Friday…chilly November Friday!

Time I wrote up a bit more blog – a fairly busy three or four months! So first bit of news is an attempt to get a bit physically fitter. The reason for this is linked to diving! I had ben hoping to go on a diving trip with the dive club to a site down in Cornwall, and one I have been to several times in the past. However, the rules for ex military personnel diving with service clubs on sponsored trips have changed, and I now need a Health and Safety medical! (This doesn’t apply to private dives, or other diving activities).

The HSE medical contains a physical fitness test, so in order to pass that, I have joined a gym, with a view to spending about an hour a day their, five days a week, concentrating on building up my cardio-vascular strength and a bit of muscle development. I have been going for just over there months now, and noticed a significant improvement on both CV performance and body strength, so I hope I’ll be able to pass the medical soon. Of course, getting fitter has other benefits too, I just needed the motivation! Best effort so far on a treadmill is running 1.5 miles in just under 12 minutes!

MotherboardI have also ventured into the world of Apple in that I have built myself a computer running Apple’s operating system. The generic term for this is a ‘Hackintosh’ and it works pretty well. It runs most of the Mac software, and includes ‘Bluetooth’ so I can connect my (non-Apple) phone to it to transfer photos etc. It also connects to the server here (in fact I re-housed the server, and used the older server case to house the ‘Hackintosh’.Case Maybe not the best photo of the case!

The weather is getting colder as we get towards the end on November and it is getting dark by about 4:30 pm. Still, nights start getting lighter in a month or so! :). With Christmas looming, I have bought my first mince pies of the year – I ought to pluck up courage and make my own!

It has been good to catch up with some old friends too, one from my time in the Falklands over 13 years ago! (When I was last really physically fit!)

But overall, I’m feeling OK, still looking for some work, but nothing much around in my field.

So very much onwards and upwards!

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I’m back!

Sorry for the delay in posting, but after my return from France (which now has an edited headline after my ‘Franglais’ was remarked upon by friend Julia!) I had a busy few days doing some work for a client locally, and then I went back to the Dive Dive BoatClub after a longish absence to discover an expedition to Cornwall was being mounted. So although I can’t dive (because I need a diving medical after all the treatment) I did volunteer to go down as expedition cook and general dogsbody. And I had a great time, although cooking two cooked meals a day and sandwiches at lunchtime for half a dozen hungry divers was quite hard work. However I have got the bug back, so I must see about getting a medical, and then getting out and servicing all my dive kit! The picture shows the diveboat – not me driving on this occasion – most of the time I was behind the camera!

I said in a recent post that I needed to do some software upgrading on the server. You may recall that I did an upgrade a few months ago but it stopped half way through so I ended up with a ‘hybrid’ system, partly Linux Fedora Core 10, and partly Core 11 – but as it worked and I was away from home, I left it. However I have now sorted that out and the basic webserver operating system is now Fedora Core 12. I have also updated the photogallery and changed some of the settings. There are one or two new and recent photos of Olivia, but I have removed some of the older ones (or at least removed form general view) but added a few new albums – including one from the last dive Expedition to Porthkerris in 2005. (The last time the club went there too) I’ll be adding more albums later now that the site is running again. In a few moments I’ll be updating the webserving software, and also the WordPress blogging software to the latest and greatest. Most of these are just maintenance upgrades, although the update to the gallery adds a couple of new features – but it all adds to site security.

Nothing much on the job front, but I shall start looking more urgently in September. Meanwhile I have been doing some of the little jobs around the house – sorting out a snaggette on the hot water system, and little things like that.

Good to see you back posting Richard – and it was really good to meet up with you at Simon’s funeral – while a sad occasion, it was great to meet up with people – and I think Simon would have enjoyed the day. And congratulations Gillian!

So on all fronts… onwards and upwards!


Thursday… more ECP

I’m writing this from my little room in Gassiot House, the hostel for patients staying for consecutive days of treatment – and it is a bit warmer than I have known it in the past! So this afternoon was the first of the two sessions of the ECP – and as usual, it passed uneventfully. The second session is tomorrow morning, so I hope that will go uneventfully too.

My cold seems to be getting better, and I don’t feel quite as breathless as I did. I still have a bit of a cough, but nowhere near as bad as it was.

I had a good week last week, with the final push to complete the coursework. Once I had got into the correct mindset’ it seemed to flow well – and the program (or – to be strictly accurate – script) ran as I hoped it would and did what was required of it. The weekend was spent writing up the reports on the design, and it was submitted electronically on Sunday, with the hard copy in the post on Monday!

So with spring round the corner, and the clocks going forward in two weeks, very much a case of “Onwards and Upwards”!


Monday… doesn’t time fly when you are busy!!

I was just looking at the blog and realised it is ten days since I last posted!

The cold seemed to stay stable for the rest of that week, and at the weekend, I went up with University friend Faith to Harrogate, where we stayed with Dina (Faith’s flatmate) and had dinner with the other girls from her flat (Barbara and Barbara, and their other halves, John and Rod. A really good evening, fantastic food (thank you Dina and Chris) and once again I was struck by how fortunate I am to have such enduring and deep friendships. I was reflecting on that in the sense that we went off to University to get a degree and to ‘grow up’ a bit – no-one really explained that it would be a time when such long-lasting friendships would be formed. We talked about it and we all hoped that our children will be as fortunate in their University experience.

