Sarah's Transition Diary .. weeks 313 - 316


.... is for those who might want to contact me about my diary.

Day 2185 - Week 313 - Thursday 2nd December 2010.

Day 2185. Thursday 2nd December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept really well ..

06.10 .. The alarm .. wakes me up and I’m parched .. where’s my water .. DOH. I look out of the Window .. it’s clear Karen won’t be working today .. I get back into bed, she gets up and goes to boot the PC and make some tea ..

Karen has some PC problems so I have to get up and sort it .. she’s managed to crash the new W7 PC, so I boot my laptop so she can get to the web sites she needs to see to find out if the school will be open ..

07.05 .. I head for the shower ..

08.05 .. I’m on the road to work ..

Getting out of the village is the hardest part .. once I get to the A30 things are a lot easier .. there’s a lot less traffic on the roads, though some are crawling far too slow on well salted main roads ..

There’s a lot less snow in Buckinghamshire for sure, though it does start to fall powdery snow as I approach M40 J2.

I decide to take to the country lanes again .. including a single track road with passing points that is all up and down hills .. called Welders Lane. I discover Violets ability to get up a icy hill is amazing, albeit with the VSA light on most of the time .. it’s going down the otherside when I discover ABS is useless ..

At one point I’m going down hill with engine braking in 1st gear when a big 4x4 appears in front of me someway off . .I start to brake .. but accelerate, I end up releasing the brakes for a moment and steering the car into the bank to get some extra retardation .. I stop about 5 - 7 yards short of a gentle head on .. tomorrow I’ll go the long way round ..

09.22 .. I arrive at work ..

In the office Peter’s been to the canteen and acquired a take away cooked breakfast .. I know I shouldn’t, but I do .. and walk to “The Canteen” to get a box with sausages, bacon, hash browns and baked beans .. £2.92 .. gulp .. maybe I won’t do it again .. but gosh it was lovely .. << grimace >> 

10.10 .. ish .. I call Karen to let her know I’ve arrived safely ..

10.30 .. I start my duty of the daily checks ..

17.40 .. I’m in the car heading for home ..

18.28 .. I’m home .. apart from the local village roads, the trip back wasn’t too bad .. tomorrow morning might be different.

19.21 .. Dinner is served .. “Cantonese” chicken with rice .. followed by fresh pineapple .. Claire’s pineapple from last weekend .. she never got here to collect it.

A long chat with Hazy ..

22.15 .. I say goodnight to Hazy ..

22.35 .. Time to head to bed ..

23.25 .. I climb into bed .. nightie night ..

More to come ...

Day 2186. Friday 3rd December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept really well again ..

06.10 .. The alarm .. I snuggle down and dose off .. Karen isn’t guarding the time as school is shut today again ..

06.45 .. Oop’s .. I’m a little late getting up ..

08.22 .. I’m on the road for work .. the local roads are actually worse than yesterday ..

Where I work, it’s way up on top of a hill in the Chilterns, and the “complex” is off a road that links two villages. The opportunities for variations in the route are amazing, either via M40 J2 ( favourite for lighter traffic in the mornings by going west, or via the first junction the other way east .. M40 J1.

Following advice from Mark, one of my colleagues, I’ve gone via M40 J1 today, and decided to experiment with a new route . .following the A40 up to Gerrards Cross, turning right through “the village centre” and beyond .. into the country side and work.

I think this could be the magic cold weather route, as there are no drastic up and down hill bits .. it’s a very gentle climb most of the way from the motorway, unlike the A413 route.

09.23 .. I arrive outside the office ..

10.05 .. ish .. Time to start the daily checks .. last day as “duty engineer” this week ..

12.25 .. Time for my lunch ..

16.57 .. A message from Jon .. go when you can ..

17.10 .. I’m on the road ..

17.45 .. A stop in Egham for a top up .. but it’s not V-Power ..

18.08 .. I’m home .. time to unload the car of it’s emergency supplies. Karen isn’t a well bunny again, she’s starting a cold again ..

18.15 .. Dinner part 1 is served .. spicy soup .. soon followed by tagliatelle with mushrooms, chorizo sausage and onions .. lovely .. dessert is bio yogurt with oat granola and honey.
20.25 .. I make the tea ..

21.59 .. I’m back down stairs to dry my hair ready for bed ..

Skype chat with Gillian in Kentucky ..

22.52 .. Kirsti pops up on Yahoo ..

23.09 .. I say goodnight to my friends and head to bed .. nightie night ..

More to come ...

Day 2187. Saturday 4th December  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept really well again ..

08.30 .. I’m disturbed by Karen getting out of bed for a pit stop .. she then goes and makes a cup of tea for us both. As she heads down, I go do the pit stop thing.

Back in bed together Karen is clearly un well ..

08.55 .. Up and at it .. first things first .. I call the hairdressers to let them know Karen’s cancelling her 10.30 appointment .. Ashleigh the boss is fine with that .. “See you at 10 Sarah “ .. 

It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st  6 1/4lb .. I quickly do breakfast and head back up to shower..

09.55 .. I head out to the car and the hairdressers .. a thaw has set in and the road out or where we live to the main road is treacherous .. water glazed ice .. oo er, I seriously have to crawl to the main road, making me late.

10.03 .. I’m in the hairdressers .. Skye is doing my hair as usual, and fits in a man for a quick trim while my hair colour takes ..

12.10 .. I leave the hairdressers and head to Lightwater .. to wash the car if poss and get a few items

I wash the car, and take note of the petrol prices in Lightwater .. these must be the most expensive in Surrey .. 123.9 for unleaded .. 132.9 for the premium unleaded ..

12.48 .. I’m back home .. Karen is still in bed ..

12.55 .. I phone my mum to see if she needs anything .. the tone of her voice as she answers tells me yes and it’s going to be a hard time too ..

13.07 .. Off the phone .. with a shopping list.

13.25 .. Julie pops up on Facebook to type chat .. she’d just made a comment on one of my Canadian photographs on my SH profile ..

13.30 .. Karen comes down stairs to make tea ..

13.32 .. Time to make lunch ..

14.35 .. I head for Waitrose and my mum’s ..

15.25 .. ish .. I’m pretty close to finishing my shopping when the fire alarm goes off and we are all thrown out of the store into the cold .. to walk or not to walk, abandon my trolley and basket to the staff and go else where ?

15.35 .. ish .. after one false start .. we are allowed to carry on shopping .. lucky I hadn’t got to the frozen section yet ..

16.35 .. I’m home from Waitrose .. quickly unload our stuff then head of in Red to my mum’s. In Egham I want to fill the car up .. the Shell garage has put all it’s prices up again, and has no fuel other than V-Power .. not going there .. so I drive round the corner to the BP at the bottom of Egham Hill on the A30 ..

The BP has only two pumps delivering ordinary unleaded .. so I queue for one .. and the prices .. seems like they are in cohoot with the shell garage by inflating the price of there 97 premium unleaded by 9p a litre.

17.05 .. I’m in my mums ..

18.10 .. I’ve had enough and head for home .. on my way out I take my mum’s rubbish out to the bin park .. and get soaked below the knee because as I open the gate a burst water pipe sprays all over me .. DOH.

18.30 .. I’m home ..

19.15 .. I phone for a Chinese .. it takes a while to get through .. when I do Mary tells me “30 minutes” .. hmmm .. so that will be 45 ay least ..

20.05 .. I’m in the Chinese .. and take a seat along with many others ..

20.10 .. I leave the Chinese with our food ..

20.16 .. I’m home .. a bottle of Chardonnay helps wash the food down ..

20.45 .. Food over,

23.45 .. I head upstairs to bed ..

00.35 .. I climb into bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2188. Sunday 5th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept really well again ..

08.** .. I’m awake, facing Karen’s side of the bed which is empty .. I dose off ..

08.50 .. Karen returns to bed with cups of tea ..

10.06 .. Up and at it ..

12.55 .. lunch ..

13.45 .. I head for the M&S store at the Meadows in Camberley .. in Sparkle .. except she’s as dead as a stone .. not a glimmer from the dash .. she’s been in the drive unmoved for about 3 weeks. I head for Camberley in Violet.

14.05 .. I’m parked up at the Meadows close to the entrance to M&S ..

I’m starting to doubt the wisdom of buying M&S underwear, well bra’s in particular. I’ve set out to buy 3 x 40C bra’s .. this is a very hard to find size .. but so many M&S bra’s rely on flimsy plastic eye’s in the straps now, and I know they break to easily after hardening in the washing machine. I end up with one bra costing £20 that has metal fittings, and a set of two for £20 that have plastic ones .. DOH. Add three pairs of camisole tops, another set of 2 hook extenders and I’ve got a bill for £80 !!!

I head for the food section to get a roast dish for tonight .. and end up buying two .. can’t decide.

15.20 .. I’m back in the car, about to leave .. DOH .. were’s the tights I intended to buy .. so I go back in.

As I’m queueing again to pay for my 3 boxes of tights, I spot a really nice skirt .. 36" long too .. but I’m in a hurry and can’t be sure if this M&S size 16 will fit me .. so I leave it .. 

16.05 .. I’m home .. time to try and start Sparkle .. so I pop Violet in the drive bonnet to bonnet ready to try jump starting her.

I get into some easier clothes, including my mega body warmer. I open the garage and try starting the bike, which hasn’t been run for about 6 weeks .. it’s a struggle .. but she’s soon running, I’ll leave it till she’s well warmed up.

I find my jump leads .. and hook up the still running Violet with Sparkle .. I leave it a couple of minutes and try starting sparkle .. doesn’t want to know .. so I go sit in Violet and increase the revs for a couple of minutes before trying Sparkle again .. success .. phew. I separate the two cars and move Violet clear of the drive, then move Sparkle out and leave her running behind Red.

With Violet parked back in the drive .. I switch the bike off, put the jump leads in the back of Sparkle and lock the garage up. After a quick clean up I take Sparkle for a drive. Her 4 wheel disc brakes have got quite rusty, it takes several brake applications to make them feel and sound nice.

Having got 4 miles from home I realise I’ve left my handbag and mobile phones at home .. DOH .. so I loop home again via Virginia Waters, the A30 to Sunningdale and back home.

