January 2006
December 2005
Document made with Nvu

Anyone trying to phone me
on my usual landline will get
no answer at the moment.
The overhead wire from
the telephone pole has
been broken by the
scafolders next door.
BT apparently need to
come indoors to fix this
outdoor fault.
I am only contactable via
e-mail or mobile right now.
<<< 29/1/2006


Sunday 29th January 2006
Weather - bright and frosty
11:15 GMT

At a little after 02:00, this morning, Patricia finally made it here after a long and tedious journey from Spain. In the town where she started out from, Zujar, it was snowing and the roads were difficult to pass. She could not get a bus so had to resort to an expensive taxi ride to the nearest town with a railway station.. From there is by rail to Granada airport. Her flight landed at Stansted airport at 23:15 where she was able to get the Stansted Express train to Liverpool Street station. From there I am sure she could have had an easier, and quicker, journey to Catford, but she chose to go via Victoria on a night bus, and then a 36 from Victoria to Catford. When she got here she was exhausted and went straight to be.

This morning, after a long sleep, she has unpacked and is finally moved in here. And so begins what I hope will be a happy time for both of us. The only fly in the ointment is that she doesn't have to start work until Tuesday. There is no problem with this apart from a bit of jealosy on my side. While I have to get up at 05:30 tomorrow, she will be able to have a nice lazy morning in bed !

In a little while we are off to Tesco to buy a few odds and ends. After that I don't know what is happening. I am sort of hoping for as lazy day. My sleep was very interuped last night and I do not feel like rushing around today.
top Saturday 28th January 2006
Weather - cold and dry
05:00 GMT

I have been woken up from some interesting dreams by Smudge who decided to sing some songs at the top of the stairs. I don't mind because the chances are I would have woken up soon anyway. The difference is, with no work today, I have the glorious luxury of being able to go back to bed for as long as I want ! "As long as I want" may only end up as a couple of hours, but that's fine, and I do have a lot of stuff I'd like to get done this morning.

 The dreams I mentioned were rather fragmented, but seemed to be connected. The first was about xmas. I seemed to be having about 5 guests along for xmas and it was casing a great deal of trouble. I was trying to fit seating for 5 into the living room as well as putting up a xmas tree. It ended up with barely enough room to stand in there. Then I was distracted by some post coming through the ltter box. One item was a mobile phone. It had come like a free gift, but had a catch. If you followed the set up instructions you ended up on an incredibly expensive tariff. I found that the phone was unlocked, and by being careful it could be used on any network using an existing sim card. One intriguing thing about it was that it was using Linux as it's base operating system, and by digging through the menus I found a load of KDE icons that could be used instead of the rather unpleasant icons associated with the expensive service that the phone was supposed to use. I can't recall the make of the phone, but it was a well known brand name that is not usually associated with mobile phones.

 The next part of the dream was that I went out to the shops. I don't know where they were, but it was a very quiet sort of arcade of shops in what looked like typical 1960's concrete styling. I would normally associate that sort of styling with graphiti and dirt, but this place looked clean and tidy. I don't know what I was looking for, but I came across a charity shop that seemed to have loads of old electronics stuff for sale. There was an old man behind the counter, and a couple of ladies sitting at a nearby desk. They were almost caricatures of what you might expect in a charity shop - old but robust and dressed in tweeds. I had a look at what was on offer and decided there was nothing I wanted then, but it was a place worth keeping an eye on. Outside the shop I took out my new mobile phone and found it was able to og onto the shops print server. How I don't know, but it was sort of interesting.

 The last bit of dream was set in the school where Ivor works. It wasn't exactly the same, but it was obvious where it was. When I got there Ivor and (I think) Iain were sitting at a desk that looked a bit like a telephone exchange test desk. They were recording a radio programme and asked me to join in. Things got a bit confused then, and are difficult to describe. Presumably this was as Smudge was starting to wake me up. The only definite things I can describe are that I had great difficulty because every record I chose was on a DVD disk that the CD players seemed to be able to recognise but couldn't play. The other thing was I demonstrated that my new mobile phone could log onto their print server, and I proved this by sending a short message to one of their several printers.

