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- Up at 9am. 13C in, 7C out. Murky grey and windy. . slow getting going - slow enough in fact for the next band of heavy rain to arrive! Damn - if I hadn't somehow recently slipped into this 'getting up late' mode, we'd have been able to get the walk done in the dry before the storm arrived. . . eventually bit the bullet and walked BGdns in full rubberwear. Sat in the light rain and played ball in the mud for a while before heading back in heavier rain and strong (forecast severe gale-force nine later) head-on winds. Wow - was that a nasty walk home. My forehead in particular seemed to be catching the wind and rain and was really quite painful. VERY glad to get that over and done with - again! . . Image of rainwater accumulating at my garage door.briefly popped up to the garage to have a look at how yesterdays 'channel' modification was dealing with the rain. Not particularly well was the answer, but maybe helping things just a 'little' bit. It's SO frustrating not having the money to make the most of this house. That whole garage/carport area needs 'clearing' and a new proper enormous concrete slab built-up a good few inches higher, complete with appropriate drainage installed, etc, etc. If THAT was acheived, then it would be a comparatively 'easy' task to build a nice big new double garage type structure across the whole width of the property. It wouldn't be 'that' much of a stretch (water, sewerage, electric - all the way down the back garden!), to build it in such a way, that it could 'relatively' easily be converted into 'liveable' accomodation! (Someone DOES live in one just up the lane!) I can see how it could be done - and can't help my mind from CONTINUALLY returning to the 'nuts and bolts' of doing it, but it's WELL beyond anything I could now hope to achieve. I'm just too old, knackered (and senile?!) these days. I'd HAVE to pay builders to do lots of it - and I just don't have the money of course. Same sort of story with my leaking, falling-down conservatory - and the roof over the front door - and, and!!!! SO, SO frustrating to me. :o( . . . PCd this as the storm battered and poured . . . drank a tot of baileys while heating six small chicken drumsticks in the oven. Eventually ate with plenty of salt and four pieces of bread and butter . . napped . . DF called in for coffee and chats . . .TVd/guitarred . . . ate turkey slice sandwiches with crisps and then plenty of biscuits . . to bed around 3:30am.
30 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up at 9am. 13C in, 4C out. Murky grey. . . .walked BGdns and played ball for a bit on the lower seat. .down in the undergrowth and brambles, some distance from the path which leads up past the main gun emplacements, someone had dumped a stolen fire extinguisher - a year or so ago was it? With all the undergrowth having died back to its winter bare, being able to see that full-sized bright red extinguisher every day had been bugging me. I decided to go 'off piste' on the climb back up from the lower seat, and clambered up the slippery, steep, fallen-tree, undergrowth and debris covered slope. Really was a pretty difficult climb - but at length we both reached the area where I once found a grave-like excavation (still there), and from there with GREAT difficulty was eventually able to push my way through the thorny undergrowth, cross the treacherously sloping beer-can covered ground, and actually grab the extinguisher. Had little choice from there but to just put my head down, crouch as low as I could, and just force myself through the thorns and climb up the last few meters to the path above (which Bella had already reached by an easier route). I made it in the end - but was of course all scratched and bleeding and covered in thorns and brambles! Carried the fire extinguisher up to the bin, and left it sitting bizarrely on top. Yayy - FINALLY that eyesore is gonna be gone. .Sat around on the higher seat for a while with my coffee and cigs to recover before then back via the store for bread and milk supplies. . . sat in the garden for a bit before having a look at the mess the waterlogged and mud covered garage is in. Really is in a hell of a state in there, with a thick layer of wet mud carried in off the lane and under the garage door by all the recent torrential rain. Everything is rusting away and being ruined by it! :o( Had a proper look out in the lane in front of the garage door armed with a spirit level, trying to see if there was anything I could 'botch' to at least slightly lessen the problem. Turns out the area of concrete immediately in front of the garage door is actually convex curved, trapping all the water running down and off the lane on one side in the area of a 'soakaway'. As ever of course, the soakaway is useless, full of mud, and doesn't soak anything away at all. Just results in a big pool of mud and water building up, and then running straight under the door, into and through the garage! On the opposite side of the garage door, the other side of the slight rise in the