17.10 .. I nip in to get my bag, then head off down to M3J3 to do a loop up to J5 and back. After passing the services just before J5 I brave it in the nearside lane, I switch my headlights off, clutch in at 55 MPH and cut the engine. It restarts on the key OK, but yes the engine is warm .. phew.

17.48 .. I’m home, I park Sparkle bonnet to bonnet with Violet .. with hind site .. I should have left her in the road so I can quickly leave in Violet if Sparkle refuses tomorrow. I need to phone the garage tomorrow and get Sparkles battery swapped out .. 3 weeks in the drive should not equal dead battery .. it’s clearly on it’s last legs, and the car has 6 months warrantie left.

Karen welcomes me home with a meal that is now cooked ..

17.55 .. Dinner is served .. M&S Moroccan cuscus stuffed lamb, with roast carrots, parsnips and potato gnocchi .. dessert is a home made Apple crumble .. with ice cream .. lovely.

20.15 .. I finally head north to do the drudgery ..

21.02 .. Im in that position ..

21.20 .. I have to stop and try going to loo .. something clearly isn’t right, I appear to have lost more depth and I’m bleeding quite badly ..

21.27 .. try again ..

22.05 .. I head for bathroom ..

22.40 .. Cleanse and stuff finished .. I head down stairs to finish off ..

23.15 .. Karen appears to take micky of my Facebook image .. which is Betty from the flint stones ..

23.25 .. I try a speed test on my ADSL ..

Download speed achieved during the test was - 33738 Kbps
For your connection, the acceptable range of speedsis 12000-38717 Kbps .
Additional Information:  IP Profile for your line is -38717 Kbps

Upload speed achieved during the test was - 8157 Kbps
Additional Information:  Upstream Rate IP profile on your line is - 10000 Kbps

23.30 .. I head for bed ..

23.35 .. I’m in bed .. Karen’s watching TV ..

More to come ...                                   

Day 2189. Monday 6th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept well ..

06.10 .. The alarm ..

06.22 .. Up and at it .. I nip down and crank the heating up ..

07.05 .. I’m back in the bedroom, the new bra I’m wearing feels odd, it’s comfortable but the “C” cups seem a little large .. time will tell ..

07.25 .. I’ve booted the PC and go and get my breakfast and pills to take ..

07.29 .. I’m back at the PC .. but there is no internet access .. I reboot the modem in the dinning room and the “Home Hub” in the lounge .. no difference ..

07.40 .. I tell Karen the broadband is broken and click on Firefox to demonstrate .. it loads fine, so the broadband is back .. 

08.12 .. I’m on the road to work ..

08.50 .. I leave the M40 at J2 and join a stationary A40 back  towards Gerrards Cross and London ..

09.12 .. I’m in the car park at work .. time for the long walk to the office, as I’m boot free .. << smiles >>.

09.16 .. ish .. I’m in the office, Mark who came from the other direction has just beaten me in, and Tracy is in ..

Phone calls to British Gas .. Grrrrrrr .. and the Garage that sold us Sparkle .. apparently the battery is not covered by the warrantie .. hmmm .. but they are eager to sell me another rubbish Honda battery. Sparkle is 3 ½ years old, 30k miles .. and the Honda battery is dying, Reds battery died at 37 months old .. the replacement Bosch Asia Silver battery is going great guns 5+ years later .. I’ll get another for Sparkle ..

12.30 .. ish .. Lunch .. PABS ..

Boss Jon is off sick and he was on call .. we are a little thin on the ground this week in the office with 3 away on a course .. and Mark has a prior arrangement, so I’ve agreed to take the engineer on call baton from him for tonight, though he’s said he will be my phone a friend.

16.30 .. ish .. I’m looking for a crimp tool in our workshop, which is now in a terrible state. The MD from my last company was always on my back for having a slightly cluttered workshop, he never understood what being a sole engineer was, but this is a little ridiculous, with piles of empty boxes, that should have been trashed, or put in our box store, yes we have a massive container for just storing boxes, where I used to have to use a little void between two parts of the building that few knew about.

Enter our mega boss, Quentin .. he’s horrified at what he see’s .. and’s muttering about cancelling Christmas ..

17.38 .. I finally leave the office and head for the car .. gosh it’s cold. Sparkle starts nicely, but that battery will have to go for peace of mind ..

18.23 .. I’m home ..

18.55 .. Dinner is served .. tagliatelle in tomato & mascarpone sauce with baby tomatoes, chorizo, mushrooms and onions .. lovely .. but far too much of it .. << grimace >> .. dessert was yoghurt with oat granola and honey.

An exchange of Yahoo and phone text messages with Kylie in Truro .. she’s coming this way and staying locally to finally meet me and go out for a meal .. I gave Helga the landlady of the pub we’ll be in tomorrow night, to get a table for Thursday .. sorted.

22.00 .. I go up into the loft to get our supply of Christmas stuff down .. and make a discovery .. some cases for Marantz portable cassette machines .. CP230 / 430's and CP130/PMD221's .. I think I’ve discovered gold dust .. I shall have to phone a friend tomorrow to see what he might offer ..

23.00 .. I head of to bed ..    

More to come ...       

Day 2190. Tuesday 7th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I must admit, I didn’t sleep as well as I have recently .. worries of being on call for the first time ..

06.10 .. The alarm ..

09.10 .. I arrive in the office .. where’s my laptop !!!

17.38 .. I leave the office, the walk to the car park is long and cold !!

18.29 .. I’m home ..

19.40 .. I head for the pub ..

19.45 .. I’m in the pub, Amanda has beaten me there and is talking to Helga .. Helga has given the group a couple of £10 vouchers to use against meals in February and March ..

20.15 .. Our straggler arrives .. << smiles >> ..

22.52 .. We leave the pub ..

A quick chat with Kyle on Facebook chat .. we are meeting Thursday night and the good news is she’s going to come femme for the meal ..

00.29 ..  Download speed achieved during the test was - 35688 Kbps
For your connection, the acceptable range of speeds is 12000-38717 Kbps .
Additional Information: IP Profile for your line is -38717 Kbps

Upload speed achieved during the test was - 8111 Kbps
Additional Information:
Upstream Rate IP profile on your line is - 10000 Kbps

00.35 .. I head for bed ..

01.02 .. DOH .. I finally climb into bed.

More to come ...

Day 2191. Wednesday 8th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

After last nights meal I slept really well ..

06.10 .. The alarm goes off ..

06.15 .. No hanging around this morning .. I’m a girl on a mission ..

07.32 .. I’m on the road for Euro Car Parts at Loudwater, near High Wycombe .. the roads are kind .. so no hold ups and I make good progress ..

08.18 .. I arrive at the car parts place to collect the new battery for Sparkle .. it’s the current Bosch equivalent to the Bosch battery I fitted to Red over 5 years ago .. and that’s still going very strong. I also manage to find a cigar lighter power plug, much better quality that the one I “melted” recently .. I’ll have to sort that for the weekend.

08.27 .. I pay my bill and head for work.

I ignore the TomTom initially and head up the A40 towards Gerrards Cross looking for the cheap Shell garage I wanted to use, as Sparkles fuel light came on last night. However, colleagues tell me later I needed to go towards High Wycombe, the other way, to locate that .. and I drove past Esso and BP garages doing basic unleaded for 119.9 .. and end up at work without filling up .. DOH.

08.54 .. I’m in the office ..

12.55 .. I stop for lunch .. PABS ..

17.55 .. I finally leave the office .. gosh it’s cold outside .. the walk to the car now takes an age.

With the fuel gauge reading a negative amount .. I head back to Beacoinsfield to fill up with BP, as it’s not far past M40 J2 .. but that is now closed so I have to drive another mile or so to reach the Esso .. which has queues for the pumps .. all 10 of them ..

18.28 .. I head for home ..

19.08 .. I’m home .. I’ve managed to get 53.4 out of Sparkle using Esso “Energy” 97 ron ..

The new battery goes in the garage .. to be fitted on Saturday probably .. 

19.15 .. Dinner is served .. sweet & sour chicken with rice .. dessert is a couple of the mince pies from the free box of “Royal Dutchy” I got from Waitrose recently .. with ice cream .. they are lovely .. but they are twice the cost of Waitrose standard ones normally.

19.58 .. To the PC .. I check my e-mails .. and answer a couple . .then do some diary notes for today.

20.35 .. Dawn pops up on Yahoo Messenger “Hiya - you around?” .. then disappears despite my prompt answer .. 

20.45 .. I put the kettle on for a cup of tea ..

Gaynor pops up for a chat on Yahoo .. we agree to meet in the new year to eat somewhere .. but it’s much harder now I don’t work in the west end .. such is life.

21.50 .. No reply from Dawn despite several messages ..

21.55 .. I’m heading to bed via my office, to put the new plug on my Y split lead for the car cigar lighter .. it needs to be ready for the weekend ideally.

More to come ...

Day 2192 - Week 314 - Thursday 9th December 2010.

Day 2192. Thursday 9th December 2010. ( 6 years on HRT today )

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm ..

08.12 .. I’m on the road to work ..

18.40 .. I’m on the road for home .. but the traffic is hell .. more like a Friday night ..

19.45 .. I call Kylie as I gather my things to leave .. she’s already in reception waiting for me ..

19.52 .. I arrive at the Cricketers in Bagshot to collect Kylie ..

19.59 .. We arrive at the pub where I do the “Ladies that Dine” group meeting .. we head straight for the restaurant ..

We are seated, the only people apart from a large party, about 25 mainly male, doing a retirement bash for somebody who sounds like may have worked on the London Underground from stories we over hear.

So we oder some drinks and decide what we are going to eat, sadly for Kylie  they don’t have Bacardi Breezers here, she settles for a “G&T” .. mine will be lemonade again .. the good news is that we can choose from the Christmas menu too if like .. and we do.

We go for the two course option .. I go for a venison main course and ordered it rare .. think I should have gone for medium - rare in hind site .. but it was lovely. Kylie went for a staek option which she said was good.

We chat about all sorts .. Kylie comments at one point that here we are as two women talking about very boyish subjects .. well I can still and it doesn’t bother me doing it to be honest. I also discover why she’s going to Sandown tomorrow .. it’s a model engineering show ..