Having described that lot I will soon go back to bed. Once I get up again for real I will start some of my tasks for the day ahead.  These include doing my laundry, doing the washing up, and buying stuf from Tesco. Then I will need to go out again to try and track down some hoover bags, and get some more coat hangers. If I can find some hoover bags I will then have to do some hoovering. With luck I should be able to get all these tasks done ready for Patricia's triumphant return, and still have time to sit down and read a few more chapters from the book I am reading.

The book is the one that Patrica bought me from the book stalls on the Southbank a few weeks ago. (Actually the 15th January). It is fascinating stuff, although I think it could be a little dry or confusing if I had not seen the TV series "The Secret War" that complimented the book. The book itself, by R.V. Jones, is about the intelligence services during the second worl war, and all the technical innovations to counter the Nazi technical innovations like radio navigation aids for long distance bombing.
Friday 27th January 2006
Weather - dry with very cold wind
18:13 GMT

 Once again I have been very lax about writing anything here. Work seems to leave me little energy to do much in the evenings, and this week has been worse. I have been suffering from another low level cold that has left me feeling fairly weak. The morning have been worse. For the last three days I almost gave up on the idea of going in to work, but made it in the end. Had I been paid like any other worker I may well have gone sick, but as I am hired by the hour as a consultant (yes that is my official position), I only get paid for the hours I do. It is a cheeky way around the employmemt laws, but I think it is legal. On the 10th of February my contract comes to an end. There are three possible outcomes after that. 1.) My contract is renewed. 2.) I get offered a permanent position. 3.) It's back to the dole queue. When I started the contract is was said that option 2 would be the outcome. I hope it is, but as yet there is no official word about it. Unofficially I have been told to assume that it will happen.

 Apart from feeling ill, my whole week has been one of pleasant anticipation. Sometime on Sunday morning, it could be in the early hours, or maybe later in the morning, Patricia will be moving in for a long term stay. Despite the weirdness of permanent company, I am really looking forward to it. It is the start of what I have dreamed of for the last 18 months. Maybe it will be the start of something beyond my wildest expectations, or maybe not, but I going to feel good doing the best I can to make Patricia as happy as is possible.

Of course one of the changes that will have to happen is that I will have to try and wean myself off treating the house like a big workshop, and concentrating on making it more like a home. This is going to be the biggest adjustment of my life. I am going to have to start throwing out some cherished, but useless possessions. What I have to convince myself is that there are somethings that I may now never get around to. That there are things I no longer need to do just to fill in the time between getting up and going to bed. That there were projects that were just a substitute for something else.

Perhaps one of the more important things to consider is that this may not last forever. Patricia has future plans that if she puts them into effect will leave me back where I started in less than 10 years time. 10 years is a long time and anything could happen in that time. So I should not worry about it now. For now I intend to enjoy every minute that she can spare me.
Friday 20th January 2006
Weather - cold but bright
21:30 GMT

It has been a long time since I wrote anything here. I have been rather busy as of late. Work has taken up a lot of time, and what remains has been taken up with Patricia. It has been a most pleasant week, and yesterday I learned some wonderful news. It is 95% certain that Patricia is coming to work in London, or to be more precise, Catford. She leaves for Spain again tomorrow, and subject to approval by her son she will be back the following weekend to work in Catford, and to live here with me. It is not a permanent situation, and she will be spending odd weekends in Spain, but I am hoping it will last a long time. I am really looking forward to it, although it will be a little difficult to adjust to not living on my own, but I have only done that through fate and not choice. To say that it will be a little difficult is really overstating the case. It is probably truer to say that it will be a little odd at first.

 Nothing much else has really happened during the week. Work dominates my time now, but it has been mostly good with only a few minor troubles. What started as a major source of fruistration was I was put under some pressure to go and fix a fault on a test set used in the factory where the printed circuit boards the company uses are  made. You may think that is no big deal until I say the factory was in Bolton on Lancashire. I was not very keen to go there. In the end a compromise was reached and the test set I usually used was sent there, and I quickly knocked together another test set from bits and pieces I found around the place. I think that turned out to be a better compromise in the end. It saved the company money, and I made the test so far quicker than was expected. So very little of my time was lost. I think, or at least I hope, I earned more respect for that than the disrespect I earned by refusing to go to Bolton.

