternoon, but you can see the faded red extended width lamp standards that mark the sidings in the picture above. Now the days are getting so short it is possible that no trains are stabled there in daylight hours - except maybe on a Sunday when the service needs less trains.

  When going to Shortlands all the trains were running, and running on time. That wasn't the case when I wanted to go home. I was enjoying myself at the pub, and there was one beer I fancied having another pint of  - which I did. As I was finishing my fourth pint I checked the train using the National Rail app on my phone. My next train was just 5 minutes away. If I had gulped the last mouthful down, and the rushed to the station I probably could still have caught that train.

  The trouble was that I was not sure I could rush to the station. Sometime I just feel too bloated to rush. With hindsight that wasn't the case last night. To make matters worse I saw that the next train was cancelled, and I would have to wait 30 minutes for the train after that. I probably could have "necked" a full pint in that time, but I went for the sensible idea of just a half pint. I didn't actually feel drunk when I left the pub, but then again, I didn't feel particularly sober either !

  It was getting dark when I left the pub, and by the time I had got on the train it was essentially night time (although still not fully dark). As I wrote yesterday, I had prepared a sort of beef stew for when I got home, and the idea of pre-cooking it was to give me no excuses for going into the fried chicken shop. However I still went into Sainsbury's to buy a couple of their ready made salads. While I was in there I also bought some sandwiches, and that seemed to end up as a rather dubious good idea.

  Maybe the beer helped, but I seemed to feel good enough to go almost full speed home. The first thing I did was to put the stew into the microwave to heat up. Unfortunately I didn't allow enough time for it to get hot enough. I started eating it, and it quickly cooled to the point when it seemed nasty and greasy. Rather than waste it I put it into a sealable plastic container, gave it a good long blasting in the microwave to kill off any new bugs, and sealed it up to eat today probably). I then hit all the sandwiches I had just bought.

  I had intended the stew to be quite hot and spicy, but it wasn't as hot as I hoped. I'm not sure why I needed to do it, maybe some sort of addiction probably, but I gave the sandwiches I ate a good sprinkle of hot sauce as I ate them. They were rather delicious, and because I had bought three lots of them, they were rather filling. At the end I was sweating profusely from all the chilli I had consumed. It felt like my face was on fire. I wasn't concerned about it except that I worried it would make me bed sheets all soggy !

  In fact the worst of the sweating had finished when I went to bed an hour later. I thought all the beer I had drunk, plus the food I had eaten - enough to feel satisfied, but not to feel full or bloated - should have put me in a good place for some great sleep, but once again I struggled to get to sleep. I did get to sleep before midnight, perhaps even by 11pm, but it seemed difficult to stay asleep. Everytime I tried to get back to sleep after waking up was a struggle. Eventually these struggles, although being more mental than physical, left me in a fair amount of pain.

  My chest had developed a few pains here and there, but it was my right shoulder, and to a lesser extent my right elbow, that were the most painful. At sometime, probably around 3am, I took some Paracetamol, and some Ibuprofen. That worked after a while, and I started to sleep much better than before. It worked well enough that I slept through sunrise, and got up quite late.

  Since getting up I have done a bit of photo processing. Most of the photos I took using my Nikon camera yesterday actually need very little processing. Mostly I just did a bit a cropping, and resizing, but some needed a little extra contrast to be a bit more punchy. The latter is where I had no choice but to shoot in a direction with the sun not in the best place. I also exchanged some long messages with Sue. he has been going through a bad time in the last 24 or more hours, and while apologising profusely, has turned down an invitation to meet this afternoon. She still would like to meet, but it is probably not going to be today.

  Not going out to meet today could actually be a good thing. I have a couple more parcels to come from Amazon (all from the same order, but being sent separately). The tracking information says they reached Dartford at around 3am this morning. There has been no notification that they will be delivered today, but typically once the parcels have reached Dartford in the small hours of the morning they go out for delivery later in the day. Maybe they will stick to their prediction of them being delivered tomorrow, but today would be more convenient.

  After my late start it seems that most of the morning is almost over, and I haven't got a clue what I will be doing today after I have washed a few bits of laundry, and then washed myself. Maybe if I am convinced my parcels won't be delivered today I could visit Sue at home, but I might just pop out with my camera again to take a few snaps somewhere, or I might go out into my garden armed with web busting tools, and do some more garden clearance.
Thursday 12th September 2019
08:57 BST
  Yesterday started gloomy, but got brighter as the day progressed. There didn't seem to be any rain at the forecast time of 7am, but there was rain at about 1pm in the middle of a short sunny spell ! It lasted for no more than a minute or two, and was so light I could almost count the individual drops as I walked back to the kitchen door from my garden path. There was a clue to the sunny spells that happened in the morning because there was one very unexpected, albeit very short, sunny spell in the morning. The later half of the day actually seemed mostly pleasant with an afternoon high of 21° C.
                    sunny start
  I would call this morning sunny. The sun has slightly dimmed a few times, but essentially it has been shining for possibly over an hour now. That is not a "sunny interval", that is sunshine. Of course now I have said that the sun has just been obscured by a cloud ! The latest revision of the forecast shows the sunny intervals ending at 11am instead of midday in the earlier screenshot above. Maybe we will lose the sunshine, but it is predicted to be a warm day with an afternoon temperature of 23° C. Unfortunately the warmth is coming from some warm, and very humid air blowing in from across the Atlantic ocean. That 23° C could be a very sticky 23° C. The next three days are looking good, but there has been a trade off - tomorrow may be sunnier than earlier forecasts predicted, but Sunday may be 1° cooler than originally expected. Of course these figures could easily change over the next hours and days.

  I did my best to convince myself that I was going to go out with a camera yesterday, but all my positive thinking was crushed by the dark grey skies. Later in the morning, as it started to brighten up, I wondered if I should still have a go at going out, but the best I could manage was the garden. In a way that was good because I could have cleared another square yard, or so, of weeds, and put them in the brown wheelie bin ready for collection this morning. My new plan didn't take into account of what I might find out in the garden !
great big spider with
                        a man sized web
  This spider had built a web that stretched from one side of the garden to the other - effectively cutting off the back of the garden. I could have destroyed the web with any of my garden tools, but when I first saw the web, seconds before I walked through it, the spider was having it's dinner - happily chewing through a large wasp. I decided to let it have it's dinner in peace this time !

  If I did nothing else I can say that I took my Nikon D3200 camera out for a bit of practice, and that had been the whole point of wanting to go out. While I was in the garden with my camera I took a few more snaps.
  These were the tomatoes on my biggest vine - the one I have tied to the fence to stop it drooping in the mud. It is not so apparent in this photo, but if I squint my eyes, and turn my imagination up to 11, I think I can see a slight change of colour to one of the tomatoes on this vine. Maybe there is hope of some ripe tomatoes before the first frost kills the vines.
cherry tomatoes
  The tomatoes in the top picture were of a bigger variety than the cherry tomatoes in the picture above. Unfortunately the vines for these cherry tomatoes grew in one dense clump, and I don't think I will get much of a crop off them. Next year I will know that I have to space them well out - a fact I keep reminding myself about at every opportune moment.

  With gardening called off I needed something else to do, and the answer was to do some washing up and some cooking. As grand as that sounds, there was not much washing up to do, and cooking was just putting some chilli flavoured German Bratwurst sausages in the oven/grill. There were 6 in the pack bought from Aldi, and I had three of them, with some tomato sauce for my lunch.

  After lunch, and before it, I was quite happy reading the book I am currently reading (Harry Harrison - The Stainless Steel Rat Sings The Blues), but maybe my inactivity was gnawing at my mind. I have no idea how it happened, but the next thing I knew was that I had a burning desire to get the hoover out....or some such nonsense like that. Before I did that I washed a single t-shirt, and some underwear. Maybe doing just that very small amount of laundry was not enough for me or perhaps I was just feeling very masochistic.

  The thing that probably inspired me was my recent tidy up of the bathroom after I installed the plastic chest of drawers for things like towels and stuff. Part of that tidy up involved moving quite a few bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. I had had to give the skirting board a good clean behind where those bottles were, and I knew that sooner or later I would have to get the hoover out.

 That time was yesterday, and I gave all the bathroom floor I could easily get to with the hoover and good hoovering. I then did much, but not all of my bedroom (I couldn't be bothered to move stuff around for better access). That was followed by the hall from my bedroom to the bathroom, and finally the stairs. Doing the stairs is a very rare move, and I will confess that it usually takes the impending visit from a ladyfriend to inspire me to hoover the stairs (and other places). I used to do it more frequently, and almost joyously when Angela was a regular visitor, and slightly less joyously prior to Patricia's yearly visits. Yesterday's hoover was purely gratuitous - if that is the word I am looking for.

  I know that the afternoon was a little warm, and that my blood glucose level would have been quite high after the icecream I ate the day before, but way I was sweating at the end, strongly suggests to me that hoovering is bloody hard work. It is little wonder that I do it so infrequently. It wasn't just sweating either. I did feel like I had been working hard, and looking forward to finish the job so I could have a rest. I guess the answer is to do it more frequently so it doesn't became a struggle to get all the dust and detritus all sucked up. My own hair is the worst thing. I kept finding it entwined with the threads of the carpet, and often had to pull it out before suckin it up.

  After all that hard work I quite looked forward to my dinner. It was the other three Bratwurst sausages with potatoes cooked with the last couple of spring onions, and last bell pepper in the fridge. It wasn't an exciting combination, but it was nice enough. I ate it during the latter half of the TV news. The news, mostly about Brexit and Boris Johnson probably committing illegal acts as prime minister, almost put me off my dinner, but I bravely ate on.

  I watched a couple more hours of TV after that, and then went to bed to read. I did get up once or twice to read a few more things from the internet, but by 9 or 10pm I felt like I was ready to sleep. I don't know what gave me that stupid idea because I thrashed around in bed getting hardly any sleep at all until gone 3am. It was the usual thing of being too wam under the duvet, and not warm enough without it.

  That was enhanced by some growing aches and pains. My right shoulder, and to a lesser extent my neck, started to get really sore. On top of that, my right elbow joint was often complaining too. It all depended how I was laying - and I tried loads of positions as I searched for one that was the least uncomfortable. It was about 3am when I took some paracetamol, and after perhaps half an hour it started to work, and eventually I managed to sleep for more then 10 minutes. I think I slept for a whole hour before waking again. I then slept for just over two hours, and that, plus a few minutes here and there, is all the sleep I got last night.

  At the moment I don't feel too bad. I could have tried for more sleep, but once again I am waiting for a tiny little parcel. It is pouch to hold three camera lens filters. It will probably fit in about the smallest jiffy bag, but even those don't always fit through my letter box, and it may have to be signed for. It is being delivered by Royal Mail, and will probably come in the normal post, but I did have another small parcel delivered by van at about 8.30am once. I won't be able to relax until that parcel is in my sweaty little hand.

  The Roayl Mail tracking web page says my parcel should be delivered between 7.30am and 2.30pm. Hopefully it will be earlier than that, but 2.30pm would be OK. I need to be free by just before 4pm to go for my late Thursday afternoon drink. I am not entirely sure what I will do until then - apart from keeping an ear out for the doorbell. I expect reading will feature in some of that time, and I think I will do some cookery so I have something to look forward to after my beer instead of giving in to the temptations of the fried chicken shop. I have some diced beef in the fridge. I think I may be cooking a beef stew - perhaps with lots of paprika in it, Hungarian style.
Wednesday 11th September 2019
08:09 BST
  Yesterday turned out better than the forecast predicted. The forecast probably got the temperature about right. It was 19° C in the afternoon. What the forecast got wrong was the amount of sunshine there was. Admittedly there was not a lot of sunshine, but even when not sunny it seemed brighter than the rather dull day the forecast seemed to imply.
a grim
                    day - maybe
  The forecast for today makes it look as if it could be a very grim day ! It says there should have been a shower at 7am, but I see no evidence that happened, and so maybe the rest of the forecast might be wrong. In one respect it is. At the moment the forecast is for light cloud, but reality looks a lot like thick cloud to me. Whether thick or thin, it seems that today is going to be completely overcast, and there is not a cat's chance in hell of any sunshine today. However, it could be almost warm with an afternoon temperature of 21° C. Tomorrow may see a few sunny intervals in the early morning, but the rest of the day is predicted to be quite grey. I find it a bit annoying that the afternoon is probably going to be very grey despite it being warm and humid. The afternoon temperature is thought to be 22° C tomorrow. Once tomorrow is out of the way we can look forward to a brief respite from autumn.