I go for the cheese board for the dessert course of our 2 course menu .. it’s a huge amount of cheese for one .. but I can’t resist .. and demolish all 4 hunks of it. One is a brie type cheese, and as it’s advertised as an English cheese board I assume it’s Somerset .. but it’s lovely. The blue cheese I’m sure is Stilton .. lovely .. the two “cheddars” are nothing to write home about. Kylie went for a Sorbet .. a large portion arrived and apparently it was very good, but she didn’t manage to finish it.

22.30 .. ish .. I ask for the bill which we split, but it’s taken the staff  3 attempts to actually get it right ..

Bill paid we head into the bar where Kylie buys me a drink .. my third lemonade of the night .. :) Helga turns to us and offers us both work for tomorrow night .. apparently they are going to be busy and short of staff .. << smiles >> .. not really sure, but think she was a little serious.

23.08 .. We leave the pub .. the last ones out ..

23.20 .. I am Home ..

00.25 .. I finally climb into bed .. while laying there I remember one of Kylie’s first lines when we arrived .. she wanted some photographs to remember the evening .. and it suddenly dawns on me she didn’t get them .. << sighs >>.

More to come ...

Day 2193. Friday 10th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept well ..

06.10 .. The alarm ..

06.23 .. up and at it ..

08.18 .. I’m on the road .. but it’s Friday morning, not too cold, and the traffic is kind ..

08.58 .. I’m in work .. 

12.25 .. Lunch time .. PABS ..

15.30 .. Mark goes home early to recover some toil, leaving boss Jon and I to it .. it’s Friday !!!

17.10 .. I get a call from the news room .. a problem .. sadly Karim who I call for help when he’s about the only one left, doesn’t know the arrangement for these PC’s .. luckily they have another complete system that should see the reduced weekend crew through the next 2 days .. 

18.17 .. I’m finally on the road .. luckily the traffic has gone ..

18.56 .. I’m home ..

19.02 .. Dinner is served .. it’s a roast pork joint with roasted carrots, parsnips and ganochi

21.35 .. I do a speed test on my new ADSL .. this is a terrible result !!

Download speed achieved during the test was - 1553 Kbps
For your connection, the acceptable range of speeds is 12000-38717 Kbps .
Additional Information:  IP Profile for your line is -38717 Kbps

Upload speed achieved during the test was - 2480 Kbps
Additional Information:  Upstream Rate IP profile on your line is - 10000 Kbps

After running this test the page came back with an instruction sheet for fault finding and more tests, involving changing log in settings on the “Home Hub” .. I decide to leave it alone and see what the morning brings ..

I boot my own and company laptops .. my own to do updates and transfer my diary across, the company one to back up some data on to my NAS server .. stuff I could use to help a friend if my laptop is at work.

An online chat with Kylie using Facebook chat .. seems she enjoyed last night out with me, but tonight she’s had some “difficulties” in Bournemouth while out with some others .. seems she handled the situation perfectly.

23.22 .. I head for bed ..

00.10 .. I finally climb into bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2194. Saturday 11th December  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept really well again ..

07.30 .. The alarm ..

07.40 .. Up and at it ..  it’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 9 1/4 lb .. OK it’s an own goal .. two evenings out this week, a load of cheese Thursday night while out with Kylie .. hunks of cake earlier in week at work .. loads of chocolate at work the last couple of days ( thanks to Stuart, who came back from a trip to Holland loaded .. )

07.45 .. Back to the bathroom ..

08.15 .. I’m out of the bathroom and need to dress .. it’s quite warm, relatively so freedom of a skirt for a change.

When I’m all sorted and ready to go I take a few things out into the garage from our lounge . .their proper home.

09.24 .. We are on the road to get Claire ..

09.46 .. A Maria pops up on Yahoo messenger, I know several, .. “Burlesque night tonight” .. with every one of my other friends, at least I get a Hi, Hello etc, and a “how are you ?” before anything else .. not this Maria .. and this is one of those hit and run messages .. I follow it up .. nothing after 15 minutes, a lot of mutual “friends” have commented on this style of hers .. none positively.

The traffic through the M25 road works seems to be flowing well on both sides .. so hopefully the homewards trip will be good .. 

10.05 .. We join the M1 .. it’s a smooth trip to Northampton services with no hold ups in the M1 road works ..

10.46 .. Maria suddenly answers .. having gone to trouble to give her the honour of setting her ID as never seeing me on line .. I wonder if I should bother answering ..

10.56 .. We arrive at the services ..

11.02 .. Karen’s phone rings .. the homes car is going to be another 15 minutes or so ..

11.23.. Claire arrives .. seems a little subdued .. and in a car we have not seen before .. a Kia people carrier .. that’s 7 years old !!!

11.28 .. We are back on the road ..

11.55 .. We just pass the Toddington services near J12 and join a queue .. DOH .. this wasn’t here an hour ago .. a few minutes later, an ambulance screams down the other lane .. I suspect there’s been an accident ahead ..

Karen’s phone rings .. it’s the home .. apparently the clutch has just gone on the people carrier that bought Claire down to us.. and the other car is off the road with illegal tires .. the home is crap at organising it’s vehicles .. part of the message to us is that we might have to take Claire all the way back tomorrow. We had planned to meet friends tomorrow night for a meal .. so that would mean setting out before lunch to ensure we could get home after a 5.5 hour round trip ..

12.07 .. We pass the scene .. a old Vauxhall Corsa is facing the wrong way in the outside lane .. it doesn’t appear to be damaged much .. but the paramedics are fusing around the driver .. ho hum.

12.23 .. We join the M25 .. it’s flowing smoothly ..

12.25 .. My company phone rings, my first on call phone call, .. it’s a DJ whose managed to mess up getting her pre recorded show put onto the play out system .. she has the show recorded on a flash card .. she now needs to dub it into the system .. this is very difficult for me .. I haven’t had my Dalet training course yet .. she says herself that she needs to get hold of the dubbing department .. she’s asking me for the phone number .. I suggest she calls MCR that is manned, and to call me back if all else fails.

12.48 .. Karen misses our usual M25 J13 turn off, blaming the TomTom for not telling her .. it never does .. she was clearly in autopilot mode “miles away” .. oo er. So she drives on to J12 and takes the M3 southwest .. following Jane’s instructions. This is Jane’s fastest route to our house from the M25, but with years of experience we know it’s not, it adds 51/2 miles in distance to our journey .. and the long stretch of 50mph zone, on this side of the motorway only, that extends far to far from the M25 up the M3 just slows things down. 

12.59 .. We leave the M3 motorway at J3 .. and head down through Lightwater to home .. 

13.08 .. We are home ..

14.25 .. My company phone rings .. after a short conversation it’s clear I’m going to have to go in to work .. I go to the loo and jump into some jeans ..

14.35 .. I’m on the road .. I take the TomTom advised fastest route .. as it’s “quiet weekend” .. but does mean driving 2.5 miles in wrong direction first ..

Home .. M3 J3 .. M25 clockwise .. to M40 .. west to M40 J2 .. cut across country including Welders Lane ( single track road past Ozzy Osbourne’s place ) .. meet 3 cars coming other way .. DOH ..

15.06 .. I’m at the outer gate .. just got to get in .. and drive across the complex to our part of it. Once I’d wiped my pass at the outer ram proof gates, they only close at night and weekends, the duty security man speeded up my access by opening the other barriers as I approached.

15.09 .. I’m inside the studio ..

15.16 .. Have to use my call a friend card .. so it’s boss JF as three others are still on a course today .. I’ve half fixed one fault .. just need a nudge in right direction .. Jon’s nudge works.

The second problem could have many causes . .but gut feeling takes over .. a mains off reset on a Glen Sound codec works wonders ..

15.27 .. I call Karen as I leave .. I head home via the cheap Esso garage a couple of miles away in wrong direction .. 119.9 for ordinary unleaded .. it’s not a surprise that there is a queue ..

16.20 .. I’m home .. it’s a quick turn around and we head for mothers ..

16.55 .. We are in my mums ..

18.05 .. Claire’s had enough, to be honest so have I after mothers little speech aimed at me .. gosh she twists everything !!!
18.25 .. We are home .. time to order the Pizza ..

18.43 .. I’m back with the food .. we are about 2/3rds way through it when Robert turns up ..

19.10 .. Karen takes Claire up for her evening bath ..

20.15 .. ish .. Claire is in bed ..

22.20 .. I’m heading for bed .. when I see Frankie on line so I try a Skype call to her .. success ..

23.15 .. ish .. I finally head for bed ..

23.55 .. I finally climb into bed

More to come ...

Day 2195. Sunday 12th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

Well it was a bit of a disturbed night, luckily not with calls from work .. more so for Karen who was up with Claire half a dozen times ..

08.30 .. I’m woken by movement again .. Karen getting up to Claire .. this time Claire has seriously disgraced herself .. today could be difficult ..

08.40 .. ish .. Up and at it .. Claire is now staying up so I need to be around.

I sort the breakfast routine .. Claire is not in a good mood .. <<sighs>>.

A call from Claire’s care home .. seriously takes some believing. Two home staff are going to drive one of there own cars to Birmingham, to borrow another homes car, to meet us at Northampton to take Claire home .. then drive to Birmingham to recollect their own car. Seems that Derbyshire hasn’t got any car hire companies open on a Sunday .. they aren’t that far from East Midlands Airport .. hmmmm .. the management of that care home are trying to prove there incompetence to us far too often recently.

10.10 .. I head for the bathroom .. it’s a full monty, I’ve not really kept up with conditioner for a while and Skye (my hairdresser) had commented on it last Saturday .. so I need to do something about it ..

11.02 .. I’m out of the bathroom .. Claire is bought up for her bath ..

11.15 .. I head back down stairs to dry my hair ..

11.25 .. Hair dry enough .. I head for the PC .. but not for long ..

11.28 .. Claire is bought down for me to dry her hair ..

12.15 .. With Karen back down, a short shopping list is crafted and I head for Waitrose ..

12.25 .. I’m in Waitrose .. it’s a short list so should be quite quick .. but it’s very busy and I can’t rush around ..   

When I’ve done my shopping I head back to the car, unload it and take my trolley to the park, two bays away. Somebody has left a handbag in a trolley .. so I lock the car and walk the handbag into customer services. The girl behind the counter takes it from me, that’s it .. maybe I should have dropped a business card in .. public service done .. 

