[17:30] And I'm done. The end of the last day before I go to Kenya. Nothing
much happened. I even didn't run before work, instead choosing to run a
gentleish 10K at lunchtime instead. I solved (sort of) a few issues with my
Red Hat Satellite installation (annoying virt-who thing), and tidied my desk,
among other things.
I'm now off home to ensure my parents have seats together on their planes to
Nairobi, have dinner and do my final packing, and then head to bed. They're
flying first thing tomorrow morning from Manchester, via Frankfurt, and I'm
heading to Heathrow tomorrow at lunchtime to fly direct to Nairobi overnight
tomorrow night. After that it's all go with visiting some of Rachel's projects,
doing the whole marathon thing, a short safari in the Masai Mara with my
parents, some more of Rachel's work in Tanzania, and then some relaxation
(briefly with Rachel's parents, then on our own) on Zanzibar. Then I come home.
There will be, I hope plenty of photos to show you once I've had time to deal
with them and weed out the poor ones.
Between coming back from Africa and coming back to work (if I don't come in on
the Friday) I'm also getting a rather large delivery of stuff from Ikea, so the
Sunday before the Monday could be rather full of allen keys and wood-chip/MDF.
So yes, off I go. Hopefully everyone will come back safely (and my house will
survive intact without me in it) in a few weeks and I'll catch you up on
[17:10] Alongside what I hope is a confirmed booking for someone to come and
redo the shower/wet room has been another (apparently very good)
builder/carpenter/joiner who doesn't seem to be reading my emails. So when I
say "I'm available until midday on Thursday" he comes back with "OK, I can come
round on Thursday or Friday at 17:00". See, that doesn't work for me as I'll be
in Kenya. Hopefully I'll be able to book something for when I return, possibly
only after I return at this rate, given the speed with which all of these
tradespersons seem to read and respond to emails.
In work news I got three servers built and configured such that they'll be
available to the people who need them before I go away at the end of play
tomorrow. With luck they'll do some testing and breaking of things tomorrow
such that any issues they come across I can get fixed, or at least point them in
the right direction.
I ran at lunchtime today. I felt I was going fairly quickly, but it turns out
it wasn't tremendously fast. More than fast enough to raise a sweat, even in
the fairly cold but clear weather, though. I'm unsure if I'll run tomorrow
morning. I probably will, and before work. Then I'll get home, do my parents'
seat reservations for their flights to Frankfurt and Nairobi, have a shower,
breakfast, pack, and head to work for my last day of it before early November.
Honestly, there's not much I can or should achieve tomorrow so I imagine it'll
be quite a nice day, albeit a little boring.
In other news the previous utilities supplier for the new house has finally
sent me a bill, but apparently only for one utility as my new supplier
still hasn't moved over one of them, or at least given the old supplier
a final reading. This is also causing me to not be able to book a set of smart
meter installations before I go away either, which is galling. I'll try for the
last time on Thursday morning from home before I give up until I get back from
[17:35] Typically, as I prepare for the trip of a lifetime, I appear to
potentially getting tonsilitis. I'm going to be gargling with salt water,
taking vitamin C (for all the good it'll do) and generally looking after myself
as much as I can before I run my immune system down by flying a red-eye flight
to Nairobi on Thursday night. I'd really like not to be ill, please. I can't
think what it might have been that lowered my immune system so much as the
weekend was pretty great, really. On Friday, after Rachel arrived on Thursday
evening we got up relatively late, considering, then she got on with work and
did various things around the house. I also popped out to B&Q and managed
to get an expired gift card from my grandmother reissued. That's earned my
custom for the next few visits required to get DIY things. Some other stuff
happened on Friday, but for the life of me I can't remember what they were,
other than my ordering a bucketload of Ikea furniture to arrive in November. We
had a nice evening though, which was good. On Saturday morning Rachel had to
head back to Croydon to get a lift to an away hockey match, I went to parkrun
and ran reasonably, although not incredibly quickly. After I got back and had
cleaned up I had a bathroom fitter around who pretty much confirmed that my
current shower/wet room was fitted by people who had no idea what they were
doing. After a good forty minutes with him he left me with a brochure and told
me to get in contact if I wanted work done in January. After that I actually
went ahead and had a go at painting one of the ex-feature walls (the one in the
bedroom we're using). I had two types of magnolia to choose from. Even after
it dried and lightened up the next day I'm still not entirely sure I chose the
right one. For a treat I went out and got Chinese food for dinner as Rachel
wasn't going to be back until very late. When she told me what train she'd be
getting I jumped on my bike and met her at the station, which made me much
happier than her cycling home on her own close to midnight. On Sunday we got
up, had a leisurely breakfast in the sun outside, and then ran a gentleish
(relatively speaking to what we might be capable of) half marathon distance,
then had a delicious mess of scrambled eggs on toast. The remainder of the day
was spent doing trip logistics, catching up with paperwork, Rachel preparing a
roast-ish kind of dinner, and us settling down to watch a bit of television
This morning, after Rachel had left for the station, I headed into work with a
list of things to do. I seem to have managed pretty much all of them, other
than not having had a confirmation from the bathroom fitter, or a
carpenter/joiner I asked to come around before Thursday lunch time. My tonsils
seems to be inflamed, although better than they were when I got up this morning.
