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1 - Disturbed sleep due to yet more torrential rain . . . feel a bit more up than yesterday . . . Phoned Telewest to upgrade to Digital. The 10 offer was over yesterday so I'm gonna have to pay 30. Typical!!! But it'll be cheaper per month??!!! . . .Ooops. Realised the three e-mails I got were from C/S. Silly me . . . Forced myself to go for a walk in the pouring rain to see the Avon in full flood at Conham. Wow!! Never seen it so high. The footpath was under brown boiling water, rushing past with lots of debris. Thunder and torrential rain as I stopped to look across at Beeses Tea Gardens which was flooded. A rubber dingy was pulled up at the door. . . followed the river down to the Netham and walked all the way along to the Bristol Dogs Home. Very sad. A beautiful German Shepherd called Caesar seemed happy to share a moment with me. Got a bit tearful! . . . Walked to Lawrence Hill to have a look at the Royal Mail train that had run into and over the coal trucks of another and had ended up crashed into the road bridge. National news! Joined a small crowd watching the biggest crane I have ever seen with eight sets of wheels get ready to lift away the wreckage . . . out of condition I got the bus home . . . TVd . . . my main PC monitor ceased to work! Opened it up and replaced the blown 3amp fuse with a 5amp I had lying around!!!!!!!! It works. . (4/10)
2 - It rained more . . . sat in front the TV all day! Pointless!! (2/10)
3 - Shopped . . . drew out some money ready for Sunday . . . phoned Telewest and complained that the November Cable Guide said the digital upgrade would be 10 and that I felt they were deliberately misleading customers if the offer was withdrawn in October. I got rediculously uptight and shaking with adrenalin on the phone!! They eventually promised to do it for 10. Experience suggests they are lieing. We'll see. . . . TVd. Increasingly unable to think of anything else to do worth doing. All very pointless!! (3/10)
4 - Sunny day . . . PCd/sorted out finances . . . walked to the river with the camera SH had given me to waste a film trying to figure out how to use it. The waters had receded by about six feet. Wow! Walked along the riverbank for a few miles taking pictures of anything just to use up the film. Several cottages on the riverbank were trying to dry out and had all their ruined belongings, sofas, fridges, cookers etc. dumped in their gardens!! Sad. And I'd dreamed about buying one of those when I saw the 'For Sale' sign a year or so back!!!! Took pictures of trees, birds, squirrels, the boat washed up high and dry on the opposite bank, the pub beer garden bench and table flowing down the river, anything and everything. Used up the film but will 'any' of them come out? Dunno anything about light settings or shutter speeds! . . . walked home very tired as fireworks began to explode all around. Everyone getting in their displays before 'the weather' returns tomorrow!! . . . went to the kebab shop and finally ate. . . . TVd . . . TV program all about people 'burning out' with stress made me feel awful. As usual it told the uplifting stories of how people had 'cracked up' but had then gone on to rebuild their lives. They all had dogs!! They'd all been through their rough patch but were now emerging into the rest of their lives, happier with a desire to wake up in the morning. Why cant I? Even in this I feel such a failure. I'm a failure at being a failure! . . . SH phoned to confirm tomorrow is on. (3/10)
5 - SH picked me and AC up and we went to the Whitchurch computer fair (http://www.afm96.co.uk/) . . . bought a new 17" monitor for 125, a Soundblaster sound card for 17 and a microphone for 1. Good prices I thought . . . back to my place for coffee . . . Started to unpack and set it up and Sis1 called by so I had to stop play. She is into hospital tomorrow for 'lump' checks!!! . . Sis1 left and ML phoned to chat for an hour or so . . . needed food so went into the kitchen and started peeling potatoes. Drip, drip, drip!!!!! Water was dripping from the ceiling above the window in the kitchen and flowing down the walls in the conservatory!!!!!!!! In the dark, the fireworks, and the pouring rain, I got up on the roof but couldn't find the problem. Pulled up floorboards in the bedroom and turned off the water in case it was a water pipe or the central heating. Hard to tell. The whole wall beneath the bedroom window, the ceiling below, the floor joists, etc. were saturated. Seemed to be the rain but nothing I could do until it stopped raining and was daylight. Put buckets where appropriate!!! . . . finally ate . . . PCd at last. Lovely display on the new monitor. PCd and surfed until 5am!!! (3/10)
