Sarah's Transition Diary .. weeks 321 - 324


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

Day 2241 - Week 321 - Thursday 27th January 2011.

Day 2241. Thursday 27th January 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.20 .. The alarm ..

16.15 .. It’s a late finish to the course .. I head for home via the office .. to drop of my company stuff and collect my new laptop which e-mails seem to indicate has been delivered ..

17.55 .. I’m in the office, yes my new laptop has arrived. There is method in this .. if my new laptop was in the office waiting for me to open it, it would be a distraction, and not only for me.

18.53 .. I’m home .. 

After dinner I start to set up my new laptop .. I think it’s pretty good .. but only time will tell ..

More to come ...

Day 2242. Friday 28th January 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm ..

From my FaceBook account today ..

.. is back at work after 2 days of hard learning, hard eating ( not looking forward to weighing myself Saturday, even if I skipped dinner last night ) and hard driving .. 243.6 mile round trip. Having my hair done tomorrow .. then driving back to Evesham Sunday for the next 5 days of training and eating .. it's a hard life .. somebody has to do it.

More to come ...

Day 2243. Saturday 29th January  2011.

Memory Joggers ...

It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 13 3/4 lb .. Sob, sob .

19.45 .. Artur and Danuta arrive .. 

20.45 .. I try to order a Chinese .. but can’t read Artur’s writing .. I hand the phone to him ..

21.14 .. We are back with the food ..

21.45 .. Back to Artor’s computers ..

02.28 .. I finally climb into bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2244. Sunday 30th January 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

14.15 .. Lunch ..

14.35 .. I head upstairs to do my drudgery ..

14.55 .. I’m in that position ..

16.16 .. I finally leave the bedroom ..

16.35 .. Linda arrives to collect the set up disks for the computer she collected earlier in the week ..

17.15 .. I head for the office to pick my colleagues up ..

17.59 .. I’m at the outer gate .. it works an “air lock” thing at weekends so only one car can enter at a time through the massive outer gates.

18.05 .. We are off .. I’m taking my boss Jon and trainee Tom down to Evesham .. they’ll be driving back on Friday in a hire van ..

20.15 .. ish .. We arrive at the hotel .. a quick unload of car into hotel rooms then off to the restaurant .. I’m in the “Catherine of Aragon” room ..

As it turns out we can’t eat in the restaurant .. there’s a belated Christmas party going on in there .. so we are shown into a smaller room and offered a bar menu .. not the best way to start the week. 

22.40 .. ish .. Following a drink in the bar I’m back in my room ..

From my FaceBook account today ..

.. is now in the Salford Hall Hotel near Evesham, for a 5 day training course .. though this hotel has an air of superiority about it, The Evesham Hotel we stayed in last week, from first impressions was a warmer place to be as it was family run .. first impressions of food here .. not as good as last week .. advantage .. I won't eat so much !!! This weeks aim .. to be under 15st next Saturday .. :-)

More to come ...                                   

Day 2245. Monday 31st January 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm ..

06.25 .. Up and at it ..

07.37 .. I’m in the hotel restaurant for breakfast .. Full English ..

08.20 .. I’m back in my room and start watching last nights “Top Gear” on BBC I-player ..

08.45 .. My mobile rings .. My colleagues are waiting .. I’m sure they said 9.15 earlier ..

09.45 .. We follow our course manager to our main lecture room ..

12.50 .. We break for lunch and head for the canteen ..

17.15 .. Our course manager drags us off to Breedon Wing for tonights lecture and practical on transportable satellite dishes .. we spend an age in the freezing cold on a patio rigging a dish to use on Wednesday .. Why wasn’t this done in the warm sun earlier ?

18.45 .. We finally leave BBC WoodNorton .. Peter and I are driven by Rebecca .. I guide us to Rily’s, the Indian recommended by others last week ..

19.00 .. ish .. After a slight detour we are in the restaurant ..

The food overall was pretty good and we had a good time ..

21.20 .. ish .. I pay the bill for all 8 of us and we head for the hotel ..

21.36 .. I’m back in my hotel room ..

21.38 .. ish .. I call Karen ..

Video chat with Gillian in the USA ..

Chat on Yahoo with Kirsti .. There’s some personal stuff she confides in me about relationships .. She has to follow her heart ..

From my FaceBook account today ..

One day of training and eating down, 4 to go .. the training I can take but the eating opportunities will be the end of me. 45 minutes tonight, in the dark, rigging a transportable uplink sat dish, it was ruddy cold and it would have frozen my nuts off if I had any .. brrrrrrr. Then to Rily's in town for a curry stuffing fest .. the food was good, tomorrow first thing is find a dentist to have my mouth wired shut !!

23.48 .. I go get ready for bed .. 

00.18 .. I climb into bed .. Nightie night.

More to come ...

Day 2246. Tuesday 1st February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

I really didn’t sleep well at all .. this bed is so hard ..

06.10 .. My alarm goes off but fails to wake me ..

The alarm must have gone off at least 3 more times before waking me up ..

06.48 .. The alarm wakes me up .. I look across to my laptop which is in dim mode .. and notice the time .. hell .. I need to wash my hair ..

07.45 .. I’m in the restaurant for breakfast .. I do show restraint but the cooked breakfast is a must ..

08.23 .. I head back to my room .. I pause at reception to ask if it’s possible to move room .. but nobody is there and it’s getting late.

08.44 .. I climb into the back of Rebecca’s hire car ..

09.01 .. We are in the class V15 ..

09.58 .. I take a Pro Plus .. I’m struggling ..

10.50 .. Coffee break .. It’s a double expresso for me..

12.46 .. We head for the canteen again .. Today I have just 2 courses .. Cottage pie and a slice of treacle tart and custard ..

I go for a walk with Rebecca to visit parts of the site now closed .. Ashridge dormitory is wrecked in places, I’m told they’ve tried to use it it as an old peoples home .. a couple of abandoned hospital type beds are in reception there .. and a window is broken ..

We follow a path back sign posted to Bredon wing .. but after some distance realise a high gate is locked .. so we back track. I spot a stepped path down to the old “Wood Norton Hall” that in recent years has been a hotel, now it’s closed. We walk around the side, I take photo’s of the front .. and try to get back to where we should be. As we walk down the side we are staggered at the beauty of the interior .. then see a really bizaar sight.

What was, or is, a clearly very up market dinning room, prepared for breakfast but abandoned. The tables are ready, blister packs of jams on the tables with neat napkins. A sign that the place is abandoned is that all the silver table ware has gone terribly dull and oxidised .. I’d read that it went bust 18 months ago .. such a shame. 

13.54 .. After back tracking again we are back in the lecture room .. I’m glowing profusely and my heart is really pounding .. that walk was far too strenuous for me, barely a flat path anywhere. My chest hurts, I wonder about using my GNT spray .. But I don’t.

14.45 .. Another coffee break, another double expresso.

17.32 .. Our lecturer,  Peter, calls it a day .. It seems everyone ones to eat now, I’d sooner have gone back to the hotel to freshen up ..

17.50 .. After a slight detour we arrive at The Fleece in Bretforton, a few miles east of Evesham .. this was my idea .. but we are 10 minutes early. 

17.58 .. After waiting in the cars we go into the pub after the lights came on ..

We get some drinks in, but the kitchen doesn’t open for another half hour. We order some bread to share then order some food. I go for a slow braised shoulder of pork .. It’s lovely, then follow that with a ginger brulee .. which is fabulous.

The good food and roaring log fire made for a good atmosphere. The guys who were into real ale appreciated the beer .. so I drove one of the hire cars back so somebody could enjoy the beer.

20.55 .. I’m back in my room at the hotel .. desperate for the loo.

I dig out the laptop and make entries on my Facebook accounts.

21.25 .. I finally call Karen .. 

21.41 .. I say goodnight to Karen, and sit and do some diary.

From my FaceBook account today ..

Day 2 of my " Satellites and DVB for **** " course completed, managed to eat a little less at breakfast, and only 2 courses for lunch and evening meal. I dragged the mob down to the Fleece in Bretforton tonight, arrived before they opened, but good food and roaring log fire made for a good atmosphere. The chaps might mention the ale .. I drove one of the hire cars back so somebody could enjoy the beer.