I've done some research and there's not really anything I can do other than
tough it out. Hopefully it'll have subsided within a week, as that's when I'm
running the marathon.
I'm off home now, hopefully without getting a face full of Saharan sand, which
has caused the light outside to become a very strange colour. Only two more
working days remain.
[17:20] I think it was quiet next door last night. When there are two cars
outside (guests?) it tends to be quiet over night. When there's one or none I
think the daughter (very late teens/early 20s) seems to go to town on gaming or
chatting with someone. Anyway, I slept, but still woke in the small hours as
there might have been some noise of some type. Also I'm getting incredibly hot
at night for some reason again. I don't know if it's a diet, stress, or other
thing, but it's something I've had before. I just hope it goes away again.
In other news I seem to have discovered another issue with the 'shiny'
shower/wet room. It's potentially the reason the underfloor heating
temperature sensor is broken (thinks the floor is always at 50degC when turned
on, meaning I have to shift it into another mode (power level, not "max
temperature to reach", mode)), that is that the grout around a number of the
floor tiles is cracked and the hollow sound when you tap on some of them is
probably due to them having lifted because of water getting underneath them. As
a result of that, and documentation on the mermaid panel web site about not
having the panels go all the way to the floor (there should be a spacer tile
layer of some kind to stop water being drawn up into the panel's wooden/MDF
backing), not to mention the damp issue in the wall, and the lack of
temperature control over the shower itself... I'm going to probably have the
whole thing checked/removed and refitted, floor, shower area walls, pipework.
Given I'm probably going to be going to Ikea for all of my
now-not-bespoke-fitted furniture for the dining area and bedroom I think I
should be able to afford it. I really feel like this is the only thing that
seriously needs doing to the house, and I'd really like it if it was done before
Christmas when my family visits and the room gets a lot more usage than it does
when it's mostly just me and a bit of Rachel.
Anyway, that's that. I've got someone coming to see the whole mess on Saturday,
so hopefully he'll be able to render an expert opinion, a quote, and a timeframe
for getting things fixed. In other news I got up early this morning and did
another 16K run, starting pretty much in 'middle of the night' darkness. A much
easier out-and-back route than the more circular one I did the morning before.
This probably accounted for pretty much exactly the same time, but it feeling
like somewhat less of an effort.
Work today has been bitty and for the most part all about hunting out work to
day. Other than about an hour ago when I got a VM request. I got that done and
out of the way before leaving this evening as I'm not in tomorrow. So, yeah,
that's about it really. Have a good day tomorrow, and a nice weekend. I'll be
parkrunning, talking to a bathroom fitter/builder, doing a limited Tesco shop,
laying out clothes for Kenya, and generally trying to relax about the house as
much as possible. Also Rachel and I will be perusing the Ikea web site a lot
and potentially even picking a delivery date for a mass of flat pack
shelving/chests of drawers, etc.
[17:30] Neighbour noise update: Some noise last night between 03:00 and 04:30.
Also before midnight, but I went to bed early so that's my own fault, I guess.
I'll see what happens tonight/tomorrow morning before popping round again to see
what can be done about it. It wasn't as loud as previously, but it still seems
to be waking me up. Stupid single skin walls.
In the end I was wide awake come 05:55 when I was due to get up so I'd be back
in time to shower, have breakfast and be at work in time to enter the local half
marathon when the web site opened at 09:00. I duly did my run and felt rather
jiggered afterwards, limping into work on my bike just in time to make the 09:00
deadline by the time I'd sorted myself out.
