[16:55] So, this is it. My last working day of the year. Surprisingly, I've
got a lot done, which is nice. Primarily I've cleared a long-standingly
reported hardware fault by dint of doing some research, had a long meeting about
servers that need replacing (which has resulted in me needing to do a bucketload
of new work in the new year), cleared down my email, got a few servers sorted a
bit more with regard to settings, been for a gentle 1 hour run, and almost got a
delivery of something, by which I mean I thought it'd arrived, but it turned out
to be something from a company that supplies work, which stuck my name on the
package (again) even though it's nothing to do with me.
Oh, Rachel got notification from her insurance company that they're going to
give her a cheque for an amount of money. It doesn't really cover the cost of
the bike, let alone the bike plus the other bits and bobs, but it's better than
nothing. We'll sort out a new bike in the new year, I think. I've heard
nothing from anyone with regard to CCTV footage. I tried my best, but I don't
think I'm going to get anywhere.
I'm off home now, and then will do a little work from home tomorrow morning
before getting trains to Croydon around midday. From there Rachel and I will
head south to run the South Downs Way 50 route over the course of Saturday and
Sunday, then come back to Croydon and immediately head north to her parents'
house for Christmas, popping over to my parents' house between Christmas and new
year for a few days, including my mother's birthday. Then it's back to Rachel's
parents, and then back home again in time to have a 30 minute turn around to go
and run a New Year's Eve 10K. Then we get to collapse and stay in for the
Then it'll be 2019, and noses back to the grindstone. Whatever you're doing for
the festive period, I hope it's nice, and you and yours have a wonderful time.
See you back here again in two weeks or so.
[17:20] I heard some more from the Police today. Turns out they're not going to
do anything because apparently they don't have access to the CCTV footage
(belongs to the train company) and the amount of time to look through is more
than 14 hours (haven't they heard of binary searches?). They advised me to
contact the train company again, so I did that and after fighting with the phone
operative, got them to take another look at my case and contact me either way
(whether they decide to do something (let me have the footage) or not). I've
even told them I'd be happy to look through the footage for them, but apparently
that's not acceptable for various reasons. It's digital footage, surely. That
means there are plenty of easy ways to look through it for things changing,
without having to sit there and eyeball the screen, even on super fast forward.
But never mind, I'd much rather Rachel's insurance company called her (or she
called them again and found out why they hadn't called her) and we got her bike
replaced. It being Christmas shortly makes everything a lot more complicated,
but I'd really like things to be under way before everything shuts down for the
Work has been quiet again today, thankfully. My old colleague, who's now my
team leader, has been doing sterling things with regard to getting all manner
of stuff sorted. As a result I've been doing one or two things to help him with
that. However, I've had plenty of time to twiddle my thumbs. So I took it
upon myself to do a bit of almost-useless preventative maintenance. It took up
a few minutes and things are a bit better for the future, so that's good. Now
I'm going to head home and have another quiet evening to myself, and speak to
Rachel on the phone at some point, hopefully.
[16:25] I'm still waiting to hear from someone about the CCTV footage of the
train station where Rachel's bike was stolen. I've mentioned it on a few places
on Facebook and it seems the thievery is more common than previously thought.
Not only that, but someone pointed out that the same style of stands at the main
train station are similarly useless. I doubt I'll hear anything about getting
access to the footage, but at this point (and honestly when I started the whole
process) it's more about seeing how hard it is and how long it takes than
actually getting any useful images/information from the whole episode.
Otherwise today was a mostly-useful day. I got up early and headed to work in
time to patch and reboot half a dozen servers or so, including firmware updates.
Everything seemed to go according to plan, which was nice. Over the course of
the day I've done some more generic tidying, gone for a rather relaxed 1 hour
run over lunch (despite it being a bit breezy), and gone around in circles with
a DBA and a service manager about getting rid of a very old server which should
have been binned years ago. Because a developer isn't going to be back before
Christmas it's likely I'm going to have to follow up on it, again, in the new
For now though I'm going home because I was in early.
