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January 2020 February 2020

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Friday 28th February 2020
08:36 GMT
  Yesterday started with rain, and snow ! Well maybe not exactly snow. It was probably just sleet, but some of those soggy flakes were quite big. None settled because it was just too wet outside. The "snow" actually only lasted for as little as 10 minutes. The rest of the time it was just (mostly) light rain. By early afternoon the clouds started to clear, and from about 3pm, or soon after, the sky was a lovely clear blue. After dark it was a less lovely clear black - which let all the heat out ! The afternoon temperature may have very briefly peaked at 8° C, but as little as 4° C was more like the average temperature, and the wind chill made it feel like below zero at times.
another wet, but slightly warmer day
  At the moment the forecast is uncannily correct. It was dry until 5 or 10 minutes ago, and now, just about on time, it has started raining. The latest revision of the forecast says the rain will be light except between 10 and 11am when it may be heavy rain. The rain should stop just before sunset. By that time the temperature will have risen from 5° C this morning, to 11° C. It should stay that high through most of the night. With only light breezes it could start to approach feeling warm, or maybe "mild", but with no sunshine to back it up it the reality will probably be that it will still feel quite cold. It will start to cool down tomorrow morning - aided by a lot of rain until just after midday. From then on there may be sunny spells for the rest of the day, with the temperature in the region of 8 or 9° C.

This is what yesterday mornings sleet/snow shower looked like - not very impressive, but the best this year so far.

   I really didn't want to pay my credit card and BT phone bills yesterday morning, and my mind sneakily distracted me by getting me to start washing some t-shirts and underwear. I had done the wash and two rinses before I realised that I needed to go to the toilet - which I did. After that I convinced myself that I could not put off paying those bills any longer. I really don't know why I hate paying those bills. It has been the same since time immemorial regardless of whether I have been rich or poor.

  Just recently I have been feeling not poor, but very aware that may savings are running low now, and it is still 14 0r 15 months to go before I get my state pension. In some respects I am just playing it safe because I've been living on saving (plus my small pension from BT) for a couple of years now, and I have only burned through about half my savings. I should (I hope) still be in surplus when I get my state pension.

  In one respect it was good to pay that credit card bill. For one thing it turned out to be a bit smaller than expected (but not by much), and that my current account was not quite as low as I feared (but only be a few hundred pounds). That sort of gave me the go ahead to indulge in another waste of money - maybe, or maybe not. I have two portable mini disc players, and both have dead batteries (rechargeable lithium). For years I have had no use for those players, but just recently I have been thinking of doing some audio recording, and a portable machine would be ideal. I am thinking along the lines of bird song, but also "bootleg" recordings of some songs at gigs. The mini disc machines are fairly high quality, and coupled with a decent stereo mic, which I have a couple to select between, could make some excellent recordings.

  Before ordering new batteries for the two portable machines, one is a Sony, and the other is a Kenwood, I checked they both worked on a mains power supply - they do ! It is a shame that both the Sony and the Kenwood have theor own good points, and their own bad points. The Sony is a little more versatile, but the Kenwood has a better disc loading mechanism. Other than that, they are otherwise very similar - most probably because the inside of the Kenwood uses Sony technology. Mini disc was invented by Sony, and they probably were the only maker of the chips inside that made them work.
sunny but freezing
  Apart from the laundry, and banking stuff, I did very little until it was time to go out for my Thursday Club drinking. It was fully dry when I left home, and I decided to wear trainers instead of boots. They made quite a difference to my walk to the station. I don't think I broke any records getting there, but somehow it felt like less effort. I didn't record the walk because I wanted to stop for a minute at the cash machine outside the Sainsbury's Local shop by the station. That was notable because I got my first look at the new, plastic, £10 note.