6 - Up about 10:30 . . . BIG headache all day. Lots of Annadin . . . still rain showers so PCd. Placed a personal ad!!! . . . mid afternoon turned dry so back up on the roof to investigate. Definitely rain penetration but hard to tell where. Maybe under the bedroom window sill? Made a temporary repair with waterproof mastic. Wait and see, fingers crossed! . . . shopped and took the film in for developing. Couldn't help notice a young woman in Sainsburys in leather jeans with a split up the back. As I walked home she was in front of me all the way and her body language, continually looking back over her shoulder, suggested she was worried by my presence because it was dark and I was male. I HATE it when I cause women fear simply by being male. I'm a nice guy!!! We both had to stop at traffic lights so I assured her I wasn't following her and couldn't help inform her that she had split her trousers - 'not that I was looking at her bottom of course'!!!! She said someone else had just told her about the split as well. A quick embarrassed chat as we walked and then I felt obliged to announce I was turning right at the next street, just in case she was going that way and thought I was following her! That would have really freaked her out! She said she was going in a shop anyway . . . ate at last . . . M/D confirmed the hospital had given Sis1 the all clear again . . . SH popped in for coffee and chats. Put the floorboards back down in the bedroom . . . PCd till late/early. Blurry eyes/light headed! Need to eat more. Only two ham roles today! (3/10)
7 - PCd . . . TVd (4/10)
8 - PCd . . . collected the photos test from the developer. They all came out ok!!!! Bought a box of cheap films intending to do some more . . . SH popped in for coffee and after long agonising deliberation, I agreed to buy his motorcycle for 200. For that price I just couldn't say no!! SH said he'd try and organise a van with AC and drop it down later. Later came and went and eventually he rang to say they couldn't do it today. I said I'd pop up the next day and try and get it going and ride it home to save the hassle (compulsive self reliance) . . . TVd. Very nervous about buying another bike and maybe not having the 'spark' left in me to actually do the necessary work and get it on the road. But I so desperately want 'some' form of transport and if I can resist the urge to modify it and can get an MOT on it at minimum cost, I'll have some real cheap means of getting around. Who knows, if I get back on a bike it may give me the urge to shift the Harley at long last? Worry, worry, worry!! (4/10)
9 - PCd . . . walked up to SH place with a helmet and gloves. Shaking like a leaf and feeling sick with worry!!!? The bike battery was dead so jump started the bike off the car battery and, making sure I didn't stall it, I quickly illegaly rode it home down the back streets with SH following in the car. It was real worrying but felt kinda good to be back on a bike. First time in how many years? Went rather well. Got the bike parked up in the front garden and recovered. The worry/effort absolutely exhausted me! Phoned up and rushed round the Post Office and got the money out and paid SH. I am now the 'worried' owner of a 1979 Honda CX500 in need of at least a new battery, fork seals, rusty swing arm repair, ???? and who knows what. Another bike joins the 'Kingswood bike graveyard'? . . . very concerned about finances. Spending lots of savings!! . . . fell asleep on the settee exhausted . . . PS popped in and we went to visit a female friend of his. Coffee and chats and lots of stroking of cats and dog. Pleasant. . . . PCd . . . TVd. (4/10)