22.25 .. Time to get ready for bed ..
More to come ...

Day 2247. Wednesday 2nd February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.46 .. I wake with a start .. something has disturbed me .. I look across to my PC .. arghhhh .. look at the time ..

07.45 .. I’m in the restaurant for breakfast ..

08.57 .. I walk into the classroom for the rest of our week .. B5 in Bredon Wing ..

10.50 .. We stop for coffee .. a double espresso should keep me awake ..

12.45 .. ish .. We stop for lunch ..  

Dinner in the “Thai Emerald” ..

I drive the hire car both ways ..

From my FaceBook account today ..

Day 3 of my " Satellites and DVB for **** " course completed, managed to eat a little less at breakfast, and only 2 courses for lunch but 3 for evening meal. Tonight was a Thai in Evesham High Street .. food was OK, but they didn't do iced Thai tea !!!! .. what !! I drove again, end of evening 3 of the others wanted to stay in town .. so getting taxi back. Cognac in hotel bar ..

23.00 .. I suddenly realise I haven’t ordered the batteries for my mother .. so I do some searching and find a supplier of Lucas medical grade deep cycle batteries .. at a very good price ..

More to come ...

Day 2248 - Week 322 - Thursday 4th February 2011. <>

Day 2248. Thursday 3rd February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

My worst nights sleep so far .. the resident below is the World champion snorer ..

06.10 .. My two phones start to chirp their alarms .. I was asleep just for a change .. having listened to that racket below for most of the night ..

06.20 .. Up and at it ..

07.45 .. I’m in the restaurant to breakfast .. I know I shouldn’t .. but those cooked breakfasts do keep me going ..

08.45 .. On the road to BBC Wood Norton.

10.45 .. ish .. Coffee time .. a double espresso ..

18.35 .. We are allowed to call it a day .. as the pub for tonight is in the other direction by 5 miles, folk decide to go straight there ..

18.48 .. ish .. We enter The Anchor in Wyre Piddle .. this is not what I remember from 1977 - 79 .. this used to be a serious drinking establishment that did nice pub grub. It’s had a lot of “tarting up” done in the time since, in fact it’s only recently been re opened following closure for many years due to loss of trade caused by the A44 now bye passing it.

The only thing that hasn’t changed .. is the River Avon down a small slope of the pub garden at the back.

Sadly tonight the food is a disaster for some .. in the end the bar man comes and sits with us briefly .. Peter gets a 4th turn at choosing something to eat .. the offer of free coffees in the end is skipped in disgust.

21.35 .. Bill paid by Jon on his company card .. we head back to the hotel.

21.55 .. In the hotel bar .. with my glasses on I spot a bottle of VSOP Bas-Armagnac .. I order doubles for Peter and I .. ouch .. I should have seen that coming ..

Phil joins us as we are about to sit down .. he orders the same .. Peter looks a little shocked at what the bar man asks for ..

22.25 .. We head back to our rooms ..

From my FaceBook account today ..

Day 4 of my " Satellites and DVB for **** " course completed, breakfast was another feast << blushes >>, lunch was 2 courses. Today we actually did a up link / down link both ways using two dishes 25 metres apart .. we had 1 hour of satellite time to play with. Sadly tonight’s meal at The Anchor Inn, Wyre Piddle, I'll probably have to apologise for .. it wasn't brilliant !! Bas Armagnac back at the hotel .. luxury !!

23.55 .. I finally climb into bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2249. Friday 4th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept a bit better tonight .. that Armagnac certainly helped ..

06.10 .. The alarms .. no wake up time this morning .. I need to shower and wash my hair and pack my bags to leave ..

07.35 .. I head for the restaurant via my car .. with a load of stuff to deposit in my car to lighten the next load ..

07.38 .. I’m in the restaurant for breakfast .. just Rebecca and Tom have got there before me .. I’d better complete the week the way I started .. full English, toast, pan au chocolat, apple juice and two cups of coffee.

08.12 .. I’m back in my room .. time to clear out ..

08.40 .. I fill the car, then head back to reception .. seems I have nothing to pay .. the accommodation and breakfasts have been paid for by the BBC as part of the cost of the course ..

I leave the hotel, but not before pausing to take a few more photographs .. DOH .. I’d left the SD card write protected last night when I did a dump onto my laptop .. I end up being the last to leave for BBC Wood Norton.

09.01 .. I’m in B5, out lecture room today, though much today is practical.

We are introduced to Peter, an Irishman whose going to give us the low down on TCP/IP over satellites .. he starts off with some very basic computer networking info ..

10.30 .. We are summoned into the lab next door to do today’s practical. We need to re rig the transportable dish with the lower Ku band LNB and get it pointed at a satellite owned / used by the BBC .. I start to rig the arm and LNB assisted by Tom, the trainee .. who sort of takes over the LNB end ..

10.45 .. We aren’t getting any received signal from the receive LNB on the transportable. We start following cables .. in the end I look up at the LNB rigged by Tom to spot that the N type connector isn’t screwed properly onto the LNB .. just placed there .. DOH.

11.10 .. It’s suggested we go and have some coffee while the three wise men get there act together .. we are losing satellite time ..

11.25 .. Richard comes to collect us, they have sorted the issues allegedly ..

However it soon becomes apparent there is a problem with there permanent big 4 metre dish, it’s not receiving the transportable ..

12.20 .. ish .. we are sent for an early lunch .. 

16.33 .. I’m finally on the road .. I deliberately ignore the TomTom’s directions and head for Broadway and the infamous hill out of the other side on the road to Oxford.
Broadway is still a beautiful village, but I was saddened initially to discover that the main road at the east end of the village is diverted back to the “new” A44. So I follow the signs rather dejectedly. However I suddenly realise that the “new” A44 actually uses all of the old road up the hill except for a little short section at the bottom.

With an ear to ear grin I paddle down the gearbox and let Violet rip up the hill .. my favourite two hairpins are still there in their full glory .. still two lanes up, one lane down, I do take it a little easier as I’m out of practise and don’t know the limits of Violet.

In those days of well practised assents, first in my quick Hillman Imp ( 10,000 rpm limit !! ), then the stunning tuned 100bhp Austin Cooper S and finally my “BS” BMW 2500 .. I’d often launch up that hill tyres squealing in the skilled innocense of youth. Some of my late night ( midnight plus ) descents of the hill and rapid exits through the village are memorable too .. especially in that 1966 Cooper S rocket.

The car radio announces that the A34 outside Oxford has closed .. hell .. but not to worry moments later the TomTom announces a new faster route and takes me across country, down some serious single track roads with passing points, seems to be a few other cars going that way too .. I eventually end up on the A34 a few miles short of the Aylesbury junction of the A34 to M40.

18.30 .. I approach the lights at the Sainsbury’s roundabout on the A322 in Bracknell .. they start to change but I have plenty of time .. till I notice a stopped car starting to move off .. I hit the anchors and Violets emergency stop assist function cuts in. This is one of those reputedly non skid services. OMG .. Violet almost tears up the road surface, luckily there’s nobody behind me and I stop before the white line .. but I’ve hurt my right elbow trying to brace myself. Well that function works, no idea how much rubber the rapid cadence braking ripped off the tyres.

18.48 .. I’m home .. milage for the week .. 231.5 .. well I did come home a shorter route and when I drove in the week it was two of the hire cars ..

19.20 .. Dinner is served .. spicy chicken soup to start, mushroom, red pepper and onion linguine followed by yoghurt with oat granola and honey .. it’s good to be home .. << smiles >>.

20.00 .. To the PC .. I check the parcel tracking for my mothers broom stick batteries .. Business Post reckon they delivered at 15.12 .. I call my mum to check .. yes they are in her flat .. my job tomorrow.

The evening is spent catching up on 5 days of e-mails and watching TV ..

21.40 .. I head north .. to unpack my bag and get ready for bed .. the lighting in the hotel was terrible last week .. I’m horrified by what I see in the bathroom mirror .. time for a little grooming.

From my FaceBook account today ..