   The thing that was going to define yesterday was my appointment at The Ambulatory Care clinic in Lewisham Hospital. This was the follow up to my previous visit which was a follow up to my short stay in hospital after my minor heart attack. The reason for it was a problem with my renal (kidney) function. It will never be proved, but it was most probably a further reaction to the dye that was pumped into my bloodstream during my angiogram. The most obvious negative effect of it was a really itchy back the first night, and sporadic itchy patches on other parts of my body for at least a week. It's hard to tell exactly when I stopped itching completely because the effect became intermittent, and just got weaker and weaker until I suddenly realised I hadn't had any itchiness for a while.

  The good news, is that after a wait of over 2 hours the results of the blood tests showed everything was back to normal, and I was discharged. Before leaving I got the doctor who was dealing with me to write out a prescription for one of the drugs the hospital had started me on, and given me a limited supply, and also another drug that was on my last prescription from my GP, but for some reason was never dispensed by the pharmacy. I now have 14 days supplies of both, as well as about 21 days supply of the rest of my GP prescribed drugs.

  I walked back from the hospital feeling good, and even the sun had popped out (like it has now, just 10 minutes after writing there was zero chance of seeing any sun today). Rather than going straight home I went via the surgery to see if I could get an appointment with a doctor to sort out my next prescription. I should have known better. The receptionist said she couldn't make an appointment, and that I would have to ring at 1pm - which was in 13 minutes time !

  It's only a 5 or 6 minute walk home from the surgery, although with the first swirls of depression about me, it could have taken 6 and a half minutes. I had plenty of time to pop into the corner shop, and to go to the toilet when I got home. At precisely 1pm I started dialling. 9 out of 10 attempts ended with nothing but silence. It was 15 or more minutes later before I finally got through after hitting redial heaven knows how many times. Of course the three lucky winners had already had their appointments booked, and I was told there were no more available, but I was welcome to try after 2pm to see if any of the doctors had a free slot.

  I couldn't be bothered to try again at 2pm, and just felt really pissed off with the surgery's cranky appointments system. After I have had an appointment I usually get a questionnaire, sent by txt message, asking if I would recommend the group practice to family or friends. If I ever get an appointment, and then get sent the questionnaire, I will send NO in capital letters ! Of course it won't do any good, but it will make me feel better.

  The whole course of my day was changed at this time. Civil (or medical) disobedience seemed like the answer, or revenge, or something... First of all I scoffed the two bags of crisps I had bought in the corner shop. While munching them I went on to decree that I would enjoy more than the recommended units of alcohol, and eat more forbidden food ! That meant going to Tesco to top up on forbidden supplies. Most of what I bought was actually fairly "safe" - particularly a new coat that I won't be eating, but will be wearing when the days get a bit colder.

  The very worst thing I bought was a pack of 6 little tubs of assorted flavour ice creams. They blew my entire sugar allowance for the entire month, and I only enjoyed half of the flavours. For the drink side of the equation I had three choices. I could have bought more whisky, and drunk a lot of my favourite, or I could have opened one of three bottles of vodka that I had originally bought to entertain Angela. There seems little chance of seeing Angela again, unless I bump into her in the street, and the chances of entertaining her here seem to be zero (unless lover boy manages to do what all he previous husbands or lovers do - die). I actually opted to buy some lager.
big can of Stella
  I can't recall seeing them before, but it seems that Stella Artois is now available in 568ml, roughly equivalent to a pint, cans. I bought a 4 pack of them. The only problem is that canned Stella does not seem to taste as nice as the keg version in pubs. I think my subconscious was playing games with my mind when I bought lager instead of hitting the spirits. Beer/lager tends to be self limiting (for me). Maybe it is all the gas, but I can't seem to drink much of it at home before feeling bloated. Instead of getting very drunk, as I sort of intended, I only had two of these big cans of Stella, and two small cans of a craft lager I had bought from Aldi at the weekend. The craft lager was much nicer.

  There can be little doubt that I was slightly drunk when I went to bed, but I felt very close to normal. One thing I didn't do in the evening, like I suspected I would do, was to eat in any unusual quantities. My big "blow out" was the ice cream I had eaten in the afternoon. My dinner was actually a curry ready meal for one - a small portion of rice, a small portion of chicken tikka massala, a very small portion of some poor excuse for Bombay aloo, and a rather tiny bit of onion bahji. It was nice-ish, but would never win any awards.

  After watching a bit of TV I went to bed with no feeling of bloat at all. I read for a while, but was fast asleep by, or soon after 10pm. At that time there is a good possibility that Stretchy's Open Mic, where I could have gone, was really getting good - Tuesday's at The Bricklayers Arms is always busier than Sunday's at The Swan And Mitre. It was a shame to miss it, but I wasn't feeling in the right state of mind to go. If that wasn't a good enough reason then Nigel the idiot being there was another good reason not to go. His presence gives me the creeps.

  Last night was a pretty normal night. Some good sleep, some bad sleep, and all punctuated by several visits to the toilet for a wee. I am pretty sure I had some pleasant, although not too exciting dreams, but I can't seem to recall them now. One thing that spoiled my sleep was some pain that was strongest to the right of my right moob, and faded out as it crossed my chest. It more or less happened almost every time I turned over to lie on my right hand side. When I remembered to turn over carefully it was usually OK. Unfortunately I was thrashing about a bit for a while because I was having that trouble where it seemed too hot under the duvet, and too cold without it. Usually I would leave one leg and one arm outside the duvet, and try for sleep like that.

  This morning I was in the toilet when the magic moment came to try and call the surgery to get an appointment, and I don't know if I can be bothered to waste my time at 1pm. With luck I might even be out at 1pm. At the moment most of the stiffness and aches of sleep have faded away, and I think I feel mostly OK. Although the sun did manage to put in a mysterious for a minute or two earlier, it still seems like it is going to be a very grey day. Nevertheless, I am think of maybe going out to do a bit of photography. As yet I have no idea where.

  Some, maybe all of this desire to go out and takes some pictures of something, is inspired by a moment of madness a few days ago. I ordered some creative filters for 52mm lenses - the size of my two favourite lenses for my Nikon DSLR camera. (My Cannon lenses all take 58mm filters). For my walks I prefer my Nikon bridge camera because it is quick and simple on automatic, and has a good built in zoom lens, but I think I want to try a bit more landscape photography. I have now designated my underused Nikon DSLR camera the one to use for outdoor work. The lens filters I ordered probably won't be here until the weekend, but I probably need a bit of practice using the Nikon, and today might be the day....or it might not be.

  Another video from Sunday night. This was the very last song. If it had been anything else I wouldn't have bothered, but I have a particular affection for "London Calling" (originally by The Clash from the album of the same name).
Tuesday 10th September 2019
07:21 BST
  Yesterday was grim, but maybe not nearly as grim as expected. The forecast said there would be rain or drizzle for much of the day, but I don't think it rained after midday, and it might have even stopped before then. It remained overcast for the rest of the day, but the afternoon was fairly bright. I think the sun almost peeped out once or twice. The one prediction that turned out to correct was that it was a rather cool day, and the prediction of it being just 14° C was about right.
brighter and warmer
  Today is forecast to be warmer than yesterday, but it is supposed to be another overcast day with a very small background chance of rain - the highest chance being a negligible 7%. Reality might have other ideas for today.
7.15 this morning
  This was the view from my bathroom window at 7.15am. There is hardly a cloud in the sky, or so it seems. Off to the east, or to the right of the picture, was, and still is, a bank of streaky looking clouds that are blocking the sun, although the sun is still so low in the sky that it would hardly be visible to me yet. So time to recheck the forecast....  No, forecast has hardly changed. It still says it should be grey until 9am when we should get some sunny intervals. The sunny intervals for 10am has been changed to overcast, and it will continue overcast until the end of the day. The afternoon temperature still stays at 19° C. It will be interesting to see if reality moves to forecast, or if the forecast will be changed to match what at the moment seems to be a better reality. Tomorrow may see the temperature up to a more pleasant 21° C, but the day will likely be dull and horrible with some rain in the morning.

   I have to confess that the wet grey morning put me off doing anything that involved going out - even to the corner shop. It also took away any ideas about doing any form of housework. It was potentially a boring day, but it wasn't. Some of my time was taken up processing the pictures and video I had taken on Sunday night. I used my flash gun from the outset, and that meant that all pictures came out fairly reasonable except for one thing. Maybe it was because I was so used to the two filament lamps behind the performers that the pictures looked very cold looking with those lamps turned off. I am unsure why they were off, but it made the pictures look quite different. At first I tried to make them look a bit warmer.
 It made the picture look overall a bit better, but I thought the skin tones didn't look quite right, although seeing the picture of Stretch (above) again this morning I am not so sure about it.
Sue outside the pub
  This picture looks "cold", but Sue's skin tones look about right...although maybe a bit pale.
ukelele player
  I think this guts name was Pad - maybe short for Paddy. His worst crime was when he was taunted to play some George Formby, "When I'm Cleaning Windows" - and he did. His usual fare is to play very unusual versions of much harder stuff. He did a ukulele version of Motorhead's "Ace Of Spades". It was clever, but still basically crap to any non ukulele lover - like me, and one or two others who were there - but we politely bit our tongues and applauded at the end !
First time at the open
  Award of the week goes to this guy. I think it was his first time playing in front of an audience, and he was very nervous, but he got through the one song he played, and while he made some mistakes, he carried on. Without the nerves his playing, and singing, seemed like it would have been very good.

  I also processed the two videos I shot using my Huawei P20 Lite phone. The camera in that phone doesn't always take very good pictures. I suspect that some software tries to use artificial intelligence to improve them, but too often uses artificial stupidity to make them worse. For instance it is pretty useless in poor light unless you hold the phone very still, and your subject is also very still. It's artificial brain does not understand that musicians are never still, and makes a mess of gig snaps. On the other hand, switch to video, and it is a different story. There is no time for mucking about, and it just records what it sees, and perhaps more importantly, what it hears - without distortion !

  This video features Stretch and Rob Todd singing "Save The Last Dance For Me", and apart from the terrible cameraman, shaking and wobbling,it looks and sounds pretty good.

  One of my plans for yesterday almost came to fruition. It was to get an early night so I could be up early this morning. It almost went to plan - even to the extent of the sub plot to try and eat properly during the day. Maybe the eating part was a bit loose, but I don't think I went over the top. It was all in aid of the first thing I have to do today. At 9.30am I am due at the "Ambulatory Care" clinic at the hospital for the continuation of my follow up investigation/treatment after my short stay in hospital. I shall take the precaution of taking a urine sample in a proper sample bottle today to avoid any silliness like asking for a sample just after I have been for a wee !

  If all is well, and it does feel like I am basically well again, my renal functions will be back to normal after the last of the radio-opaque dye, used for my angiogram, has been flushed out of my system. If that is the case then I will be discharged, and have no need to go there again ... until next time. I still have another clinic with the diabetic nurse on 8th October, and so I can't get away from the place completely.

