Friday, May 23, 2003

So today I've come in to find the PC I happily switched off last night turned on again but frozen up with a mass of empty windows and logged in as someone called Andy from IT. Didn't even have the common courtesy to speak to Gary who was still here at the time or turn it off when he'd finished. I ask you! I bet half the problems and crashes I have come from things like that.

As I write I'm waiting on approval of the p&r newsletter from the commuincations manager and then that will be me happy for the week. Just a few last bits of timetables to check and we should be done on the books too at last. Whatever happens I will be glad to be out of here tonight for a nice restful long weekend. Only pity being Joan working all three days of it. Grrrr.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Bloody computers and those who maintain them! They got my colours back fine yesterday but lost my connection to the outside world to make up for it. Hopefully today everything is back to normal and working. Of course, that implies that "working" is the normal state of affairs in here, which is unlikely. And actually, I now have 32bit colour rather then the 24 I had before so actually in the end I've come out better off. Fingers crossed that it all lasts for a while or until we get our new kit. If we get our new kit. Still not sure if that will actually happen as all purchases and things like that are supposed to be on hold until it is known who is moving to Endeavour House, what they will get new, what they will take with them and so forth. It seems likely that we will be one of the teams to move as we fit most of the categories for selection that have been published so far but nothing has been confirmed as yet. And the clock is ticking. I assume the workers are back in finishing off the building, but no-one has let us know about that either.

Anyway, Tuesday night went really well. A bit of concern to start with - while Joan and I were waiting outside the Magic Wok for the bus a couple of Police Cars and an Ambulance went tearing past. Turned out a car had wrapped itself around the telephone pole at the bottom of Ma & Pa's garden so when we went past there was much activity, flashing lights etc. And of course a top quote from Barry - "Oh look, they've stopped an Ambulance for speeding". He really is from another planet. Still, no damage done to the garden - they are just concerned about the car still being there and hope it will be towed away before some idiot sets light to it.

So, we all ended up at Felixstowe Ferry in the Ferry Boat Inn. Plenty of old faces as well as the crew from in here so good chat as well as superb food. A bit expensive (the price Bob had originally anticipated turned out to be a special deal, and they didn't repeat it for us despite there being a crowd of 30 all buying drinks as well) but very tasty fish & chips. We really ought to get down there more often ourselves just for the odd meal, it being so close and all. Perhaps with summer coming. Followed the meal with a walk around the boatyard and on the beach (others went to the Victoria for another pint) and then the bus brought us home again. I think of all the people who have come and gone while I've been working here Bob will be one of the most missed along with Colin. Even Joan says she is going to miss him.

Yesterday was spent footling around here on the latest Park & Ride newsletter. I just need to run it past Sonic now before getting them copied and up to the sites.

Joan is off again today and has just been up to the doctors for blood tests. She is still getting odd lumps and stuff from the rash hanging around so they are going to do a full work up on her and get the results rushed back. I hope there will be nothing serious wrong but better to find out now.

Now well in to Mountain... and it is proving just as good as parts 1 and 2. The only "problems" being the sheer number of characters to keep up with meaning we haven't seen them all again yet and that the book itself is so damn heavy to lug about with me! I think I can put up with that though.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

OK, so yesterday ended on a good note for the IT department. Today, I'm not so happy. Partly my fault cos I was tinkering with resolutions on the monitor yesterday (with no results apparent at the time) - today I have come in to find the PC refusing to show more than 8bit colour. Meaning everything looks fairly horrible. And of course the bits I need to get at to fix it are locked off and only accessible to the IT dept. So that's been reported to the helpdesk, but according to Richard could take anything up to 5 days to sort out. Not good enough if you ask me. Things were so much simpler when we had our own IT group (i.e. before they all got merged in to one corporate muddle) and they were only up the corridor and we knew who they all were, and it was all fields around here and you could leave your door unlocked, the kids could walk to school on their own... Stop it Simon, you seem to be turning in to an old git!

So I have been muddling along with a restricted pallette and strange combination of font sizes on screen, confining myself to jobs that don't need me to play with pictures. But I won't be able to put them off for ever.

We had Bob's presentation this morning. We got him a very nice framed 1807 map of the county which I find myself seriously coveting. And then had the usual run-down of career highlights and stuff. Bob was also very forthcoming about the stuff they ask about in the exit interview which was quite interesting. I don't suppose what he said will make any difference though. Roll on tonight and the celebrations.

Last night was a bit odd as we spent most of it in different rooms while Joan watched TV I didn't fancy. So I tiddled about on the computer a bit then sat and read. Finished off Mercator and can say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only issue I would have with the book is that for the biography of a cartographer (among many other talents it turns out) there weren't enough examples of his maps included in the illustrations. OK, so I wouldn't have wanted the book to be too much bigger and thus more expensive but none the less, a few more would have been nice. So now I have turned back to Tad Williams and Otherland book three - Mountain Of Black Glass. Not exactly advanced the plot as yet (well, I have only read 20 pages) but so far it is living up to the standard set by the others. And to cap it all I saw in Waterstones yesterday that he has a new book out after spending the last couple of years working on a web-based project that I wasn't prepared to subscribe to.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Well, I only got slightly rained on at lunchtime today, which was lucky as it is absolutely throwing it down now. I thought we were supposed to get good weather at this time of year? And I was a good little Simon and only did what I went out to do (pay some bills) and didn't get side-tracked into spending more money on stuff. I was very tempted, but resisted in case of needing the money tomorrow. For tomorrow is Bob's retirement bash along the sea front at Felixstowe featuring an old bus, food and drink.