Day 5 of my " Satellites and DVB for **** " course, finishing the course this afternoon. It was a strange day, and at times the lecturers had us bemused as they contradicted each other on the best way to run TCP/IP over two satellite links .. it didn't work initially due to lecturer finger trouble. But it's been a brilliant course .. I should now be able to rig a permanent or OB satellite uplink ..

22.55 .. I’m in bed waiting for Karen ..

23.35 .. I’m granted a brief cuddle ..

More to come ...

Day 2250. Saturday 5th February  2011.
Memory Joggers ...

07.20 .. The alarm goes off ..

07.30 .. Up and at it .. after a brief pit stop
It’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 15st 4 3/4lb .. this can’t be real .. sob, sob .. I know it’s my fault .. but .. OK no buts. Back to the bathroom to shower ..

08.25 .. I head into the bedroom to finish dressing.

08.35 .. Time to sort the kitchen routine .. what no cooked “full English”, pan au chocolat, fruit juice, toast and two cups of coffee .. no .. 50g of oat granola and I slipped with the milk .. 150g instead of 130g .. I need to start to exercise.

I sort the breakfast routine then boot the new laptop and the PC .. I check my e-mails on the PC and transfer my diary back ..

09.18 .. It’s really windy outside yet it feels warm, the car says 10c .. it could be worse .. it could be raining. Karen’s driving, though maybe she shouldn’t, I did offer as she’d hurt her neck in the bathroom earlier. So time to boot the new laptop, sans power supply to see how long the battery lasts.

09.36 .. Petrol stop, the garage is full on the pump sides Violet needs, so Karen backs up to a pump but then stops well short .. ho hum.

09.44 .. We join the M25 .. the traffic looks fine initially .. we are slowed by speed limit signs and warning signs for “Stranded Vehicle” .. where .. the controllers of these signs often don’t do their jobs properly, no wonder why people dismiss the signs.

10.07 .. We join the M1 .. it’s started to drizzle .. lovely .. the traffic indicator on our TomTom starts to show a rapidly growing queue a head .. we go from 3 minutes spare time to 8 minutes over time ..

10.22 .. We join the back of a queue .. what ever the problem was seems to have been cleared, as we start to pick up speed the TomTom’s indicator for the queue starts to shorten rapidly ..

10.35 .. We are rolling at the road works speed limit again .. and we soon have 2 minutes in hand again .. but loose it again.

11.00 .. Bang on time we arrive at Northampton services, Claire and her minders are waiting .. gosh it’s “cool” out in the gale, despite the car now saying 12c .. Claire greets me with a big hug and a kiss ..

11.05 .. Back on the road .. Claire asks for Enigma on the stereo and says she wants Pizza for tea tonight .. well that’s all predictable ..

11.40 .. I’ve been running the laptop on batteries to check them out, doing my diary .. it’s been on for 2 hours 20 mins .. yet it’s still telling me there’s 1 hour 50 mins left .. I like this laptop .. << grins >>.

11.52 .. We join the M25 .. all seems well, and the Tom Tom is suggesting a 12.38 ETA at home .. battery life now predicted till 13.20 .. << grins >>.

12.18 .. We lave the M25 at J13 ..

12.36 .. We are home .. the laptops battery is still showing 49 minutes run time .. so over 4 hours diary time on one charge .. lovely.

13.05 .. Lunch is served .. 2 ham rolls, cocktail sausages and some olives. The cake course was a Malt loaf that should have been a factory reject .. when Karen cut it open, it was a massive air hole inside .. but it tasted good.

Post lunch I head upstairs and do some emergency nail servicing .. just managed to recover my two index finger nails in time .. I need to do some more when I have the time ..

16.25 .. We head for my mums ..

16.40 .. We arrive at my mum’s .. to find Sindy and her boyfriend there collecting mothers old sowing machine .. after a very brief chat I get to on my chore of the day ..

I unpack the two new batteries for mothers mobility scooter ( broomstick ) .. they are well packed and very heavy .. just to make it more difficult .. the “handles” for the new batteries are not fitted and they need to have free space around them to fit the handles .. these 34Ah batteries are not light .. 23 Kg each allegedly .. I end up tipping them out onto the floor.

With it getting dark .. and a hall way light outside mums flat on a 90 second timer .. the job is a pain .. continually having to turn around to turn the light on.

17.40 .. The job is done .. but I’m exhausted and perspiring profusely .. just from the effort of changing two batteries !!! I finally get my cup of tea ..

I need to get the old batteries into the car, and dispose of the packaging into the homes bins ..

18.15 .. We head for home ..

18.33 .. We are home .. first job is to get the old broomstick batteries into the garage .. I have plans for a solar cell / battery / led lighting system for the garden ..

18.40 .. I order the pizza’s .. 

19.05 .. I’m back with the Pizza’s ..

21.55 .. I’m back in the lounge .. the new laptop has been hassling me to sort out the recovery disks .. so I decide to do it .. but sadly the 4 DVD’s take nearly 20 minutes each to complete ..

23.25 .. I finally climb into bed .. Karen grants me a cuddle ..

More to come ...

Day 2251. Sunday 6th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept on and off .. as always post pizza I woke a few times seriously dry needing a drink of water ..

08.58 .. Up and at it ..

After a quick pit stop I head for the kitchen .. to sort breakfast .. ok strong desire for a full english .. << grimace >> .. my weighed measure of raisin splits will have to suffice.

10.04 .. I head for the bathroom to shower and get sorted for the day ..

10.45 .. I’m back in the lounge .. to find Claire asleep on the settee .. Karen’s in the kitchen doing Claire’s cakes .. hmmmm.

11.02 .. Karen takes Claire for a bath .. she’s just gone up when the phone rings .. my mothers special ring tone .. she has a go at me for asking her to move her broomstick into her flat to charge it .. apparently the charger confirmed the batteries are fully charged .. so I’ve wasted 15 minutes of her time .. great thanks mum.

For those who like to read my diary .. and have been waiting patiently for the return of the missing earlier years .. I’ve had a bit of a problem. I thought I’d lost most of the original pages after the boot drive on my old 3GHz Athlon died . Despite trying to hunt through all my possible back up locations I failed to find it. The drive died a month after I left my old job and had done the bulk tear down and temporary page build to the site ..

However in one of those mad moments .. I booted two of my old laptops and was pleasantly surprised to find a web site dump from Jan 2010 with all the pages complete on one of them .. phew .. I was seriously dreading having to reconstruct all of those, with picture links, from my WordPerfect copy .. now I can start doing the endless word search and replace for all the pages .. that need to return .. the only issue is Jan 2010 to July 2010 when things at work were really bad  .. I’ll just have to do those the hard way.

The pages are now duplicated on my NAS server and new laptop for safety ..

14.18 .. We head off in Sparkle to take Claire back to her meeting place at Northampton services on the M1 ..

After yesterdays superb laptop battery time, I’ve decided to load it a little more and plug my BT 3G dongle in .. luckily the USB extension cable I bought out to the car is long enough to drape over the TomTom .. the new one’s mount is serious kit .. I’m sure it’ll cope with the weight of the 3G dongle .. the old TomTom 720 rubbish would take it’s own weight for long.

14.33 .. We join the M25 .. all looking good.

14.56 .. We join the M1 .. all is looking good and the TomTom is saying we have 21 minutes in hand .. can’t help feeling we left a little early .. Karen’s gone into nearside lane crawl mode to burn some time ..

15.49 .. We arrive at the Northampton services .. for sure, the 3G dongle has burnt the laptop’s battery a little .. just 1 hour 20 left .. Claire’s carers are waiting when we arrive ..

15.59 .. We are back on the road .. I put the laptop supply into my little inverter .. see if this gets an easier life with the new laptop .. the old one with it’s shot battery gave it a hard time and it regularly over heated if not having air blown over it ..

Sparkle service due .. 25/5/11 or 39,973 ..
Red .. 18/7/11 or 119,885

One of the nice things about having the 3G dongle, is that when the software I loaded off the dongle ( BT Connection manager ) throws a wobbly .. you can investigate problems and download a new version for Windows 7 x64 .. just installed and the speed of through put now has really speeded up .. brilliant.

17.25 ..We are home ..

