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January 2020 February 2020

Sunday 9th February 2020
09:02 GMT
  Once the early morning rain was finished, yesterday turned into a fairly nice day. Some of the sunny spells predicted for the middle of the day turned out to be quite longs spells of sunshine - that is to say, far longer than a "sunny spell". I didn't go out in the afternoon, but I would imagine it would have felt nice during one of the hour long, or more sunny spells. The afternoon temperature probably did hit the forecast 11° C. During the evening the temperature fell a bit, and then started to rise again.
wet and windy

  The forecast for today keeps changing, but maybe only in minor details. The overall forecast is that it is, and will continue to be a wet and very windy day. It is possible that the next two hours may only involve drizzle, but that will soon turn to light rain, and sometime later, possibly 1pm, we will have 6 hours of heavy rain, maybe more. One (very) slightly positive thing might be that the rain will be slightly warm. The afternoon temperature should be around 14° C, but the  gale force winds will probably still make it feel cold. Tomorrow is almost an unknown. The forecast has changed a lot in the last 24 hours. It seems that more gales are likely in the morning, but there could be some long periods of sunshine. By the afternoon there could be a mix of sun and showers. The maximum temperature may only be 8° C.

    Most of yesterday would have to considered as bad, but there were a few good things too. The badness started when I left it far too late to go to Aldi. It was just after midday, and the store was in absolute chaos. There were still staff wheeling pallets of stuff about, and clogging up the narrow aisles. I didn't notice any parts of the store that looked liked it was running out of stuff, and so I couldn't quite see what all those members of staff were actually doing. One thing they were not doing was manning the checkouts. Some say they may not have been trained for checkout duty, but I am not so sure. What I do know was that the store was very busy, and only 2 of the 8 checkouts were manned.
long queue
   This picture really needs to be in 3D to give a better impression of just how long this queue to the checkout was. Admittedly it was a very straggly queue, and it is unclear whether some people were shopping and queueing at the same time.  One thing is for sure, many seemed to have all the time in the world, and there was no sense of urgency to get the job done quickly.
tasty booze
  One small compensation for the terrible experience of choosing to shop in Aldi at a stupid time. This Rum liqueur is extremely nice - at least it is in small quantities. Sadly, small quantities is all I dare drink it in. It appears to contain so much sugar that it would really mess with my blood glucose to drink more.
  One thing that slowed everybody up was the amount of mothers who had a pram, a trolly, and 5 or 6 very young (~6 years old) kids in tow. Most of the kids were not well behaved. One mum, who only appeared to have one kid was having a fit because every time she put something in the trolly, after being scanned at the checkout, the kid would put it back on the checkout. A woman in front of me, with maybe 6 kids had almost the opposite problem. Some were taking stuff out of the trolly, and putting it on the conveyor, and the other half were doing the opposite.

  Having got past the checkout I had to load up my bags from the stuff in my trolly. There is a shelf for this at the front of the store. Despite at least one notice to the contrary, several kids were using it as a seat, and there was one slack jawed yokel, perhaps in his 20s, who also sat on it with a blank look on his face. Fortunately I noticed a gap appear, and raced my trolly to it. When the system works it works well. Get into Aldi at the right time and you can 50 to 75% fill one of the shallow trollies in 10 minutes, and the checkout staff will whizz you through in 30 seconds flat. In the last year or so the store has had new card readers, and probably a faster internet connection fitted. Reading and authorising a card payment is now done in seconds. Yesterday was just a nightmare !
low blood pressure
It was less than 2 hours later when I was relating to someone about my frustration in Aldi, and he replied "calm down, think of your blood pressure". I checked my blood pressure there and then, and on my first attempt I got the reading shown on the left. I didn't even bother to try taking another reading. If only I could get it that low in the doctors surgery !!

  It was around 1pm when I got back from Aldi, and it felt like lunchtime. I had a very simple lunch, although it was not the healthiest lunch. I munched through two packets of dried beef - one was biltong, and the other jerky flavour. Both were not a cheap option. I accompanied them with a little tub of garlic and herb flavoured dried tomatoes. I then laid down, and I think I had a snooze after reading little more than one page from a magazine.

  Later in the afternoon I decided I ought to do something, and that something was to continue playing with the old Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop (that I had salvaged from electronic scrap while I was working). Ignoring the fact that the main and BIOS batteries are both as dead as a Dodo, it's main problem is that the chipset can't handle more than 512MB of RAM. That it a bit too low for smooth operation of a modern operating system (although it would almost fly with something like Windows 2000 on it).