13.32 .. I’m home .. and so is Robert .. he’s not working so he’s come to see Claire before his return .. he’s still on sort of a diet . .so bought his own fruit lunch with him.

14.10 .. ish .. Robert heads for home, as he leaves I offer some financial assistance for his Christmas day food shopping .. he’ll see how much it costs .. I know Karen has ordered the meat. However he says I can supply the cheese and wine ..

14.35 .. We head off to take Claire back .. in Violet .. whose close to a service .. apparently 540 miles to go, Trip A = 33.2 .. see how linear the service indicator is when we get home .. 

I now make a discovery .. Violets cigar lighter socket, not only is it horizontal ( Red and Sparkle’s ones are near vertical ) .. it’s also short .. so the expensive plug I bought last week and repaired my Y split cable with isn’t very secure .. hmmmm.

15.15 .. We join the M1 .. all is well at the moment but we only have 1 minute in hand for our ETA ..

15.25 .. We didn’t get far .. there’s a major hold up in the road works .. as we are 250yds from J10 I hit Jayne’s roadblock option and get a new route .. Karen peels off, but once on top of the Junction the traffic seems to be moving .. so we go back down again onto the motorway .. DOH .. wrong move .. we pass the problem .. a broken down lorry ..

15.40 .. The traffic is moving as free as it can in the roadworks .. but we are a good 9 minutes late .. see if Mrs Schumacker appears once out of the roadworks .. 

15.50 .. We are free of the roadworks .. we do eventually see a glimpse of Mrs Schumacker .. but we catch up with some traffic and have to resign ourselves to being over ten minutes late ..

16.10 .. We are parked up .. no sign of any vehicle from the home .. ho hum ..

16.20 .. Still waiting for the homes staff to appear ..

16.22 .. Karen’s phone rings .. it’s one of the home staff .. they are in a completely different part of the car park .. idiots.

The car appears, a 53 reg Vauxhall “Zafria” type thing  .. but there is a problem .. I’m passed a mobile phone, it’s Hazel on it, she asks me to have a look at the cars wipers as apparently they aren’t working. There’s a afro caribbean bloke driving, clearly he hasn’t got a clue. The two wiper blades are physically broken in different ways. One blade is very broken and the securing clip is broken .. the other the top 3" of rubber has shredded.

To cut a long story short, I make one good wiper out of two and fit it to the drivers side. Leaving the passenger side arm up .. bet it doesn’t stay there. What is really annoying, we discover they have been sitting in that car park for 90 minutes !!! Nobody had the intelligence to call out the AA. Luckily we have wet wipes and stuff in the back of Violet left over from the summer, so I can clean my hands.
We finally transfer Claire to the homes car .. she really is unhappy being made to wait.

16.35 .. We finally leave .. looks like we, no correction it’ll have to be me, are going to have to chat with social services on Monday .. they’ve had their fingers off this case for too long.

16.40 .. We drive into fine misty rain .. oh this is going to be a fun ride home ..

17 .15 .. We get back into those roadworks the broken down lorry is still in the other carriage way .. 90 minutes later !!!! you’d not believe the length of the queue in the on that side .. it went for miles !!!!..

17.28 .. We join the M25 .. it’s moving .. not at 50 but it’s OK, we get to J18 without hold up and once at J17 things are normal .. a 70mph 4 lane traffic jam .. << smiles >>. We should be OK now for our evening out tonight with Tony and Nikki at the Brickmakers in Windlesham .. not too far from us.

17.57 .. We leave the M25 .. we’ve made good time everything considered ..

18.12 .. We are home .. time to get ready to go out .. need to collect our friends at 19.20 .. Service indicator now 340miles .. so it’s dropped 200 miles, but we’ve only driven 157 miles !!

19.25 .. We are on our way .. 5 minutes late already .. when we get to Tony’s I have to go fetch them out to the car ..  Karen and I meet Nikki for the first time .. << smiles >>.

19.33 .. We head for the Brickmakers ..

19.36 .. We are in the pub car park .. it’s pretty empty.

Once inside the pub, which is quite empty, we get some drinks and go and chat in a little room attached to the bar area ..

20.00 .. One of the pub staff comes to try and gee us up to order food .. I’m sooo hungry .. I suggest we head round to our table .. so we do.

In the restaurant its us on a table of 4, then a group of about 10 young men round another large table .. it soon becomes clear that these chaps are from Sandhurst .. some of the things they are saying to impress each other doesn’t give me anything but a bad feeling for staying in officers messes in the future with my job .. but I guess time will tell.

So we order our food and a bottle of red wine, and continue to chat.

The starters arrive, and as usual Karen and I are swapping chunks of food ..

My main course, is a “half shoulder of lamb” . .and it’s wonderful with so much meat .. Tony had the same.

When it came to the desserts .. Karen, Nikki and Tony went for the Baileys brulee .. I ummed and are’d over the apple & cinnamon crumble with ice cream .. but went for the cheese board again.

In the end the food was really quite good, and noticeably cheaper than the Half Moon ..

22.25 .. We leave the pub .. as we do Tony meets a couple of friends going in ..

I drop off Tony and Nikki, as they leave the car we both seem keen to follow this up in the near future .. I mention Karen’s desire to go sample the Half Moon’s christmas menu .. and that I’m not on call next Saturday .. we might have a date for then .. 

22.35 .. We are home, and just in time .. I seriously need the loo ..

23.15 .. I take my company laptop to put by the back door and then  head for bed ..

23.59 .. I finally climb into bed .. 

More to come ...

Day 2196. Monday 13th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm goes off ..

06.32 .. I finally climb out of bed ..

07.08 .. Back in the bedroom, I realise I don’t feel very comfortable .. and discover I can’t get the jeans on I was wearing two weeks ago .. I nip down stairs and do a weight check .. 14st 11 ½ lb .. devastating news but I think / hope this is temporary. Back to the bedroom, I put the freshly laundered jeans from last week back on .. they fit still. 

08.10 .. I’m on the road to work .. it’s not icy but it’s misty in places .. the M25 is very busy .. but keeps moving.

08.58 .. I’m in the carpark ..

09.02 .. I’m first in the office apart from some chaps from the IT department .. the others start to drift in behind me .. led by Tracy.

James arrives .. the good news is that the three of them who went on the IT Networking course last week all passed the course ..

09.30 .. down to serious work .. first things first .. I change the call out number to my phone again for the next 48 hours .. Jon is going to do Wednesday and Saturday for me this week.

James, having read my Facebook updates over the weekend, offers to do Friday for me, as he’s not doing the company bash. I thank him but explain that as I’ll have to drive both ways .. and the venue’s about a mile from work, it won’t be a problem having to answer calls.

James shows me some more of the stuff I need to know to do the “duty engineer” role a bit better ..

We visit Arqiva’s MCR / racks room to see some of our kit. One of the “monthly checks” the duty engineer has to do is check the status of two boxes here. Aghhh .. a problem .. a Sonifex silence detector seems to have partially failed .. something I need to sort.

12.25 .. I eat my PABS lunch in the office while planning what I need to do this afternoon ..

13.05 .. I walk to my car to head down to town to sort the bank and maybe do a little christmas shopping.

13.12 .. I’m parked up in a road side bay half way up the hill .. the HSBC bank is at the bottom .. I go sort that out first.

In the bank .. oh what joy .. a rare HSBC bank with a cashier .. I pay my Visa bill for the last time and pay a cheque in from mother. ASs I’m standing there watching the girl sort things out I spot my own reflection, and realise I have an earring missing. I’m mortified !! I take my jacket off and check to see if I’ve trapped my earring in it .. no luck.

After using the cash machine I head back up to my car. As I’m walking I’m retracing my steps and studying the ground for my earring, ignoring my shopping completely. I get to the car, I look under it and check out the interior .. nothing .. I’m not feeling good about this.

13.35 .. I’m back in the company car park . .I check all round where my car was parked, and follow my route back to the office .. nothing .. my heart is sinking rapidly.

I ask Tracy who I should tell about a lost earring .. she tells me to inform “site help” .. so I do. Site help bounces out my e-mail to the whole site .. there’s a few companies and many employees here .. 
A little later, Joanne from HR, the woman at my interview, and the person who phoned me to offer me the job walks into our office, I do see her occasionally. However she walks straight across to me and holds her clenched hands out .. “left or right” she says with a grin .. I go for my left, her right .. WRONG .. she empties her left hand into mine .. my earring.

Apparently she had found it earlier in our main reception .. and was about to send an e-mail out when my one from “site help” popped up on her desk. I thank her for it and she heads off. Moments later I have tears flowing down my face .. gosh Oestrogen is funny stuff .. NOT .. why am I crying when I’m over joyed ?!?!

I go and find Jon, my boss, to ask his advice as to which silence detector to rip out of our CTA and go put in Arqiva’s MCR / racks room ..

16.00 .. I’ve finally got an apparently working silence detector working in our DAB transmitter feed ..

In the workshop I set to investigating the “faulty unit” .. and make some discoveries .. it’s not actually faulty .. just in the wrong mode .. or is it the right one.

17.42 .. I’m in my car, put my other earring in, but realise I’ve left my lunch box in the office .. I start the car and drive back ..

17.45 .. I’m finally on my way home ..

18.32 .. I’m home ..

18.48 .. Dinner is served .. tagliatelle with mushrooms and tomato sauce, a little fresh grated parmesan cheese and a good grind of black pepper .. lovely. Dessert is half of a rather over ripe mango .. time will tell on that one ..

19.15 .. I do a little washing up then head for the PC ..

20.45 .. I turn the “hot air” heating down to allow the unit to switch off temporarily .. so I can take out the electrostatic filter out to clean it. Gosh .. how was air passing through that .. I don’t know, this hasn’t been cleaned for months .. my fault probably, it’s a monthly job .. allegedly. .

21.00 ..  I make a cup of tea and sit with Karen for a while, then back to the PC to write up today’s tribulations ..

22.45 .. I need an early night, being on call .. this isn’t early enough really ..

23.25 .. I limb into bed, sans hot water bottle .. my thoughts are if I’m a little cool in bed, by bod will ramp up the internal furnace and burn some calories to compensate ..