I make Karen a cup of tea and we sit and drink it and one of the cakes cooked earlier.

18.15 .. To the PC .. Karen settles on the settee with a hot water bottle behiond her neck which is very painful ..

19.20 .. I order a Chinese from Bagshot ..

19.36 .. I’m in the chinese .. Mary asks if the man ( Artur ) with me last week was my boy friend .. I laugh .. “no way” .. “just a friend who needed my help with a computer or 2”

19.50 .. I’m back home with the food .. my two fortune cookies for tonight read .. “YOU HAVE STRONG APPEAL TO THE OPPOSITE SEX” .. cue laughter after telling Karen earlier what Mary asked .. then .. “SOMEONE WILL MAKE YOU AN OFFER YOU CAN’T REFUSE” .. hmmmm .. I’ll die if they are linked !!

20.30 .. I try to plug some gaps in my diary from 2 weeks ago .. before doing an upload ..

22.40 .. Upload completed .. time to head for bed ..

More to come ...                                    

Day 2252. Monday 7th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm ..

06.22 .. Up and at it .. hair wash day ..

07.07 .. I’m back in the bedroom ..

09.03 .. I’m in the office .. and the first in.

Well it’s a busy morning, as I’m the only engineer in this morning .. everybody else is on courses or overseas .. Peter will arrive from his mega commute from Newcastle around lunchtime.

12.40 .. Lunch .. PAB .. what no cooked lunch ..

17.35 .. I head for home, with a small shopping list ..

18.22 .. I’m in Waitrose ..

19.02 .. I’m home ..

19.15 .. Dinner is served .. Lamb and carrot curry .. apparently is was going to be a slow cooked casserole, but Karen decided to use a curry sauce instead .. it almost worked .. << smiles >>.

23.28 .. I’m in bed ..

More to come ...        

Day 2253. Tuesday 8th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm ..

09.14 .. I’m in the office .. what a journey ..

A second person has reported a problem in Studio 1, boss Jon takes me through to demonstrate. The sound desk is a 15 year old (ish) Clyde mixer. The switches Clyde used were dubious .. as in cheap silver contacts of the “surf board” variety. Jon was mistaken as to the nature of the fault, suggesting a couple of possibilities.

I tell Jon about the structure of these switches. Surf board silver contacts will self clean to a degree if used frequently .. these particular switches are rarely used. I demonstrate “friction cleaning” .. rapid in and out full range movement of the switch for 15 - 20 seconds. The fault is fixed !!! .. but I do go back and try and flush the switch out with a cleaner spray .. not easy with this switch design that is “almost” sealed.

12.35 .. Time for lunch .. PAB !!

17.36 .. I’m on the road ..

18.23 .. I am home ..

I log in to the PC and check my e-mails .. another reply from TomTom customer support .. on how to fix my post code issue. I do the download they suggest and copy it manually into the TomTom 950 manually. A quick check .. sorted .. I can now enter full 7 digit post codes, rather than just 4. However they haven’t offered a solution to the other map problem .. ho hum.

19.46 .. I’m in the pub .. Amanda is already there .. Rachel arrives after a couple of sips of my drink ..

20.08 .. ish .. We wonder through to the restaurant .. it’s all ours !!

We chat about all sorts .. and we decide on just 2 courses rather than three, well I was game for 3, but not alone .. LOL.

I went for a chicken dish main course, whose gravy .. sorry jus .. was incredibly rich .. and lovely.

Helga came to chat with us once we’d finished our main .. and did an easy sell on the apple crumble and custard as she’d just had some .. we all have the same.

22.20 .. ish .. I ask for the bill .. and we’ve got a voucher for £10 Helga gave us before christmas .. so that lowers the bill.

22.53 .. We finally leave the pub ..

More to come ...

Day 2254. Wednesday 9th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm ..

06.28 .. I finally crawl out of bed .. nearly literally .. my feet and calves really hurt this morning ..

As I head of the A40 I realise my mistake .. there is some road works at the start of the A40 West from M40 J1 .. causing a delay .. something to avoid for the coming weeks.

09.07 .. I’m in work.

12.45 .. I eat my fruit .. then head off on my mission.

Seb surprises me with his knowledge of ladies shoe heels when I mention to him I need to go get some repaired .. apparently his grandfather was a cobbler / shoe maker.

13.02 .. I head down into the village to take 2 pairs of my shoes in for re heeling ..

The cobblers is part of a chain .. and it’s going to cost £9 for my broader heeled everyday shoes, £13.99 for my pointed toe kitten heeled going out favourites .. as he’s going to replace the toe tip to somehow. They’ll be ready tomorrow lunchtime.

Before returning to the car and work, I nip into House of Cards to get a birthday card for my friend in Netherlands whose birthday it is next week .. and a Valentines card or two for Monday .. << grins >>.

13.42 .. I’m back in the office ..  

Karim is not really amused when I give him over 4 Gb of outlook archive files from my last job .. to convert into Groupwise format .. I need to open some old emails that have some important research of mine in ..

17.28 .. I start to shut down my laptop .. I’m doing on call tonight to help Jon out .. only to find I have to stand there like a lemon while it does 9 windows XP updates .. I say goodbye to Karen and pack up some other stuff.

17.36 .. I finally leave the office .. the delays getting back to the M40 at J1 are as bad as this morning due to 3 lanes funnelling into 1 .. doh.

18.28 .. I’m home ..

18.55 .. Dinner is served .. pork and chilli sausages with Jacket potato size wedges .. and baked beans .. lovely. Dessert is 50g of those dates I bought Sunday with Bio yoghurt ..

19.50 .. I head north to my nail studio .. I have some urgent maintenance to do .. ..

21.05 .. I’ve done 6 nails when Karen calls me down for tea ..   

21.25 .. Karen heads up stairs and I head for the PC to check my e-mails and make some diary notes for yesterday and today ..

22.18 .. I head north myself ..  

More to come ...


Day 2255 - Week 323 - Thursday
11th February 2011.

Day 2255. Thursday 10th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept quite well till about 03.15 .. when I had a nightmare .. not sure if it was the fact I went to bed knowing I was on call covering my boss Jon that triggered it.

My phone was ringing .. I answered it and it was the voice of my last “technical director” .. ranting at me in the style he did in front of others last year for not answering my phone one night .. maybe I listened to the call recording too much.

I wake with a start and seriously glowing .. my nighty is damp .. I realise it was a bad dream, but I check my phone anyway .. it hasn’t rung. 

06.10 .. The alarm goes off .. it did wake me .. 

06.30 .. I wake with a start .. and am soon out of bed ..

07.12 .. I’m back in the bedroom .. sorry Karen ..

08.09 .. I’m on the road to work .. but it’s another nightmare trip. The A30 at Egham has a bigger cue than usual, and knowing that the M40 J1 / A40 junction will be stuffed due to the A40 roadworks ..

08.50 .. I head for M40 J2. This also isn’t good .. as I’m heading up the M40 the delay indicator on the TomTom is ratcheting up quickly. Once I get to the A40 roundabout it’s clear there is a problem towards Beaconsfield.

09.13 .. I’m in the car park at work .. it really is half empty .. I suspect many people have been caught up in the traffic.

09.16 .. ish .. I’m in the office to be greeted by Seb, he’d come up the M40 this morning and had been stuffed by the traffic to.

09.20 .. My attention is drawn to a cake in the kitchen area .. baked by Seb apparently .. it’s a carrot cake topped with a mascarpone cheese topping, that Seb says has gone wrong. With a cup of tea it is delicious. As I enjoy the tea and cake I do a quick shopping job for home .. and order three 4gb USB data keys to replace the keys I have lost with the MP3's for Violet. I get carried away by an offer for a 32Gb key for just £19.99 .. that is such a bargain !!! .. time will tell. 

Much of the morning is spent doing the daily and as this is the first full week of the month I wade through some of those monthly tasks to.

11.04 .. I throw the main power breaker in our CTA, to check the UPS is working properly and the diesel generator starts .. it’s long 5 minutes between throwing the breaker, the UPS taking over and then the diesel finally starting .. the vibration can be felt through the CTA floor from 15 metres away.

I run the generator on load for 15 minutes then put the mains breaker back in ..