  I had almost successfully installed Linux Mint Debian Edition on it, but the sound card was not detected for some reason. The trackpad was also not detected. That would cause a big headache yesterday. Another minor problem is that it was an old version of Linux Mint Debian Edition, and the day before was spent doing upgrades - one of which seemed to be causing some strange behavior. It was noted during the upgrade process that some old features were no longer supported.

  I thought I would have another go at installing a more up-to-date version of Linux Mint. The very latest version maybe have been a faulty DVD drive, but the X-Server, which gives the graphical user interface kept crashing. At the time I thought it was a lack of RAM causing it, and that may have been the problem. I then tried several slightly earlier versions, and they would boot into live mode OK, with the entire operating system running from the DVD, and from RAM. Everything seemed OK, but I could not start the installer.

 I may have wasted over an hour trying different disks when I suddenly realised something that should have been very obvious. The left mouse button on the Poundshop mouse I was using had failed ! After swapping to a better mouse I managed to install Linux Mint 18.3 with no problem. I think it is even a Long Term Support version, and should still get all updates for a few years yet.

  While doing that installation, plus some updates, and adding a few extra programs, I tested the Rum Liqueur pictured further up the page. I only had a half shot glass of it, but that was enough to know it was really nice, and that it was a shame I had to drink it so sparingly. I didn't have to worry about whiskey though, and had a few shot glasses of Bushmills and Jameson's whiskey. I think the Jameson's is nicer. After a while I began to think about dinner.

  I had a ready meal bought from Sainsbury's on Thursday night that needed eating, plus a "Slimming World" ready meal from Iceland that I fancied trying. Both contained a lot of noodles, and while they may have been medium to low calories, I worried that all those noodles would not do my blood glucose level any good. They did leave their mark this morning, but my blood glucose level was not that bad, and a fair bit less than the previous mornings spike.

  I had been intending to go out to a gig last night, but the booze and the food made me feel far too relaxed to start charging all over the place, and I have got quite used to staying in, on my own, on a Saturday night. In fact I think I enjoy it most of the time. So I stayed in and watched a bit of TV, be the offerings were very thin. I'm not sure I made it to 9pm before I was in bed reading, and asleep possibly before 10pm....although something at the back of my mind says it might have been a lot later.

 Once again I am unsure whether I slept well or not last night. What I do remember are two snapshots of my dreams during the night. Sometimes the inspiration for a dream is obvious, even if in a slightly twisted way. I have absolutely no idea where the inspiration came from to conjure up a dream that involved flying in an inflatable aeroplane. Not only was the aircraft inflatable, but it had no brakes. I can't remember if the dream actually involved a landing, but the procedure was to aim at the back of a conventional metal aircraft and (hopefully, softly) crash into the back of it. I think I also had a dream about being on an inflatable train too, but the details of that have all but faded away.

  The most important thing about this morning is that despite eating some food that I did not think advisable, my blood glucose level is only slightly above my typical average. I think now, while I am normally successful in keeping my blood glucose at a safe level (although I will admit that lower would be better), is a good time to experiment with some foods I have doubted in the past. Of course there is also the school of thought that says that because I have managed to better control my blood glucose, I have less insulin resistance, and can tolerate some food stuffs provided they are in small, or infrequent amounts.

  Today I think I am going to make a better effort at trying to get an even lower blood glucose level tomorrow by eating better. I have all the ingredients for some low calories, low carbohydrate, extremely low sugar meals. For instance, dinner may be a simple diced beef and shredded cabbage, plus chillies in beef stock. The only flaw in the longer term plan is that I have some less than healthy ready meals in the fridge (not freezer) that are going to have to be eaten in the next day or two.

  I feel basically OK again this morning, but I think the weather puts me off doing any exercise today. Besides which, it seems I have a couple of Amazon parcels arriving today, and my best guess is that they will arrive sometime between midday and 4pm. I think I need to stay in. I could play with old laptops again, or I could do some more clearing, cleaning and tidying in the back room. Maybe I'll do both because I can usually only manage an hour or two of housework before it pisses me off.

  Just a quick update on the weather just before 11am. So far there has been little in the way of rain - not even light drizzle. The wind is very gusty. There seem to be long periods when it almost seems calm, and then a sudden whoosh happens, and everything rattles. I can now see some tiny spots of rain hitting my window. Maybe it is now building up to the big downpour the forecast predicts.