 Tonight was an odd case of "every cloud has a silver lining". I wanted to get home quickly to spend more time with Patriciaa. So I arranged to cut short my lunch break by 5 minutes and leave 5 minutes early. I should have been able to catch an earlier train at Wandsworth, and that would lead me to get home aat least 20 minutes earlier. Instead, just when I thought I needed it most, the train was cancelled and I had to catch my normal train (which is only 7 minutes later). To pass a few minutes I phoned Patricia to say I would be not early, but at my usual time. When she answered her (mobile) phone I found she was in London doing a little shopping. So we arranged to meet up in Trafalgar Square and come home together. If the early train had been running I would have just gone straight home to an empty house !
Sunday 15th January 2006
Weather - cool and dry
06:10 GMT

 While Patricia sleeps I have had to get up to feed the cats, but I will be going back to bed again soon. I think it was 01:00 before we went to bed. So I have had very little sleep.

 Patricia arrived here at about 17:00 last night. It was so brilliant to see her again. At least it was for me. Nelly was rather put out by yet another female in the house, and Smudge really hated it. Nelly got over the shock reasonably quickly, and later in the evening she joined us on the settee. So I was the luckiest man in the world with my two favoiurite ladies - one either side of me. Smudge never quite overcame her fear of strangers. She spent most of the evening hiding under the settee. Later on, while Patricia and I sat quietly chatting, she stealthily crept out and had some food. I am not sure how much food she managed to eat before she went and hid upstairs. I haven't a clue where she managed to hide herself up there, but I couldn't find her. Eventually she came down and I let her out. What was surprising is that after Patricia had gone up to bed, and I was getting a glass of water to take to bed with me, I saw Smudge outside, opened the back door, and she actually came in. I left her having some food while I went to bed. I have no idea what she did after that, but I do know that the last place I saw Nelly was in the chair that Smudge has adopted as her own. If they had a row about it, it must have been a quiet and dignified affair because I heard nothing of it upstairs.

 Later on, once we are up and dressed, we will take a quick trip to Tesco to buy some catfood and anything else that seems necessary. Then in the afternoon we are going up to central London for some sightseeing. Maybe for another walk around the National Gallery, or maybe somewhere else. Then once we are home again I will cook us some dinner, and all too soon after I will have to get to bed early ready for work on Monday.

20:35 GMT

 It has been a tiring day, and at one point a very scary sort of day - a potential disaster while having Patricia here (although at the same time it was comforting to have her here).

 The day has been fairly mild, and we even saw some sunshine. Once we were both up and showered we were going to go to Tesco. It was then I noticed that the water had run out that feeds the toilet cistern, and cold atps in the bathroom. This happens now and then, and is caused by a sticky ballcock valve in the cold water tank in the loft. The procedure is to bang on the pipes leading up to the loft, and this usually releases the valve. This time it did as well. With the mains water pressure now back to its normal pressure the tank started filling very noisily. Even at full presure the tank takes a long time to fill, and so we left it to it while we went out to Tesco and Poundstretcher. When we came back I noticed what looked like water running down the pipe leading to the loft. I thought we had a disaster on our hands, and that something awful had happened to the tank, or feed pipes. I had no option but to turn off the whole water supply and hope for the best while we went out for a trip up to London.

 Our trip around London was very pleasant, and yet owing to a slight bit of misnavigation on my part, it was a very tiring experience. We caught a train to London Bridge, and walked along the southbank. For a bit of touristy photography we walked half way across the "wobbly" bridge. It was the first time I had been on that bridge. It was sort of good, but without the wobble it was no better, or worse, than any of the other bridges - nice to look out over The Thames, but that is all. The next stop was outside the National Film Theatrer where there were a lot of second hand book stalls. I was a little surprised to see a copy of R.V. Jone's "Most Secret War" for sale. I have the BBC VHS video cassette series of the TV programme, and a chance to buy the book that the series was based upon for just £6.99 was too good to pass by. From there we continued along the southbank until the Jubilee bridge alongside Hungerford Bridge, where we crossed The Thames and walked up to Trafalgar Square. I hope that the Russion Exhibition was still on there as it had been yesterday. I had no great desire to visit it as such, but I was curious to see how Trafalgar Square was used. Our next port of call was to be either The National Portrait Gallery, or Waterstones to see if Patricia could change a couple of CD Roms for her sister. We opted for Waterstones, and this began a long, and ultimately wasted trek. The Trafalgar Square Branch didn't have what we wanted, but would have been happy to do the exchange. So the next port of call was where the CD's had been bought, which was Piccadilly. They couldn't help, but suggested that the Gower Street branch had what Patricia wanted. The informed us that Gower Street ran parallel to Tottenham Court Road. I knew how to get there (but not by the shortest route), but I had a notion that Gower Street was on the left of Tottenham Court Rd (as viewed from the Charing Cross Road end). Sadly, after walking almost the entire length of Tottenham Court Rd, investigating all the roads on the left, we couldn't find Gower Street. Then I had a brainwave. Goodge St Underground station may have a local map in the entrance foyer. It did, and we were soon on the right track. Unfortunately we entered Gower Street somewhere in the middle, and turned the wrong way ! Eventually we found the branch we were looking for, but then found the CD Roms were £37 each. The original two that had been incorrectly bought were only £5 each. After that we returned to Goodge Street Underground and took a tube to Charing Cross, and from there took the train home feeling very foot sore and weary.