  With luck I will only spend an hour or two at the clinic today, and then I will have the rest of the day free to do...something. Maybe it might involve a bit of weeding or a bit of shopping, or something else entirely.
Monday 9th September 2019
09:48 BST
  Yesterday was a nice day. It wasn't very warm, but for a lot of the time the sky seemed to be pure blue, and it was mostly sunny. With a sky like that it could only be dry. The afternoon temperature was only 17° C, but it felt quite warm in the sunshine.
a grim
  In complete contrast to yesterday, today is set to be pretty grim. The sky is grey, and even the latest revision of the forecast says it will remain grey all day. That grey sky will also be producing showers throughout the day. Maybe many will just be light showers, but it is still going to be a horrible day. Just to make things worse the temperature will only rise to about 14° C - a very late autumn feel ! Until recently tomorrow was forecast to be a bit sunny, but no longer. At the moment the worst aspect is that it will be another totally grey day, but unlike today it will probably stay dry, and it will be warmer too - but only to the extent of 19° C.

   I guess I was feeling far better than I thought I was because I had a fairly productive day, and I went out in the evening. In the morning I thought I might do a bit of garden clearance, but I was a bit vague about. After a while I decided I should just go for it, and see how it felt. One good thing about clearing my garden of weeds and stuff is that I can just drop tools if I am not feeling too good. I couldn't do that on the first task I did !

  Prior to going out in the garden I was sorting out my gardening gloves. I have half a dozen to choose from (all bought for the Poundshop or 99p shop). They were haphazardly piled and interleaved with some blue carrier bags. I thought it a good idea to hang them on the new rack of hooks I put up in the kitchen the day before, and to dispose of most of the blue carrier bags. As I rummaged around I accidently knocked a bottle of red wine to the floor. It smashed, and I had a more pressing task than doing the garden !

  I got a mop and bucket together, and started cleaning the floor. I couldn't do much about the wine soaked into the door mat. It didn't stain the dusty old mat, but it has left the kitchen smelling like an old brewery. I hope that fades in a few days. Meanwhile, as I finished mopping the floor I decided to mop the front of the fridge. Over the years it had accumulated lots of little splashes, and a patina of nicotine and grease. Before I knew what I was doing I was cleaning the two visible sides of the fridge (one side and the door).

  While I was doing that cleaning I seemed to be able to band over without too much discomfort, and did something that was very overdue - cleaning inside the fridge ! Most importantly was right at the back of the fridge where there is a drain hole for condensation. For years it has been blocked, and an intermittent trickle of water has seeped out the front of the fridge. That drain hole is now free of gunk, and all being well, the fridge is operating how it was designed.

  With the wine cleaned off the kitchen floor, and the fridge sparkling clean (well not actually sparkling.....) it was time to pull on some strong gloves, and get out into the garden. The particular gloves I was trying for the first time were stiff and uncomfortable because the palm and fingers were reinforced by a covering of a stiff leather like substance. Although uncomfortable they did what I hoped - that was to be able to grasp brambles with no hint of the thorns penetrating the glove.
tomato vine
 I did this bit of work a day or two earlier. Yesterday I took a picture while I had a camera in my pocket. I tied this tomato vine to the fence to stop it dangling in the mud. I is surprisingly long, and has quite a few tomatoes on it. I worry that it is getting too late in the year for them to ripen, but I live in hope. My other tomato plants probably deserve similar treatment, but they are in such a tight clump that I am not sure I could untangle them.
a photo of the absence
                        of a plant
  One of my bigger achievements yesterday was to dig out a clump of some grass/reed like plant. In one respect it could have been quite ornamental if it had somehow been somewhere else. It was quite deeply rooted, and I had to dig away a lot of soil before I could lift it. Getting rid of it completes another square yard of cleared, or semi cleared potential lawn area (or if Brexit goes as wrong as it is like to, a place to grow more potatoes and other vegetables).
unknown plant that
                        seems to be a bit like a rose
  Just behind that clump of whatever it was, is this plant. It's leaves and appearance remind me of wild rose, but it has no thorns, and as yet hasn't shown any sign of wanting to flower. It looks more like plant than weed, and so I've left it intact to see what it does - with flame throwers and tactical nuclear weapons on standby in case it turns out to be a triffid or something.

  Most of the work I did in the garden was just pulling up, or raking up, weeds from the middle of the garden. Lots still sprout after some rain, but now I am pulling more and more of the roots, it is slowly coming under control. I spent almost an hour in the garden, and in theory it was back breaking work, but at the end I was feeling just general fatigue rather than anything like back pain. I could have pushed myself to go further, but some tasks I need to do are rather big tasks, and are best left for a session on their own.
Ivy starting to get
                        out of control again
  One big task will be tackling the very end of the garden, and the longer I leave it, the more the ivy is starting to run amok. I have to confess I am put off by the size of the task, plus how everything in the picture above is festooned with spiders webs, many of which contain a big juicy spider in the middle !
stump for removal
  One task I am going to have to tackle sooner or later is this small tree stump. It may look small, but it has deep roots, and I am going to have to dig it out. That is something made harder by this area was once used a sort or rockery - I dumped loads of rubble there 30 years ago when I cleared and levelled the garden before growing a lawn. I must admit it was never planted with rockery plants, but at least it was somewhere to put the rubble. One potential problem is that the tree roots may have grown around bit of rubble, and that is why it is so firmly rooted. That was definitely the case for the buehdlia near it. The roots of that had decayed more, and I pulled out a big chunk with a roofing tile firmly in it's embrace.

  After maybe 30 minutes cleaning the kitchen and fridge, plus almost an hour in the garden, I thought I deserved a late lunch, and a siesta. Lunch was a big, and even if I say so myself, a rather tasty salad. I can't seem to recall if my siesta includes a snooze or not. It probably did, but I was a bit distracted from sleep by the book I was reading. On reflection I must have slept for a bit because time seemed to pass very quickly. A slightly later distraction was a long phone call from a friend. I had to finish that a little prematurely so that I would have time to shower, and wash my hair before going out.

  Last night was the first time I've been out to a gig, or in this case, an open mic evening, for weeks and weeks. The good thing was that I felt perfectly OK last night. So much so that I stayed to the very end - I usually slip away at about 10:30pm when some people do an encore. The only negative thing, and it was only a minor thing that really was nothing to do with me, is one bloke who thought it was a karoake session. He was a bit miffed when it was explained to him. He was also told that if he had asked Stretch (or any other musician) he might have been able to find a song he could sing, and a musician could have played for him, but he left it too late for that, and I think he walked out in a huff.

  I think I probably had about 5 pints of Guinness last night, and considering my previous meal was just salad, lead to the usual result - a visit to the fried chicken shop on the way home. I was hoping I might get a 208 bus that doesn't stop so near a shop, and so reduce the temptation, but the first bus was a 320, and that stops near the chicken shop, and going via the chicken shop only adds about 150ft to my walk home.

  Now admittedly it was only last Thursday when I had also got drunk and bought chicken and "fries", but it didn't make the thrill of them last night any less. Last night it was actually spicy wings and fries - they seem to be a little less greasy than the other bits of chicken. After eating them I cleaned up, brushed my teeth, and went straight to bed. I didn't seem to feel tired when I got into bed, and started reading, but I ended up having great difficulty making it through to the end of the short chapter I was reading. Once I put the book down, and turned out the light, I fell asleep almost instantly.

  Another few hours sleep would always be desirable, but what sleep I got seemed to be very good. It was inevitable after all that Guinness that I would be up several times for a pee, but each visit to the toilet only kept me awake for 3 or 4 minutes at worst (I think). This morning I feel good, but with caveats. I can feel some of the results of my kitchen cleaning, and "gardening", but these pains are not that bad, and more importantly they are expected, and thus don't count towards my general decrepidness. The usual things ache in a usual way, and as usual they tend to fade as the day progresses.

  Now I have to decide if there is anything I need, or want to do on this grey and miserable day. The little devil on one shoulder says I ought to go out, even if just to the shops, to keep in practice for when most days are like this during the winter. The little devil on the other shoulder tells me that there is no reason for me to do anything today. I have a suspicion I am going to start doing nothing, and then find I am doing lots of little odd jobs. While the little devils on each shoulder are having a punch, up my schizophrenic inner other self is reminding me I took a handful of pictures, and a couple of videos last night, and I should do something with them. That sounds a fairly reasonable idea to get me started.
Sunday 8th September 2019
09:36 BST
  The forecast said there should have been sunny intervals all day long yesterday, but while it was usually bright, and I do remember some sunny intervals, I don't seem to remember many of them. Other than that, it was a fairly pleasant day, and although I did feel the need to put the heater on a few times, it didn't seem particularly cold. The afternoon temperature was only 18° C, and it was dry all day.
off to
                    a good start for a sunny day
  There can be no doubt about it - the sky is blue, and the sun is shining. I can't be sure, because I slept through much of it, but 7 and 8am did seem to be better than just "sunny intervals". The latest revision to the forecast improves things further. If it is right the sun will shine all day, and the sky will remain blue. It is a shame that all that sunshine is now predicted to only warm things up to an afternoon high of 18° C (a whole degree warmer than the earlier version of the forecast above). Sadly this nice, but coolish day will probably be followed by a rather bad day tomorrow. The current forecast says very little, if indeed any sunshine, but lots of rain. It was also only be a rather cool 14° C !
blue sky and sunshine
  This was the view from my bathroom window a little while ago. It looks lovely, but it is almost cold out there. At the moment it is barely 12° C. I think I'll leave the heater on in my room for a while yet !

  It seems that the food poisoning I had the day before yesterday actually did me some good. It was a very strange form or food poisoning though. It was more like I had been fed two doses of a powerful laxative that flushed out my entire system in two easy stages in the afternoon. That and a large, but otherwise normal visit in the morning seemed to shrink me. When I came to put on some trousers yesterday morning I found I could do my belt up an extra notch - and it was generally comfortable like that, although there was still some initial slight tenderness from the day before.

  That, and the promised, but not fully delivered sunny intervals, seemed to make for quite a good day. It certainly felt like I had some extra energy that had been missing entirely the day before, and in slightly short supply for at least a few days before that. I ended up having an almost busy day yesterday, and while much of what I did was quite small jobs, it does feel like I achieved a lot during the day.

  I guess there were three "big" things I did yesterday, and the first was to go shopping in Aldi. I seemed to buy a lot, but when it comes down to it I actually bought a few big things, and a handful of smaller things. The biggest things were two twin "packs" (2 x 2.25l) bottles of Diet Coke, and a 9 roll pack of toilet paper. I also bought 4 small cans of beer plus some meat and a few other oddments. The walk to the store, and even the walk back with all the shopping were done with almost, but probably not an actual spring in my step.

  I allowed about half an hour to put the shopping away, and to cool off a bit, before going out again. This second time was to go to Poundstretcher. I bought 4 cans of "Green Cola" - the sugar and Aspertame free cola that is surprisingly acceptable. I also bought a bit of cleaning stuff for a project I had in mind for later. The real purpose was to buy a 4 drawer plastic set of drawers if they had any in stock - which they did.
4 drawer set of
                        drawers in the bathroom
  I wanted the 4 drawer set to use as part of the slow clean up and tidy the house project. The original idea was to put the set of drawers on the right hand side of the bathroom wash basin where it would match the one on the left. Unfortunately it seemed too big for that, and left little more than about 18 inches between it and the bath. So I put it against the wall at the end of the bath, and it seemed to fit there nicely. It had only been there 10 minutes before it was half full of stuff - stuff I had intended to put in there. The top two drawers contain hand towels and flannels (top drawer) with a few bath towels in the drawer underneath. Below that are some cleaning materials, and in the bottom drawer some bottles of shampoo and conditioner.

  Just moving the set of drawers around, and then rushing back and forth to get stuff to put in the drawers, was enough to deserve a small rest, and seemed like a good time for lunch. One other small task was to do some cookery before I went to Poundstretcher. I pre-prepared both lunch and dinner. Both could almost be called chicken kebabs, but without a proper grill, preferably a charcoal grill, to cook them on, and not having any skewers, I cooked mine in the oven. Another departure from a typical kebab was that I used chicken thighs with the bone in, and the skin on. I cooked them with peppers, sliced chilli, and either red onion or garlic, plus generous shakes of stuff like hot paprika and black pepper.