23.30 .. Karen gets up to make herself a hot water bottle .. maybe she was expecting me to bring her one up when I came to bed, like I’ve been doing for the last few weeks .. she makes me one too !!

Nightie night ..

More to come ...

Day 2197. Tuesday 14th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept well .. all quiet on the work front ..

06.10 .. The alarm ..

07.28 .. I’m finally dressed to head down stairs .. it’s taken me 5 minutes to decide what earrings from all my other ones to wear .. I need to find some art deco turquoise ones to wear with my “baby blue” RNLI sweatshirt ..

08.10 .. I’m on the road .. but the traffic isn’t good ..

09.06 .. I’m in the office ..

13.20 .. I finally get to head out for some shopping .. but it all goes pear shaped as I make some navigation mistakes. I take Violet to the Shell garage I spotted before .. unleaded 118.9 .. V-Power 126.9 .. compare to Egham .. 122.9 & 132.9 repectively !!!

I then head back to M40 J3 and the Loudwater Tesco “Superstore” .. maybe I was expecting to much being used to the Tesco’s at the Meadows in Camberley. I’m looking at phones for Karen .. they have few ..

14.30 .. ish .. I’m back in the office ..
17.45 .. I’m in the car and call Karen ..

18.35 .. I’m home ..

18.50 .. Some soup .. very nice too ..

19.10 .. Dinner is served .. a massive chicken breast with roast mushrooms, peppers and potato gnocchi .. dessert is ½ of a ½ of Mango .. but it’s too ripe .. so a small serving of Yoghurt, oat granola and honey comes to the rescue ..

20.45 .. A cup of tea with a small cake and a very thin biscuit made by Robert .. apparently.

Chats with Lucinda and Maria .. Lucinda’s chat is friendly as usual, the bad news is her partner Margaret has now broken the other ankle to a year ago .. I suspect osteoporosis might be coming into play here .. apparently she’s going to see her doctor.

As for Maria .. her chat box appears without a hello .. just the offer of a photograph, which needs to be rotated .. from her “burlesque” night out on Saturday ..

The chat moves on to gender descriptions .. while she is probably TV from her desires to be glam when ever “en femme”, she’s saying she’s TS .. as far as I’m aware, she’ll never transition .. so she really doesn’t understand what a TS is .. and from chat .. what lies between TV and one extreme to TS at the other .. but then TV’s often can’t either. 

22.55 .. I head for bed ..
More to come ...

Day 2198. Wednesday 15th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

Christmas Lunch in “The Canteen”

The Theale meal ..

More to come ...

Day 2199 - Week 315 - Thursday 16th December 2010.

Day 2199. Thursday 16th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

No notes today .. sorry ..

More to come ...

Day 2200. Friday 17th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

08.38 .. I finally arrive at Chiswick Honda .. it takes a while to sign my car in and the loan care out. I’d been hoping for another Honda Civic Hybrid .. but get a 2,020 mile old Jazz 1.4se .. and I’m staggered to find it’s got the service computer that my EX has .. and it’s predicting a first service at about 5,500 miles !!!! .. not the 12,500 Honda suggest.

I drive off .. to discover the car is running on vapours .. lucky there is an Esso garage under the M4 close by.

09.35 .. I finally get to work .. 

12.35 .. Lunch .. PABS ..

14.00 .. It’s hammering down with snow outside .. and settling.

17.25 .. I’m on the road for home .. this is the Friday night from hell ..

19.10 .. I’m home .. time for a wash and quick change and some sort of face on,  and get out again ..

20.02 .. I head for the company bash ..

21.25 .. ish .. I arrive at “The Village Hall”, Chalfont St Peters .. it’s pretty noisy inside .. with a live band playing the music for Karioke.

I soon find most of my “Technology” colleagues .. find one of the organisers to get my 4 free drink tokens .. I’ve got to be on soft drinks as I’m driving, and on call.

Well I am very late .. it’s closing at 1 am .. but all the curry has gone, just a some odd sausage sticks left .. I’ll have to make a meal out of those ..

I’m introduced to the real head of HR .. she’s coming back to work in January .. probably .. replacing Joanna.

Another girl comes over to me and starts to chat .. 

23.00 .. ish .. I slip out and head for home ..

00.15 .. ish .. I’m home ..

00.57 .. I finally climb into bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2201. Saturday 18th December  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

08.00 .. I haul myself out of bed ..

It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 10lb ...

09.03 .. I’m on the road ..

10.02 .. I’m in Chiswick Honda’s .. my company phone rings, it’s boss Jon, he was going to be covering for me today .. but he’s been off the last few days .. so it’s back to me .. but he’ll be my phone a friend if needed.

I sort the paperwork and head out to Violet who’s obviously been in a workshop or something overnight .. as she’s spotlessly clean and no snow, just a little frost on the glass.

I prepare to leave, and check the service sensor has been reset .. it has .. but it’s telling me next trip to garage is in 5050 miles !!! .. WHAT??.

A service chap goes and looks, and says that is when the pollen filter is due to be done !! .. I comment this is a little ridiculous, specially as the’ve stamped my service book up to the 2year / 25,000 mile service .. it’s 16 months old and 19,950 miles !!. It seems with this wizzo Honda service indicator .. the number of trips to the garage is going to increase considerably ..  

10.18 .. I’m on the road ..

M3 !!!

11.28 .. I leave 4 BMW’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine” .. maybe to be renamed “The Ultimate Slivering Machine” on the slip road as Violet effortlessly goes where a BMW can’t in the snow and head into Lightwater. I nip into the chemist .. still no Oestrogel after 6 weeks .. then into Budgen’s .. this proves to be a mistake ..

11.55 .. I start to queue to pay with my basket .. Budgens Lightwater only has 5 tills ..

12.41 .. I finally get to pay for my basket of shopping then leave ..

12.50 .. I’m home ..

13.10 .. Lunch part one .. spicy chicken soup with a slice of school whole meal bread.

Part 2 is “French Bread” and some cheese ..

I go outside and take some photographs ..

15.05 .. I head for Waitrose to get a few more bits .. the main road out of the village is unbelievably .. icy and pretty .. wish I had my best camera with me . .my HTC phone camera isn’t really good enough.

16.22 .. I’m home .. question is should I now head for Camberley .. in the end I decide not too .. I’ll do that tomorrow.

More to come ...

Day 2202. Sunday 19th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

10.20 .. Karen makes me jump putting a cup of tea down behind me ..

11.10 .. Up and at it ..

11.40 .. I head for the bathroom ..

12.50 .. I head for Camberley .. Tesco & M&S in my sights ..

16.50 .. I’m home ..

19.20 .. Dinner is served .. Spicy Mango Chicken, with roast gnocchi and carrots, and some Petit Poi 

21.12 .. I head up to do the drudgery .. I’m not feeling well and have developed quite a cough .. dilation and coughing fits do not go together .. especially as I’ve chosen to give my self a christmas present .. trying the large dilator again .. haven’t used it since Ms Nutt told me to stop that one back in January, if I remember correctly.

21.47 .. I’m in that position ..

22.25 .. Time to try “number 3" again .. it’s really difficult and quite painful ..

22.33 .. I’m finally there .. but I can’t do dynamic .. this really does hurt .. I stick it as long as I can ..

22.45 .. Enough .. I can’t take anymore .. I head for the cleanse. I make a near fatal mistake .. I drop No 3 in the sink cause I’m not holding them properly .. slippery swines these Thai boyfriends .. it’s survived but there’s a little chip in the sink enamel .. bum !!!

23.25 .. I’m fully sorted and go to find Karen ..

00.25 .. Karen finally climbs into bed .. nightie night.

More to come ...                                   

Day 2203. Monday 20th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

07.08 .. Oop’s .. I slept through the alarm .. I feel terrible but need to get into work ..

08.35 .. ish .. I’m on the road to work ..

09.32 .. I’m just joining the M25 at J13 .. when my mobile rings .. it’s Phil .. he’s been waiting for a train for ages ..

09.57 .. I’m just entering Chalfont St Peter when my mobile rings .. it’s my boss Jon .. I explain where I am .. he’s going to call back later ..

10.15 .. ish .. I’m finally in work .. Seb and Tracy seem to be it at the moment ..

10.24 .. Jon calls again ..

11.40 .. I take a Lemsip .. but it’s my only one .. I’ll have to go shopping at lunchtime ..

12.25 .. Lunch .. PABS ..

12.50 .. I head for Gerrards Cross .. we need some milk for our tea/coffee facility .. and I need to investigate a possible gift for karen I’ve driven past ..

Our mega boss calls down with an enquirery .. I can’t answer but Seb and Phil know what he wants .. before handing the phone over Mega boss thanks me for turning up .. when so many haven’t today ..

16.00 .. ish .. Peter finally arrives from Newcastle .. it’s taken him 9 hours .. and now he’s got to pack a hire car and head for Portsmouth ..

16.20 .. ish another dose of Lemsip Max hopefully this will get me home OK ..

I think I’ve worked out how Lemsip stops your nose running .. it dehydrates you via your bladder ..

17.27 .. I head out to my car and head of for home ..

18.22 .. I’m home ..

18.40 .. Dinner part 1 .. a bowl of spicy chicken soup ..

18.58 .. Dinner part 2 .. a home made pasta dish with a tomato and garlic sauce. mushrooms and ham .. Karen’s made some of her garlic bread .. kill or cure for my germs !!

21.05 .. I make myself a cup of Lemsip then head for bed ..

21.30 .. I’m off to bed ..

22.12 .. I climb into bed .. Nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2204. Tuesday 21st December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

02.30 .. I’m awake, woken by the ancient pager we use as an alarm clock .. “battery low” is the message .. DOH. Karen is purring quite loudly beside me .. to be honest I don’t think I slept much after this .. I seemed to watch the clock count up ..

06.10 .. The alarm goes off .. I was awake ..

06.25 .. Up and at it .. my head is splitting.

07.10 .. I’m finished in the shower ..

07.55 .. To call the doctor for an appointment or not .. maybe not ..

08.25 .. I’m on the road ..

I decide to head for M3J3 and head into work that way .. it’s a good call, once out of the village that is.

09.10 .. I’m in work ..