11.50 .. The generator finally completes it’s cool down period and shuts down ..

12.05 .. I head for Arqiva’s MCR to check our kit in there .. all looks good.

David asks me if I’m really sure that I don’t want to be included in the prize draw to win the trip to Berlize to do the uninstall in the summer when our service closes there. I confirm that I don’t, as it’ll be 10 days of dismantling and heaving around heavy equipment into containers for shipping back to UK .. I’m not sure I’m strong enough .. so it’s a draw for 5 then !!

Tracy does the draw for the Berlise trip helped by Chris from IT .. Phil is the winner, with Seb as 1st reserve. I suggest to Phil that if Seb delivers a cake to him a couple of days before the trip .. to worry !! .. LOL.

12.40 .. I start my lunch time .. with my fruit. I’m just finishing my banana when David, my other boss comes and asks if I know how to do the weekly live recording known as Sitrep .. as a web site states .. “Sitrep is the only place on radio where you'll find a comprehensive look back at the week's most significant events in Defence.”

Sadly I’ve never had the chance to see this set up .. a ring around starts trying to find staff who have done this.

12.52 .. As if he knew, Mark walks in saying “I’m not here” .. he’s on leave this week, but he co created the rig that records Sitrep .. he comes through to the News Studio to show us what goes where ..

13.15 .. We have a rig set up in the News Studio and everything seems to be OK in Studio 2 where the recording is made.

14.00 .. The recording is finished, not without difficulties both operationally and engineering wise .. but most of the engineering ones are caused by operational error .. lucky I’d been watching over them ..

Dave arrives to help me derig the news studio and put things away.

14.20 .. I head down to town to complete my lunch .. that is collect my shoes from the cobblers, while I’m down there I collect three 4 pint bottles of milk from Budgens and invest some of our milk fund on some cleaning materials .. a brush, a pack of ten foam scouring pads and some “spontex” cloths.

15.03 .. Back in the office .. I need to make some notes on what we did for Sitrep .. just to help me and others in the future ..

David calls me into the office

David asks if I can cover Jon again tonight as he’s off sick .. I agree.

17.37 .. I finally head for home .. but I run into traffic similar to this mornings .. in fact it’s worse than this morning .. this is nightmare traffic . .the new TomTom is showing delay queues all over my normal route, yet it insists I’m on the fastest route .. hmmm.

18.55 .. I’m home .. phew.

Karen’s on the phone to her sister .. hmmm .. dinner is in the oven .. recipe for something burnt.

19.18 .. Dinner is served .. a jacket potato, slightly over done due to phone call .. with lamb and carrot curry left overs on one side .. and cheese based stuffing on the other .. along with a small salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar .. lovely. Dessert for me is half the 450g box of cherries I bought last weekend .. lovely ..

19.50 .. I head to the PC .. to check my e-mails and do some diary ..

21.10 .. I go make a cup of tea .. then sit with Karen .. she’s wading through a mountain of paperwork for Claire and the care home .. most of which really doesn’t apply to Claire.

21.55 .. Time for bed said Zebedee .. but ..before I can shut the PC down .. I want to install BBC Iplayer. While doing that Lucinda and Kirsti pop up on Yahoo .. so while I chat I download the last Top Gear to watch on I player ..

23.33 .. I head for bed ..

00.01 .. I finally climb into bed ..  

More to come ...

Day 2256. Friday 11th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

I slept well ..

06.10 .. The alarm wakes me up .. I snuggle towards Karen ..

06.18 .. Karen heads for a comfort break, I roll over to check my phone .. arghhh .. where is it .. I leap out of bed and go look for it .. I can’t find it downstairs and head back to a now empty bathroom .. not in there either .. I locate it in my jeans pocket near the bed .. phew .. it hadn’t rung. I climb back into bed briefly ..

06.27 .. Up and at it .. 

07.02 .. I’m in the bedroom ..

08.15 .. I’m in the car, a tad late .. lucky it’s Friday, so the morning commute is easy .. the new TomTom is suggesting the M3 route would be quicker this morning .. blow the extra 5 miles .. I head off that way.

08.59 .. I’m in the car park at work .. it’s strangely quiet again ..

Well it’s a pretty routine day .. I do the daily checks and do some other things.

Friday is the day we upload the next 9 days of EPG into the satellite system .. the part I do works fine, but then I spot a problem with the Arqiva upload .. the main machine takes an age .. the backup machine, recently replaced .. is rocket fast.

Back in David’s office I check the EPG on his Pace box .. it’s not looking good .. it only seems to have updated till Thursday, with a little bit of Friday .. the listing I saw on our side of the Arqiva divide was fine .. I go find Stuart and let him know ..

12.43 .. I start into my lunch .. PAB .. gosh the apple is sharp, “Pink Ladies” are normally sweet and juicy .. << like me >> .. lol .. this isn’t, but I consume it anyway.

12.56 .. I head down to the town to post my birthday card to Nanda in Netherlands .. how much !! I overhear a conversation with another customer, apparently 1st class domestic is going up from 41p to 46p in April .. time to stock up on “1st” class stamps.

17.10 .. ish .. I check the EPG again .. still no change .. I try to locate Stuart .. but fail, so I send him an e-mail .. we are safe off air till at least Thursday night.

17.36 .. I walk out of the office .. the journey home, for a Friday night, is easy compared to last night’s horror story ..

18.33 .. I’m home ..

19.08 .. Dinner is served .. chicken and onion in tomato and garlic sauce with tagliatelle .. it’s really nice .. dessert is the other half box of cherries left from yesterday ..

19.55 .. I go out and make tea as instructed ..  

More to come ...

Day 2257. Saturday 12th February  2011.

Memory Joggers ...

08.29 .. I’m awake, and very dry .. I take a swig of water and snuggle down.

08.43 .. Ok, I can’t sleep, I need the loo, time to get up.

Post comfort break I head for the kitchen, collecting the scales as I do .. it’s the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 13lb .. that’s good to see the scales have fixed themselves, must be an intermittent fault I triggered last week .. << grimace >>.

I sort myself out breakfast wise and boot the PC ..

10.20 .. Karen heads out to go shopping with her sister .. hmmmm.

10.25 .. I need to shower and get on and do stuff for me ..

More to come ...

Day 2258. Sunday 13th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

16.28 .. I head up to the bathroom to prep for the drudgery ..

16.48 .. I’m in that position .. lets just say its going from bad to worse at the moment .. the last 30 mins I try some static .. better than nothing I am sure.

17.50 .. I have to give up .. I head for the bathroom ..

18.30 ..

More to come ...                                   

Day 2259. Monday 14th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm goes off .. groan ..

09.04 .. I’m in the office, arriving with Tracy, only Phil seems to have beaten us in ..

12.25 .. Lunch .. PAB .. followed by my walk down the road to the local school .. I’m not sure of the distance .. maybe just over a mile there and back ..

20.01 .. We are in Hynns .. the place appears to be very busy .. we are shown through to a table at the far end of the restaurant .. however half way there I realise I’m sans handbag .. I’d dropped it taking my coat off and hadn’t realised immediately .. cause it’s so small and light.

The restaurant is full of couples .. like us, well maybe not, there is one table with about 7 mainly Chinese businessmen around it and one with a Chinese family group of three .. the other 12-15 tables are couples ..

After being seated on a larger table .. side by side, we move to a smaller table facing each other .. love is ..

The evening is very pleasant, the staff know us and do engage us in conversation while at the table ..

Towards the end of evening the staff are going around collecting information from a few people that appear to be regulars, well those where the staff have engaged people more freely like us. They want our name and addresses so that they can inform us of special nights they do .. like Chinese New Year like we’ve just missed ..

22.18 .. We head for home ..

More to come ...

Day 2260. Tuesday 15th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

08.13 .. I’m on the road ..

The A30 Egham bypass is beginning to give me serious headaches in the morning, and the new TomTom’s “guestimates” of what it thinks are 6 minute queues here are a joke .. 18 minutes is the reality today .. 

09.14 .. I’m in the office .. we are thin on the ground at the moment ..