Anyway, not too much hassle from himself as yet today. Perhaps I will be left to get on with things.

Actually managed to remember part of last night's dream for long enough to mention it for the first time in ages. Mainly because for the first time I can recall I found myself actually questioning the dreamed events as they happened. Usually you just accept them at the time but when waking up think they were a bit odd. This time though, the dream featured me being rescued from drowning in a swimming pool by a Mermaid and I actually thought at the time this was a bit odd, there being no food and how would she cope with all the chlorine and stuff.

Also in the unusual category - the post came before we left for work this morning. And with it came a CD from Monica in Seattle. A Johnny Cash tribute album that looks pretty good to me. Will have to give that a spin tonight, some artists I have heard of before and a bunch of new names.

Not much else to add now. Some girl from IT came round earlier checking out what kit we had in preparation for a brace of new PCs coming in the next couple of weeks. That'll be nice. Another new person has started on the group but not talked to him yet so no information to relate...

Sunday, May 18, 2003

And another weekend has been and nearly gone. Time sure does seem to fly past at an alarming rate some days. I'm sure there are deep learned treatises out there in the world that can explain why some days seem to go in a flash while others drag, maybe I'll seek some of them out one day. If I ever have the time!

So, Friday. Had a car park meeting in the morning, which was about as thrilling as normal. All useful information to find out what the "competition" for Park & Ride is doing (especially if they are planning to put prices up) but some of the people involved just make my skin crawl/are soooo boooooooring. Talk about stretching points over seven sentences where a couple of words would do. (Yes, I know that is usually my trick). Still, always good to get out of the office for an hour or so. And I can always do shopping on the way back rather than at lunchtime thus saving a few more minutes towards another flexi-day off. Even more handy given that the weather kept me in all week anyway. Plus they also keep my name in the minds of the upper echelons of the Ipswich Partnership rather than anyone else's and that may well come in handy some day.

The rest of the day was spent mopping up and checking the returned timetable pages. I think we are pretty much all sorted now and hopefully Sonic will be happy for us to go to print when he has a look tomorrow. That is assuming he does come back from his holiday and hasn't realised how much he winds us all up and does the decent thing and not return. No, I'm sure he will be there in the morning as full of energy as ever. We will have to find some way of bringing him down to earth a bit though. Oh well, there's a bank holiday coming up so only 9 working days until our week off to put up with him.

Yesterday Joan was at work so I had a semi-relaxed day. Got a stack of ironing cleared up, a look at the Llamasoft forums and some Cube stuff. Pretty close to being what the Doctor ordered really. Plus we allowed ourselves a Chinese for tea which was bloody lovely.

Today we have been out and about in Felixstowe. Took the old gate down to the tip then when we were down that end of town drove up to the dock viewing area for a walk on the beach there. Then we decided to have a look around Landguard Fort as it was open. I went there many years ago (while I was still at College, and more to see if I could use it as a good vantage point to get some pictures of the docks to use on my dissertation) but Joan had never been before. They have spent a lot of money lately and it really has become an interesting place to visit now. We even managed to get a guided tour just for the two of us, which was nice. Much work still needs doing, and most of the rooms are just bare shells at the moment with no real clues as to what they were used for over the different stages of the place's development but then that lets the imagination fill in the gaps. There have been a number of different forts on the site over the years since the 11th or 12th Century and what is left dates from 1744, 1860ish and some World War Two additions so plenty of history there - in fact it is the site of the last attempted invasion of British shores - by the Dutch in the 1600s.

Part of the site also houses Felixstowe Museum so we had a look around that as well. Again some interesting stuff. Not as much as I would have liked on the growth of the town itself, the architecture of some of the buildings and so forth but still pretty interesting. And again much expanded since I last took a trip round. It is so easy to forget things that have happened in the town over the years and always nice to be reminded. Just as an example where Landguard Terminal stands at the docks now used to be a Seaplane research station - it must have been wonderful to have them buzzing overhead, all new shapes and types cropping up. That was one of the things I used to like back in Welwyn Garden City when the British Aerospace factory was still producing planes down the road in Hatfield.

Then it was back to the here and now when we got home. Put another coat on the gate to hide the marks and scuffs it received in the hanging (it was looking lovely when I gave the bits to Jerry, what on earth did he do to it?). Then also slapped a coat on a bit of the fence that will need another coat when we re-paint the whole lot while we are off. Nice to spend so much of the day out in the sun (and only a teensy bit of rain) and I feel quite virtuous after it. Joan has now gone off to play Bingo with Helen so I will tinker about on here a bit more and hope they don't come home empty-handed.