Phil had a nightmare trip home last night so he’s taking today off and starting his holiday .. so I pick up the duty engineer mantle again .. and do the daily checks.

10.00 .. A Lemsip Max strength .. feels like my brain is flopping around inside my head.

12.25 .. Lunch .. PABS.

13.30 .. ish .. an old “friend”, in the form of Eddie the electrician has arrived .. I show him around our CTA, look at the UPS we want to replace and I show him the lean too the other side of the CTA wall where the new UPS could go .. he’s going to send a quote.

16.00 .. Another Lemsip Max .. to be honest I feel poo .. I’m even wearing my company fleece over my normal clothes, scarf .. and I’m shivering .. the office temperature is 22c allegedly.

17.31 .. I finally leave the office ..

The roads are thawing near where I work .. but as I enter Gerrards Cross it starts to snow. This turns to sleet as I go down the A40 to join the M40 at J1. As I’m joining the M25 it starts to rain and the temperature rises to +2c.

18.19 .. I’m home ..

18.42 .. Dinner is served .. butchers pork sausages, with baked beans and garlic mash .. serious comfort food .. as for the pudding .. Karen and I share a bowl of grapes and cherries ..

17.18 .. To the PC ..

I call the Half Moon in Windlesham and book a table for Karen and I on Thursday .. Helga ( the landlady ) says she’ll call me back if she can’t fit Karen and I in ..

20.00 .. I make some tea and then and sit and watch “Top Gear” with Karen .. I massage Karen’s feet and legs ..

21.20 .. Back to the PC .. a quick check of e-mails .. and a little diary update .. 

21.45 .. Time for a Lemsip Max and bed .. but Lucinda pops up for a chat on Yahoo .. the good news is she’s just started HRT .. 50mg patches, so a low dose ..

22.00 .. Time to get my Lemsip ..

Nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2205. Wednesday 22nd December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

09.15 .. I’m outside the doctors .. but where to park .. they’ve blocked off the entrance to the car park .. it has a slope that Violet could easily deal with ..

09.20 .. I’m in the doctors .. luckily the doctor is running late ..

09.22 .. The doctor calls me in ..

I have a chat with one of the managers ..

10.15 .. I finally head for home to get my lunch ..

10.21 .. Karen rings my mobile ..

10.22 .. I’m home .. and call my GP back .. I have to wait for a call back ..

10.42 .. My “trainee GP” calls me back .. she’s changed her mind .. DOH ..

10.50 .. I’m on the road to work ..

11.38 .. I’m in work ..

12.30 .. Lunch PABS  ..

13.20 .. I head for Gerrards Cross for a couple of items .. some more Lemsip Max for home and some 150W or equivalent light bulbs.

The background .. 18 months ago you could not by 150W tungsten BC bulbs for love nor money .. Philips introduced a 105W “EcoClassic” energy saver with 150W equivalent output. The Energy savers, using a little halogen lamp inside a “classic” globe, give a more natural “daylight output” .. fabulous.

The problem : These Philips lamps are supposed to last 2 years .. bull shit. Typically been getting 10 - 12 months and they aren’t cheap. Also, the surge current on these bulbs if they “blow” when flat out, destroys dimmer controls .. so add £18 for a new dual dimmer each time .. not an economy lamp at all.

Yippee !! .. I go into a lighting shop in Gerrards Cross .. looks trendy but they haven’t heard of the Philips 105W lamps .. but they’ve recently started selling GE 70W ( 100W equivalent ) lamps .. “they are new” .. at least 2 years in Waitrose.

The assistant has me about to leave the shop when she mentions that the only 150W bulbs they have are “these” .. original Crompton 150W tungsten bulbs that last ages .. they only have 9 left and won’t be getting any more !!

I bought 8 at £2 each .. and leave the shop doing cart wheels .. so now the shop has 1. I head for the car via Boots for the Lemsip Max and probably the smallest WH Smiths in the world for some late christmas cards.

14.18 .. I’m back in the office ..

16.00 .. ish .. our mega boss is in our office .. he’s suggesting tomorrow is free beer Thursday .. no arguing from us ..

17.40 .. I drive away from the car park ..

17.45 .. My mobile is ringing .. it stops before I can stop to answer it .. with held number .. I call Karen, wasn’t her .. 2 + 2 = GP’s practice manager .. doh ..

18. 35 .. I’m home .. as I enter the kitchen Karen tells me there are two wheels blocking the rear garden path .. it’s the two second hand wheels I’ve bought to put snow tyres on RED.

18.55 .. Dinner is served .. it’s a stunning chicken breast with a garlic pesto sauce, roast gnocchi carrots and parsnips .. was sooo delicious ..

Karen has fun with an HTC Desire I have bought home for the evening .. I’m getting bad vibes over something ..

22.00 .. I take my first antibiotic ..

23.00 .. With Karen out of the way I can start wrapping her presents ..

00.55 .. My face is aching .. so I make a Lemsip to keep me company .. only another 6 things to wrap ..

01.33 .. I’m finished .. I clear up, fill my hot water bottle and head for the bathroom ..

02.02 .. I finally climb into bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2206 - Week 316 - Thursday 23rd December 2010.

Day 2206. Thursday 23rd December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

Sinus’s killing me .. 

06.10 .. The alarm .. I was awake .. but not for long .. oop’s ..

06.43 .. Up and at it .. I head for the bathroom .. oo er .. looks like one of the listed side effects of the antibiotics has not messed around .. glad to know I’m one of 10% of people .. there was me thinking I was a true 3 in a 1000 minority !!!

07.10 .. A quick weight check .. 14st 7lb ..

08.36 .. I’m running late .. but the roads are kind to me ..

09.25 .. I’m in work ..

12.35 .. Lunch .. PABS ..

15.00 .. Our director of technology arrives to officiate the party he has declared for everyone in Technologies ( end of ) the office.

Our office is quite spacious .. but not when everybody is crowded down in our “kitchenette” area .. LOL.

16.15 .. ish .. the party is over and I clear some of the debris ..

17.35 .. I head for home, really don’t want to be late tonight.

I have to secom to using the Shell Garage in Egham, but Violet only gets filled with unleaded ordinaire .. I’m not paying 10P a litre more for V Power.

18.40 .. I’m home .. 

20.02 .. We arrive at the pub .. Helga greets us, she is a dear.

Karen and |I are sharing the dinning room with a table of 5 girls and a massive joined together table for a 30th birthday party for some bloke, organised by his girl friend. She apologises to the room before the mob arrive .. “it might be a little bit noisy”.

I order a bottle of red wine, Pinot Gresio, it’s down to Karen to drink the bulk, but we end up leaving a little.

Well at least this gives us a chance to get ahead on the meal, we’ve finished our starters, and our “champagne sorbet” arrives as the mob does.

Well the food is the usual high standard and at least the older of the female staff whose looking after us, does with the relish she shows the dinning group normally.

It seems 80% of the large group are smokers .. who depart to one of the outside smoking area’s between courses .. which gives some quieter moments.

I go for the cheese board again .. I question the number of cheeses available .. only 3 this time .. apparently this is it tonight. The quantities are a lot smaller tonight too .. maybe I shouldn’t have taken it as a challenge the night I came here with Kyle, to finish the lot .. which I did .. LOL.

Karen can’t manage her mince pie, I do manage to eat one.

22.45 .. We head for home ..

23.45 .. I head to bed ..

00.12 .. I’m in bed .. nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2207. Friday 24th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

11.50 .. My mother calls my mobile .. I answer it, she wants me to get some shopping for her .. well that saves me calling her .. 

12.26 .. I finally leave the office and head for home ..

13.12 .. My company mobile rings .. my heart sinks .. it’s an odd number calling. I answer, it’s the director of technology asking if I’m still in the office .. “negative, but I’m close, I’m in Tesco’s in Gerrards Cross” .. he’s going to try Seb who was still there when I left .. apparently we had an off air bit on one of our radio stations .. DOT says he’ll call me back if he wants me to go investigate ..

13.26 .. I’m back in the car .. I’ve not heard from DOT, so I decide to call the number he called me from .. to make sure I can go home .. after a few rings a fax machine answers .. so OK he has the same arrangement as I have at home .. and he’s used his fax line to call out to me. No answer .. so I head for my mums ..

13.52 .. I arrive at my mums and deliver her shopping .. to keep the peace I walk round to a shop in Egham and get a couple of “fire glow” lamps for her electric fire ..

14.12 .. I’m back in her flat, I quickly fit the new bulbs and head for home. 

14.38 .. I’m home .. time for lunch .. Chicken and garlic soup with a couple of slices of granary bread .. lovely .. I finish a packet of Stolen, 2 pieces .. lovely.

The afternoons job is to sort out the Christmas tree and hang a few glittery things around for Claire ..

More to come ...

Day 2208. Saturday 25th December  2010.

Memory Joggers ...

08.20 .. We are awake .. Karen soon gets up for a comfort break and makes the tea .. don’t know why, but I don’t feel good about myself today .. I think it’s a combination of many things .. Karen has sensed this too.

09.20 .. .. ish .. We get up, well I follow Karen down after a few minutes. It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 8 1/4lb .. well that’s mt holiday week start point. I sort the pills and breakfast routine ..

09.50 .. ish .. We sit to open our presents to each other .. mines the usual sort of things .. including clothes not bought from a tall shop .. so the fit won’t be as by design .. edible things, a couple of triple CD’s of “Greatest Ever ! Driving Music” .. and “Greatest Ever ! Power Ballards” .

For Karen I’d bought several Item’s of clothing .. chocolates, but her main thing was an LG “semi smart” phone in Purple, and some accessories to go with it. I was worried about this as she’d been cooing over the HTC Desire I’d borrowed from work last week .. but she seems quite happy about it .. but the colour purple has won it possibly. We discuss this for a while, to long as it starts to make us late .. but she’s going to try and go with it rather than return it.

So I put the 4gb micro SD card in the phone and transfer the sim card from her old phone to the new one. I’d had the sense to set her old Nokia up so all her contacts got save to the sim card .. so no hassle there.

10.45 .. Karen’s new phone is finally on charge, I set a few basic things on it .. the rest Karen can read the book and fathom out. 

11.05 .. I head for the bathroom .. we are going to be late .. I notice my hair is terrible .. it’s going to at least need a double wash .. so be it ..