I start my investigations into the cross talk problems in our “Listen Again” service .. what I find is rather startling to say the least .. the inputs of the sound cards have all ( I discover later ) been wired wrong .. they’ve been wired “unbalanced”, where as the cards have “balanced” inputs. This is bazaar ..

I have a window in which I can rewire the Gurkha service inputs then see what happens ..

11.05 .. Following a news bulletin .. it’s a eureka moment .. the Gurkha service has now disappeared from the news service .. so it should be the same for everything else .. however the Gurkha service gone .. I can now here twitterings of our Radio 2 service in the noise .. but I can’t disturb those jacks, other than for short periods during the news ..

12.00 .. I check a Radio 2 jack plug .. yep it’s wired wrong too. Paul tells me I can have the inputs for as long as I want after 17.00.  

12.20 .. Lunch .. PAB.

14.30 .. ish .. Geoff see’s Adam out .. shame to see him go ..

14.40 .. ish .. Geoff ushers me into his office .. instant panic. Given Geoff’s morning job seems to have been “letting Adam go” you can understand my worries. He tells me to sit and we start to chat .. he asks how accepting I might be of a long term attachment to somewhere like the Falkland Islands ..

Luckily it’s not immediately on the agender .. phew .. Geoff has been following my real life Facebook account .. and thinks the way I do things there is amusing .. well that is my aim .. and he said he enjoyed my week of postings while doing the training course 2 weeks ago. We talk about Claire and the impact of me being away from home on trips for work.

When I took the job, Karen and I realised things would have to be adapted when I went away .. as it did after 3 weeks when I flew off to Canada !! I tell Geoff that attachments of a couple of months for major projects wouldn’t be a problem. Being aware of who/what I am, he appreciates that Central / Northern Africa would be dangerous for me. He asks about Islamic countries, he wasn’t aware that in Iran gender transition is supported by all parties.

14.50 .. ish .. I leave Geoff’s office with some relief .. LOL.

I check a few of the “refreshed” listen again tracks that have come off the recording system in the last couple of hours .. << big grin >> .. no more Gurkhas in the background .. result !!

16.55 .. I collect my bits up to head to our CTA to rewire the Radio 2 service sound card jacks as soon as the system stops at 17.00.

17.15 .. Job sorted .. I head back to my office, job done.

17.38 .. I leave the office ..

18.37 .. Post petrol stop I am home .. something I’ll have to do in Sparkle tomorrow ..

18.58 .. ish .. Dinner is served .. various cold meats, salad and a plain jacket potato .. dessert is a smaller portion of bio yoghurt, some oat granola and some Honey ..

Dawn pops up for a type chat on Skype ..

Chats with Bambi and Kirsti on Yahoo

22.45 .. I’m about to go to bed, I check my “non TS” Facebook account to see trainee Tom “chatting” with his mum firing messages at each other .. I join in .. it ends up with an invite from his mum, “Lou”, to all of us at work to continue the character building, which Tom says he enjoys .. gosh he might just get what he wishes tomorrow.

23.05 .. I head for bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2261. Wednesday 16th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm ..

08.12 .. I’m on the road ..

08.26 .. I’m stuck on the A30 Egham Bypass .. when I eventually get to beable to see into the roundabout I can see traffic isn’t going up The Causeway into Staines .. it’s backing up and virtually blocking all other routes ..

08.53 .. I’m finally through the roundabout ..

09.22 .. I’m in the office ..

12.41 .. Following my lunch I go out and do my 20 minute walk ..

14.00 .. ish .. I’m called in to David’s office with James .. to be told I’m going to Brunei on a service trip with James last week in March, first week in April ..

15.45 .. ish .. I give the company doctor a call to sort out the required immunisations for Brunei .. so I’m not looking forward to the jabs tomorrow .. was offered next week .. I wanna get them over and done with .. I'm now wondering if I can slip a quick trip to Chonburi for a service there too .. Brunei - Bangkok £154.

17.35 .. I head for home ..

19.55 .. I arrive at the pub in Theale ..

21.05 .. We finally start to get the food we ordered a good while ago .. apparently there is a large group ( which I had observed ) from the local police college .. so we are safe tonight .. maybe.

I’m sitting with Julie Anne and Letitia, plus one other whose name I can never remember .. conversation is good. Letitia, who also does the dining nights I arrange, suggests we use Blue Beckers in Chobham as the next guest venue later this month .. I’m up for that .. just need to get a few more involved with a little luck. 

23.08 .. I head for home ..

23.34 .. I’m home .. and just in time, gosh I need the loo .. the Theale meal strikes again !!!

01.02 .. I finally climb into bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2262 - Week 324 - Thursday 18th February 2011.

Day 2262. Thursday 17th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.10 .. The alarm ..

08.12 .. I’m on the road, I take the M3 route, but it wasn’t a good idea ..

09.02 .. I’m in the office ..

I’m one nervous kitten today .. counting down the seconds till this afternoon’s appointment. I busy myself to try and pass the time.

Having completed the daily checks, I bump into Mark near the newsroom .. he’s feeding his face with a cake .. he points me in the right direction .. “they are in there” .. comfort food .. just what the doctor ordered .. well maybe not .. <<grins>>.

12.21 .. I tuck into my lunch .. PAB.

12.31 .. Following my lunch I go out and do my 20 minute walk .. it’s colder than yesterday .. it’ll help burn some more time up.

15.08 .. I head out of the office .. heading for my appointment with Dr Cheese at Stoke Poges, using the new TomTom to guide me. 

15.30 .. I’m in the doctors carpark .. am I nervous .. yes if the amount of thumbling I do trying to get the TomTom in it’s case.

I’m in the temporary waiting room .. it seems they are redoing the interior of the small building. It’s a long wait .. I can here a couple of voices talking to Dr Cheese in his room ..

15.47 .. The doctor invites me in .. finally .. we chat about where I am going what he’s going to do for me .. basically he’s going to set me up with the complete set of jabs that I’d need to have to go to any of our corporations sites around the world .. he asks if I’m going to Afghanistan in the near future .. I don’t know .. he didn’t say if anything special is needed to go there.

I get three separate injections .. Hepatitis A, Typhoid and the first of 4 doses of Hepatitis B, and three different plasters in a ring around my arm. The doctor points me in the direction of his secretary to make an appointment for next Thursday .. same time.

16.12 .. I leave the doctors .. I sit in the car for a few minutes .. I’m not feeling good .. I store the Dr’s surgery car park GPS position as a “favourite” .. NOT .. as it took me to the wrong place coming here  .. in a big circle around to the other end of the street. 

I put “work” destination into the TomTom and it takes me back .. on a completely different route through Fulmer .. this is much nicer .. I’ll have to remember to force the route next time if it takes me across the A40 from Gerrards Cross instead of the left turn required.

16.35 .. I’m back in the office .. and I really don’t feel good .. a cup of tea and a kit kat ..

16.50 .. I go help Mark test some studio kit .. it is faulty we prove, but will need to book the studio out to get to it .. it’s a desk fault. Mark, who is up to his ears in home improvements is keen to do all the on call days he can aquire .. so I offer him next Thursday .. for two reasons .. the jabs and it’s the guest venue night for my dining group .. hopefully in Chobham this time. 

17.21 .. I call Karen .. she’s worked out all her meetings with her friends next week during half term .. she can fit me in Thursday .. well thanks for nothing .. the one day I can’t do anything during the day cause of my jabs on Thursday.

17.35 .. I leave the office ..

The M25 is hell again .. I’m starting to think bike again in the summer when it’s dry .. I know I shouldn’t really.

18.38 .. I’m home .. I’m not feeling at all well, splitting headache and arm ache, I’m starting to feel very chilly .. so Karen does some soup to warm me up before the planned dinner. It’s goats cheese and mushroom .. sounds odd but actually it’s delicious.

19.04 .. Dinner is served .. the first proper salad of the year I think .. what no potatoes or pasta !! .. Dessert is yoghurt, oat granola and some honey.

22.45 .. I’m in bed ..

23.20 .. The last time I looked at the clock .. Karen was still in the bathroom ..

More to come ...

Day 2263. Friday 18th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

I really didn’t sleep well .. kept rolling on to left side and arm in my sleep .. my preferred sleeping side ..