10 - Feel like I may have a cold coming! . . .PCd . . .Walked to a local bike shop, TNR Motorcycles, and bought a new battery 28. In conversation the owner confirmed they still do MOTs but warned about rust in CX500 swingarms!? . . . dismantled the back end of the bike to weld up the rust in the swingarm. It was worse than I thought and looked terminal!!!!! Uh oh!!!!! Phoned the bike breaker in St. George who said they had one. Walked to the breaker only to find the one they had was rusted out too!! . . . phoned another breaker in Iron Acton who said they had one but how to get there?!!! . . . rode the push bike all the way to Iron Acton only to find the one they had was rusted out too!!!!! It was a bit better than mine so in desperation I got the price knocked down to 15 and bought it anyway. . . with the swingarm in a bag on my back the cycle home was hell!!! I'd ridden too far and was exhausted and in pain! Walking was easier than riding. Chest pains and everything!!!!! Got home eventually and collapsed in front of the TV after having dropped in some money to LB in the hope she can get me some duty free tobacco when she goes to France next week . . . LB drunk popped in late till early. (5/10)
11 - Felt unwell/aching . . . spent the whole day cleaning and derusting and greasing/oiling bike bits . . . lost all track of time and thought it was Sunday and couldn't figure out why all the TV programs were wrong!!! . . . TVd. (5/10)
12 - patched, ground and welded up the swingarm . . . SH popped in for coffee . . . gave the swingarm a couple of coats of paint. . . TVd . . . BAD throat!! Too much dust/paint fumes or ??. . . PCd. (5/10)
13 - Shopped for food and grease/WD40/split pins etc. for the bike . . . touched base with CW . . . started putting bits back on the bike. Rain and bad light stopped play. TVd. (5/10)
14 - Put the rest of the bits back on the bike. Washers left over?!!! No - I'm right. Whoever put the suspension units on didn't do the right thing. Test drive up and down outside the house. Tightened up the loose rear brake lever pinch bolt I'd fogotten to tighten!! Polished and cleaned up the cosmetics and inspected everything eventually satisfied it was ready for an MOT attempt. Damn . . front brake light switch is faulty. Dismantled it to find it was totally worn out. Attempted a temporary fiddley repair with solder but after an hours work came to the conclusion it was totally unsalvageable. All ready for an MOT except for a stupid plastic switch!! Damn! Phoned Fowlers who confirmed they were in stock but about 10!!!!!!! . . . TVd . . . surfed the net . . . somehow didn't get to bed and ended up staying up all night!!!!!!!? (5/10)
15 - By morning I was feeling real tired but was determined not to waste the day especially since more bad weather is forecast for the weekend. Walked to the breakers at St George but they had no switch. Heading off on the long walk to town and Fowlers I stopped in a charity shop and couldn't resist buying a as new pair of walking type boots for only a fiver. Passing MR Motorcycles in Redfield I asked on the off chance if they had a switch. Yippee, they did but 7!!! Got the bus straight back home, fitted the switch and rang TNR Motorcycles to see when I could bring the bike in. He said he could probably fit me in before lunch so off I went on the bike shaking like a leaf/anxious to see if it would pass. I've never ridden anywhere without insurance before but, needs must. I'm not spending hundreds of s on insurance only to find it fails the MOT and it is all money wasted!! I hate MOTs. My fate is out of my hands. Walked about and wasted time for an hour and yippeee. IT PASSED. Thank goodness. Chatted about PCs for a bit before heading back home to clear up and collapse, exhausted. Too tired to sort out tax and insurance today. That can wait. The hard bit is done. . . . fell asleep on the settee for a couple of hours . . . ate . . . TVd . . . dug out my old mildew covered leather jacket from the cupboard just in case I dare wear it again at my age! . . . balanced my battered finances! . . . PCd. (5/10)
16 - Woken up earlyish by junk mail arriving . . . phoned for insurance quotes and had the best one from the Swinton broker just up the road. Reactivated my suspended RAC cover by phone 56 and then walked up and got my insurance. 