[16:55] Bit of a mixed weekend, if I'm honest. It started off pretty well with
my Saturday morning run going by quite nicely. Then the remainder of Saturday
(Tesco, relaxing, eating) passed by happily. Sunday was a bit of a different
matter. I got my morning run done, but it was quite hard because of the
distance, even though I had nutrition with me, and drink (although one of my
bottles' straws came out which drenched half of my chest until I could get it
back in again). After that though things went really downhill when I cycled to
the nearby train station to collect Rachel's bike and cycle both mine and it
into town to meet her. It'd been stolen. The Sheffield stand had been
unscrewed from the tarmac and the bike (locks) just slipped off the bottom of
it. Apparently four other stands had likewise been done. Rachel's bike was not
that expensive, didn't look that expensive (although I did keep it in good
nick), and there were far nicer bikes around. It put a real downer on the day.
We still met in town, but Rachel had to walk into town from the other station.
We had lunch and did some useful Christmas shopping (including collecting my new
toaster that Rachel was lovely and bought for me). After a few other shops
though I got really sick of people and the crowds and asked if we could go home.
Rachel went back to the train station and met me at the one where the bike
should have been just to check I hadn't missed it (I hadn't). We talked to the
station staff (unhelpful) and then walked home together. Rachel logged the
theft with the police, got a crime number, and logged a claim with her insurance
company. I tried very hard for it not to bother me, but in some ways it did
more than the theft of my own bike a few months beforehand. Maybe because it
was her bike and I care about her having good, working transport, etc. We
finished off the day with some logistics planning and parental phone calls
before dinner and a bit of television.
This morning took a few goes to get started as we really didn't want to get out
of bed. When it did Rachel headed off (on foot) to the station and I cycled in
to work to find very little to do, thankfully. I've prepared all the servers
I'm patching tomorrow, and then reveled in our alerting system being very quiet
because everyone was at the Christmas lunch and bar for the afternoon. Chances
are things won't be as quiet tomorrow, but we can hope. I used my free time to
attempt to get the CCTV footage of the station cycle racks. This has lead me to
three different places, two branches of the police, three forms, two phone
calls, and still nothing to show for it. Hopefully something will happen
eventually. Not that I expect much even if I get the footage. At this point
already it's more about seeing what I can get than actually getting a result.
Also: with it being Christmas, it's unlikely the insurance company will get a
new bike out this side of the new year, which is a bit frustrating, although I'm
not sure where we could take delivery of it between now and then anyway.
[16:10] An early start to get into work in time to drop something off and then
get some servers patched and rebooted. Everything went according to plan and
I'm pleased to say that I feel a bit better about things now. I spent some time
consolidating a few things, then headed over to a data center to power cycle one
of our pieces of network kit that my group may or may not be responsible for.
Off the back of that, and some user administration, I now have access to it
and have been investigating who gets emails from it and many other pieces of
kit doing similar or connected functions. I don't think anything will get
sorted before Christmas though, given how slowly certain wheels turn here.
Honestly, this afternoon has been a write-off in terms of productivity. I don't
think anything was worth starting, so I've mostly been helping someone connect
to a server I set up a few days ago to do password syncing between various parts
of the organisation. I'll head home in a few minutes given how early I arrived
This weekend I have an hour's run tomorrow (which might include parkrun if I can
be bothered), and a 2 hour 45 minute run on Sunday, which I need to get done
before meeting Rachel in town for lunch after she arrives from Croydon. In town
we'll be going to Lakeland for some things for my parents, as well as collecting
a new toaster from John Lewis after my other one decided to stop working and
smelling of burnt insulation. Other than that we'll be doing some practice
packing for heading away for Christmas to do active and family things.