06.10 ..

08.13 .. I’m on the road .. the TomTom sends me the M3 way .. good call ..

08.52 .. I arrive at the barrier to get in the complex .. the car in front hasn’t got his new pass card for the barrier .. DOH ..

08.55 .. I’m in the office .. I need a coffee to try and wake me up .. this is going to be a hard day ..

I do the daily checks, but following an e-mail from Stuart I don’t do the CASIS update .. we are having issues and getting a lot of calls from many of the RFA ships .. who have lost our services all of a sudden.

12.50 .. I start my lunch PAB ..

13.00 .. ish .. We get news that Stuart has sorted the encryption problem we’ve been suffering with one type of decoder box only on the RFA’s. It’s soon confirmed by a couple of ships that all is OK .. phew.

13.15 .. I head out for my walk .. not sure if this is a good idea today .. I’m tired anyway and it’s a little chilly outside.

16.00 .. ish .. Stuart appears by my desk to tell me he’s done the CASSIS run, but again the CASSIS 2 machine, which isn’t ours, it’s owned and maintained by Arqiva just across the road from us, is broken again .. so we are clinging on again. Glad I’m not on call this weekend .. it’s my turn next week. 

17.33 .. I leave the office ..

I’m heading home down the A412 when the TomTom offers me a faster route .. I accept and 15 minutes disappears off of my ETA at home. Instead of taking me the usual route onto the M40 and M25 .. it takes me down the A412 to Slough, down through Datchet and Old Windsor .. brilliant move !!

The route tried to bypass me around Egham, but I dive off the route and head for the garage to fill up ready for tomorrow ..

I try several times to call Karen on the phone .. first the home phone is busy, then her mobile is .. back to the home phone .. it rings till the answer phone cuts in .. she’d know from caller display that it’s me calling .. but she doesn’t pick up, her other call must be so important .. I think I know where I sit in the pecking order of importance .. somewhere below something stuck to her shoe ..

18.42 .. I’m in Waitrose .. I

19.10 .. I’m finally home ..

19.30 .. Dinner is served .. chicken and mushrooms in a cream and pepper sauce with tagliatelle .. dessert comes in 2 parts .. a small piece of chocolate cake with a little vanilla ice cream .. followed by scrapping out the yoghurt pot with a little oat granola and maple syrup. 

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

I spend too much time trying to sort out a CD ripping problem on the main PC ..

00.25 .. I’m packing up when a post notification comes through from one of my Facebook accounts .. from Christine in Whitby .. it’s brief .. but worrying on the subject of her mum .. I must make time to get up there to see her sooner or later .. she’s such a wonderful old lady who really helped me 3 years ago while I was in Thailand, when your lonely in Thailand, and English voice is so nice to hear .. especially hers.

01.00 .. DOH .. I finally climb into bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2264. Saturday 19th February  2011.

Memory Joggers ...

I’ve not slept well again .. it’s my natural inclination to sleep on my left side .. not good at the moment ..
07.10 .. The alarm goes off .. groan ..

07.22 .. I roll over towards Karen and get a cuddle, my arm is still aching .. I try to ignore the pain in my arm to receive this honour ..

07.34 .. Up and at it .. I need a pit stop .. then head down to do the Saturday morning weigh in .. 14st 10 3/4lb .. I’m hoping this will become a trend .. I intend to go for my lunchtime walks when ever it is dry enough to do so.

07.40 .. ish .. I stick the new filters into the hoover so it’s ready to use again after last weekends disaster .. four new filters later the hoover is well and truly rejuvenated .. more suck than for a long time .. I blame the old HEPA filter, I’ll have to try and change that more often.

08.22 .. I’m clear of the bathroom for Karen .. I head down stairs and sort the kitchen routine. Once finished, I hoover around the ground floor ..

I dive into my e-mails on the main PC .. nothing really there but there’s quite a long off line message on Yahoo messenger .. we need to catch up ..

09.22 .. We are on the road .. I boot the laptop and rig my BT 3G card so I can catch up on a few things .. but what ever I do I can’t get anything through it ..

The TomTom predicts big delays on our route .. a few seconds before the radio says the same .. so when the TomTom offers a route that saves 15 minutes we accept .. it takes us off the M25 at the M40 and we head north west for the A43 probably .. 

10.35 .. We leave the M40 .. heading up the A43 towards the M1 .. thought so .. this is our back up route anyway.

11.04 .. We arrive at Northampton Services .. Claire and minders are waiting, it’s raining so we can’t don’t hang around getting wet to chat with Hazel, Claire’s and our favourite member of her staff.

Claire appears to be in a good mood .. phew ..

11.06 .. We are on the road for home .. gosh it’s miserable out there .. 

We haven’t got very far down the M1 when Karen is wondering about the fact Claire’s only got one bag today .. so she hands me her mobile to call Hazel’s mobile ..

11.23 .. Karen dives off into the next service area, to check Claire’s bag is complete with meds .. and go into the loo .. she brings back some biscuits for us to nibble. While she is away Hazel calls back ..

11.32 .. Back on the road .. Claire makes it clear what she wants for dinner tonight .. yes correct .. chicken pizza ..

11.42 .. The TomTom chirps up there is now 15 minutes of delay on our route, but doesn’t offer a quicker route .. our arrival time is now “13 o’clock” .. she tells us.

12.14 .. We join the M25 .. ETA now 12.59 .. the good news is that it looks like they’ve nearly finished the road works South bound between J21 and J20, apart from some of the gantries and a little “landscaping”.

Glad we are not going the other way .. the queues now going clockwise go for miles ..

12.38 .. We leave the M25 at J13 just as a queue is forming on the M25 anticlockwise .. what’s going on today .. last few weekends have been so good.

Karen suggests an Indian tomorrow night after taking Claire back .. it’s school half term so she won’t be going to work and stinking everyone out .. but it’s ok for me to do that.

12.56 .. We arrive at home .. it’s still raining .. lovely ..

I try my 3G dongle on one of my old laptops .. and get the same result as earlier ..

13.22 .. Lunch is served .. Claire throws her plate of food as it’s handed to her .. welcome home dear.

Post lunch I call BT to see what is wrong with my BT 3G dongle .. it appears nothing other than my 18 months free period has now ended, and it’s converted itself to PAYG .. apparently it’ll cost me £15 for 3Gb data a month ( time expires after 30 days ) or £10 for 1Gb data a month with same expiry date. Hmmm .. time to contemplate if BT is best option. When I was getting it free I never exceeded 50% of my 1Gb allowance, rarely did I go over 10% .. but it’s a nice thing to know you have a backup for all eventualities ..

16.06 .. We head for my mums ..

I tell mum I’ll be away to Brunei for 2 weeks in a month .. the conversation that followed about clothes is typical mother .. grrrrrr .. the only things she seems to say to me nowadays is to insult me ignoring my gender change ..

17.15 .. Claire has had enough, so have I .. so we head for home, via the Shell garage in Egham to top Violet up ..

17.38 .. We are home .. I’m handed the pizza menu and told to order dinner.

18.03 .. I’m home with the food .. after the lunch time experience I sit well away from Claire, as does Karen, who is going to pass Claire her food as and when .. Claire astounds us by wanting to pick up the slices “big girl” style as we call it, rather than opting for us to cut it up for her so she can eat bits with a fork as she usually does .. lets hope this change stays.

19.00 .. ish .. Claire heads for her bath .. I head for the PC to do some 3G research ..

I do all I can to get my HTC TouchPro 2 “smartphone” to share it’s Vodafone data with my laptops .. by Bluetooth and by USB .. I fail dismally .. it just won’t play ball .. trying to get info from the internet doesn’t help. 

21.15 .. ish .. Karen heads up to get washed and watch TV up there ..

I continue my research on 3G, to be honest on the PAYG front there is little to choose from apart from coverage area’s. From some of my research at work recently into 3G for use there .. I know “Three” provides the best speeds if you can get a connection in the first place. Vodafone / BT ( BT uses Vodafones infrastructure ) .. has the best overall coverage .. Orange runs a close second.

In the end it has to be down to cost and ease of use .. probably stay with BT.  