175 excess but it only cost me 92.90 for TPFT!!!! That was a REAL nice surprise. Walked to the Post Office and got the 12 months road tax 60. Quick bit of shopping and rushed home intending to go for a ride,all legal. . . .ML popped in very briefly and caught me wearing my old leather jacket . . . posted card to JB . . . went for a ride. I felt strangely guilty as though I wasn't allowed to be out and certainly not on the road, on a bike?!!! I am 'allowed' to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very carefully went up Tog Hill. Road works were being done and the road surface had been 'scratched' ready for surfacing. Front tyre tread got in the groove a treat and ended up throwing me about all over the place. Very wobbley/unnerving. Stopped in the picnic area for a cigarette and to check that nothing was about to fall off. Headed out onto the motorway and sped back towards Bristol testing the bike and my nerve. Did 85mph for a few miles. Hard work and REAL cold!!!! Bike went fine although very clattery as if gaps need adjusting or the cam chain is going. Oh well . . . it should last for a bit before destruction. That'll do. . . . passed by Sis1 house but her car wasn't there so kept going . . . Stopped in at DH for a coffee and then went to see SH a little up the road working on his new Land Rover toy. . . . back home to warm up and relax. It was really nice to be back on a bike. Cold but nice. Although my confidence needs building lots, my first ride in years didn't go too badly . . . it felt right. Just like riding a bike I guess. . . . TVd/PCd till early. (5/10)
17 - Felt tired and lazy all day . . . PCd/TVd . . . phoned JB to say happy birthday . . . late at night there was the sound of something breaking outside and people running away. Went out, as did several of the neighbours, but couldn't find anything damaged?!!! . . . PCd till early. (4/10)
18 - Did a bit of housework, vacuuming and tidying up. Spent some time trying to remove bike oil/grease stains from the living room/conservatory carpets. Phoned Sis1 and asked to borrow her wet and dry vacuum when convenient. . . .popped outside and asked if my next door neighbour wouldn't mind trying not to park across my gate as I now had a bike back on the road again. He joked 'for a small fee'! I didn't find that funny at all. He asked if I was going out now and I said no, so he left his car parked across the gate so I can't go out if I want to without having to get him to move it. Jerk!!! Maybe I should decide to go out at three in the morning and go and wake him up!!!! . . . PCd. Formated the C drive trying to fix my 'compulsive connect' problem!! It seemed to be something to do with a mysterious 'qazwsx.hsq' file!!? Picked up something nasty somewhere. Spent hours and hours laboriously trying to rebuild everything. By 02:30 I was just starting to make progress trying to reinstal everything that I have disks for!! Nightmare! (4/10)
19 - Up late . . . TVd/PCd . . . LB returned from her shopping trip in France armed with my tobacco order. SO cheap!! Helped her unload her car. Huge amounts of wine!!!!!!! (4/10)
20 - A day of sunny spells so I took the bike and went to Ashton Court, - because I could, and experimented with the camera some more. Took loads of shots of deer and then dropped the film in for developing! . . . PS popped in for chats. He'd forgotton to tell me that he HAD managed to get us tickets for the comedian and it was this Friday! More expense! Been a VERY expensive month!!! Neighbour had ignored my request and had parked across my gate again! (5/10)
21 - Cleared stuff away from around the TV and video and nervously waited for the cable company to arrive . . . just after ten thirty he arrived and was gone by eleven . . . extra digital channels ok, BUT . . what they don't tell you is that you can no longer record a channel other than the one you are watching, and there is no longer any Teletext!!!!!! I can no longer watch the cable on all my TVs throughout the house and really need a terrestrial roof ariel again!!!! A backward step. . . . LB popped in with her spaghetti lunch leftovers. Never refuse a free meal! . . . spent a couple of hours planeing off wood so the new unit fits on top of the video in the built in unit and soldering and attaching a hidden connection to the stereo. Nice diy 'surround-sound'. Terrible damp penetrating the exterior wall and bay!!!!!!! . . . Sis1 phoned to say she'll be popping in tomorrow . . . TVd of course . . . Been feeling 'ok' for a while now - how long will it last this time?! (5/10)
22 - TVd . . . Sis1 dropped her vacuum in. . . . tried cleaning a couple of carpets but it really was a nightmare and the results really weren't worth the effort! I then tipped the vacuum over and spilt gallons of dirty water everywhere!!!! Cleared up and gave up. Froze to death with all the windows open trying to dry out! . . . SH dropped the motorcycle rack in and I got a lift up to the shops. Shopped and picked up the latest photos. Not too good. . . . TVd. (4/10)