 When we got in I found the pipe to the loft was dry again, and so I gingerly turned on the water again.  The tank started filling agin, but no water appeared on the pipe. I can only conclude that the water I saw before was condensation. The water coming up the pipe was freezing cold, straight from the outside mains, and both Patricia and I had had steamy hot showers earlier. It was a fantastic relef to know that 100 gallons of water, and most of the ceiling were not going to end up in my bed ! So were were free to enjoy the rest of the evening.
Saturday 14th January 2006
Weather - cold
07:30 GMT

Friday the 13th has passed by with no problems, and it is now Saturday. Today is a big day. It is the day for my next visit from Patricia. I first heard the good news last Tuesday, and she confirmed that she would be here this afternoon last Thursday. As yet I am not sure how long she will be here, but it will be at least tonight and tomorrow. She is principally here to show her cousin from Argentina around London, but has come early to spend some time with me. That makes me overjoyed, but it does come with the merest downside. At such short notice, and with my days being used up at work, I have had very little time to do any housework. Fortunately the place is not too bad after all the effort I put in last time, and I have been doing a few odds and sods since. Today I need to do a pile of washing up, hoover a couple of rooms, and the most important bits will be done. As usual there is very little to show for my efforts as the place is still pretty grotty, but she will notice that the kitchen has a few more minor sparkles. I have even cut through a few layers of grease on the cooker. In one or two little places it even shines, but most of it still looks very grotty. However, I reckon that if I keep attcking one layer of gunge at a time it will be nice and pretty sometime in the summer !

 My only real problem now is that I have had very low water pressure for over a week now. I suspect that somewhere in thye neighbourhood there is a leaking pipe, and the mains pressure has been reduced to stop the leak getting worse. There was a hint last night that it may be getting back to normal again. I really hope so because it is proving very difficult to regulate the temperature of the hot water. I caan get by with water that it is too hot, or even too cold, but I would like to be able to offer Patricia all the usual facilities in a comfortable way.

 It is going to be a busy morning. I have the remains of the housework to do, but I also want to pop out to the shops and see if I can get a new shower curtain, and anything else I think would help Patricia's visit to be more pleasant. I also have to repair, or replace, the fan heater from the living room. The old one has blown one of it's elements (I think), and I have taken the heater from the spare room to keep the living room warm. I think the old one is repairable, but a new one might possibly be a better bet. I seem to recall that they were only about £15 when I last bought one. Apart from the scary council tax bill I have just received I could easily affort £15 these days, now I am working !
top Tuesday 10th January 2006
Weather - grey amd cold
19:55 GMT

 Good news ! I had an e-mail from Patricia today, and she says she is coming to London again. It could be as early as next Saturday. This has lifted the gloom of a cold, grey day in a big way.

 Prior to the good news things were not so good. I have been sort of dallying with a cold recently. Evan as far back as last Friday I was feeling slightly run down, and a little prone to a stuffy head. Yesterday I didn't make it into work because I felt very rough in the morning. It was a bit like a hangover, but without the benefit of the booze the night before. By the afternoon I was feeling a lot better and played around with another server. This one was using my old 66MHz 486 PC running Windows For Workgroups 3.11. It actually worked, although for some as yet unexplained reason the hard disk becomes unreadable (or even unwritable) after a couple of hous of running. It is something I will look into after Patricia's visit.

