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January 2020 February 2020

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Wednesday 26th February 2020
09:13 GMT
  The weather forecast for yesterday, issued at 5.27am, was more like a very vague overview of what the weather would be like. Two or three hours later another revision to the forecast was issued, and most of that was about right. I would have described yesterday morning as sunny, rather than having sunny intervals, and it was perfectly dry at 10am when a shower was predicted. The original forecast for the afternoon was thundery showers followed by hail. The later revision downgraded that lot to just ordinary showers, and that was about right. There was a short period of time when the rain seemed a bit heavy, but to be honest I can't recall when that was. After sunset the clouds started to disperse, and later clear skies meant the puny 8° C in the afternoon started to head towards zero in the small hours of this morning.
this forecast has started right

  I'm not sure if the temperature did hit zero in the small hours of this morning, but at the moment my thermometers agree with the forecast, and say it is 3° C as I write this. It could just be heavy dew, but it does look a bit like there could be some frost on neighbours shed roofs. If there was any frost it will soon be burnt off by bright sunshine. Of course sod's law dictates that just as I was starting to write that the sun was blazing through my front windows, a cloud passed in front of the sun, but just a minute later the sun is back to full power again. The latest revision to the forecast say that we should only be having sunny periods at the moment, and that the last of these will give way to overcast skies in about half an hour (or 10am). From 1pm there may be light rain. The forecast says there will be, but then only gives a 12% chance of any rainfall - it sounds like there is a 88% of it staying fine ! Once again, the afternoon temperature will only be 8° C. This is apparently the seasonal average, but feels bloody cold to me. By midnight the temperature could be back down to 3° C again. Tomorrow looks interesting. The original forecast included hail, but that has been replaced by just light rain for the morning through to about 1pm. Tomorrow morning will only be 3° C, and past experience suggests that is cold enough for snow to fall instead of just rain. The truth will be revealed tomorrow !
another short walk

  Yesterday seemed like it should have been a good day for a longer walk in the sunshine, but I didn't feel in the mood to push myself very far. I felt like I didn't have much energy. Maybe I used all my energy on a shopping trip to Aldi. I did carry some heavy shopping home, and most of that weight was liquid. As well as two 2.25 litre bottles of Diet Coke, I also carried a 6 pack of 330ml cans of sugar free lemonade, as well as  four pack of 550ml cans of Guinness. The rest of what I bought was comparatively light, but still added to the overall weight.

  It was good to get it all home again, and then have 30+ minute rest before going out for a walk in the park - and of course stopping off for refreshment at just over the halfway point. It may not have helped that I was giving my new boots another go. They are not uncomfortable in the sense that they are causing any damage to my feet, but nevertheless are still uncomfortable in ways I find it hard to explain. It seems to make walking harder, and slower. On the other hand they did feel good for tramping through some bramble infested vegetation on the river bank when I took another look at what I still hope will one day be a new island in the river.

  Yesterday I was having doubts about the formation of the island. I managed to get through the vegetation to see the other end, actually the upstream end of the proto-island. I can see where shingle has been washed into what should be the new channel, but it seemed like it would need some really extreme high water to wash through more of the new channel - although having said that, in the event of some more severe storms, the water could get high enough to flow through that channel while still a fair bit lower than the top of the river bank - in other words, very high, but not high enough to cause any flooding.
stray dog - maybe
   I passed this sheep dog/collie laying in the grass looking like it was waiting instructions to round up sheep. The only trouble is that I could see no sign of any owner. It could be a stray, but there is hope that it isn't. This is the second time I have seen this dog. The last time was several weeks or more ago, and once again he (or she) seemed to have no owner, but then I heard a distant whistle and the dog ran towards it. I am hoping that the owner was actually somewhere in the park, and would call to it when it was time to go home.
                          photographers error - NOT
  Everyone knows about the old amateur photographers error when someone poses in front of a tree or shrub, and the picture makes it look as if it is growing from the subjects head. This is similar, but taken to extremes. Someone has been waiting patiently at the bottom of a grave in St Mary's church for several hundred years for a tree to literally grow out the top of their head !

  It felt good to get into the pub, and not just to meet up with Angela. The sunshine on the back of my coat made me feel quite warm - too warm to do my coat up. Unfortunately the cold wind on my chest was making my ribs sore. The cold and wet weather has made them feel quite delicate recently, and I have been taking Ibuprofen before bed to reduce the inflammation from the stresses they get as I lay on my side - usually as I try and find a comfy position. The discomfort I was getting from that cold wind could be mistaken for more heart problems, but I hope my experience in these matters proved otherwise.