level of the concrete, there is a small hole in the breezeblock wall which holds the bit of wooden fence and the carport gate up, to allow water to run through down and out under the carport. Ultimately, it seemed like the ONLY thing I could possibly do to 'maybe' improve things in the garage, would be to get the disc-cutter out and attempt to cut a channel in the concrete, from the 'soakaway' right across to that hole in the wall. So - that was the next several hours of hard muddy dusty labour, grinding drilling and chiseling away at the concrete floor, trying to form a bit of a 'channel' which would actually take at least 'some' of the accumulating rainwater running down the hill and off the lane, away from the garage door!! :o( Plenty of blood sweat and - oh FFS!!! I really AM going senile! Thankfully nearing the end of my labours, the power chord on the disc cutter made contact with the disc as I was carelessly putting it down, and half of the wires got chopped through! Damn, damn, damn! (YET another occasion of 'I really should have died right then'! It really has reached the point, that whatever I do and no matter how extra careful I try to be, I somehow seem to end up cutting through the power lead of whatever tool I'm using!!! I really do seem to be 'losing it' as I get older!) What a pain. I'm gonna have to strip that old disc cutter down and attempt to find a different power chord for it, before I can ever use it again! (Actually - it's SO old and abused (been worth its weight in gold, many, MANY times over) - and the gears are SO worn - and the on/off switch IS a bit 'faulty' and difficult to get going - maybe I should just bite the bullet and aim to get a new one finally?) :o( . pretty soon after that around 3:30pm I called it quits. Tipped a couple more bucketloads of water from the rainbutt onto the ground near the garage door to test, and figured although not particularly effective, and BOUND to block up with mud, it was about as good as it could ever get, given the surrounding ground levels, etc. . . recovered from exertions with a coffee at the table under the pergola in the garden. Bella seemed to get particularly unusualy playful, went and got a rope toy from her more normally untouched collection of toys, and demanded we play tug of war and the like. Actually really nice to see her being all playful and puppylike for a bit. . .all the time I'd been working outside, I'd left the back door open (so Bella could come and go, pick at her breakfast and get a drink if she needed, etc.). The outside temperature was around 4C. With the back door wide open, the inside temperature had dropped down to only 9C, so eventually getting clean and having a shower was not the most pleasant of endeavors! Brrrr! . . headachey - lots, all day, despite a couple of annadin tablets. . . . did a couple of loads of laundry while poking at the PC, aimlessly surfing for a bit. . .Owww what the F**K!!!! I DON'T believe it!!! I picked up a bloody virus - AGAIN - despite running fully up to date anti-virus etc. THAT'LL teach me to STILL 'default' to using Internet Explorer (instead of Firefox, like I'd been STRONGLY advised to by someone who reads this!). YET again, it was a virus via the 'wide open to abuse' Java add-on! FFS!!! So - that was an immediate plumetting of my mood, and desperate scrabbling around trying to recover from the potential disaster. Ever increasingly serious, and potentially a REAL disaster, given how I'm being forced to do more and more (like my recent house insurance) ONLY on-line! . In exactly the way I did the last time it happened, I was thankfully able to change the BIOS and boot off one of my other installed hard drives (which STILL has a 'loadable' (just!) copy of windows XP on it), and was then able to run Anti Virus and Anti-Malware sweeps over the infected drive. It's a big 500Gb drive, with LOTS of files on it, so just running those scans took a good couple of frustrating and nerve wracking hours. The surprising bad news was, NO infections were reported!!! Uh oh! That's SERIOUSLY bad news!!!!!?? I eventually figured the only way that could be (oh god I SO hope I'm right!!), was if the virus was a recent one - because on that old drive, the virus and malware definitions were up to two or three months old (i.e. the last time I got infected!). Managed to get on-line and update all the definitions etc, before then having to do the full scans all over again! Another couple of hours+ ! Left the PC running the scans and anxiously TVd for a bit . . ate ham sandwiches, crisps, and a banana . . popped back up to the PC a couple of times and found - Yayyy - the latest scans HAD found and cleaned two or three infected files. All JAVA related. Eventually changed the BIOS back and was able to boot on my usual drive, and was then able to run a restore to an earlier 'cleaner' time. So - ultimately - after MANY anxious hours - I was back 'whole' and unscathed - again! WHAT a relief! WHAT a relief - again!! F**ING computers!!!! . . . TVd and ate four kipling apple pies before to bed around 3:30am.