On Sunday we went over to visit Jane (and dental student from those far off days, who is suffering from a bit of ill-health. Another group of remembered faces, reminiscences and relaxing company – and a superb tea prepared by Jane’s husband, Paul. Faith and I drove back late Sunday evening, feeling decidedly stuffed, and then I went back to Corsham!

I was at Shrivenham last Monday for a ‘project day’ when we were discussing the final year project for the MSc. I am still undecided about a project so I might defer for a year while I think about it. It also partially depends on my contract – it expires in March, and if it isn’t renewed I will have more spare time, if it is, then I think the dissertation might be difficult to fit in. Then it was back to Chippenham where I met a crowd from the office for a Chinese.

The rest of the week was busy. A silly o’clock start on Tuesday for a day trip up to the wilds of Lincolnshire – not much fun as we had sleet and then sun glare off the roads on the way back, with roadworks throwing up muddy spray.

Wednesday was in office, as was Thursday morning, but then it was another trip down to Feltham for more meetings. I arrived back in time to nip out for a curry with another group from work! I think I might have slightly overdone things though as the cold seemed to come back and I felt quite rough on Friday morning.

But the weekend was good. I cooked on Saturday evening (pre-valentines day!), and after a couple of days relaxing, I felt better for my return trip. So I hope that the cold is on its way out!

I have been having problems with e mail. My e mail provider for my main e mail name has had a few short sharp ‘phone calls from me. It still isn’t resolved, caused by their installation of a ‘new, improved’ server which I think is severely mis-configured.. I’m still reviewing my options – self hosting is one of them, but I need to investigate spam filtering first.

So on that note… Onwards and upwards! 🙂

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Tuesday… Back at the ‘Ranch’

The ECP passed uneventfully – the Friday morning session seemed to take a long time on the photo-activation stage, but a quick dash to Waterloo, and a stop at M “this is not just food” & S for a sandwich and I was on the train home.

It was a computing weekend. I have just re-activated my Skype account (for anyone who hasn’t heard of Skype, it is a free messaging service) which now includes the ability for video calls. However the use of video requires a suitable ‘Webcam’ and the Webcam I bought wouldn’t work with my Windows version (Win 2K) and while the video worked with the Linux client, the sound wasn’t very good.

The solution is to upgrade the operating systems, and I started on saturday with Windows XP on my aged laptop, And that is where the fun started!

I had bought a new hard drive (clean installs seem to work better)but my (aged) laptop won’t boot off the DVD player. (It was originally fitted with a a CD – I upgraded it) so I needed a way to boot it and then read the install disc. I spent most of Saturday trying this, until I realised that the install disk was a CD – and putting the CD reader back in the laptop solved the problem! And Skype burst into life in full colour and sound!

The next stage is to put Linux on the laptop and make it dual boot (it will be Fedora core 12) and upgrade my other Linux machines (including the webserver) to FC 12, however that can wait for a while as I have some other jobs to do, and I also have some coursework from the last module to com-plete (although that will be easier on Windows XP)

We have also decorated one of tyhe Christmas trees as Christmas draws nearer. We will be doing the same as last year. in that we won’t be sending out Christmas cards, but donating the amount we would have spent to LeukaemiaCARE.

There is one more job to do before Christmas, and that is to find the Christmas theme for the blog!

Onwards and Upwards!



A busy weekend with some long awaited jobs completed! A leaking towel rail in the bathroom has been replaced (this started leaking about 6 months ago, and has been isolated, but yesterday I finally got round to removing it and replacing it with a new one. And also on the heating theme (in time for autumn, I replaced a motorised valve that may not have been seating properly. I’m not quite convinced – the symptom was hot water from the domestic hot water heat exchanger was flowing back into the heating system, and the only way I could see that could happen was if the valve was faulty – time will tell!

Today I replaced a blown lamp on the car foglamps (again in preparation for autumn) after getting the wheel stud freed by the tyre fitters so I could remove the wheel to get access to the back of the front buper. This afternoon I was playing wit the server – trying to get the operating system back to a consistent state. (You may recall that when I did a major update, it updated some of the files, but not all, so I have a sort of ‘hybrid’ system!) I did succeed in getting the install disc to boot from a compact flash card (the server does not have a CD/DVD drive) but the only options presented were to do a full install, not an upgrade, which would have meant a lot of work restoring the coinfiguration and backups, so I will leave it for the moment until I can spend some time to back it all up and then start again with a clean installation.

Olivia stayed last night – so it was an early start when she woke at 6 o’clock and came padding in to climb into “the big bed” where she promptly fell asleep for another 2 hours! Quite the toddler now!

So on all fronts… Onwards and upwards!


Sunday… updates

More updates – this time on the server – and not all sweetness and light!