  Lunch was all oven cooked, and was the variant with red onion. It was the lighter of the meals because it only had two chicken thighs. Dinner had three thighs, and included garlic cloves and mushrooms. I precooked it in the microwave while lunch was cooking. Once lunch was cooked I emptied dinner from a microwave safe dish into the same dish as I had cooked lunch in so I could give it a final roasting at dinner time. While doing all this cooking I very reluctantly would drain off all the tasty oil, fat and cooking juices. They could have made a great gravy, but I wanted to reduce my fat intake to a minimum.

  Lunch was tasty, but fairly small. Even so the idea of a short siesta seemed like a good idea before I did more tasks. One of the other big(ish) tasks was to hand launder a few items. It was literally 4 items, and so was actually a fairly light task, although the pair of lounge pants did need some muscular wringing out, and the had towel some mildly strenuous wringing out. Then there were some smaller tasks.
rack of hooks for a
                        few gardening items
  One such task was in reality a very small task when looked at from the point of view of just two screws, but I did have to drill the holes and insert the wall plugs. On top of that there was the task of using a spirit level to keep things on the level, and finally hang some bits of pieces from this re-purposed hat and coat rack from the 99p shop. It is screwed to the wall in the kitchen behind the garden door (which is just off the left hand side of the picture). It was just another small thing contributing to making my house looking a bit neater and tidier (in my imagination). Previously these tools were sitting on top of the fridge. I can put more bottles of booze on it now !

  Probably the last task I did of any note - and that could be a pun - was to take my guitar, and it's case down into the living room, where it should probably live, and polish the very dusty case. I also gave the guitar itself a bit of light clean, and I tuned it up - at least I think I did. I do have an electronic tuner, but it is not very good. It overshoots when you pluck the string, and there is only a short period of time before the sound decays enough to not register properly. Assuming I got the first string tuned to the right note (it is definitely tuned to some note), then the rest of the strings seem to sound right. If I was ever to actually learn to play guitar I would need a proper guitar tuner. The modern ones I have seen work like a dream. I believe they are remarkably cheap too. Maybe I should buy one sometime.

  The tasks I have described, and several other little one, left me feeling quite accomplished as evening approached, and I could savour my chicken better for it (probably). I spent quite a few hours watching TV yesterday evening. Of paticular note were two documentaries celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus. They were rather good, but went on a long time. I ended up feeling peckish again, and had some dry crackers with cheese, stuff olives and some mini gherkins.

  After that I expected to sleep well, but I didn't for some unknown reason. It wasn't until about 1.30am that I finally got to sleep. It felt like I had just laid in bed for two and half hours wide awake, but there were hints that was not the case. The biggest (maybe the only) hint was that chunks of time went missing - presumably I was asleep during them - maybe just a very light sleep that I somehow didn't notice. Even when I definitely got to sleep at about 1.30am (although it could have been later) I only slept in about one hour segments - usually punctuated by visits to the toilet for a wee.

  At 6am, just as the first hints of dawn were visible through the curtains, I got up for about an hour. I took my morning medication, and soon after I also took some Paracetamol and Ibuprofen to calm down a few aches and pains. When I went back to bed I fell asleep fairly quickly, and slept for maybe two hours. Right now I seem to feel mostly OK. The drugs have calmed down a few aches and pains, and surprisingly I am not yawning - although as soon as I thought of mentioning it I had to stifle a yawn !

  This evening I want to have another go at getting out to a gig - a gig in the form of Stretchy's Open Mic. I hope I feel more enthusiastic about it this evening. Yesterday evening I could have gone to Chain's replaced gig after their gig at The mitre (Greenwich) was cancelled. Last night they were playing in Ye Olde Whyte Lion in Locksbottom. It is a long journey, but I think I have worked out a short cut - get a train to Bromley South, and get the bus from there. It would be less of a piss off than having to get two buses. I still didn't fancy going out though.

  Whether I go out tonight will become apparent nearer the time. In the meantime I have the rest of the day to fill. I think I might do some garden clearance for an hour or so. It will be cool out there, but working in the sunshine will soon warm me up. Other than that, the book I am reading, The Stainless Steel Rat Goes To Hell, by Harry Harrison, is calling to me even now ! I could easily finish it today.
Saturday 7th September 2019
09:32 BST
  Most of yesterday's weather was grim, but on the other hand it didn't rain as much as expected, and on reflection, I'm not sure if it rained at all. There were a few brief unexpected periods when the sun came out, but the most significant thing was that it was cold. The maximum temperature was just 17° C. Now I know that would be luxury in something like January, but yesterday it felt cold (there are other reasons why I felt particularly cold, but I'll come to them soon).
                    return of the sun...maybe
  The very latest revision of today's weather forecast agrees with this screenshot taken just after 7am this morning. The sky looks very grey as I write this, but 5 minutes ago the sun did it's best to shine. If the forecast is right there could be sunny intervals through the day. Let's hope they are better than the 10 second wonder just now ! Today could well be a whole 1° C than yesterday with the afternoon high being 18° C. There seem to be a very small chance (9%) of rain around midday, but no rain is expected to fall. Tomorrow is predicted to have at least one hour of sunshine, and sunny spells for the rest of the time, but with an early morning temperature of just 9° C it is going to start very cold, and may only reach 17° C in the afternoon.

  Yesterday I was ill, but it took me some time to realise it. I started out feeling reasonably OK, but I did feel quite chilly. That was probably because it was rather cold, but later on I felt shivery like I had a fever - and maybe I did have, but I didn't check. One good way of warming myself up was to do some hard physical labour. It fell a bit short of "hard physical labour" in a classic sense, but washing two new hand towels plus a similar coloured blue t-shirt certainly warmed me up. It was a shame that the weather didn't seem like it would be good for drying stuff outside (although with hindsight it might have been OK to almost dry stuff).

  I hung those towels and t-shirt on the clothes horse indoors, and I did it in a way that left room for more washing. I had it in mind to wash a few more black t-shirts separately a bit later, and that is what I did. I also threw in yet one more hand towel that I had used on top of my pillow to soak up any sweat on some of the hot days we used to have in the good old days, and also if I had eaten something extra spicy in the evening ! That just about filled the clothes horse to capacity. I used a 12" fan to blow a continuous stream of air towards the clothes horse to help it dry faster.

  At the end of that laundry spree I feeling generally OK. I was warm, and by that time most of my aches and pains had faded away. It was just before doing that second lot of laundry that I got a bit of a surprise. There was no urgency to it, but I thought that going to the toilet might be a good idea. I sat down, and seconds later - whooosh ! In two seconds flat I had filled the pan. I had experienced a similar thing when I got up in the morning, but apart from the speed of delivery, it was pretty normal even if a little more than expected.

  It was after that second explosion that I started my second lot of laundry, and it was helpful to use the washing water to help flush the toilet several times as my cistern filled agonisingly slowly after the initial flush. Once I had hung up that laundry to dry I had a lie down on my bed. With no other distractions, it was then that I found my stomach was quite sore. It wasn't gurgling or anything similar such as with a classic stomach upset, but it certainly didn't feel good. Over the course of the afternoon it felt better, but I kept getting the shivers, and they would be followed by light sweating. I didn't actually check, but I am fairly sure I had a fever.

  I think it was because I didn't have classic diarrhoea, with all the usual high speed follow up visits to the toilet, that it took me some time to realise I had some sort of stomach bug. It could have been the chicken and chips I had on Thursday night, but I blame the beer I had in the Wetherspoons. The three beers that I took photos of the pump handles, all tasted very similar, and all tasted a bit unpleasant. The Decca pale ale actually tasted as if it was 50% cold urine (not that I have ever tasted urine, hot or cold).

  Had I realised I had a stomach upset I would probably not have eaten what was actually a very tasty salad I made up from fresh ingredients (except some ready made, flavoured chicken slices). There was a fair bit of it, but because it was 90% of vegetable origins it should have been very healthy - full of fibre (and we all know what a big influx of fibre can cause !). Maybe it somehow contributed to another visit to the toilet late yesterday afternoon. Once again there was no urgency, and it all happened in just 2 seconds flat. Once again there was an awful lot of it, and once again, after it was all over, my stomach felt sore. Not painfully sore, but still uncomfortable, and rather empty.

  That third explosive visit to the toilet was the last one needed. That is hardly surprising because, apart from the salad I had eaten earlier, there could possibly have been anything more inside me. On the one hand that should have, and in practice would have meant that I was quite stable to go out in the evening, but I just did not feel good. I was still feeling feverish, and rather tired...or perhaps fatigued is a better word that tired. As much as I wanted to take advantage of a rare visit to a London venue by The Flame Pilots, I just did not feel up to it.

  What did help my stomach was some gripe water, aka whiskey. My stomach had none of the classic rumblings, but the whisky seemed to help it feel less empty and ???? (I am looking for a word that is less powerful than sore - sort of "mildly sore", or maybe "tender" might be closer to what I was feeling). Some of what I felt was actually more like hunger, but that is one of my troubles in life - any stomach problem feels like hunger to me. It was probably foolish to take a chance, but I seemed to get away with it. I didn't fancy any more fibre, and so salad was not an option. Plus I wanted some hot food. I ended up grilling/oven cooking some sausages for a quite late dinner. They were delicious, and seem to have no negative effects at all.

  By the time I went to bed, and it was surprisingly late, after 10pm, I was actually feeling mostly OK. I had been using the heater on low now and then during the day because of the fever like shivers I was experiencing, but didn't seem to need it for the last few hours of the evening. It was beginning to feel a bit cool when I got in bed, and I was quite glad that I had changed my duvet to a thicker one. Both, to my surprise, were marked as 10.5 tog, but the one I took off was old and flattened after sleeping and laying on top of it on warm and hot days. The one I changed it to was much fluffier, and last night it seemed lovely and warm without being too warm.

  The fact that I remember so little about it suggests I slept rather well last night. I remember having a pleasant sort of dream, but all details seem to have evaporated now. that is a shame because if it was, as I think it was, a pleasant dream, it would be nice to record the details of it. I think I feel basically OK this morning. I haven't yet needed to go to the toilet yet (apart from a wee), and so I don't know anything about that subject yet. My usual aches and pains are mostly there, but none seem to be prominent. I guess that means I feel OK, although I hate to admit it.

  Now, what shall I do today ? ..................................................... I have no idea in any concrete terms. The gig I was hoping to go to tonight has been cancelled like all gigs at The Mitre in Greenwich since a new governor started there. It has happened before, and it seems whenever a new manager is appointed he takes a couple of months to check the takings and see if a live band pays money or loses it. Hopefully he'll see that it makes money - maybe not a lot, but even an extra 1p is extra profit !

  After giving myself an extra 20 seconds to think about it, there are some things I will probably do today. I still can't think of any grand schemes, but I think I'll be visiting Aldi today to buy beer, pop, and stuff for some warm meals for after I have managed to use up the abundance of salad stuff I have. I have identified/remembered where I was going to put up a rack of coat hooks in the kitchen, and that could use up 15 minutes today. A more bold idea concerns improving my bathroom. It was inspired by buying the two new hand towels from Tesco a few days ago.