Hopefully I'll get Tesco over and done with on Saturday afternoon. Then it'll
[17:20] A busy start to the day at least. I was up at 05:45 so I could be out
of the door and running for an hour by 05:55 or so. It was cold, and clear, and
with a head torch on everything was great. Unfortunately I didn't wear anything
reflective so I was rightfully chastised by a cyclist on the tow path who came
up behind me. He saw me with dozens of meters to spare because of his front
light and seeing my head torch light on the ground in front of me, but wearing
something reflective might have been a plan. I honestly thought there wouldn't
be anyone else out at that time in the morning. Of course, there were some
boats and bank parties, but for the most part I was always either overtaking
them or coming at them head on. Anyway, the run done and dusted I had just
enough time to get in the house, turn on my laptop, and shut down the
application I was supposed to shut down before its database was updated. I
showered, breakfasted, made lunch, and got to work with ten minutes to spare
before I turned the application back on and tested workingness, which it had.
So that was good. The remainder of the day has mostly been spent learning more
about the new firewalls and the network topology we now have here, as well as
some other stuff I can't remember now. Having run before work and fasted I
didn't have a run at lunchtime and won't have one at all tomorrow, which'll be
My parents are on their way to Edinburgh at the moment to celebrate their golden
wedding anniversary. I hope they have an amazing and wonderful time away. I'm
going away now, but only as far as home, so I can relax for the evening and have
steak and chips and beans for dinner. No Rachel tonight (or tomorrow night, or
Saturday night) sadly. I'll try to survive.
[17:55] Today was one of those days when I didn't want to get out of bed, for no
real reason at all. I did though, and went down to find that the radio wouldn't
turn on. Was it broken? I couldn't think why. I turned on the kitchen
lights... only for that not to work either. At that point it seemed obvious a
breaker had tripped. I noticed that the smart meter was on battery power too,
and nearly dead, so it'd been like that for a while. I flipped the breaker back
on and the toaster started making a very odd buzzing sound and smelling of
burning insulation. I quickly unplugged it, shook out everything I could, and
then tried plugging it in again. More unsafe-sounding buzzing and a hint of
smoke. One dead toaster. I hadn't even used it in a while (maybe three or four
days), so I don't know why it chose the middle of last night to go wrong. The
upshot was I cycled to work with it in a carrier bag this morning and dumped it
in the work WEEE recycling trolley. Not impressed considering it probably
wasn't more than three years old. Rachel's promised she'll get me one as an
early Christmas present this weekend coming, which is lovely of her.
At work today I've mainly been fighting with Ubuntu 18.04 and VMWare. There are
various issues with their interaction when it comes to customisation of various
things after cloning from a template. After I got back from my lunch time hill
reps run (mildly disappointing graph of my speed decreasing on each repetition
of the hill climb) I found some useful information which basically boils down to
the fact that I'm going to have to do manual configuration until we get on a
more recent version of vCenter. I did fix the other issue I was having with
regard to SSH host keys though, so it wasn't all bad news.
Tomorrow morning I'm getting up stupidly early to run fasted for an hour before
breakfast, and then do 30 seconds of work from home at 07:00 before showering,
breakfasting, making my lunch, and cycling to work to do the followup task. I
still might leave work early tomorrow evening given when I'm actually starting
In other news, my hand/knuckle still hurts when I use it. I really do wonder
what's wrong with it.
[17:35] My hand still aches. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but some
time last week I appear to have banged, knocked, or otherwise done something to
it in such a way that I've either broken a bone or bruised or strained something
in or around the first knuckle of my left hand. We're getting on for a week now
and it seems to be getting somewhat worse rather than better. There doesn't
seem to be much I can do about it so I'm going to just wait for a little while
and see if it gets better on its own.
In other news I've had a day of work where I didn't actually achieve all that
much, but probably still made progress theoretically such that things can happen
in the future. Planning progress, I guess you could call it. Plenty of
meetings (by which I mean two, which is more than I usually have) and things
decided in them, but not much in the way of things typed into keyboards and
results visible. Maybe tomorrow. No run today either, which I'm thankful for,
but one tomorrow.