Today I still felt rough for much of the morning. By lunchtime I felt better, but still not best. This evening I feel elated about Patricia's impending visit, and yet I still feel a bit tired, and a bit something else. Quite what that something else is I find difficult to describe, but it is a sort of low level general illness sort of feeling.

A little time has passed since starting to write this and it is now 21:08 and high time I was in bed. So off I go........
top Sunday 8th January 2006
Weather - cold and dry
08:40 GMT

 I never did write about things that happened earlier in the week as I suggested I might yesterday. There were probably only two things of significance during the last week. One concerned my pay. After making a slight blunder with the dates on my timesheet my pay was late. According to the schedule I should have been paid on Thursday, but it actually happened on Friday (much to my relief - it was the first pay since the Friday before xmas).

 The other significant thing was last Thursday, in the later afternoon/almost early evening. I had my final visit to the dentist. As I had correctly guessed from the amount of drilling and grinding that had gone on during the previous visit, I was fitted with two crowns. It was a rather unpleasant experience. For one thing it was all done without anaesthetic. For the most part it was unneccesary, but there were a few times, such as during some blasts of cold air to dry the working area off, when it was very painful. On the plus side it did mean that I was able to eat, drink, and smoke without having to wait for the numbness to go away. The other unfortunate thing was the dentist set of my gag response. I had warned her that I was sensitive to it, and she did her best. On the previous visit I was perfectly OK, but last week something fell in the wrong spot and set me off. It took a long time to get it back under control. One thing I did learn while we talked about xmas and the weather, is that my dentist is a genuine tall Swedish Blonde ! She had spent xmas with her family in Sweden.

 Yesterday was another lazy day. Well, maybe not quite so lazy as some. I did a modicum of housework, and did some shopping. Later in the afternoon Jodie came over to get me to download some photos from her three camera smart media cards, and from her mobile phone. Copying the smart media cards to the PC, and then subsequently burning them to CD was easy. Connecting her mobile phone to the PC was, as usual, a nightmare. Her phone, a Motorola V300, uses a USB cable that pretends to be a modem. It is a very cantakerous set up, and is very, very slow if it even works at all. Eventually, after a lot of cussing, swearing, blood and sweat I got the phone and PC in contact with each other. I was able to copy across a couple of Midi ring tones she has, but the pictures would not come across. I susopect the trouble is that her phone is blocked solid with pictures - thousands of them - and the connection times out before even the directory listing is complete. I told her to go away and delete some pictures and we would try again another day.

 After Jodie had been taken away by her friend Mark I had some dinner and watched some TV. I then tackled some bits on this PC. I needed to download and install Java, Flash Player, and a few other bits and pieces. I was surprised when I realised that the version of Firefox that was on the Mandrake Install disk was version 0.8. I had already downloaded version 1.5, and I now run that locaally in preference to the sytem wide earlier version. Having installed Flash Player, I then installed a blocker for it so that I can cut the crap from many web sites where the flash animation contributes nothing to the page, or even is just to display a load of unwanted animated advertising.

 There are still some problems with this PC. Xmms, the X multimedia player, will not play mp3's, and the old problem with Kuickshow playing slideshows as black screens. Both these problems would probably be fixed if I was brave enough to do the upgrade from Mandrake 10 to Mandriva 2006. If I could be sure that the upgrade would leave the X server alone, and just concentrate on the applications I would do it now, but I have my doubts..........
top Saturday 7th January 2006
Weather - Overcast and drizzly
09:26 GMT

 I have had a few disasters recently - all concerned with the PC I am using now. Last Monday I deleted Mandrake Linux 10, because it was pretty broken, and installed Suse Linux 10.  During the week I fiddled with it to the point where it too was broken.  I got it to the state where the graphical interface was not accepting input from the keyboard. I found all my keystrokes were going to the underlying console. So last night I re-installed Linux Mandrake 10. I was going to try Mandriva 2006 which is the latest in the series, but with the change of name from Mandrake to Mandriva. Unfortunately I could not seem to test the X server which is responsible for the graphical interface. Every time I tested it during installation it would crash the installer. With the benefit of hindsight I seem to remember the same thing would happen to Mandrake 10. When I installed Mandrake 10 this time I did not bother to test it, and just accepted it was set correctly. The PC is working well now. So do I dare try upgrading to Mandriva 2006 ??????