  I have nowhere in the bathroom to store fresh towels. It occurred to me that another cheap plastic set of drawers could stand the other side of the hand basin. There is one on the left that has spare toilet rolls, spare toothpaste and other toothy stuff, spare anti-perspirant sprays, and spare shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Another set of plastic drawers on the right could hold fresh towels, flannels, and probably other stuff too. Such a set of drawers would come from Poundstretcher, and so I may visit there today. As for the rest of the day...well I still have quite a lot of analogue video tapes I would like to digitise - and I have just started a good book !
Friday 6th September 2019
08:51 BST
  Yesterday was not too bad a day, but it did take a lot longer than the forecast predicted before it became sunny, and even then there were still enough clouds in the sky to occasionally block the sun. The middle of the day felt warm enough, but it was noticeably cooler, and morning and evening were definitely on the cool side. The forecast of 18° C in the afternoon was probably about right.
  It is definitely feeling very cool right now, although it seems to be at least a degree higher than the forecast temperature. (My thermometers agree it is about 14° C at the moment). Despite seeing at least 5 seconds of sunshine just now, it is forecast to be a very overcast day until 4pm when the sun might make a few brief appearances between the rain that is also supposed to fall in the latter half of the afternoon. With an afternoon temperature of just 17° C, and a cold morning, and cold evening, and hardly any sunshine, today seems like it could be a thoroughly miserable sort of day. Having said that, the forecast has just been revised ! There is good news and bad news. The bad is that there is a 92% chance of rain at 10am, but a much smaller chance of rain this afternoon. It might just be a single shower around 4pm. Even better is that for a few brief minutes around 6pm the temperature may touch 18 ° C ! The temperature tomorrow may follow the pattern of today very closely - very cool morning and evening, but 18° C for a couple of hours. It should be brighter too, but there probably won't be that much sunshine. We are truly in the grip of Autumn now.
grey skies
 Before finishing with the subject of the weather, I took this picture at almost exactly 11am yesterday. The most up-to-date weather forecast said that 11am should have been bathed in bright sunshine from clear blue skies. As you can plainly see, there was no sunshine, and the skies were not blue at all. I have to confess that 20 minutes later the sun was shining, and a lot of the sky was blue, but at 11am the chances of rain seemed much higher than sunshine.

  For a lot of yesterday I was just filling in time until it was time to go out for my late Thursday afternoon drink. I filled in some time with a needed visit to Tesco where I bought lots of fresh salad stuff. I also wasted money on a couple of reduced priced items that didn't live up to expectations. One was some "firecracker" prawns. I followed recommendations, and cooked them in the oven, but I don't think my oven was hot enough. The batter coating didn't come out very crispy. If I had left them in longer I think it would have dried out the prawn inside the batter. So the texture was not very good, and the taste was "nice" but not wonderful as I had hoped.

  Those prawn made for little more than a light snack, and because I wanted something more solid inside me before drinking I also cooked some chicken goujons. They were allegedly "southern fried flavour", but I found then to be rather bland in that respect. I wouldn't expect them to taste like genuine Kentucky Fried Chicken, with it's "secret herbs and spices", but I would have hoped they would have a bit more black pepper in the coating. Rather than coating/filling my stomach they left a sort of soggy feeling that initially you wouldn't want to pour beer on. It needed some rest, and a walk to the bus stop before I felt like drinking.

  I have to admit I have strange feet. 60 years of being overweight has left them rather wide, and now it seems rather thick too. Both problems seemed to come to a head with a pair of cheap Asian made lace up plimsoles. I bought them years ago, but have never been able to wear them comfortably. In fact they were incredibly uncomfortable for one particular, and quite unusual reason. The toe end seemed to far too little height, and my toes were being crushed every time I took a pace, and the shoe bent as I did it.
a shoe experiment
  With little to do, and nothing to lose, I took a blade to those plimsoles, and cut off the top of the toe area as can be seen in the photo above.  They are now far too silly to wear in public, and have no use indoors, but they now seem comfortable to wear. Maybe it is possible I will wear them indoors until I have put a bit of mileage on them, or maybe I'll just toss them in the bin. The important thing is that I have proved to myself where the discomfort was coming from, and also, at the same time, opened a window (if you'll excuse the pun) and seen just how my feet fit in the length of a size 11 shoe. There is plenty of room for my toes, although a wider fit would be better.

  Unlike going to The Shortlands Tavern, which I can do door to door in about 21 minutes including the walk to and from the stations (and which includes a short waiting time for the train), I had to allow 45 minutes to get to my drink in Bromley yesterday. I think it might have even been quicker to get a bus up the hill from Shortlands - the Bromley pub is less than 10 minutes away from Shortlands station by bus. Just to be on the safe side I left home a little bit earlier than needed, and was rewarded with a longer wait at the bus stop, but I did make it to Bromley no later than a few minutes after 4.30pm - out notional meeting time.
three of the beers I
                        drank yesterday
  I drunk one extra pint over my usual three yesterday. The first three are illustrated above by their pump handle labels. All three were not very enjoyable, and that is one reason why I had a fourth pint. That fourth one, like the other three, was a guest beer, and of unknown enjoyability, but fortunately it was quite a pleasure to drink. I can't remember all the details from the pump label, and I neglected to take a snap of it, but it was called Kazoo !

  Out Thursday beer meetings are gradually thinning out. Andy moved away to Brighton, and Dave moved away to Buxton. During the week Alan moved to Suffolk. That leaves just Chris, Steven, Paul, and on most weeks Jodie as being the only current members of "the club". In a fortnights time both Chris and Steven are away on holidays, and so there could be just three of us. I'm not sure what we will do that Thursday. Paul can be a bit intense if not diluted by banter from the others. I may just have a drink with Jodie in Catford.

  After four pints I felt a bit drunk. Not wobbly drunk, but my willpower was definitely legless. I couldn't help myself from ending up buying fried chicken and chips on the way home. After not having any for weeks, if not months, they did have a very special loveliness. Curiously enough, they did seem to do me some good too - at least in a few important respects. I can't blame the beer for what I did after eating. I had promised to do it while very sober.

  For the first time in weeks, not including some mainly test messages exchanged while I was in hospital, I called Sue to exchange some general gossip. I managed to finish the call after just  4 hours as 1am approached. With hindsight this turned out to be a very good decision because the Giffgaff "Goody bag" I bought at the start of the month only had just over 4 hours of talk time on it. Any further voice calls to her will have to be made using Whatsapp. Fortunately I make few other voice calls, and the few I do tend to be more normal 5 or 10 minutes long !

  Once I got into bed I fell asleep rather quickly, and as far as I can tell, I slept very soundly for three or four hours. I think it was around 5am when I woke up needing a pee, and feeling rather cold. I had to make sure that everything apart from my head was tucked under the duvet before I got back to sleep. I only slept for an hour before I woke again, and it was just beginning to get light. It seemed a reasonable time to get up for a while. I visited the toilet. Took my morning medication, and took a screenshot of today's weather forecast, and checked my email and other messages.

  After a while, maybe as long as an hour, I went back to bed. I wasn't really expecting to sleep much, and like most morning when I do it, it is a sort of quiet defiance of when I had to get up to go to work. I go back to bed because I can, and not because I need to - although a bit of extra sleep feels good. This morning's extra sleep contained a bonus - a dream that turned very erotic at the end (why is it always at the end just as I am waking up, and I miss the outcome ?). The dream, or in reality more like a string or dreams that followed on like chapters in a book, actually started off closer to a nightmare.

  I was apparently staying in a friends house, and almost a prisoner of my own room because the place was crawling with very young kids. That part of the dream was rather vague, but in what could be called chapter 2, it was suggested that the adults go out for a meal together. In chapter three it turned into a sort of road trip that seemed to last a long time, but didn't seem to go anywhere. Chapter 4 had us turning up at the house of a friend of my hosts. I didn't like it much because it seemed too crowded, but after a while we were due to move on.

  The house we were in, like most houses I guess, had a fair small space by the front door, and we were all crowded together as several of us wanted to use the toilet before continuing on our way. I was standing in a sort of corner, and I had a very beautiful looking woman standing in front of me. I don't think she had appeared in the dream(s) before. Gradually she backed into me as she made space to allow people to pass in front. The next thing I knew was that she was pressing her buttocks against my groin area....which was very nice. I hope I have written enough to trigger some very pleasant memories in the future because I am not going to describe the next few minutes before I woke up.

  I will say I woke up feeling quite good - and not just because of the dream. It seemed that maybe my body had needed the chicken and chips earlier, or something in chicken and chips. I did seem to feel remarkably good compared to normal. Several common aches seemed to be absent upon waking up. Right now I don't feel quite so good, and I feel sure it has something to do with feeling cool. It seems so cool in my bedroom right now that I have done a very rare thing - I put on a t-shirt while I am writing this, but even that is not keeping as warm as I would like.

  I could put the heater on for a while, but I am resisting that. The electricity bill before last showed I was in debt. That was true, but I pay by standing order, and under the original scheme the electric (and gas) company expected it to be swings and roundabouts - going into debt in the winter months, and going into credit in the summer. at the end of a notional year the credit and debit would equal out to nothing. My current supplies seem to be a lot more sniffy about it. I am a couple of hundred in credit at the moment, and so using some heat now would be OK, but leave less for real winter.

  One particular pain, albeit not a strong one, but still irritating, is another chest pain. In nature it is a bit like a very mild heart attack, but in completely the wrong place. This pain is slightly unusually very high up my chest at collar bone height. It very much depends on posture, and is worse when standing up. I may take a couple of painkillers if it doesn't fade out soon.

  My evening is pre-planned today, I am going to a gig in The Birds Nest pub in Deptford to see The Flame Pilots who are supporting Porcelain Hill (who look a bit scary, but apparently are really good). The Flame Pilots are actually the middle band of a three band line up. There are a few things I will definitely do today. One is just a very short job - provided I can find it quickly - and is to change my duvet to a winter grade duvet. The other job will be a bit more labour intensive. I bought two "reduced price"/"special offers" from Tesco yesterday. I have no idea why I thought I needed two extra hand towels, but at just £1 each they won't break the bank. They look to be medium quality, or better than the Poundshops offerings. The need a good wash before use, and once I've washed myself, I will wash those two towels, and may a few other bits and pieces. It's shame that I think they will probably have to be dried indoors today.
Thursday 5th September 2019
08:15 BST
  Once the morning rain was out of the way, yesterday turned into a nice day. With an afternoon high of just 20° C it wasn't a very warm day, but still very pleasant with lots of sunshine, and a lively breeze made it good for drying stuff on the washing line.
                    getting cooler
  With a 2° drop compared to yesterday, it is getting cooler, and by next Monday it could be feeling chilly if the 16° C forecast comes true. Hopefully, if it is true, it is also true that the temperature may rally towards the end of next week. Right now I would describe it as sunny, and not a sunny interval. The day is currently forecast to start and finish on sunny intervals, but with up to 6 hours of solid sunshine between them. It might make the 18° C feel not too bad. There is a very small, 7% max, chance of rain in the early evening, but tomorrow some rain is almost a certainty, and 17° C rain is going to feel very chilly !

  Yesterday was one of those all frequent days when I had few ideas what I might do. I felt moderately good. Perhaps when judged against the new normal, I actually felt good, or in other words, I wasn't expecting to die for at least a day or two. While I had no actual plans for the day, I did have one aspiration. It was to eat and drink more carefully than the celebration excesses of the previous day. My intentions were good, but ultimately I failed in a careful way...well maybe not entirely failed, but I could have done a lot better.

  The wet start yesterday seemed to sap my desire to go out despite believing the day would turn out quite good with just a few hours of patience. I guess I was still rebelling against the idea of pointless exercise, and so even just walking around the park had no attraction. However there is one unusual form of exercise that I practice, and which has a practical use. It is doing laundry by hand. Depending on what I am washing it can consume a fair amount of energy. At least I think it does. It is certainly enough to usually raise a bit of sweat even on cool days.

  The towel I used after showering in the morning still smelled 99% fresh, but there was that 1% of doubt, and I knew I had been using it for a fair time. So after I had dried myself with it I plunged it into a builders bucket of hot soapy water, and let it soak while I recovered from my shower. After half an hour or so I got back to it. One problem that few appreciate when washing towels is how much soap/shower gel they accumulate when drying your body. It always seems like I rinse my body off completely at the end of the shower, but the towel says different when hand washing it.