Over the course of the day I've done the usual work-related stuff, solved a few
issues here and there, sent a few emails, and generally tried to do good things
for everyone. I also got a call back from my surveyor with his thoughts on the
damp issue with my shower/wet room. I made copious notes and have duly passed
them on to the plumber I have managed to get to come round on Saturday morning.
Hopefully they'll be useful for him in telling me how much it's going to cost to
do the needful.
I'm heading home now for a quiet evening of not very much at all. I'll try to
get up and do the same run again tomorrow (although possibly in the other
direction, although that means stumbling through the local park in almost pitch
blackness if I don't pack a head torch) before coming into work. I guess it
depends on the weather, whichs eems to be taking a little turn for the worse.
Rachel's also coming tomorrow evening, which will be marvellous. We're going to
think about Ikea furniture rather than the horrendously expensive fitted units
I was hoping to have.
[17:10] A quick dinner with Kate last night to catch up on each other's news,
then I headed home and got in a quick Tesco visit before curling up for the
night in front of the television, and then bed. Happily there was no noise from
next door that kept me awake so I slept through until a moderately normal time
before I started to worry about what I was forgetting to worry about. So I got
up, did some morning exercises, had a shower, and then discovered a text from
the surveyor saying he could come and see the place around 10:30ish. I fired up
the laptop and worked from home until he arrived and then we wandered around the
inside and outside of the shower/wet room taking moisture/damp readings. The
upshot is that there is definitely damp, but we can't really see what's causing
it. It might be just the fact that the brick is of a different type that
retains more moisture, and especially so because it's painted, or it might be
the shower water fitting internally, or it might be water creeping up the back
of the mermaid panel/between the panel and the brickwork, or something else.
Apparently it's a "strange one". He's going to ruminate on it and potentially
call me if he thinks of something. In the meantime I can either try to ignore
it, or have a builder come out to take a look and quote me for potentially
removing a mermaid panel, finding the cause, potentially installing a waterproof
membrane and putting everything back together. If I do go ahead there's no
guarantee that once the panel comes off (damaged in the process, potentially)
there might not be anything to see and I'll have wasted my money. In any event
I contacted two bathroom fitters via checkatrade.com today and have had a reply
from one of them to come and take a look on Saturday morning. So at least it
feels like I'm doing something.
In other news Rachel's tapped up her joiner about quoting a better price for the
fitted units I want upstairs and downstairs and he seems enthusiastic about
doing something. I've also had a look on Ikea's web site and if no-one comes up
with a price I can stomach/afford there's always the fallback of a wall's worth
of Billy bookcases and CD/DVD racks. Likewise for upstairs there are options
which wouldn't quite fit the gap available in the way I'd like, but would do the
job for a fraction of the price I've been quoted so far. Also I'd be able to
take them with me if I wanted to, when/if I move.
I got into work at around 11:30 and dashed off as many small tasks as I could
before 13:00 when I headed out for what I thought was a fairly fast run, but
turned out to not be anything terribly special by the time I'd finished it.
That's OK though. This afternoon I've been doing more involved tasks, but still
nothing particularly meaty. Hopefully something more exciting will turn up
tomorrow, or I'm just going to stress more about my house instead.
[18:00] I really do feel like I'm losing muscle mass/tone these days. Not to
mention feeling like I'm just getting a bit more flabby and tubby. I don't
imagine I am (all that quickly) but once I've done this marathon I think it's
time to seriously think about a gym membership and put a bit more meat (muscle)
back on again. If nothing else I was stronger when I did Boston, and I think
that's why I got a good time. Unless my running training was better then, or I
was just younger. Anyway, feeling a bit lumpen and... rounded at the edges.
Over the weekend I did parkrun (reasonable time), then eventually headed to
London to see Rachel and her parents. I met her at the train station and we had
a rather nice takeaway lunch at an American diner-style place before cycling
home together. Her parents turned up slightly unexpectedly later on after
having seen something at the theatre in London, then we spent some time chatting
and catching up. There was a nice curry out later on in the evening, although
we had to wait an extremely long time both to order and then for our food to
arrive. It was tasty when it did, though. I did open myself up to a bit of a
hard time from Rachel and her parents when I whinged about my house and how hard
it was to get it fixed, not to mention the rather eye-watering quote I'd had
from the one builder/carpenter I've managed to get out thus far and quote for
the works I need doing. So that was a bit galling, but my own fault, really.