23.20 .. I finally climb into bed .. disturbing Karen, who grants me a cuddle for a while ..

More to come ...

Day 2265. Sunday 20th February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

It’s a disturbed night .. with Claire wanting to go to the toilet at least 3 times ( the times that I was also disturbed ) .. and while my shoulder felt fine before going to bed, too long spent on that side was uncomfortable ..

09.27 .. I’m woken by Karen getting up .. she gets me a cup of tea to wake me up before getting Claire up .. she loves me, maybe ..

09.57 .. Up and at it ..

10.58 .. I head up to shower .. given the time I shouldn’t have done the “grooming” I did pre shower .. ho hum ..

12.10 .. I’m back down stairs post shower .. Karen finishes the washing up from her cake baking with Claire then takes her up to bath ..

While alone, I log into our online BT account to try and sort out access to my 3G dongle account, while trying and failing to do that I do manage to set up access to BT Fon .. well that might be useful in the future .. we’ll see. Being signed up costs me a little of the bandwidth at home, but also gives me unlimited access to BT “hotspots” and other peoples BT Fon partitions on their home hums.

13.45 .. ish .. I start a series of calls trying to find out how I can manage my BT 3G dongle account now that BT has converted it to a PAYG account.

14.20 .. The woman comes back to me, all she can do is send me the account number for my 3G dongle through the post .. should be here in 5 days.

14.22 .. We head off in Sparkle to take Claire back .. I fire up the TomTom first to check the journey is going to go well .. no delays indicated .. but we have 19 minutes in hand ..

14.35 .. We join the M25 .. the traffic is going well, if only it wasn’t drizzling ..

14.59 .. We join the M1 .. we still have 19 minutes spare time, so Karen backs off a little to cruise at 60 - 65 mph ..

15.40 .. We come up behind a transit with an old series 1 Escort on the back from 1971 ( by reg number ) .. it’s a classic RS2000 .. shame it’s not the serious RS1600 .. oh how I desired one of those in the early 80's.

15.49 .. We arrive at Northampton services .. the homes car is there but the female minder is missing .. Hazel’s gone to the loo we guess, and so it was. On her return Claire is transferred to the other car, we stand around in the cold talking about how the weekend has been, till the cold gets to me.

I quickly check my BT Fon account works through the services BT hottspot, and Skype does through it  .. it does .. yippee .. just need to get the laptop to store the info so it always auto connects when available .. I’ll do that at home later.

16.01 .. We are back on the road ..

16.08 .. The TomTom suddenly announces “the traffic delay on your route is now 19 minutes, you are still on the fastest route” .. hmmmm.

17.05 .. We join the M25 .. TomTom is saying just 2 mins of delay due to traffic .. we’ll see .. ETA 17.51 ..

17.29 .. Off the M25 at J13 .. ETA 17.48 ..

17.46 .. We are home .. 

19.10 .. We are in the Indian restaurant ..

The Sunday special deal is getting more popular .. and there is a large party there celebrating the 50th birthday ( belatedly ) of a neighbour at the end of the road ..

21.40 .. We are home ..

22.58 .. I head for bed ..

23.29 .. I finally climb into bed.

More to come ...                                   

Day 2266. Monday 21st February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

09.12 .. I’m finally in the office ..

12.20 .. I head off on my walk ..

12.36 .. I’m back .. 16 minutes to do a distance that was taking 20 mins when I first started ..

News studio talk back problem ..

17.48 .. I’m finally on the road ..

18.41 .. I’m home ..

Nanda calls ..

19.05 .. Dinner is served .. mango and chilli chicken breast with a roast carrots and jacket potato, dessert is a chunk of chocolate cake and ice cream.

More to come ...       

Day 2267. Tuesday 22nd February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

06.15 .. The alarm .. yes 5 minutes later cause it’s half term ..

13.19 .. I head out for my walk .. as I’ve started to pick up speed I decide to go to another landmark ..

13.39 .. I’m back in the office .. my 20 minute walk resumed .. probably another 400 metres added.

Stumped by this talk back problem .. I need another connector .. which we don’t have.

17.40 .. I finally leave work ..

18.02 .. My phone rings .. it’s Arqiva MCR .. regarding our fault to the Falklands ..

18.15 .. Second phone call from Arqiva MCR .. I’ve gone about 5 miles ..

18.22 .. Third call from Arqiva .. they promise to call at 18.50 .. when I should be home ..

18.43 .. I’m home .. and rush to set my laptop up to deal with Arqiva ..

18.48 .. Karen presents me with my dinner .. chicken, mushrooms and pasta in tomato and chilli sauce ..

19.10 .. I call Arqiva to find out what’s what .. I reset a spare viewing card for them ..

19.20 .. Dessert .. Chocolate cake and ice cream.

I go searching in my component store under the stairs to see if I have a 56 way male Varicon .. well well well, I do .. thanks to the old radio car days .. I actually have two !!. While I’m in my component store / wine cellar .. I dig out the last of our French white from our last trip, and get some more red out for the kitchen rack.

20.20 .. A chat with Nanda on Skype .. I do like chatting with her on Skype .. though she is very tired looking tonight and says she feels it.

23.10 .. I head for bed ..

00.02 .. I’m in bed ..

More to come ...

Day 2268. Wednesday 23rd February 2011.

Memory Joggers ...

I’m not setting well at the moment, I don’t know why ..

06.15 .. The alarm goes off ..

I snuggle up to Karen for awhile after she returns from a comfort break ..

06.40 .. Up and at it ..

07.35 .. I’m downstairs .. I need to dry my hair and get going ..

08.20 .. I’m late leaving for work .. DOH .. but luckily this morning the traffic is very kind .. something to do with the weather maybe .. it’s horribly “dank”.

09.02 .. I’m in the office ..

10.15 .. ish .. “Duty engineer” duties done .. I start wiring a cable I need to be able to break into the intercom system and find out why the News Studio can’t talk to anyone, though everyone else can talk to them ..

12.25 .. Lunch .. well it’s a bit different today .. a Cuscus pot, a banana, the last of the dates I bought a couple of weeks ago and a Clementine. Sadly it’s not nice outside, I could go walking with an umbrella .. but I decide to give it a miss.

I give Chris ( my engineering colleague from about 3 ½ years ago at the old place ) a call on Skype .. he’s home, I thought he was still doing his own thing, but he’s got a day off from BBC World Service. It’s a small world, I ask him about an old ITN colleague of mine Andrew, he’s actually covering Andrew who is off from work with a fractured leg.

I mention the job advert I’ve seen for the old place .. funny he’s not going to apply either. We discuss why, reservations many I know have said to me ..

Tom the trainee joins me for a while to learn the ins and outs of wiring 56way Varicon connectors .. he’s chosen a good time .. I’ve just started the second of 3 connectors .. this is difficult .. two PSN 50's into one moulding with all the conductors parallelled up in the crimps .. I show Tom the best way of doing it. After a while Tom disappears .. 

15.45 .. ish .. Tom re appears .. just as I’m putting the last pair of crimps into the shell .. time to prepare the other end for the last shell. I let Tom pick the pair’s out of the bundle of 25 .. he soon discovers this can be tricky !!

I get an e-mail from boss Jon .. confirming my trip to Brunei will now start on the 21st March, not the 28th .. a trip to Chonburi could be a possibility on the way home .. but it’s too close I am sure .. 
17.30 .. Time to go .. but I put the last six crimps on the cable and put the tools away before I go .. I’ll stick the crimps into the shell tomorrow.

17.46 .. I leave the office .. the traffic is terrible again ..

18.53 .. I’m home .. Karen starts dishing up dinner with a moan about me being late !!!

18.55 .. Dinner is served .. sausages, beans and a jacket potato .. lovely .. dessert is half a mango .. lovely too.

20.23 .. I try to call Nanda on Skype .. her computer is on but nobody answers .. maybe she has fallen asleep, it’ll take her a few days to get over the Thailand time difference.

20.25 .. I go make the tea .. Karen has bought a couple of Thorntons creme eggs to have with the tea .. very naughty, but mine is very nice.

21.32 .. I’m heading for bed ..

More to come ...

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

Return to Diary Index.....

Return to page 1 (main page).....