  There were no special reasons that made seeing Angela so good. Sometimes some our conversation is quite intense, but thankfully not too often. Yesterday was just light talk. Seeing Angela could be compared to sitting in a well worn, very comfortable armchair - you don't stop to question it, or even really think about it, you just feel very comfortable. One small irritation was that towards the end lover boy tried to phone Angela several times, and each time she declined to answer.

  She said she would call him back when she was back at work. On such occasions it is probably self delusion, but I think I am more important than lover boy. That thought was bolstered when we were saying goodbye. Angela said "see you soon....maybe even tomorrow". The sad truth is that I am only special during lunchtime. The first break in that may come when we eventually go to the Wednesday night night quiz they have in the pub. It could be tonight, but I think we are both holding back from making a firm date because we are both waiting for lighter, and less cold evenings.
sunshine and dark
  If I had set one of my DSLR cameras on a tripod, and screwed on filters while playing with exposure values, I might have been able to capture a picture that more closely matched what my eyes could see when I took this snap on my way home from the pub. At the top left of the picture the sun was shining brightly. You can see the dark shadows it is producing on the pavement. In the distance, and to the top right of the picture, the clouds were almost black - that is the bit that doesn't really show well on this picture.

  It was pretty obvious that the forecast rain really was about to happen, and the density of the clouds made the idea of thunderstorms and/or hail seem very feasible. At this point I was probably about 10 minutes walk from home. In the last couple of those minutes, it did start to rain, but it was very light rain. There was a short heavier shower some time after I was safely home, but there was no thunder and lightning, and as far as I am aware, no hail either.
sugar laden beef jerky
  It was late yesterday afternoon when I discovered the source of some mysterious big spike in my blood glucose level. It was the result of eating the beef jerky pictured on the left. It was only by chance that I bothered to check the nutritional on the back of the packet. I was shocked to see it contained something like 21gm of sugar per 100gm of the product. That is far worse than some ice creams, although admittedly the normal eaten quantities are rather different.

  I assumed that this jerky was just air dried beef, and as such it would be high in protein, but little else. I now suspect that despite it proudly displaying it's British origins, it is made to an American recipe. They probably use sugar to help dry the meat out, but what it seems you end up with is "crystallised beef".

  I really must check the beef biltong made by the same people. Biltong was originally comes from South Africa (I think), and I believe (although I may well be wrong) is just pure air dried beef with a hint of smoke - a fire is used to warm the air, and keep flies at bay while the beef is drying. I probably should do some research before making these claims, but I definitely know that the shop I used to pass on my way to work in Earlsfield, had quite a range of biltong, and it was all made in South Africa. I tried all sorts of exotic meats including ostrich and alligator given the biltong treatment, and I never notice it seeming to taste sweet. Now I know what it is, it is obvious that the reason that jerky is so nice is because it is so sweet !

  Last night I had another early night that wasn't an early night. I spent several hours in bed reading before turning out the light. I did that at 11pm, rather later than intended, and although it once again seemed like a long time, I think I was fast asleep within 15 minutes. I took the precaution again of taking a couple of Ibuprofen before going to bed, and I had a comfortable night as a result. It was evidently comfortable enough to forget all the dreams I had - and I know i had quite a few, but any details have slipped over the horizon.

  This morning I can't work out how I feel. Apart from some initial stiffness/creakiness, which seems to be a permanent fixure these days, I feel otherwise comfortable. I don't seem to feel the need for any more sleep, but the one big unknown at this time is if I have any stamina today. Yesterday I didn't seem to have any energy, and today might be worse. Thanks to that jerky (probably) my blood glucose is annoyingly high this morning, and I have probably gained a few hundred grams. I don't think I can blame the jerky for the latter, but maybe I can blame it on not doing a big poo this morning - yet (maybe another is on it's way as I sit here typing - or maybe it was just wind).

  I the time it has taken to write all this, the weather has taken on a new complexion. The sky is now filled with dark clouds, and it looks like it could easily rain. The very latest revision to the forecast says rain at 1pm, and that it will still only be 7° C then, although at 2pm, for one hour only, it will be 8° C. I still intend to go for a lunchtime walk today - mostly because I want to spend another lunchtime with Angela. I am thinking I will not walk that far today, and bearing in mind that 7° C, I think I'll put on my winter coat with hood. I'll probably cook before I get to the pub, but that's better than my chest aching. I have no idea what I will do once I am home again - probably nothing apart from some reading and a snooze.