23 - Went up LBs in her absence and fitted the cat flap I'd promised to fit. A fair exchange for her getting my duty free tobacco. Nerve wracking enlarging the hole in her PVC double glazed door and cutting off bits of the new flap, but it worked out quite nicely in the end. Spent even longer trying to clean loads of muck, cat food, cat hair, sticky tape off the door and leave it in a 'as new' condition. Left it looking ok. . . . LL said she 'may' pop in so I tidied up and made ready to accept visitors. Nervous wait ALL evening but she changed her mind and didn't turn up! I HATE it when that happens!! . . . TVd. (4/10)
24 - Cleaned up the vacuum ready for Sis1 to pick it up . . . PCd . . . waited in all day but she didn't turn up! Phoned her to find out what was going on and she said she had gone Christmas shopping instead and would pop in some other time. I HATE it when that happens!! . . . got ready to 'go out' with PS to go and see Bill Bailey (Link1 / Link2 / Link3) at the Colston Hall. Haven't been 'out' for so long I had a bit of a wardrobe crisis?! . . . PS got a lift to my place and at about seven o'clock we left to go get the bus. The show started at eight o'clock and by a quarter to we were STILL waiting at the bus stop with a huge crowd!!!!!!! Nightmare!!!!! At last the bus arrived and off we went. The journey from hell. Packed bus stopping at every stop and every traffic light was red. We were gonna be late. Then the bus suddenly took off around a load of back streets and drove into the bus station and stopped to change drivers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The new driver was more like Michael Schummacker. By about eight fifteen we were getting off at the centre and running to the Colston Hall. On arrival we were told there had been a technical hitch and the start had been delayed. Thank God! Lucky! . . . Bill Bailey was VERY funny. Very clever and SO musicaly talented. A good show. . . . waited on the centre amongst the urinating drunks and mayhem for about half an hour and finally got the last scheduled bus home at eleven tewnty seven. . . a glass of wine and chats . . . TVd till early. (3/10)
25 - Up late with an awful headache . . . suddenly remembered I'd forgotten. Rang M/D to check that the removal of Dad's skin blemish went ok a couple of days ago. A couple of stitches but all ok. Stitches out in a few days, biopsy results in a couple of weeks! They said they would be coming up in about a week and would bring their old two seat settee and chairs up in a van for me and that I should investigate the best way of getting rid of my old three peice. . . . .more rainy/windy weather. Seems like it's been raining non stop for ages. . . . PCd/TVd . . . briefly popped up LBs to pay her back the small change I still owed her for the tobacco and to taste a choclatey thing she'd made and have a coffee . . . TVd . . . up till early as a gale howled and battered outside! (3/10)
26 - Went out on the bike between heavy showers and went to Fowlers in search of a new pair of bike gloves. Couldn't believe the high prices. 60 upwards just for gloves!!!!!? Spent ages going through a large tub of cheaper ones but all still about 27. Suddenly found a pair for 14.39. The cheapest ones there - they'll do! Tried on a couple of the cheapest new open face helmets and decided I would be better off buying a new one in the near future rather than looking for a second hand one. Cheaper than most gloves!!!? My old one is falling to bits and covers my head in bits of dried up foam rubber every time I put it on. It is also far too big and because of the 'lean forward' riding position of the CX it keeps getting pushed up by my leather jacket collar and slipping down over my eyes. Difficult to see red traffic lights!!!! . . . drove straight back home and was covering the bike just in time as the heavens opened again. . . . wearing a leather jacket, dark glasses and riding the bike definitely lifts my mood/gives me a smile no matter how rattley it gets. . . . SH popped in for coffee. Demonstrated the cable TV e-mail only to have it seize and have to unplug the decoder to reset it!!! What a load of rubbish digital cable is!! . . . suddenly decided to destroy one of my three piece chairs!!! Spent an hour or so with a saw/knife/hammer breaking it up into small pieces and cramming it into the wheely bin. The bin ended up bulging but it went in, in the end. More bulk than weight. No more room so I'll have to try not to produce any more 'household' waste for the rest of the week till bin day on Friday!! . . . went for a kebab . . . TVd till early watching motorbike programs. Dream, dream, dream . . . .(4/10)