 I do feel a little rough today. I have a very mild head cold, my stomach is a little upset after I treated myself to a large Chinese takeaway last night, aand on top of that I slept very badly. Regarding the latter, I woke up at 03:20 and could not get back to sleep. I spent the next hour in bed reading. I finally got back to sleep, but I reckon I could do with another hour in bed.  So I am going back to bed, and then later I may write some more about what happened during the week.
top Tuesday 3rd January 2006 Weather - overcast and drizzly
20:00 GMT

 It wasn't a bad day at work today. I felt a little fragile on my way into work, but soon settled down. I have been trying to avoid too many excess calories, salt and fat for the last two days. I am sure the excesses over xmas lead me to feeling quite rough recently. After being mostly careful yeaterday, and eating nothing but fruit during the day at work (except for two small chocolate biscuits left in my desk drawer from before xmas) I felt much better going home. I almost had enough energy to do a bit of rushing around to catch the trains. Tomorrow I have plenty more fruit to eat stashed away in my desk. It is only apples. pears and some satsumas, but these are the easiest to eat without needing plates and knifes etc.

 It was good to be able to access my server from work today. Until now I have not experienced it from the outside world. I was aable to access both the web server and the ftp server. The ftp server is not running correctly, but things are in hand to make it perfect. Hi to Steve who has remote access to the server PC and has made the server download the installation package for vsftpd, an improved ftp server, and who has installed it for me. Sometime, maybe tomorrow, he will do the first configuration for it. From then on I will have to do the configuration myself. Steve is doing as a practice run for himself, as I believe it is the first time he has installed it. When you think about it, it is sort of magical that he can sit there in (I presume) Cambridge and work on my machine here in Catford !

 This is now the second day that I have been using Suse Linux 10 on this PC (1.3GHz Duron processor, 256MB DDR ram). Compared to my previous, mixed up, slightly broken, Mandrake 10 installation it feels rather sluggish, and I am not sure why. In some ways it does not feel a great deal faster than the server which is only a 300MHz Pentium II processor (and has slower PC100 ram). At the weekend I may opt to go through all the aggravation of getting rid of Suse and trying Xandros 3.0 desktop deluxe on it. I have had that working on quite modest hardware, and it felt reasonably fast. I am almost broke at the moment, but I may be paid on Thursday. If I seem to have a surplus of money at the weekend I may spend it on a new hard disk and install everything on there first to see how it feels before deleting this latest installation. 
top Monday 2nd January 2006
Weather - mild and damp
07:10 GMT                                                                                                                                                                        (evening entry)
 Just one more day at home to enjoy before it's back to work tomorrow. I won't be staying in all day. I must go out and buy my season ticket ready for tomorrow, and I will come home from the station via Tesco. I won't be going mad in there as I am broke again. My next pay is not due until Thursday (and the last pay was before xmas). I thought I would be paid last Friday, but when I checked a memo I was sent about pay I saw that there was this large gap between pay cheques. When I checked my bank statement online last night it said I was just £1.95 into my overdraft. So I have under £100 to play with. It has been my intention not to use the overdraft now I have a job, but this week I will have to (but as little as possible).

Another thing I may do today is to repair my ancient Windows For Worgroups 3.11 machine. I thought I would fire it up yesterday, and maybe try some new software I found. The BIOS back-up battery was flat, and it had lost it's BIOS settings. That was easy to put right, but five minutes later the hard drive failed. Bits of it are still readable, but I don't think I will attempt to copy what is left over to a new hard drive. I will start again from scratch.

 An alternative way of passing a lot of time would be to re-install the software on the Linux PC that I use for the majority of my internet work. Last night I experimented with making a back up of all my mail on it. That is one thing I do not want to lose. The experiment was a success, so it it probably time to grasp the nettle and get rid of this very corrupt installation. I am now faced with the dilemna of choosing between Mandriva or Suse Linux (or maybe even Xandros). At the moment it is running a horribly corrupt hybrid of Mandrake 9, 10 and bits of Mandriva 2005 (Mandriva being the new name for Mandrake). No doubt someone with infinitely more patience, and a great deal more knowledge could fix all the corruption that has accumulated over the years on this box, but starting from fresh is my preferred option.

