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January 2020 February 2020

Wednesday 5th February 2020
08:47 GMT
  Early forecast predicted that yesterday would enjoy some sunny spells from morning into the early part of the afternoon, Later forecasts said the sunny spells would end earlier. In reality the last glimpse of the sun was possibly as early as 11am, and even that was only hazy sunshine. It was also a bit cooler than earlier forecasts predicted, but only by a degree or so. The highest temperature was probably only just 9° C with 8° C more typical for the middle of the day. During the night the temperature fell low enough for some frost this morning.
another attempt at being a sunny day
  It is going to be another dry day, and that is just as well or it could snow during the colder bits of today. My thermometers almost agree with the 4° C forecast for now (they say it is actually closer to 3.5° C). I must confess it could be heavy condensation, but I can see what looks like frost on neighbours garden shed roofs - sometime in the early hours of this morning it must have been 0° C. Like yesterday, the forecast is changing to better match reality. The latest revision says the afternoon temperature may be 9° C now, but that the last sunny spell will be at 2pm. Curiously, it now says there will only be sunny spells right now, but it seems to be "sunny" at the moment, but as a sort of compromise it is only weak and slightly hazy sunshine. Tomorrow is predicted to be lightly overcast all day, but it should stay dry. It will also be a degree or two colder than today. Incidently, the "Weather Warning" seen on the chart above refers to Friday and Saturday when we will be blessed with roof ripping strong winds - maybe !
another very short walk
  I didn't feel as bad yesterday as I did the day before.  It meant I could get a modicum of enjoyment out of my walk, although I still didn't feel like rushing around. One problem was that it felt cold out, and I would have been more comfortable in my thick winter coat. I had my lightweight, leather-looking jacket on, but even with it done up I was feeling a little more cool than I liked. The biggest impact was on my photography.

  I took my Canon Powershot SX420 out for a walk, and I encountered difficulties taking good pictures. It was a combination of things. One significant thing was that it was a dull day, and the camera was seeing less light than how my eyes saw it. I could possibly have over-ridden the auto controls, but in auto it wanted to do some quite long exposure times. That meant I had to hold the camera very still, and that was not so easy with frozen hands.

  I also noted that the camera tended to slightly over expose some shots - shots where there was, for instance, one small bright flower, like a daisy. The petals of the daisy would be almost bleached. The same happened to a dove, or white pigeon. Another annoyance was that the operation of the camera seemed slow - not good when trying to snap a wren that couldn't keep still for more than a tenth of a second.

 In good daylight, and with a stationary subject, that camera is really good, but I don't think I can recommend it for wildlife photography on a dull day. I think I can improve it by changing some settings, but ultimately it is going to need good daylight to use one of it's potentially useful features - a powerful zoom.  Some of the pictures I tried to take yesterday needed the exposure to be at least 1/40th of a second, and even 1/15th of a second. That demands no movement at all or blurring will occur. At full zoom an exposure time of something like 1/1000th would be very desirable to avoid camera shake, or the subject moving. For a speed like that it would need bright sunshine !
pretty hen duck
  The subject of the photo above is the hen duck (are ducks hens and cocks ?), and not the more colourful cock who "photobombed" the picture. I thought this hen duck looked quite pretty.
pale hen duck
  This hen duck seemed quite pale, and for a while I wondered if it was a Mandarin duck, but the male Mandarin duck was nowhere to be seen yesterday. Maybe this duck is a bit younger than the duck in the photo above this one, and that their plumage darkens with age.
White pigeon or dove
  I did make a small, very small, effort to try and find the difference between a dove and a white pigeon yesterday, but I never came up with an answer. This picture shows how the camera slightly over exposed the shot, or specifically the subject of the shot. I have not checked, but I suspect that spot metering is not turned one, and the exposure was automatically set to be correct for the background, rather than the subject. In the original, uncropped version of this picture, there is a lot more background to be seen, but I cropped it off to bring the pigeon/dove to be the main subject.