27 - Up late to the sound of the workmans hammers and banging as the neighbours patio doors project continues - still! . . . more rain . . . PCd. Phoned the Avon & Somerset Police to try and be a volunteer for an identity parade. Thought it may be interesting AND you get paid! Apparantly I'm too old and weird looking to be of much use but they made a note of my name and address anyway. I'm even no use as a bloody criminal!! . . . TVd . . . PCd to the early hours feeling useless and down. (3/10)
28 - Up late. No rain but dark, damp and miserable . . . very down . . . lots of annoying banging from next door . . . someone parked across my gate so I couldn't go anywhere. Definately need to repair the rusty gate and put up a no parking notice to encourage people to leave a space! . . . very, very down!! . . . digital TV was playing up so I couldn't watch much!!!!!!! . . . Sis1 popped in and picked up her vacuum . . . slept on the settee for a few hours . . . bought milk and had three bowls of cornflakes for tea . . . the car was gone so trying to shake off my low I got the bike out and went to see if ML was doing his usual Tuesday night at the Old Fox pub. He was. Chatted/had a pint of orange squash/chain smoked and left when I pleased about 10:20. Typically outside I had to engage in conversation/shake hands with a passing drunk who seemed to like motorbikes!! Why oh why do I ALWAYS attract such people?!!!! . . . Felt better for the ride. TVd but the cable was now completely off/non existant, so I had to settle for the terrestrial channels only. What the hell am I paying for?!!!! . . . finally watched a tape of the last episode of One Foot In The Grave. Heavy/not very funny! . . . PCd till 7am. Bloody web site is down too!!!! (3/10)
29 - Up at 10:30 . . . cable TV was still down so I rang in a fault. They said they would send someone out (why?) between 12 and 3 pm, so I have to stay in all afternoon - AGAIN!! Raining again and I can't get the bike out again anyway, so . . ? . . . at 11:55 AC turned up. He had been given my job, which was nice. He fitted a 10db attenuator and my TV problem seemed to be cured. Coffee and chats . . . started working on a hand painted aluminium 'No Parking' sign for the gate - it'll look silly but has to be done! . . . TVd. (3/10)
30 - The old PC monitor in the living room finally gave up on me so I can no longer surf from the settee! . . . no rain for five minutes so I got the bike out and went to B&Q at Longwell Green to see if they sell angle iron that would do for my rusty garden gate repair/restoration project. They did, so I bought a piece for 5 and rode back home with a meter long piece of metal stuck out of the top of my leather jacket!!!! Dropped it off at home and went down Fowlers and bought an oil filter for the bike. An attempt at an oil change will have to wait until better weather. The filter housing bolt has been rounded off so it may be a problem. A new one would cost 27!!!!!!!! . . . took the gate into the back garden and cut off the bottom rusted section with the angle grinder and grafted in the new angle iron with the arc welder. Despite my poor welding skills it all went ok considering the amount of rust, apart from a bit of warping due to the heat. . . . SH popped in for a coffee. Showed him the broken monitor - hit it (!!!) and it started working again for a while!! . . . Back to the gate, another rusted bit needs replacing but that is going to be far more difficult!!! Spent hours with the drill and wire brush trying to take the rust/old paint off. Got absolutely filthy and covered the patio in bits. Bad light and rain stopped play. Don't like not having a gate on the garden - everything in it seems more vulnerable!? . . . cleaned up/TVd/PCd till 4am. . . . I've now had a couple of lonely heart type personal ads on the web for a week or so and haven't had a single reply! Not one!!! Feel pretty down about it! Was anyone ever so 'unwanted'!! (4/10)