  I do three rinses when hand washing clothes, but that towel needed 5 rinses. That makes for a lot of manhandling of a heavy wet towel, and at the end I was feeling rather warm, and if it hadn't been for the anti-perspirant I was wearing, I would have needed another shower ! It must have been 11am, or maybe even a bit earlier when I hung the towel on the line outside. There was some nice breeze yesterday that helped to dry it, and at around 6pm I brought it in again. It was almost dry, and certainly drier than after using it after a shower. This morning it should be bone dry, and ready for use again once I have finished writing here.

  Maybe little more than half an hour passed before I felt like I had the energy to wash some more stuff. Just a couple of t-shirts and underwear this time. By comparison to a bath towel it was an easy, but still not a trivial job. I hung this second lot on my clothes horse indoors with a fan on it. I didn't bother to check it, but the way the t-shirt was flapping in the artificial breeze, it was probably dry too by 6pm or so.

  Doing that laundry, plus a few other things, took care of the morning, but I still had to find some amusement for the afternoon. It wasn't very exciting, but I decided I would do another VHS video cassette transfer to mp4 digital file. I had a tape called Underground Trains Remembered that was the subject of my latest transfer. It was one of the longest tapes I've done so far. This one was a 70 minute recording. The longest until that one was just under an hour.

  As that tape was playing, in real time, into my Samsung Mini-DV digital camcorder, I had a look around trying to locate any original tapes I might have recorded on my first ever colour video camera and recorder combination. I still can't seem to find the three hour tape with most of my ancient recordings on it, but I did find another three VHS cassettes lurking under some stuff. It is possible they could have something of interest on them. In fact one does, but I don't think I'll be making a digital copy before throwing it out. It is about a third generation copy (i.e. extremely poor quality) 1980s porn film. It was quite funny in it's time, and was a full length movie (about 90 minutes) but rather pointless when compared to pristine quality stuff available on the internet (or so a friend of a friend told me.....).

  Later yesterday afternoon I started recording the now digital version of the Underground Trains video into my PC. Once that had been done I started to assemble to 1GB segments into the full movie before rendering them as a single mp4 file. The only very minor extra job involved was that the longest Mini-DV tape is only 60 minutes, and so I had to record the last 10 minutes on another tape, and do a careful edit between the end of one tape, and the beginning of the next. I continued the job of stitching the bits together after I had started watching some TV.

  All work had to stop as I watched the news, and saw that Boris Johnson had his first major defeat since become prime dictator minister a few days ago. It is beginning to seem that maybe Brexit will never happen. That would be a wonderful outcome for several people I know and love. Patricia being one who I know very well, but also people like the wonderful Portuguese nurse at Kings College Hospital whose company I had for several hours after I had my angiogram there.

  I decided that I may as well leave the very computer intensive rendering of the video file until after I had mostly finished with my PC - i.e. after I went to bed. This morning I found it all finished (it had actually taken just a couple of hours). I didn't have time or the patience to check every minute of it, but a few samples through the file seemed to show a rather good transfer.

  My intention to try not to eat stuff I shouldn't after eating nice, but bad stuff yesterday, went wrong the first time I ate - which was lunch. At first glance eating rice cakes was good, but I was a little too generous with the ham and cheese I put on them ! Dinner was much closer to being on track, and probably was on track. It was a home constructed salad with heaps of green stuff, but also some cheese. On reflection, there wasn't that much cheese on it - less than on the rice cakes.

  One trouble with a salad, particularly one with stuff like pickles in it, is that it leaves me with a funny feeling. It is a sort of green and watery, hungry sort of feeling. A couple of hours later I gave in and had something definitely not green - smoked ham. I just had the ham by itself, but with some generous smears of English mustard on it. I fear the mustard was not a good idea. I had a feeling a bit like indigestion, but maybe closer to nausea when I went to bed.

  I am trying to remember if I had actually got to sleep and woke up soon after feeling very uncomfortable, or if it was after turning out the light and turning over, following spending a comfortable half hour or more reading in bed. Whichever it was doesn't really matter, but after squirming in bed for a while I had to get up and take a couple of antacid tablets, and go to the toilet. After a while I felt comfortable and stable enough to get to sleep.

  I probably didn't sleep all that well after that. I can't remember anything apart from a second or two from one of many dreams I remember having. I am sure there were a few dreams I wanted to remember because they were interesting, but the only second or two of dream I can recall, albeit in a very hazy way with absolutely no context, was about having a penis that was at least an order of magnitude bigger than reality !

  It may have been 5am when I woke up thinking it might be time to get up, but it was still dark, and seemed far too early. So I turned over, and hit the pillow hard. That sent a wave of pain through my chest as my ribs seemed to concertina. The main pain lasted maybe no more than a second, but was very strong. The after effect was a dull ache. After another hour or more of sleep I woke up with my chest feeling a bit tender, but otherwise I didn't feel too bad.

  It was nice to see some bright sunshine when I started to get up - even if initially the sun was so low in the sky that it carried no heat. As I write this (it is now 9.30am) the sun is hidden behind a dark grey cloud, and suddenly the world does not look like so nice a place. In fact it looks as if it might rain !! My main plans for today will be spoiled, but not stopped by a lack of sunshine, and maybe not stopped even if it does rain. Plan one is to go to either Aldi or Tesco. I haven't decided which yet. I want some fresh salad stuff. The stuff I have in the fridge was getting a bit droopy last night.

  Later on, but earlier than usual, I will be going for my regular late Thursday afternoon drink. Today we are meeting in the Bromley Wetherspoons pub to use up some of our Camra vouchers. Going to the north end of Bromley means getting a bus instead of a train, and so will take about half an hour longer. I'll probably be aiming to get a bus at about 3.45 pm for a 4.30 drinking start.
Wednesday 4th September 2019
08:08 BST
  It was generally dull yesterday, but the sun did break through the clouds a few times, although only for short periods of time. The morning and late evening felt cool, but the middle of the day was OK at 21° C.
                    first, but sunshine later
  The rain started sometime in the early hours of this morning, and it will continue, maybe with pauses between showers, for a few more hours yet. If the forecast is right, the showers will give way to sunny intervals mid morning, and the sunshine from midday. Let's hope the forecast actually shows reality today. The temperature will be about a degree lower than yesterday as it follows the general downward trend towards winter. Tomorrow should be sunny, but the temperature will have dropped to just 18° C. The day after sounds like it could be awful - rain and the temperature no higher than 17° C.

  The big thing yesterday was my appointment with the Cardiac Rehabilitation nurse at 2pm. The very thought of it started to affect me negatively as the spelling of my last paragraph yesterday shows well. It also started to raise my blood pressure. My problem is that I was expecting stern lectures to give up the last few pleasure in this life, and exchange them for pointless exercise in their bloody gym. My knees and hip joints are already wearing thin, and I prefer to wear them out doing some useful or interesting exercise.

  The only sensible way for me to get to the hospital is to walk. I could get a bus for two stops, but the walk to the bus stop takes me half way there. Curiously enough I found myself feeling a bit short of breath as I walked. I think it was because I was a lot more conscious of these things. I concluded it was because I was only taking very shallow breaths, and remembering how some deep breaths before going up the staircase at the side of Catford Bridge station made all the difference, I breathed a bit more deeply, and I was able to speed up a bit without feeling short of breath. I am wondering if my experience after my heart bypass operation, while my cheat was slowly healing, and the subsequent coctochondritis have left me some reluctant to breath properly.
nihalistic t-shirt
I chose my most nihilistic t-shirt to wear to my appointment. It turned out to be a good choice.

  I arrived at the appointed place, after going up one flight of stairs, not short of breath, but a bit sweaty. I was a little early, but not long after the appointed time I was taken to a consultation room by a nurse practitioner. My first impression was that maybe she would be OK, but it turned out she wasn't. Maybe it was the lack of time, but she never wanted to explore my answers when the differed from her expectations. I believe her report will contain many inaccuracies as a result.

  One of her stock expressions was "would you like any psychological help with that", and each time I said no because I was quite happy with my decisions. I think I was marked down as a manic depressive, and while that is probably true, I wouldn't like the medical profession to know about it. On the subject of diet, booze and exercise I said that sometimes I was able to follow good practice, and sometimes I couldn't. I said it all depended how I felt "would you like some psychological help with that ?" - not unless the psychologist can turn a rainy day into a sunny day !

  She was definitely not impressed with my casual attitude to death. I told her what I believe to be the truth despite many saying it is not - that my death would make very little impact on the world, and I wouldn't care because I was dead ! Once again - "would you like some psychological help with that ?" - No ! I am happy about my own impending death (whether it is tomorrow or in 30 years time), and I don't need a psychologist to make me miserable about it.

  At the end of the 20 minute session it was concluded that I was not suitable for Cardiac Rehabilitation classes, and so I was discharged. I think the poor nurse felt she had failed in her duty. One interesting fact came out of this appointment. My blood pressure in that consulting room went up to the second highest ever. The highest ever (as far as I can recall) was when going through a similar consultation 6 years ago. That was actually held in a corner of the hospital gym. The poor nurse on that occasion (a different one) was so shocked I was immediately marched over to the cardiology department where she could consult a consultant to see what to do. I suspect he recognised it as "white coat syndrome" and didn't panic. He just said I should double my Bisopropol dose.
celebrations after
                        getting home
  I had a little celebration lined up for when I got home from the ordeal. It was designed to stick two fingers up to those who would want me to cut all these things out. Originally it was going to be a can of Guinness and two red meat (beef) sandwiches, but I came home via the corner shop, and added two packets of forbidden crisps. I had also spent around half an hour chatting to my neighbour Michael when I spotted him in his front garden while I was walking home. That and going in the corner shop meant it was almost 4pm when I got home, and so the beer, crisps and sandwiches were a sort of late lunch/early dinner.

  As well as the can of Guinness I had a can of lager, but oddly enough that is all I seemed to want. The point had been made, and that was enough. The same was almost true of the food. Much later than I would usually have dinner, I had what I had originally been looking forward to - chicken thighs grilled with loads of spices and stuff on them. They were nice, but I didn't enjoy then as much as I thought. Maybe the guilt was getting too much. I know what I should eat and drink, and I do try to follow it when I can, but I can only do it on my own terms.

  I was in bed fairly early, but after 3 or so hours sleep I started sleeping quite badly. Initially I woke up for a pee, and couldn't seem to get comfortable again. I think it was around 3am that I was woken up by a noise. I couldn't quite identify the noise, and it seemed to stop as soon as I moved. I thought that it must have been the mouse I had seen in the bathroom some days ago, and that it was now in my bedroom. After that I probably lay awake trying desperately not to hear anything more for maybe an hour (or maybe it only seemed to last that long).

  With hindsight I now think that what I heard was a patter of rain against the window. Much later in the early morning, and while already awake so there was less confusion, I did hear rain against the window. In the last few hours of my sleep I woke up several times feeling very uncomfortable. First I had slept on one arm, and that arm was numb when I woke up. Presumably to prevent that happening again I turned over, and then later woke up with the other hand numb !

  With all the thrashing around I did in the night it is surprising that I didn't seem to crack/twist/aggravate my ribs/tendons/ligaments and wake up with a very sore chest. I did wake up feeling slightly bloated after last night's partial excesses, but a visit to the toilet has half cured that, and maybe another visit my finish the job. Now I have to work out what to do with myself today. One thing is for sure, I don't think I'll be doing anything outside until the rain has properly cleared up, and the sun has come out. I probably won't do it, but I am thinking that I could make a return visit to Caterham Station today, and spend a bit more time exploring the branch, and maybe some of the other stations on it. To finish here today, some video of a class 455 train departing towards London (the "up" direction) from the down platform at Coulsdon Town.