On Sunday morning we were a little slow to rise, but then went for a nice walk
to a local park before Rachel headed to London for a meeting and I walked her
parents back to the house and then sent them on their way. For the remainder of
the afternoon I worked on eliminating warnings and errors from Rachel's laptop
(some very odd ones regarding her PCI Express subsystem, among others). Once
she got back we went for a short run together as the light faded, and then had a
lovely evening of just the two of us.
This morning was a relatively early rise, then two trains to get to work. On
the way into work I popped into my conveyancer's office to thank him for
everything and to see if there was any paperwork I needed to pick up. There
wasn't, which was good. I headed to work and have spent the day doing useful
things for people, as I'm apparently supposed to in my job description. I've
also had a revised bill for the water at my old house (much more sensible, I've
even paid it), managed to finally get my gas and electricity supplier that I
moved to from the one previously supplying my new home to accept meter readings,
and even scheduled a date to be able to call up and ask for smart meters to be
fitted. On top of that I've contacted two other carpenter/builders to ask them
to come and quote for the things I want doing (this side of Christmas would be
great). Obviously nothing back from them yet.
And now it's time to get out of here for the evening. Hopefully when I get home
the house will still be there, and unbroken into to boot. I should go to Tesco
when I get home too, rather than just collapsing in front of the television for
a few hours before bed.
[16:55] I nearly got up early this morning to run 16K or so, but I didn't.
Instead I stayed in bed and timed my departure with the bank opening so I could
deposit a cheque. Duly done I headed into work. Not a lot has happened today,
although I did find time to scan in the sketches of the shelving units I'd like
build in the bedroom and dining area.
Oh, last night I mowed the lawn for the first time. It was with a lawn mower I
borrowed from a friend who lives just down the way from me. After that I
repaired the battery compartment flap on the camera he's letting me borrow to
take to Kenya (along with a very nice lens) and did a bit of cleaning and
tidying (including packing up the wallpaper steamer for collection).
So yes, today was all about fallout from the not quite internal ructions
regarding technical decisions being made at work. Nothing to do with me, but
happening in the same room so I got to be a fly on the wall for them. Also I
went for a run at lunch time to make up for not running before work. I didn't
do the 16K I had initially been planning on, but 10K was more than half of it,
so I'm satisfied. I did the last two kilometers fairly quickly, so there was
some effort involved. The weather was lovely, and should be quite nice for the
cycle home and weekend, I hope.
This weekend I'll be doing parkrun locally, then popping to London to see Rachel
and her parents after having done the Tesco thing. I'll be back on Monday
morning for work.
[17:05] Rachel arrived last night, but neither of us were in 100% best form, and
even a delicious curry from our favourite place couldn't quite lift the slight
ennui in the house. It felt like it lasted through until morning for me, but
that was probably just my over-sensitivity. Rachel headed to London and I
headed to work where I spent the first part of the morning working with a
coworker to move a VM from one site to another, along with its attendant SAN
volumes. That all seemed to go perfectly smoothly, which was nice. It turns
out that the move of the live server (this morning was the development server)
is now going to happen while I'm away in Kenya, so I've written up an exhaustive
checklist for my coworkers to follow. They're going to try it out moving the
development server back again as moving it has placed somewhat of a strain on
the RAM available in that VMWare cluster.
I didn't run this morning, and I'm not going to run this evening. We did
consider getting up very early this morning so we could run together before work
but even though there wasn't any noise from next door (something was creaking
and banging in the small hours, but it turned out to be my own side gate) I
didn't sleep very well and both of us decided to sleep in as much as we were
able given our morning schedules. I'm off home now while there's still some
light to have a go at finalising the sketches for the units I want built in
bedroom and dining area. Given my family is going to be spending Christmas at
my house this year I think it'd be a good idea to have a bit more storage so I
can get my books and DVDs (and clothes out of the way so there's room for 4-5
(when Rachel's there too) people in the house. The builder/carpenter says he'll
be able to do the work in time, but I'll believe it when I see it given how busy
the tradespersons are in this town.