  Yesterday's walk was not just about wildlife photography, or keeping fit - not that one and a half miles is going to do that much good for me. The core reason was to see Angela. Once again there was some doubt about whether I might see Angela. Earlier she said she might go to Lewisham to get some shopping. I arrived at the pub just a few minutes before 1pm. At three minutes past 1pm I got a message to say "see you soon". Five or 6 minutes later Angela arrived, and we had a lovely time together.

  Maybe the saying about "absence makes the heart grow fonder" had some relevance yesterday. I had not seen Angela for almost a week, and I think she was actually looking forward to meeting as much as I was. That idea was re-inforced when we said good bye with a very warm hug outside her work. She thanked me for a lovely lunchtime, and then suggested that we might meet again on Friday. As far as I can recall, that latte suggestion was unprecedented. Normally it is me who makes any suggestion, and I rarely suggest Friday's because I thought that Angela often goes into Lewisham to get some shopping on a Friday. I very much look forward to Friday !

  With my spirits raised, and two pints of Guinness in me, I didn't feel the cold so much going home. I couldn't quite raise the enthusiasm to extend my walk, and took a mostly direct route home. When I got home I didn't mess around. I turned the heater on full blast in my bedroom. I had another cold salad, and then also like yesterday, I lay on my bed to read. Typically enough, I was soon dozing, but this time I didn't wake up feeling freezing cold like the day before. On the other hand, I didn't feel hot either. A couple of hours of the fan heater on full blast normally gets my room quite hot.

  Unlike the day before, I didn't feel the need for pints of hot soup yesterday, and that was an improvement. However I still felt "ill" in a very vague way. If there was such a thing as one day 'flu I would say I was suffering from that on Monday, and that yesterday I was in the recovery phase. I guess it was going quite well because by 5pm I thought I would spend a bit of time in the backroom sorting out the bookshelf in there. I think I surprised myself  by making more progress that I thought I might. One hold up at the moment is that the wheelie bin is full, and I will have to wait until tomorrow to toss more junk in it.

  Maybe there was nothing on TV to hold my attention, or maybe I was just feeling tired, but I think I was fast asleep in bed before 10pm (I am sure I recall 9:12pm being the last time I saw before going to sleep, and maybe I was asleep much earlier than 10pm). Unfortunately it was another night when for one reason or another, I woke up every 2 hours or so. Sometimes it was for a wee, and sometimes I just felt uncomfortable in other ways. It often seemed to take ages to get back to sleep.

  I have to conclude I didn't sleep well last night, and yet I did seem to wake up fairly early. I did my best not to get up at 6am, and did indeed manage to get a little bit more poor quality sleep, but it seemed like my body was ready to get up at 6am. Sunrise was officially at 7.34am this morning, but I saw the first signs of light not all that long after 6am. In theory I have now had quite a few hours to consider how I feel, and I am still not sure. I do have a selection of aches, but I can't really pin down how bad they are, and whether they are the type that will disappear once I get moving.

  One thing I do know is that my blood glucose is very high (although still under the danger level) this morning. I was expecting it to be high, but maybe not as high as it is. Last night I had two Tesco ready meal curries, and I ate the rice from both of them. That rice would be responsible for much of my elevated blood glucose this morning, and I can probably blame the 4 bottles of sweet tasting beer I had last night for the rest.

  Yesterday I had some silly ideas about putting on my winter coat, and having a quick trip to the seaside to take a few snaps of the sea, seagulls, and anything else that takes my fancy. Now today is here I seem to have changed my mind. It is going to feel bloody freezing outdoors, but whatever sunshine we get is going to warm up the south facing front of my house, and that extra warmth, plus the brightness may trick me into doing some spring cleaning. If I get really carried away I might wrap up warm and try to do something in the garden. Maybe I will just be lazy all day - that sounds nice, but I have things, mostly a selection of very small things, rather than some grand plan, that I think I want to do. Tomorrow I will be able to say exactly what I did (or the more interesting or easy to describe things), but for now I have ideas, but no plans.