Tuesday 3rd September 2019
08:31 BST
  Most of yesterday was rather fine. The morning was a bit cool, but by mid morning it was easily t-shirt weather. There was a lot more sunshine than the forecast predicted, and in the sunshine it did feel nice and warm, but by mid afternoon the clouds were starting to thicken. I think we lost the sunshine a few hours before sunset, and by then it was getting noticeably cooler. The afternoon high briefly felt like it might have been a little more than the 21° C forecast.
a dull
                    grey, miserable day
  It's all change today. It has started off dull and grey, and while there is a small chance of the sun finally managing to peep through the clouds just before sunset, it will be dull and grey for the majority of the day. Earlier forecasts said there could be some rain today, but apart from a 12 to 21% chance of precipitation, no rain is shown on the main chart. It is poor compensation that today will see the temperature about the same as yesterday, about 21° C. Tomorrow could start with some rain, but it is predicted to finish by around 9am, and then the day will start to brighten up, and the afternoon could see some warm sunshine.

  I don't think it was until I actually stepped outside the front door that I believed I would be going out for the day, or at least a fair sized chunk of the day. My goal was to visit two or three branch lines on the Southern rail network. Luckily there are three to choose from within the London fare zone, and so I could travel for free on my 60+ Oystercard. A few of the stations I passed through still had some original features, but the branches themselves were double tracked, and busy - unlike the Southminster, and Henley branch lines I have visited recently.

  The gateway to the southern trains area is either East Croydon or Forest Hill (going via London Bridge could also have been an option). I don't like Croydon, and so I caught a 185 bus to Forest Hill. I arrived 5 minutes after the twice an hour service to Coulsdon Town station had departed. There was a London Overground service just pulling into the station as I arrived on the platform, and I jumped on that, and went one stop to Sydenham station. It seems to be a nicer, or more interesting station than Forest Hill.
  Although the traffic through the station is exactly the same as at Forest Hill, it comes across as a busy station. It is also interesting in that it retains a rare layout that was more common for stations deep in Kent, and originally built by different railway companies. That layout is staggered platforms. It may be a result of limited clearance under a road bridge, and a big curve at the other end, but there is only a small overlap between the up and down platforms. I think I had one of my longest waits at Sydenham as I waited for about 25 minutes for the Coulsdon Town train.
Coulsdon Town train
  Finally, after watching other trains either stopping, or racing through on the fast lines, my Coulsdon Town train arrived. It would take about half an hour to get to Coulsdon Town station. I was not sure what to expect when I got there. I thought there might be a bay platform where the train waits before returning to London Bridge station, but there wasn't. The train just sits in the down platform for about 10 minutes before departing "wrong line". There is a crossover just to the north where it regains the correct line.

  It seems a bit of a mystery to me why trains are turned round at Coulsdon Town. It is only 5 more stops to Tattenham Corner - a terminus station with three working platforms to choose from (although one may only get used for specials on horse racing events at the nearby race course). Coulsdon Town is very much a modernised station, and I didn't spot any significant feature over 10 or 20 years old in the 15 or so minutes I waited there for my next train.
Tattenham Corner -
                        platform 3
  Tattenham Corner station has also been very much modernised. I think I read somewhere that it was part of a scheme to extend the length of the platforms. I believe that at some times in the year, on special horse racing event days, the station can become very busy, but on most days it is a quiet and almost sleepy station (rush hour may be a bit different !). The station building/ticket office is no more than something resembling a large brick shed with no character at all.
Train waiting in
                        platform 2 of Tattenham Corner
  I had a fair time to wait until the train I arrived on would depart again. I think it arrived at 12:05 and departed again at 12:39. That time allowed me to wander around, and do some railway sightseeing. As can be seen in the bottom left of the picture above, and also in the picture of the name board, platform 3 is mostly just gravel covered rather than paved. That is very rare. I was also sort of surprised that the entrance to platform 3 was open. The light rusting of the rails show that platform is rarely used. Even the rails on platform 1 look a bit dull as if it is only rarely used - maybe just a few rush hour trains use it.

  Just outside the station I noted Emily Davison Drive. It is named after the Sufragette who threw herself under the Kings own horse during a special race at the race track. She was killed, but her sacrifice helped to bring notice to her cause, and advanced the emancipation of women. There is a wikipedia entry about it -

  My train departed on time, and I retraced my journey there as far as Purley station where I once again changed trains. My next destination was to be Caterham - another "branch line" terminus. It seems odd that that the Caterham branch has quite a busy train service, and yet many of the stations I passed on the way there (and back again) seem to be far less modernised than those on the way to Tattenham Corner. With such a frequent service I could be tempted to go back and get off the train at some stations for a better look.

  Having said that Caterham has a good service - at least four trains an hour - it was probably a bit stupid that I spent so little time there. I guess I was beginning to feel the first mild effects of hunger and fatigue, and in consideration of the time it would take to get home, it seemed like a good idea to start heading that way as soon as possible. My train arrived just 2 minutes before another tarin was due to leave from across the other side of the island platform. So I spent 10 seconds looking around before boarding the next train.
Caterham Station
  One thing I didn't realise at first was that there were two 4 car trains on the other platform, and only the front four cars were due to depart. I did a frantic bit of button pressing before rushing down the platform to the front 4 cars of the train. I had mere seconds to take the picture above before the doors closed. I know there was a lot more to see at Caterham station - much of it looked old and original. Apart from it being by a multi sory carpark (as in the picture above), I have no idea what was outside the station. With such a good service on the branch I guess I will have to go back sometime and explore more.

  The train I caught would be calling at both East Croydon and Peckham Rye stations (as well as many others). I had two choices. I could stay on the train until it got to Peckham Rye, and then change to a Thamseling train back to Catford, or I could get off at East Croydon station. From East Croydon I could get the tram to Elmers End, and a train from there to Catford Bridge station. The latter seemed like it would be quicker if less pleasant, and it was the route I used.

  Apart from a brief period while waiting at Coulsdon Town station when I thought I might be needing a toilet, I felt fine all the time I was out. That changed at East Croydon. I found that walking up the long slope that takes you from the platform up to the ticket office and exit was really hard. I seemed to be rather short of breath when I reached the top. I guess I shouldn't have tried to walk so fast, but there were people in my way, and I felt compelled to overtake them....

  I'm not sure of the interval between trams at that time of the day (around 2pm), but I only had a 4 minute wait for a tram to Elmers End. At Elmers End I had an 11 minute wait for a train back to Catford Bridge. Rather than racing straight home from the station, I diverted to to Sainsburys local where I wanted to buy a couple of their ready made salads. I also bought some reduced price sandwiches, and a few other items - because they were there "

  I then raced back home, but I first had to tackle going up the steps at the side of Catford Bridge station to take me up to the top of the road bridge over the station. The last time I used those steps I was not feeling too good despite being full of beer, and they had really winded me. My experience at East Croydon made me worry about going up them again. On this occasion I started deep(ish) breathing as I walkied towards the steps. That made all the difference. I walked up those steps with no trouble at all, and went straight into a fairly fast pace all the way home.

  Once indoors I could let my guard down, and feel fine, but tired - also hungry and thirsty. I made quite a dent into the supplies I had bought in Sainsburys. In fact what I bought in there provided all I ate all day, and I still have two packs of sandwiches to eat later today. After eating a slightly light meal I had a short snooze before I started going through all the photos (and video) I shot while out. Before long it was time to watch the news on TV, and then another hour or two of TV before going to bed.

  As usual, I wasn't really watching the time, but I feel fairly sure I was fast asleep not long after 9pm. I generally slept well apart from a sort of annoying dream about being back at work, but that eventually morphed into a sequence of being in a pub, and having a pint of a keg lager that was the most delicious booze I have ever experienced ! It was a shame to wake up for a pee just as the dream was getting interesting/enjoyable.

  This morning I initially felt quite creaky, but I feel sort of OK now. Just to raise my spirits the sun has put in a very unexpected appearance as I write this. It may only last a few more minutes, and seems to be going hazy as I continue to write, but it was lovely to see. I could even feel the heat of it on my shoulder as it shined through the window at just the right angle.

  For a moment I forgot the ordeal I have coming up at 2pm. I have to attend a Cardiac Rehabilitation clinic in the hospital. I am assuming that like last time, 6 years ago, it is a prelude to try and get me into their accursed gym to waste my life doing pointless gentle exercise. Last time I tried it once but announced that their exercise, although raising a bit of sweat, was rathe mild compared to just my morning commute to work. The trouble with those bastards is that they want to persuade me to give up the last of lifes few pleasures to extend my life. What is the point in extending life if it's not worth living. It's enough to drive you to booze - one of the things those puritam miseries always want you to cut to below zero consumption. Once I get home again the first thing I will do is to open up the last can of Guinness in the fridge, and any other cans I might have in there, and drink the lot !
Monday 2nd September 2019
07:09 BST
  The various revisions of the weather forecast tried to keep up to date with what the weather was really doing yesterday. The big uncertainty was late afternoon. The morning was bright and sunny, as predicted, but late afternoon seemed to be dull and cloudy for a couple of hours. It was this period where the forecast kept changing, and I am not sure I saw a version that admitted it would be so dull. However, after a while it brightened up again, and as far as I recall, it was mostly clear again after a few hours, and although the sun was rapidly getting very low on the horizon, the last few hours before sunset were bright again. It wasn't a very warm day. The temperature probably didn't quite reach 20° C, and the forecast temperature of 19° C was probably the maximum. It was still very comfortable though, but after sunset the temperature fell a lot.
                    rather cool morning
  The prediction for an 11° C to today was about right, although it seemed to be closer to 10° C on my thermometers. The sky is mostly clear at the moment, and once the sun climbs above the clutter on the eastern horizon it should be a nice bright morning. From midday the sunshine may give way to just sunny intervals, but they may continue until sunset. It is predicted to be warmer today with an afternoon temperature of 21° C.  Tomorrow could reach 22° C, but almost no sunshine is predicted. It may be overcast all day long. The day after may well feature rain !

  Sundays, by tradition, are generally boring days, and yesterday was no exception. There were just two highlights of the day. The first was going shopping in Tesco. I didn't buy that much in there. Mostly it was a few things to accompany salads, but a few things stand out as being slightly unusual recently. I got suckered into buying some reduced price sandwiches despite the reduced price being only a bit less than full price. I also bought a large pot of allegedly unsweetened, lemon flavoured, Greek style yoghurt.

  Despite my chest having at least one very tender spot after graunching my ribs in the night, I managed to avoid doing anything to aggravate my chest, and the walk to and from Tesco was close to enjoyable. No, I think I'll change that to "slightly enjoyable" (I wouldn't like to show too much enthusiasm). I think I kept up a semi brisk 3.3mph both ways - even when carrying a moderately heavy bag of shopping.

  Two of the sandwich packs I bought were tuna and sweetcorn filled, and I had them for my lunch. That was on top of the well grilled bacon I had for breakfast ! The other sandwich pack was a triple cheese pack with cheese and tomato, cheese and mayonnaise, and cheese and pickle. It became my dinner with the lemon flavour greek yoghurt for "pudding". Later on I would eat too much smoked Dutch cheese for supper. It was all very unhealthy, and all the bread involved busted any attempt at keeping my carbohydrate consumption low. Maybe there is some solace in that the total amount I ate yesterday was fairly small by some standards.

  The only other big thing I did yesterday was some video editing. I can't seem to find the 180 minute VHS tape that contains almost all the surviving video I had shot on my ancient VHS portable recorder and colour camera back in the early 1980s - it was the forerunner of the all in one "camcorders" that came later (with those ending being replaced by mobile phones further down the line). It was therefore very fortunate that before that VHS tape got lost I had copied a couple of hours of it to Mini-DV tapes. I had forgotten doing it, but I recently checked to see what was on two cassettes I had just enigmatically labelled tape 1 and tape 2.

  One the beginning of tape 1 was a sequence shot in what I would guess to be late spring 1983. My friend Ivor had just moved into his first house after getting married, and he had rallied the troops to help him erect a TV and FM aerial, both attached to a rotator, on the roof of his house. Very often I had nothing to video, but this was an opportunity that I couldn't miss - much to some minor annoyance.