To recap, the new server has been running Linux, to be precise, Fedora 10. The Fedora Project has just released a new version, Fedora 11, and it is possible to update that on the fly. However, with 1374 of the 1,420 files updated, the system froze, and when I restarted it, the same thing happened, so I now have a hybrid system – some old, some new. Interestingly it isn’t stopping it from running any of the server applications, but I can only log into it remotely, or via a command line interface, the graphical side just will not run.

It seems that there is a problem at the Fedora servers too, so I am a bit stumped – I suspect I may have to reload the software at some point. However as it is all working for the time being, it isn’t too urgent.

To cap it all, last night the main incoming switch tripped – luckily the freezers were still cold, but all the batteries in the uninterpretable power supplies had flattened themselves – I thought the house was quiet when I woke up!

However back on the home front, I had a 3C weekend: cleaning, cooking and coursework! Felicity came home this evening after two weeks away, so yesterday I was doing coursework, today some cleaning and tonight some cooking so she had a meal on her return. In the process I evicted a few alien life forms from the fridge – for those Torchwood addicts, I’m not sure if the 456 were hiding in there…

Tomorrow I have a meeting in Portsmouth, so I shall be returning to Corsham after that!

Onwards and Upwards!

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Thursday… again!

Where is the time going? Half way through the year already and it doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I was gingerly driving up snow covered roads on the way to work, and now we are swltering in the heat!

Must be the heat confusing me as the next ECP isn’t for another 2 weeks because the six weekly regime has started. I’m really not looking forward to London in this heat – if the heat wave continues.

Last weekend was busy – crossing the border into Wales for my brother-in-law’s ordination at Newport Cathedral, then back to Corsham on Sunday afternoon. I shall be back homefor the weekend, although Felicity is away at the Henley regatta, so I must start the next lot of coursework!

On another note, I expect you, like me, get a few e mails with subject lines containing “Urgent – please pass this on to all your friends immediately” or similar lines in the subject line. The e mail then goes on to describe something that “happened to friend” or “has been verified by Microsft/some-company/some police force” and so on.

These e mails are almost invariably hoaxes, so before forwarding them on, it is worth taking 30 seconds or so to enter the subject line as a Google search. This will usually bring up several web sites that will verify (or otherwise) the authenticity of these e mails – so far I have never seen a genuine one! They are just another variation of the old chain letters that used to circulate by post.

Onwards and upwards!


Sunday… Overdue for an update!

OliviaAn update is long overdue, but first, as it has been quite a while since I posted a picture of Olivia, here is one taken a couple of weeks ago. She is very much a little girl, now aged 21/2 years old, and very mobile, very determined and quite able to make herself understood, with a vocabulary that is increasing daily!

I have had a busy two weeks since I last posted, finishing off some coursework for the last University module I completed, and last week, back at Cranfield for another module, with an exam at the end of it. New serverI have also had some results from last year’s work, and while one result from coursework was disappointing, I had made up for it in the exam, so I passed it, and I think I have enough credits for the PgCert, so I am now working towards the PgDip.

Last week’s course was quite intensive, but the exam seemed to go well, and I should get some results in about six weeks. I am now waiting for the coursework!

I have also been doing some computer stuff at home, and I have built a new server for the blog, one that will use less power and be a bit quieter. I moved the webserver onto it this morning, and it all seems to be working well! New serverThe pictures show the internals as I was building it, the main feature being nodedicated processor cooling fan, and only one small case fan that just switches on when required. The other picture shows the two disc drives (2.5″) in a RAID 1 configuration, which also consume less power.

Healthwise things have been a bit mixed. While I have been feeling well, and putting on a bit more weight, I have had an occurrence of the sore mouth, coinciding with a meal out with some very tasty chilli nachos about 3 weeks ago. I have been taking some medication that I have used before, and it is much better, but yesterday I had a letter from Guy’s confirming what I had thought, that I had a slight infection, and suggesting some other treatment to clear it up properly.

And there is another milestone tomorrow when I go up to St Thomas’s for the last planned session of ECP. It has certainly made a big difference to my health, and the GvHd seems to be under control. However if it does flare up again, there is always the option to have another course of the treatment.

So really on all fronts, it is ‘Onwards and Upwards’!


Sunday.. warm and sunny!

Hard to believe that this time last week I was 7,000 miles away, looking at snow covered hills! I have pretty much got over the time zone change – I always find travelling forwards across time zones more tiring, but I have had a few fairly restful days. I am back at work tomorrow, although I shall be in London for three days having the next session of ECP and also a haematology check up. However the feeling of well being induced by the trip has continued!

The weather down here has been hot – we had a BBQ yesterday and this afternoon – almost too hot sitting out in the sun!

If you looked at the blog this afternoon, it was down for a while while I did a disk change. (One of the disks in the RAID array was reporting a fault) so I have installed a new drive (and a cable which looked a bit suspect) and I will test the disk later. I think it is probably OK and it was the cable at fault. (It took a bit longer than expexcted – because I was called to do the BBQ just as I had started taking it apart!)

Still, all back online now – time to take a backup!

Onwards and Upwards!

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