11.40 .. I’m dressed and downstairs, hair in a towel, I call my mum to let her know we are running a little late .. what no whinge from her !!!

I set to drying my hair enough.

12.16 .. Finally on the road to my mum’s ..

12.35 .. We’ve arrived at witchie poo’s .. I go in to get her out to the car while Karen climbs into the back .. I’m surprised how light mum’s travelling today .. not a single bag !!!

12.45 .. ish .. We are on the road to Roberts .. Karen’s called him to explain we are going to be later ..

13.10 .. We arrive outside Robert’s .. I have to back into his drive to give mother the advantage of the path he’s cleared .. it takes two attempts to get up the ramp ..  

13.45 .. ish .. Dinner is served. Robert has done really well, the food is well cooked, I wouldn’t have said anything but mother as subtle as ever asks if the kitchen didn’t have somewhere to heat the plates .. OK the food wasn’t as hot as it could have been as a result .. but it didn’t stop me going for seconds.

On the dessert front .. he’d made a ginger and white chocolate cheese cake and had bought in a christmas pudding. I had a portion of each .. << feeling guilty afterwards >>.

23.51 .. I turn the computer off, sort out the kitchen routine and head for bed ..

00.22 .. I finally climb into bed .. nightie night ..

More to come ...

Day 2209. Sunday 26th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept quite well ..

07.10 .. The alarm goes off .. groan ..

07.47 .. Up and at it ..

08.28 .. I’m back in the bedroom to dress.

For the last few weeks I’ve been rubbing a cocoa butter skin cream into my feet and legs till just over my knee .. it’s starting to work but today I squeeze a little to hard  doing the second leg .. DOH .. got enough to do my whole body .. oop’s .. sadly I can’t get it back in the pack .. kitchen roll to the rescue ..

Down stairs I finish dressing, putting on the long flower patterned purple T shirt and purple cropped sleeve pull over that Karen gave me for christmas .. boot laptop and PC and go sort my kitchen routine out .. I finish breakfast then sort out the synchronisation of the laptop via my NAS server.

09.06 .. I head out into the freezing cold, to move Red forward in front of the house so Robert can park outside easier later. I then set to sorting out one very frozen Violet to ready her for collecting Claire ..

09.34 .. We finally leave home .. -7c says Violets thermometer ..

09.52 .. We join the M25 .. it’s a sweltering -5c

10.14 .. We join the M1 .. it’s still -4c outside .. we loose a little more time going through the roadworks so out pops Mrs Schumacker for a while .. till we meet more traffic. In the end we make up the few missing minutes.

10.45 .. We spot a long queue of traffic London bound .. not good news for our  return journey .. and I’m starting to feel a little unwell, with tight breathing and familiar pains in my right arm .. I recline my seat a little.

11.00 .. We arrive at the Northampton services .. the car park area we usually park is solid ice.. so we park a few bays away where clearly some gritting has been done .. no sign of the homes car yet .. Karen goes for a comfort break .. I follow suit on her return.

While we wait we see car after come in and pour water or screen wash solution, even putting “clean snow” on their windscreens to melt and rinse their windscreens. It’s about time the police started doing spot checks on peoples screen washers. It’s not rocket science protecting car washer systems from freezing .. all 3 of our cars work fine. Though it isn’t helped by the terrible quality ( -4 or -6c ) sold by Halfords and most supermarkets. I go out of my way to buy -32c or better concentrate .. in the UK it’s rip off money, in France less than half the price even with a poor exchange rate.

11.29 .. The homes car finally arrives .. Claire is in a good mood it seems. Turns out she only got the bulk of her presents from us this morning .. because the home had forgotten where they had left the bags of presents we handed over 2 weeks ago .. it came to one of them in the early hours of this morning .. they were still in the back of the homes people carrier .. in full view of the world .. it had even been into a garage to have the clutch sorted in between.

11.34 .. We are back on the road ..

11.40 .. An ambulance roars past us and soon we join the back of a very slow queue ..

11.50 .. Back to normal again .. I’m surprised how busy the roads are .. we soon see signs saying “Accident M25 J21 - J20" .. not good news for us ..

11.54 .. 1 mile from J13 .. another queue going into the road works ..

12.26 .. We join the back of the queue of traffic slowly getting off the M1 and onto the M25 westward .. anti clockwise.

12.38 .. We join the M25 at J21 .. seems the nearside lane is travelling the best ..

12.41 .. The accident must have been in the contra flow .. damn .. as we pull level with the entrance to that a police officer is picking up cones .. ready to open it. A short distance on there is a car transporter picking up two cars at once .. an old Vauxhall Nova with the front well stoved and a Peugeot 407 whose damage we can’t see .. according to a traffic flash 4 vehicles had been involved.

12.42 .. We are up to speed a gain as we pass the scene, well the 50mph road works one. My pains  are coming back .. Karen suggests I use my GTN spray .. I’d rather not while on the move with Claire sitting behind me .. I recline my seat one more notch ..

12.51 .. No sooner are we out of the roadworks at J18 another sign is saying delays J13 - J12 .. for the M3 .. hopefully J13 will be clear and Karen can peel off.

13.00 .. Nope .. about ½ mile before J15 we have to slow down with the traffic and see a sign saying delays J14 to J12 .. we  peal off onto the M4 and head West towards Slough, the M25 is stationary heading for J13.We head for J6 to cut down past Windsor, Legoland to Sunningdale and home. Claire is being really good but realises we aren’t following the normal route “go home with mummy and daddy” .. we reassure her.

13.19 .. On the B383 that cuts across from the end of Windsor Great Park to Sunninghill / Sunningdale it’s surprising to see so much depth of lying snow still .. but the road itself is good 

13.32 .. We are home .. I wash the lights and windows on Violet.

13.50 .. Lunch is served, but it seems Claire is unwell, she has a slight temperature and keeps telling us she doesn’t feel well .. but she eats some lunch which seems to pick her up a little.

After lunch we all sit and watch TV till ..

15.15 .. Karen gets a text from Robert saying that Tracy and Roxanne where a no show this morning, so it’s just him and grandad at Wendy’s .. time for us to get ready to go then ..

15.25 .. We head off to see Karen’s auntie Wendy in Laleham ..

18.05 .. ish .. We leave “Auntie Wendy’s” .. but Claire is in a strange mood.

Before we’ve pulled away Claire is attacking Karen in the back .. I bail out and make sure Karen drives, Claire’s torn Karen’s nearly new top, I climb into the back .. Claire attacks me almost immediately with a punch landing on my nose .. she has a go at Robert in the front seat.

Robert tries to intervene but makes things worst .. Claire rips out a handful of my hair. Robert finally manages to grab Claire’s left hand but not before she’s made a gouge at my leg.

So Karen continues to drive .. Claire lunges at me and tries to bite me several times ..

We get onto Staines bypass and Claire has another set too, Karen pulls into a layby .. Robert’s presence is making things worst .. gives Claire more confidence to break free and land a punch to my left eye . .I’m tempted to bail out of the now stationary car and leave Robert the sudden expert in control.

Karen drives on while I barricade Claire into the corner of her seat with my left leg and hold her right arm with my left hand. As we head through Virginia Waters she seems calmer and I relax my grip on her arm and try massaging her hand .. my reward is another lunge and gouge of my hand.   

18.30 .. We are home, I work myself out of my seat belt and release Claire from her’s .. only to find it’s not attached anyway .. Robert opens Claire’s door and she turns that way .. I loosen my grip and back out quickly ..

I haven’t been feeling very well all day .. now I feel worse .. I head for the bedroom leaving Robert to manage Claire with Karen as they are trained experts.

19.45 .. ish .. Robert wants to go home but is worried about getting his car out of it’s boxed in position and then turning it around at the bottom .. so I have to go do it for him !! I drive Red back down across the drives, then move his car out down to the turning place at the bottom, then back to a patch of tarmac so he can get away .. byeeeee Robert.

20.45 .. Claire wants to go to bed .. she’s a lot calmer now .. Karen takes her up then calls me once she’s in bed to say goodnight .. I approach her nervously and kiss her goodnight making sure she can’t lash out at me.

21.15 .. I head to the PC to make some notes for today and check my e-mails.

22.40 .. I head for bed ..

More to come ...                                   

Day 2210. Monday 27th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

It’s a disturbed night with Claire who has Karen up many times, and me leaping out of bed once when I heard Karen screaming at Claire, as Claire lashed out at Karen.

08.15 .. ish .. Karen’s up again .. from this point on I can’t sleep. We watch Claire from our bed on “Claire cam” .. to make sure she isn’t up to no good in her room .. she seems to dose off after a while ..

09.50 .. ish .. Karen brings up some tea ..

10.20 .. Up and at it .. I sneak down stairs so as not to disturb Claire .. and sort the kitchen routine ..

12.32 .. I head for the bathroom ..

13.12 .. I’m in the bedroom sorting myself out post shower .. trying to decide what to wear when I hear a car draw up outside .. Karen calls up to me ..

13.17 .. Two of the staff from Claire’s care home have arrived .. in one of those little Toyota “Smart car” clones. The reason for the visit, is not to take Claire back, impossible in that vehicle, is to bring us her medication. Claire, whose currently sprawled out on the settee saying she doesn’t feel well .. was handed over to us yesterday with the medications belonging to the boy who is resident with Claire in the other half of her unit. Some of the meds where the same, so she’s had some .. and I had a stock of something else, “Movicol”, which she takes.

Apparently heads will roll over this mess up .. Karen and I are now worried because the two staff who bought her down yesterday to us are Claire’s and our’s favourite staff.

13.31 .. The staff depart .. for the return 156 mile part of the trip .. though it sounds like they are going to go the long 180+ mile M40 / M42 route to bypass the M25 roadworks .. which are hell today apparently ..

14.05 .. ish .. Robert arrives to spend some time with Claire and maybe come to Granny’s with us if we’d still be planning to do it .. but we don’t think we are now ..

15.05 .. I call my mum, to tell her that Claire isn’t very well so we won’t be coming around this afternoon .. typical mum goes off the deep end moaning that she’s got a few things out for Claire and why couldn’t I have not told her this morning .. there is no reasoning with her.