   It is hardly award winning stuff, but it does contain some warm memories of a more innocent and enjoyable time. It seemed like we were all on the same wavelength in those days. Not only that, but we were all young and mostly healthy ! I spent a long time cutting out all the excess footage I had shot, while still trying to maintain some continuity. I got it down to about 8 minutes, and I think it still retains the flavour of the day. It starts with some very rare footage - a few tens of seconds shot in our favourite pub/bar, The Forest Barn.

  Doing the level of editing I did, even if it was no more complex than snipping bits out, rather than juggling sequences around, and maybe adding effects and captions, was quite tedious, and took quite a long time. I don't think I was in the right mood for concentrating on stuff yesterday. Well it was a Sunday when all stimulation of the mind and body falls to an all time low. It was a relief to finally finish it and get down to the serious business of watching TV - except being a Sunday there was precious little to select from.

  I ended up watching the last part of "A Salute To Dad's Army", two episodes of "Allo, Allo", and most of a seemingly recently shown repeat of "Have I Got More News For You". That managed to take me to a good time to switch off TV, and read in bed for half an hour before going to sleep. Like recently, I seemed to sleep well, but with the normal interruptions of getting up to pee a few times. One thing was quite noticeable in the night, and that was how cool it got by this morning. At first I was sleeping with several limbs outside the duvet, but by this morning I was well wrapped by the duvet to keep warm. It won't be long before I get out my winter weight duvet.

  It is so hard to tell, what with all the variable involved, but I think I feel better than many recent mornings, but maybe only by a small margin. I feel I ought to do something today that involves going out. I did come up with one idea last night, and it was to visit some more terminal railway stations. Most in the south of London seems generally boring, but maybe there are photo opportunities I haven't noticed before at such places as Epsom Downs, Tattenham Corner, and Caterham. I should be able to visit all three, and the good thing is that they are all inside the 60+ Oystercard zone, and so travel will be free for me.

  I have made an early start so I can start my journey just as the morning rush hour ends. It should be a good distraction from two things. Food is one thing, and the other is thinking about tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon I have an appointment with the Cardiac Nurse Specialist. I have very lack feeling about that appointment. My experience of 6 years ago is that their "cure" is worse than the disease. At least a heart attack is just a short painful death. Those cardiac rehabilitation people, into whose hands the Cardiac Nurse will want to deliver me, want to keep me living while taking away my life.
Sunday 1st September 2019
08:27 BST
  The forecast kept being revised yesterday, but I think the weather was changing faster than the revisions could keep up with. Until mid afternoon the weather was probably a bit better than expected, although the temperature only hit the forecast 23° C for maybe a few minutes. The sunny spells were often quite lengthy, but then it clouded over, and actually started to rain. There were two showers in quick succession before it brightened up again. I think I remember there being one more shower a few hours later. After that the sky really did clear, and if I could have stood on my roof to get a clear view to the west, I could have taken some pictures of a very pretty sunset. Over to the west there were just some small, isolated clouds, and they were glowing a salmon pink colour.
                    sunny morning
  This new month of September has started nice and sunny. With luck the sunshine should last until early afternoon when sunny intervals will take over for a few hours until the sunshine is back. For all that sunshine, the maximum temperature may only reach 19° C. What is more telling is that the temperature could drop to as little as 9° C in the early hours tomorrow morning. Summer is over, and now it is autumn's turn - and winter doesn't seem very far away. Before the gloom sets in too far it is worth remembering that tomorrow, and the day after, are currently predicted to feature sunny intervals all day, and the temperature will probably rise to just over 20° C.

  I did some more VHS video transfer to digital mp4 files yesterday, but unlike the day before, I didn't get bogged down with doing it all day. I had a few alternative distractions. For one thing I hand washed a few t-shirts and some underwear. It seemed sunny enough that I hung it all on the line outside. It dried less quickly than I hoped. It didn't help that it was out when it rained the first time ! It was maybe 80% dry when I brought it inside to finish drying.

  My other main distraction was to do some weeding in the garden. The hot sunshine we had some days ago now, plus some of the showers we had while I was in hospital (and later) had made the weeds grow like crazy. I wasn't feeling right to do a lot of hard work, but I managed to clear most of the area I had cleared before. What I would have liked to do was to clear some brand new areas. There was one part where I thinned out the weeds, but didn't have the energy to completely clear them - and that was despite this extra area being little more than 2 square feet !
This was how the middle of the garden looked before I started work out there. As you can see, what was once bare ground, was looking very green.
 There is still lots of little green sprouts visible, but after much raking, and pulling up stuff, the cleared area is basically cleared again. The second picture is taken from a slightly different angle, but still doesn't show that I pulled up a load of weeds in what could be called my vegetable garden. All the greenery overhanging onto the path is a great mass of tangled tomato plants. I never really expected them to grow from rotten tomatoes, and so never bothered to thin them out.

  Next year I will know two things. The first is that shop bought tomatoes, even if, as is likely, they are force ripened in unnatural conditions, still produce viable seeds. The second thing is that I really must space those seedling out. The same care with spacing will be needed for another crop of potatoes too. I am often in two minds as to what to do with my garden now it is becoming usable again after years of neglect. I would like a bit of lawn, but I also have a strong desire to grow more food. I suppose that I could have both, but my garden is very small.

  I don't know if it is a consequence of my low blood pressure, or some after effect of my mini heart attack, or even a clue as to what caused that heart attack, but what drew my weeding to a conclusion yesterday, was feeling a sort of light headedness while bending over to pull up weeds. I was also feeling very slightly short of breath, and had to slightly pace myself to keep that to reasonable levels. The latter is not really anything new, but the light headedness, although far short of anything like dizziness, seemed a bit unusual.

  Every once in a while my body will tell me it wants to eat something specific. Sometime I will be drawn to something unusual while shopping. Yesterday, after doing my hand laundry, and weeding the garden, I felt an urge to have some noodles. Maybe it was just the thought that I had not tried the chicken flavoured noodle "kits" I had bought from Savers. The spicy noodle variant was really good, but the chicken one I had yesterday was merely "good" without being wonderful.

  I didn't stop at the chicken noodle "kit" I had bought from Savers. I also made up some "spicy tomato" noodles in the more conventional instant noodle style, and then followed that by a pot of instant chicken and chorizo flavoured instant pasta. The latter was, by comparison, rubbish ! With a belly full of noodles and pasta I had an afternoon siesta. After a quick snooze, at least I think it was quick, I started doing more video stuff.

  I did most of the work to transfer one VHS tape to an mp4 video file during the morning/early afternoon. While it played once from VHS to digital camcorder tape, and ten played a second time from camcorder tape to PC, I was busy washing or in the garden. The afternoon bit of video experimentation concerned two existing video files I had copied/downloaded from You Tube.

  There is a continuing "arms race" between Google, who own and operate You Tube, and developers who create browser plugins to naughtily copy You Tube videos. I am unsure of the current state of the art, but when I downloaded one particular video it seemed only possible to get webm copies are not always easy to play on some media players. I managed to get a medium high resolution copy that didn't have any sound, and a very small, very low resolution copy that had perfect sound.

  Stripping the sound out was easy using a cross platform audio editor called Audacious. To convert the soundless file to a more usable format I used a Linux application call WinFF. That converted it to a Microsoft compatible avi file. Then I had to use a video editor to add the sound to the video. I could have used Kdenlive, the video editor I use for most things, but it is very slow. As it was a simple task I thought I would try Flowblade. I had never really tried it before, and so hadn't got the feel of using it.

  Fortunately, being a simple task, it turned out to be simple to do. As hoped, it was a fair bit faster than Kdenlive, but that speed came at a price - artifacts appeared whenever there was a lot of movement in the video. The bit rate should have been high enough, but the speed up was done by only doing a single pass of the encoder. Two pass, which obviously takes twice as long, does a sort of rehearsal to find when extra information is needed to in the video file to smooth out movement. I might re-do the whole thing again today, although yesterday's version was not that bad. Of course it might be easier to install the latest Firefox You Tube downloading plug-ins, and see if I can download a better copy from You Tube.

  Having had a very carbohydrate rich lunch, I thought I had better have just a salad for dinner last night. It was one of those meals where a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, multiplied several times ended up as a huge heap of vegetable matter with a bit of flavoured, pre-cooked, chicken slices on top. It was good, but it did make me thirsty in a very specific way. I think it was having to get some of the ingredients out of the fridge where they had been sitting on beer cans that made me have a strong desire for some beer last night.

  I was planning on drinking a whole 4 pack of beer (Aldi's French style lager). I started gulping down the first can, but slowed a bit towards the end. By the time I had drunk the third can I felt like I had drunk enough - or was it just that I had run out of TV to watch. When that happens it is time for bed. Initially I was reading, but as 10pm approached it felt like it was time to try for sleep. That was the time I got a call from my friend Lee. He was mostly just being sociable, but there were probably a few things he wanted to tell me. The very different thing was that he was not asking for any technical advice. The call was supposed to end several times before it actually did - mere seconds before the new day, and month started !

  The call had rather messed up my sleepiness, but it didn't take that long to regain it, and I was soon asleep. I woke quite a few times in the night, mostly for a wee, and on one occasion I was a bit too keen to find my perfect sleeping position, and I crunched my ribs as I turned on my side. It was very painful for about a second, and then the pain faded to just a very feint ache that persists this morning. Well maybe a tenderness is a better description than ache. I guess I am lucky that this particular "twisted rib" does give me some warning if I am about to make a movement that will cause some nasty pain. I haven't always been so lucky.

  Although, several hours later, it is fading away, and now is almost gone, my main malady this morning is my right elbow. It was very still and painful when I woke up at 6am this morning. I did manage to get some more sleep after that, but in defiance of my mathematics of how many hours of sleep I got, it seems I didn't really need any more. Now I have to try and figure out what I am doing today.

  I already have a plan that I have set in operation. I am cooking bacon, and I am going to have bacon for breakfast - even if it will be closer to elevenses time. Later on I might go and do some shopping. On the other hand, there is nothing I desperately need from any of the shops. If there are any trains running today I might go for a short walk along the River Thames - along the south bank. On another hand I am contemplating digging over some of the garden to expose the roots of the weeds to the air, and hopefully kill them. I'm not sure how much I could do without knackering, or killing myself, but I suppose I could always experiment and find out.

Me, 6 years ago today
  It was 6 years ago today that I dialled 999 and ended up in hospital after suffering a second heart attack. The first, on my way to work, about a week earlier, was quite a powerful one, but I still made it into work. The second was by comparison fairly mild, but very persistent. I was feeling quite bad for most of the afternoon. I think I called the ambulance at about 7pm when I got bored with it.

  I spent three days in Lewisham Hospital before being transferred to Kings College Hospital on Denmark Hill. On the 6th September I was taken to the operating theatre to have a quad heart bypass operation. It wasn't a complete success in as much as something was leaking, and I had to be opened up again to seal the leak.

The first I knew about it was when I woke up on the morning of the 8th. It was just like waking up from a good sleep. Whether I had any periods of adverse reaction to the anaesthetic, as some do, I never new. I woke up fresh as a daisy, and in no pain whatsoever. The nurses frequently asked if I needed any painkillers, but I never needed any. The only pain was if I tried to turn on my side. That would pull on my staples (used instead of stitches), and could be very sore, but provided I was careful I had no discomfort at all.

  Apart from the first three days when I was suffering from nicotine withdrawal, I enjoyed my stay in hospital. It was like a holiday - free food, and being waited on hand and foot ! I would definitely recommend it. The only annoyance was that I had a huge bandage on my leg where a vein, the full length of my leg, had been cut out to use for the bypass grafts. It meant it was impossible to get my trousers on, and walk out by myself as I wanted to do. That was probably just as well because I was weaker than I imagined.
My full notes are here.