I think I'll go home and be glad I don't have to go out again to Tesco tonight.
[17:25] Back again. Wotcha. It has been something of a long weekend, again.
I'll get right into it as I want to go home, get the Tesco shop done, and relax.
Rachel arrived on Thursday night, which was nice. We got to bed in good time
for her to get up at 05:30 to do some work, and me at 06:00, so I could have a
little breakfast and we could get on our way doing a 2 hour 30 minute run.
Rather than look for trails and stuff we stuck to roads and pavement and did an
out and back route. It drizzled a bit, and I (in the depths of a bit of a
depressive patch) snapped at Rachel a bit. I also didn't really hydrate or eat
properly (not that Rachel did either) so I faded quite a bit towards the end.
All my own fault, really. Rachel on the other hand did well and only faded in
the last mile or so. She's training really well at the moment. Once we were
back and showered and fed a little more we headed back out in the rain with our
bikes and decided to take an extra train from the nearer station to get us on
our way to Matlock. Trains happened, everything went to plan, and then we were
in Matlock. We cycled via cycle routes to Rowsley, and then after finding that
the route I wanted us to take just wasn't going to be feasible, via the A6 to
Bakewell and our Air BnB place for the night. It was more than good enough, and
after a quick walk around Bakewell (it's not huge), a visit from our host at
exactly the wrong moment, and a delivery Indian which was very tasty, we headed
to bed. In the morning we jogged to Bakewell parkrun where Rachel absolutely
demolished me, finishing a good 45+ seconds ahead of me on a very straight,
almost perfectly flat out and back course. As I said, she's streets ahead of me
on speed and fitness at the moment. At least, I think so. We jogged home again
straight afterwards so we could shower and have breakfast at a local cafe that
we'd been given a 10% off voucher for. Then it was basically time to head home
for the last time, pack, and cycle back to Rowsley to meet and have lunch with
Rachel's family. We did so, then checked into the hotel and went for a short
walk. After some alone time for me to get my head in a bit more order we all
got into our glad rags and headed down to the hotel dining room to have a really
lovely and very delicious dinner together to celebrater Rachel's mother's
birthday. Before we knew it it was gone 22:00 and bed time for almost everyone.
Definitely me, though. In the morning Rachel and I had our first lie-in in
possibly two weeks or more, which was lovely. My mood was beginning to lift a
little by then, which was a relief. After breakfast together everyone went
their separate ways and Rachel and I cycled back to the train station and got
the succession of trains home again, two hours before we'd been due to. Luckily
there were no issues with bike place bookings and we were home just before it
got properly dark, which was nice. Sadly, my front light decided to stop
working, which was disappointing, but I have plenty of spare ones. We had a
quiet night in, dealing with the fact that the heating hadn't been on, so our
(mostly my) kit from Friday morning hadn't really dried and had therefore stunk
up the lounge/dining room/kitchen. I don't think I'll make that mistake again.
This morning we both got up early. Rachel so she could get to work on time, and
me so I could get into work to do some patching before 09:00. Both things went
according to plan, and I've spent the rest of the day getting ducks in a row for
various things I still have to do this week. Hopefully they won't be too hard.
I also asked my coach to set me up with some speed work between now and the 10K
race Rachel and I are doing on New Year's Eve, but he thinks it's a bit too late
to get much out of it, especially with the 28/23 mile back to back runs we're
doing the weekend after next. Still, I have to hope that I can still get sub-40
minutes, at at least keep Rachel in sight. At the moment I don't hold out much
Time to go home now, do the Tesco thing, and collapse on the sofa for the
evening, I think.
[17:40] I can't quite work out of today was a day when I got stuff done or not,
really. I mean, I did create a new VM template for a new operating system, and
I did do lots of dashing around when we had some new-firewall issues. But at
the end of the day, did I get anything done? I think so. My old team leader
dumped a pile of annoyance in my lap which I'm going to have to pick up and sort
through next week, but I'm choosing to ignore that for now.