 Of course if I was mad, and maybe I am, I would attempt to simultaneously re-install the whole operating system on this box, while doing the same on the old Windows 3.11 box. Maybe I will post a report tonight on what I have achieved, or maybe it will have to wait until I next update this journal. That could be after work tomorrow, or perhaps another day after that.

 It has become quite noticable how mild it is lately. Yesterday this back room was being held only a little under shirt sleeve comfort level purely by the waste heat from the computers. The previous night I felt hot in bed, and so last night I took one of the duvets off the bed. That may have been a little too much, but for 99% of the time I seemed to be quite comfortable. The only trouble with this mild weather is that the forecast is for rain all day tomorrow. That will make commuting a bit of a bore. Not only will the rain be unpleasant, but like today, the heavy clouds will make it a darker journey just when the benefits of the lengthening days are starting to show (or could be !).

18:11 GMT

 I've done it ! I have deleted 99% of my old Mandrake 10.0 Linux installation on this PC and installed Suse 10.  Now whether this was a good thing, or a bad thing, I am not sure. I was most surprised that Thunderbird, the e-mail client, did not seem to be available with the Suse rpm packages (although I have a funny feeling that I did see it on the installtion CD's). There are still a few things I have to try and sort out. Firefox seems to crash whenever I go anywhere near a download - and that includes the download preference settings ! To download Lame, the mp3 encoder/decoder I had to use Konqueror KDE's own web browser and file manager. There appears to be only one thing that I did not manage to keep when I did the installation, and that was the KDE reminder program settings. So I have lost my list of birthdays and other important dates. Maybe I have the relevant files on a DVD backup I did a little while ago, but I think not. So I will have to start collecting birthdays all over again now. I will also have to learn to use a new ftp client as well because Gftp, the one I have been using for a long time now, does not seem to be available any more. Well I am sure it is, but it does not seem to be part of the standard Gnome desktop apps any longer. Luckily I have all the passwords written down somewhere. Once I have set up the altaernative (Kbear I think) I will be able to upload this last piece of writing for the day.
top Sunday 1st January 2006

05:58 GMT

 So begins another year.  I wonder what this year will bring ?  I have not made any new year resolutions, but I do have a rather simple wish list. Top of that list is that Patricia spends more time in London (preferably permanently). Perhaps the other wish is that work moves a lot nearer to Catford !

 Yesterday was OK. If that sounds less than enthusiastic it wasn't meant to sound quite that bad. The day passed reasonably OK, and the evening went fairly well as well. I had hoped for a bit of company to see the new year in, and had tried to arrange something the previous night. As it happened I saw the new year in watching TV with the cats. To be more accurate the new year happened while I was watching TV with Nelly. Smudge was hiding from all the fireworks under the settee.

 One of the things I did yesterday was to finally get my ftp server up and running (and connected to the outside world). It is not going quite how I want. I have been unable to add virtual users, and instead anybody using it has to be a real user. I am not sure how I will solve this problem. One possibility, and one I am considering, is to completely rebuild the Suse Linux installation using the slightly older version of 9.3 Professional which can install Pure-Ftp as an option during installation. That had been my choice before I configured, and installed, Pure-Ftp from the tar.gz package. Unfortunately I did not know quite what I was doing, and did not read the manual properly before I started. The "manual" is actually a 100+ page pdf file. There were some important bits I left out during the install file configuration. I have tried to add these retrospectively, but I don't think it worked as it should. Another option is to completely remove the package and start again. The cleanest option would be to re-install the whole operating system leaving out such disk and memory hogs as KDE. There was no reason, apart from curiosity, for me to have installed a complete desktop environment. A basic graphical environment is certainly usefull to make using Yast, Suse's configuration tool, easier to use, but most of the time the server will be sitting there with the monitor switched off.

 Today will be another lazy day. The most imortant thing will be for me to get back into the swing of work timings. That is partly why I am up so early today. Tonight I will be trying to get to sleep very early, and tomorrow will be a fulll rehearsal for getting up, and dressed, at 05:30 GMT. It has been so easy to get back to going to bed at midnight, or later, but it will take some effort to reverse that.
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