16.35 .. Robert leaves us and heads for home ..

I’m just not me at all at the moment, maybe my oestrogen has nose dived due to the antibiotics I’m on .. the doctor did hint at that .. but I feel totally energy less .. I end up curling up in my chair and sleeping on and off while Karen and Claire watch TV.

18.20 .. Claire goes to bed ..

18.50 .. Dinner is served .. a turkey salad, oh what joys .. dessert is a couple of mince pies with brandy butter and a little cream.

20.27 .. Claire is up and downstairs with us ..

20.35 .. Gillian from Kentucky pops up for a chat on Yahoo .. they only have a couple of inches of snow ..

22.39 .. Claire heads back to bed, I head for a comfort break after an excuse me with Gillian .. 

20.47 .. I call Gillian back on Skype .. we are talking breast massage, and she asks me to demo the Suporn technique of breast massage .. though she had hers done by Chettawut.

21.03 .. Gillian says goodnight .. I’m thinking about bed .. but watch some TV.

22.18 .. I climb into bed .. nightie night ..

More to come ...       

Day 2211. Tuesday 28th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

It’s a disturbed night, especially for Karen .. apparently I snored through several of Claire’s requests for the loo.

07.35 .. Karen’s up with Claire again ..

08.35 .. Karen gets up and takes Claire down after yet another Claire loo break ..

09.05 .. Karen brings me a cup of tea ..

I lay in bed watching a TV programme on BBC2, about an Indian mountain railway .. it’s beautiful scenery and lovely old steam loco’s for the steepest sections .. “The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a romantic line, popular with honeymooners and driven by love and devotion as well as steam. It chugs through the south Indian jungle up to a hill station, once known as Snooty Ooty.” .. to quote the BBC website. ( ) ( )

09.35 .. Up and at it ..

10.43 .. I dry Claire’s hair and then catch up on the end of the railway programme I missed earlier .. good old BBC for providing that facility .. and with my new broadband . .the hour long show downloads in seconds .. about 4 seconds !!

11.20 .. TV programme finished .. I wait for Karen to appear so I can shower .. 

12.30 .. I’m sorted .. and back down stairs to dry my hair, Karen’s been reading the paper work for the antibiotics I’ve been taking for the last 6 days, 2 tablets to go .. seems all the ill effects I’ve been suffering for the last few days is covered by the list of side effects. Well last one tomorrow morning .. have to see how things pick up after then.

12.55 .. Lunch .. a turkey sandwich, some cocktail sausages, crisps and dip .. a piece of Stolen and a couple of Roberts jam tarts .. all washed down with fruit juice.

13.30 .. I head for the PC ..

13.55 .. Julie pops up on Yahoo ..

14.00 .. Time to get ready to leave with Claire .. I say goodbye to Julie ..

14.11 .. We are on the road in Violet .. but we need to make a pit stop for fuel .. my least favourite Shell garage in Egham has to be the one .. 20 litres of ordinaire at 123.9 brims her.

14.36 .. We join the M25 .. “M25 J10 - 19 Long delays” .. so we head off at J14 .. and head for the north circular and the M1 .. I offer to drive instead .. “you tell me where to go” ..

So we exit at J14, head for the A4 and then through Harmondsworth village to the M4 atJ4. Off the M4 at J3 and cut north to the A40 and head for Hanger Lane.

15.05 .. I call Claire’s home, but not before calling Iceland .. I got a digit wrong copying the number into my office phone .. LOL .. I let the home know we are going too be very late .. we’re already 11 minutes late ..

15.07 .. We join the A40 east bound it’s moving .. all the way to the North Circular Road and round towards the M1 .. till we get to the monster IKEA .. then it’s a 10mph stop start crawl to the A5 / M1 junction.

We pass a Shell garage .. ordinaire here is 121.9 .. in London .. hmmmmm.

15.45 .. It’s taken 30 minutes to go 800 yds .. and we are off the North Circ proper .. but Jayne still says 350 yards to the M1 ..

15.47 .. Karen’s phone rings . .the staff are at Northampton Services already .. oop’s. Jayne’s ETA .. 16.44 .. in our dreams ..

15.51 .. We join the M1 at J1 .. it’s wet, loads of spray .. oh what joy .. only 59 miles to go, ETA 16.45, sans road works ..

15.55 .. We are now in fog .. visibility about 8 lamp stands .. “fog patches .. slow down” says a motorway sign .. Karen slows to 70 .. a Porsche screams past, it’s got it’s rear red light of invincibility on .. so that’s safe then !!!!!

16.01 .. We pass over  a still stuffed M25 .. ho hum .. have we beaten the queue .. we’ll never know.

16.14 .. In the roadworks .. our side is running well .. but, lol, there’s a broken down Porsche in the contraflow causing a jam .. lol .. love em and their drivers.

The fog has gone .. but the idiots with their rear fogs leave them on .. amazing quick to turn them on when visibility falls slightly .. so slow to turn em off.

16.30 .. As we leave the M1 roadworks, 17 miles to go .. the queue heading for London goes for miles .. so I’ll drive home the Silverstone / Oxford M40 drop down through Bracknell route ..

One thing for sure .. Jayne is going to have to go, so we can get one with the cellular telephone “live routes” .. it would have saved us this afternoon. Last night I did look at some web sites for prices .. and couldn’t help noticing that TomTom only give a 12 month warranty now .. clearly a sign of falling manufacturing quality and confidence in their own product .. a european map version was £175 + vat .. the cheapest price.

16.37 .. Back into mist .. ETA 16.48  ..

16.48 .. We arrive at the services and do the hand over .. 

16.52 .. Having waved Claire off, we head over the car park and take a comfort break ..

16.57 .. We are on the road, I’m driving and decide to take the longer route via Oxford .. hoping the traffic would be kinder .. well it was, till we reached the M40 .. which was truly stuffed for most of the journey .. I ignored Jayne when we got to J4, she’d have had us crawl to the M25 and around to the M3 .. I cut across to Maidenhead for the M4 to Bracknell .. saved at least another 2 hours I suspect !!

19.12 .. We are home .. that was hell !!

19.35 .. “Dinner” is served .. some soup and a wholemeal roll followed by some cheeses, biscuits the odd grape and some wine .. a bottle of Château du Vieux Rolland 2007 .. “Boredeaux Supérieur” 2007 .. it’s superb .. time to relax .. finally !!

To the PC to catch up on the day ..

21.05 .. A cup of tea and some chocolate ..

22.15 .. I start doping some prep on some diary pages, well finishing it off with the correct page counter java scripts inserted.

Gaynor pops up on Yahoo .. seems she’s had an eventful christmas too

22.45 .. I’m heading for bed .. except an email popped up from yet another social communication site .. “LinkedIn”. The person it’s come from is somebody I respect, who holds a very senior HR post in the city .. so I go investigate .. I end up signing up and find several colleagues from my current company there to ..

23.57 .. Time to switch off for the night .. 

More to come ...

Day 2212. Wednesday 29th December 2010.

Memory Joggers ...

06.30 .. My alarm goes off but fails to wake me properly ..

07.12 .. Karen is shaking me awake .. oop’s ..

08.33 .. I leave home a little late ..

09.00 .. I’m at the works barrier, and swipe my card .. that trip in was just amazing .. village empty .. straight through lights outside village and onto M3 without stopping .. M3, M25, M40 .. near constant speed cruising with everyone else on Motorways .. A40, A413 and the cut across .. oh for christmas week traffic every week.

Today’s project to try and complete .. the Viprinet .. Matthew comes bounding across quite early to say the IP connection to the unit and the outside world is now established .. I just need to programme the box.

So I go programme the box, I’d already started it a while ago before I had the connection .. I’ve mislaid a note I had off one key thing I’d set ..

12.25 .. Time for my fruit .. PABS ..

12.50 .. I head for Gerrards Cross and Holland & Barrett’s .. to top up my supply of Flaxseed Oil capsules .. but I find they, our odourless garlic and my Hair Skin and Nail vitamin formula are all on “less than half price” offer .. so I make the most and get enough stock to last through till September next year ..

13.21 .. I’m back in the office ..

I have to do a system reset on the Viprinet box in CTA and start again .. it doesn’t take long, but I’ve made a note of the root password I’ve set this time .. << blushes >> .. oop’s .. LOL.

Back at my desk I’m able now Able to access the Viprinet in CTA via it’s web interface and the outside world .. brilliant .. I can also access the Draytech Router which is going to form the second part of the route to our Comrex kit.

16.40 .. One of my last things to do is take up the floor tiles in CTA to run a Cat5 link from the Viprinet to the DrayTech’s wan connection .. sorted.

On my return to the office it seems opinion is we should all go home .. before I have the chance to pack up, everyone else has gone.

17.04 .. I leave for home ..

17.53 .. I’m home ..

18.45 .. I head up stairs to get ready to get out ..

19.20 .. I’m back down stairs ready to go .. Karen’s been speaking to my sister and getting some of the gossip ..

Well, well, it seems Dee, my late father’s second wife, the person I often referred to as my wicked step mother, mainly in jest .. really is quite wicked. She’s now hooked up with an Irish man 10 years younger who she’s informed my sister she’s going to marry, Dee saying she’s sure my dad would be happy for her. My father was the racist I’m not, his hatred of the Irish was only equalled to that of “coloured folk” who he’d hiss and spit venom when mentioning. Dee since has kicked my sister into touch, I hope this hapless Irish man realises what he’s letting him self in for should he ever fall ill, something I’ll never forgive Dee for on my fathers behalf.

19.32 .. We arrive at Indo in Chobham, Karen’s dad Ray and his girl friend Chris have just arrived, Karen’s brother Gary and his wife Katie arrive moments later, but have to drive away to find a parking space.

21.00 .. Well we’ve finished our main courses .. my number 46. Himalaya Chicken ( described as “a Gurkha favourite” ) was brilliant.

We have desserts then the management offer us a drink on the house .. the four non drivers indulge in a cognac .. not the best of quality but at least it was free.  

22.01 .. We are home ..

23.15 .. Time for bed !!!

23.40 .. I’m in bed .. and start watching the film Karen is watching .. but she drops off and I watch on ..

00.25 .. Nightie night.

More to come ...

Diary .... the next 4 weeks....

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