[17:55] Despite there not really being any noise from next door after I fell
asleep last night I still didn't sleep all that well. However, I was fairly
well rested when I got up at 05:40 to get my run done such that I would be
available for the waterman to call me (as he duly did, right on the button) at
08:00. I was therefore ready to swig down the last of my breakfast smoothie and
cycle to work via my old house where a water meter reading proved that the
previous reading was complete hogwash. Hopefully the fact that this morning's
reading was taken 24 days after I moved out, and there are now two people living
in the property rather than just me on my own, should mean that the reading that
makes it onto my revised final bill should be pro rata for the day I moved out,
rather than just today's reading. I'm not paying for two other people's
showering, washing up, and clothes washing for the last three weeks.
After all that I headed into work where I spent most of the morning getting as
complete a checklist on how to move a VMWare guest from one server room/SAN to
another given local complexities. The afternoon was then spent on a bucketload
of small and medium tasks. Oh, I should mention that it was pretty much pitch
dark when I started my run this morning, which meant I needed a light (red) to
see the path in the local park I started out in. I'm almost looking forward to
doing it again on Friday morning (tomorrow morning I need to be in early to do
the server move). Although now I think about it I'm hopeful the surveyor gives
me time to do the work at work in the morning before he lets me know he's around
and I have to cycle all the way home again... if he even contacts me tomorrow.
Anyway, I should go home now as it's getting dark and I need to clean and tidy
before Rachel arrives.
[17:00] Noticable amounts of noise from next door around 04:30 this morning. I
couldn't tell if it was a television, or some kind of other playback, maybe
narration of a computer game. Hopefully it won't happen again tonight as I want
to be up quite early tomorrow to get a longish run in before theoretically
going to the old house to watch a waterman take another reading of how much
water I might have used.
In other news I've been given two expansion cards I have to arrange to get
installed in two different halves of a live service, at the same time as moving
the servers to racks (with their server rooms) which give better access to the
SAN in that location. On top of that there's the server and SAN volumes/mounts
data center moving thing to do on Thursday morning which (in combination with
Rachel coming to see me on Wednesday evening, yay!) likely means no run that
morning. But perhaps I can move it to Friday morning instead considering the
parkrun on the Saturday won't be breaking any personal bests.
Otherwise today I've been fighting a number of small fires without seemingly
making much (any) progress. I ran 10K at lunch time, so there's that. I'm
about to go home and make an attempt to steam off the last of the wallpaper in
the other bedroom (there's one more left, but I might leave that until it's
dealt with by the much-mooted-but-unlikely-to-happen-for-years house extension.
So, yeah, I should go home.
[17:35] I had a good weekend, thanks for asking. It started on Friday evening
with Rachel being home, which is always fab. She made a delicious crustless
quiche for dinner which I really enjoyed. On Saturday morning we did a gentle
parkrun with her friend Angela before showing Angela the new house. They then
headed off to the train station for Rachel to head to London for her hockey
match and I did some cleaning and tidying before having a shower and doing the
Tesco run. After that it was pretty much time for me to get to the station
myself to meet Rachel at the other end for a train to York. She just about made
it on time and we were able to get the train and our seats on time. In York we
were met by her brother who drove us home. We had a great time with brother,
wife, and nephew, including me being quite envious of their rather lovely house.
The following morning plenty of chat was had before Rachel's parents also
arrived and we popped into York city center to have coffee and cake. Then it
was a quick sprint to get lunch to go, collect our bags from the car and we were
back to the train station to await what turned out to be a completely delayed
timetable of southbound trains back to London. When we eventually got on a
train it was sitting-in-the-vestibule-room only, but as we weren't standing up
that was fine. Hopefully there'll be a delay-repay situation that we can take
advantage of from Virgin. I left Rachel in London to go a trustees meeting for
one of the charities she's involved in and headed home on another train. When I
finally got back I did a bit of housework and washing up before Max and Stacey
arrived to see the new place. They managed to stay around until Rachel arrived
home and then had to head off. At that point I convinced Rachel to let us get
Chinese takeaway (not her favourite) which we ate watching some good television
and feeling very pleased that we were getting to spend time together. Bed
followed. In the morning Rachel headed to London (so many trains in her life)
and I to work. Mostly today has been about fighting with a Red Hat Satellite
upgrade (which luckily I had multiple chances to get right by dint of taking a
life-saving VMWare snapshot beforehand). It turns out most of the issues were
entirely of my own making. It seems to be behaving itself now, which is good.
Otherwise I've been trying to get my gas meter readings submitted to my
utilities supplier whilest their web site has been broken, as well as trying to
get registered for smart meter installation. There was some other stuff that
went on, but frankly I can't remember what it is at this point. I think I'll go