In any event, it's now home time, and I'm not back until Monday (when I'll be in
semi-early to patch and reboot some servers). Rachel arrives this evening,
thankfully, then tomorrow morning we get up early and run for 2 hours and 30
minutes before coming back, showering, having breakfast, and then heading out to
take our bikes with us to her mother's birthday party weekend. There'll be some
cycling, some running at a new parkrun, and plenty of food and relaxing
otherwise. With luck the weather shouldn't be too bad, but we're going to have
to pack for the worst. I'll tell you something about it on Monday.
[17:35] Today was a good day. I got up and did morning exercises, showered,
made lunch, and got to work in one piece. The morning was semi-productive in
that I created and provisioned three VMs without any major issues other than a
brief finger fumble over RAM allocation in vCenter, as well as helping set up
someone's office in the hopes they'll get to move in to it before anyone notices
that they're not a 'manager' per se. They do deserve to be in it, though. Over
lunch time I did an excellent hill reps run where the graphs (after uploading)
show that all of my ascents of the hill were progressive in speed. And this
afternoon I've helped somewhat with a colleague's issue, helped pin down what
was generating so much switch error email traffic, and even got my inboxes up
I'm going to try and go home safely now and count myself lucky that sometimes I
have a good day.
[18:10] I didn't intend to be here this late, but something weird came up on the
firewall and I and one of the firewall admins spent too long trying to work out
what it was. We still haven't worked it out, but we've decided to go home
Before that the day consisted of doing useful things to help other people in my
group, again. The one thing I wanted to do myself I started doing and then got
side tracked, such that I'm going to have to pick it up again tomorrow morning
instead. It isn't urgent, so that'll be OK. Before that I had lunch. Before
that I headed over to a server room to replace a hard drive. And before all of
that I went for a short run before work and watched the sun rise, which was
Last night I went to Tesco and came back with a large pizza for dinner, which I
shouldn't have had as I'm trying (not very hard or well) to lose a smidgen of
fat from around my middle.
I think that's everything. It doesn't seem like all that much, now I read it
back to myself. I must try and do a bit more tomorrow.
[17:10] I arrived late into work this morning as trains from Croydon weren't
running quite to time. It didn't seem to matter as most everything had either
gone OK, or had been fixed by the Networks people before I got in. There were
still one or two things I found, pointed out, and ended up fixing myself though.
The remainder of the day has therefore mainly been about tidying up after the
trauma of moving from one kind of firewall to another, and dealing with the
usual things that happen to my servers over a weekend.
The weekend away from work was fairly interesting. I made it to Croydon in good
time on Friday, only to find that Max and Stacey weren't coming, but we might
meet them on Sunday lunch time after our run instead. Saturday started with
parkrun (me running, Rachel marshalling) and then me using most of the remainder
of the day to keep warm while Rachel dashed about doing Amnesty things, going to
play hockey, and doing the shopping (even though I asked her if we could do it
together). We got up on Sunday morning and took a train to Coulsden South and
then ran south to the North Downs Way and west to Box Hill. It was muddy, but
for the most part didn't rain to heavily. I got to try out my new ultra pack,
and neither of us got too cold or anything, so that was good. When we arrived
at the Box Hill visitor center we discovered that Max and Stacey weren't coming
after all, so we had a nice hot lunch and then semi-hastily made our way to
Dorking train station to get home again. Disappointingly, I felt into a bit of
a depressive mood after we got back, having felt the beginnings of it on
Saturday, and maybe even Friday evening. That put a distinct downer on the
remainder of the weekend. I wish it hadn't. As people says "depression lies",
so I'm trying hard not to believe anything I thought or felt during that time.
I don't think I'm quite out of said dip at the moment, but work isn't about
emotion, so I've been able to effectively forget about it. We'll see how things
go over the next few days.
I'm heading home now where I'll hope the house has survived the weekend, head to
Tesco for the week's shop, and then relax for a bit before bed. It's only the
end of Monday and I already wish the week were over.