  The picture above was taken while waiting on Catford station for my train. I guess that I had walked fairly fast because I had a 10 minute wait for my train. You may think that wait was not bad under that lovely blue sky, but you would be wrong. The wind at ground level was moderately strong, and felt very cold. Up on the station, with no windbreaks, that wind tried to chill me to the bone. It was fortunate I had put on a thick coat that was comfortable when done up. I had it done up tight until I was safely in the pub.
moon and venus

  There was something about last night's drink that was unusually good. It was probably a combination of two things. One thing is that we could not sit at our usual table - the oval table - because it was reserved (although not until 7.30pm). We sat at the octagonal table, and that meant we were closer to each other compared to either ends of the oval table. The other thing that made it better than usual was whatever it was we were talking about. It was just usual, mostly forgettable drinking talk, but somehow more interesting, and more amusing than usual.

 I had my usual three pints, and last night all three pints were of the same beer. I would have taken a picture of the beer pump clip so I could accurately name it, and say something about it. Unfortunately there were a bunch of builder hogging the space in front of the beer pumps, and I could barely see enough to select what I would be drinking. There was a couple of other beers I might have tried if those annoying bastards were not in the way. That was only relevant when I first got there. Later I just asked for the same.

  It was cold in the wind going to the pub, and although the wind seemed to have dropped, it was still very cold when I left the pub and walked back to the station. Up on the platform it is easy to see a very wide expanse of sky with very little to block the view. The bright platform lighting made it a bit difficult to see many stars, but over towards the west there was still light seeping over the horizon from the already set sun. In the picture on the left there is a crescent moon shining brightly, and just a little higher, and to the right is Venus.

 I don't think I have ever attempted to put two videos on a page before, but I shot this second one last night, and want to use it. It shows Shortlands station at night, and also shows how well modern phone cameras can cope with night time illumination. By comparison, my first ever colour video camera would show nothing but faintly green noise for most of this scene. This video also shows a fast train going through platform 2, and then pans around to show my train home, the 18:25 service, arriving at the station. Note how accurately I managed to align myself with the doors when the train stops !

  On my way home I called into Sainsbury's to buy something to eat. I didn't have anything at home pre-cooked, or which could be cooked quickly, and I was feeling hungry (I had eaten very little before going out). I thought I might buy a ready meal or something, but I ended up buying two lots of Greek Salad, and also two Greek style chicken wraps. The latter had reduced pricestickers on them, as did a egg and bacon sandwich, and a pack of "firecracker" flavour (whatever that is) chicken slices. Before the evening was over I had eaten all that lot !

  Those Greek style chicken wraps were rather nice, but they weren't the highlight of the evening. The highlight was a short message from Miranda, Angela's daughter. She simply said that the vodka I had given Angela earlier in the week (when she had said she was feeling low) was very nice and going down well, and that she was having a very nice evening. I was very surprised to receive that message. It was a rare one. I can only imagine that they were talking about me, and that the talk was good.

  Maybe it was the beer, which at 4.2% was not very strong, or maybe it was the food, but I suddenly felt very tired last night. I was in bed just reading at about 10pm when I found my eyes closing. I can't say when it was that I went to sleep. It may have been as late as 11pm, but once I had turned the light out I must have been asleep in no more than a minute or two. I slept well, and I can only remember waking up for a pee about twice in the night. The last hour or two of sleep was strange because I think I was dreaming about being awake in bed. I'm pretty certain that I wasn't awake most of the time, but.... The only thing I can say is that the time seemed to pass very, very quickly if I was awake.

  This morning I dared to check both my weight and blood glucose level. Neither was good, but neither were terribly excessive. However I do think I have reminded my body enough of some of the worse it has to accept, and now I ought to try and get back to a more serious diet. The flaw in that idea is that the grey skies and rain do nothing to enthuse me to eat less, or properly, and in fact quite the opposite. It is all made worse by today potentially being a boring day. It is definitely an indoor day today - at least until sunset, and after the rain has stopped. There is stuff I will probably do, but nothing to gain my enthusiasm. I don't think there are any gigs on tonight that I would want to go to, but of I did it would at least be dry and almost mild out tonight - maybe.