29 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 9am. 13C in, 6C out. Sunny. . . walked BGdns and played ball in the mud before sitting on a higher seat with coffee and cigs for ages. Oh wow - SO good to be sat in some warm sunshine for a while. . eventually back home to find one of my recycle bins all moved and upside-down on the step in front of the front door!?? That freaked me out for a bit until I realised the postman had probably taken a chance, assumed I would be back soon (like usual), and had left the dog stuff I'd ordered off Amazon on the step covered by the bin. A bit risky and probably shouldn't be done (plenty of (other?) places it would have immediately been stolen!) - but I WAS grateful. So - when I have the energy to start, I now have the means to give Bella an ongoing series of shampoo baths and ear cleanings etc. . . ended up taking full advantage of the brief break in the dreadful weather, and messed around in the back garden for the next several hours 'de-weeding'. That little border rockery area I worked at on 9th October, had pretty much immediately after, sprouted an almost complete covering of various little weeds! Something weird about that soil I topped it up with - just full of little hidden seeds, all ready to start growing as soon as the light of day hit it!?? Anyway - it's been bugging me for ages, because all that weed growth was threatening to 'drown' the oh SO precious little bits of campanula I've transplanted and put there. Started off de-weeding with a gardening hand-trowel and fork, but so nuumerous and small were all the weed shoots, and so near to the little precious bits of campanula, I ended up resorting to using an old dining fork from my cutlery drawer to meticulously dig and pick my way through everything!!! Took ages of course, but I got there in the end, and returned the whole border to just bare earth and the little bits of campanula between the rocks - and a bucketload of weed shoots to add to the compost bin. . Recovered with a coffee in the garden before heading back inside to warm up and get something to eat. Glancing out of the front window briefly, I happened to spot DM sat on his moped in the street peering up at the aerials. lol DM called in for coffee and chats, complete with some treats and some teeth cleaning chews for Bella! . . .ate garlic sausage slice sandwiches, crisps and just a little chocolate really late . . TVd for a bit before napping for little over an hour until the 7pm alarm . . . raining - again! - of course - so skipped the walk . . . PCd just a bit of this while monitoring the local club net on 145.425mhz from 8pm onwards . .TVd . . drank a tall shot glass of Baileys and then cooked and ate a meat pastry slice with chips . . . to bed around 1:30am.
28 - Up around 8:30am. 13C in, 5C out. Just a repeat of yesterday, with heavy squally shower after shower. It really does feel as though its never ending. Miserable. . .walked BGdns in the showers, and then sat around under the roof (filming birds again) for ages, waiting for a dry enough spell to dash for home without getting 'too' wet again. That was the whole morning gone again! . returned home to see a 'drains' contractors van outside, with workmen emerging from the new neighbour's garden! I asked if there was 'anything I should know' (in case the drains were blocked and I shouldn't use the flush etc) but I was casually dismissed, so who knows what that was about. . . PCd and then wasted away an hour or so (just waiting until it was time to walk to the vet) messing with some of the birds video I'd taken, trying to get to the bottom of how my (now, well out of date) camcorder attempts to do widescreen video, and if and how my editting software can actually create widescreen videos. Anything more modern would of course just do it by default (no doubt also in High Definition these days) , but all my old low def stuff seems to default to a 4:3 aspect ratio instead. Messed around at length experimenting, but I'm STILL not entirely sure that any edited finished and compiled video is actually a 'true' 16:9 aspect ratio - or what trade offs in quality/file size it 'may' be making!? . . . set off for the 2:30pm 'Health Check and Vaccination' vet appointment with Bella in the rain around 1:40pm. Pretty much the entire walk steeply down up and across town was in the pouring rain! Arrived just a little early as usual, and stood outside for a smoke under a bit of a sheltering ledge above the vet's reception window. Eventually into the waiting room for a short wait. One of the dog walkers from FGn was also there for her dog's jabs. She volunteers at Paignton zoo. She was all full of excitement over the new born giraffe, which she was soon to get to see apparantly. Weighed Bella on the waiting room scales. Around 33.5KG. She's definitely gained quite a bit of weight in recent times (what with me frequently only walking her once a day - and Mum bringing her pork pie treats and the like every Saturday). No bad thing - she's always needed 'fattening-up' since I've had her. . eventually in to see the lady vet. Had a discussion about Bella's persistant and chronic scratching. Predictably, the vet immediately launched into 'she's probably got fleas' mode - despite me telling her that absolutely NOTHING (including the vet pescribed 30 flea collar - spot-on stuff - flea tablets - flea shampoo - house/carpet flea spray, etc) seems to have had any beneficial effect, and that I can't find any on her, etc, etc, etc. With Bella lifted up onto her table (oh my poor back!), the vet did a quick fine-toothed comb of some of Bellas fur, and then tried to convince me that some of the dirt that came off her, WAS flea dirt, by doing that old 'test' of putting it on a piece of damp tissue. Funny thing was, despite getting my glasses on and having a damned good look at what she was doing, 'I' couldn't see ANY trace of the tissue going bloody pink as she said it was!? In fact - when she tried to repeat it for my closely watching benefit, nor I think could she! There was then a bit of a discussion (yawn) about how German Shepherds can often suffer skin complaints etc, etc. She suggested that because of how fleas build up a tolerance to common treatments, she was now recommending an 'Advantage' brand of drops, which I should be able to find online etc. Ultimately (given Bella wasn't in any immediate 'distress') I suggested I would be trying the shampoo stuff I'd just ordered, before considering 'other approaches' and giving her full custody of my bank account! The vet listened to Bella's heart, had a feel of her belly and administered the booster vaccination. Upon my request, she also had a good look in Bella's ears, just to satisify me that there was no obvious underlying problem which could account for her ongoing irritation with them. That was pretty much that, and we were soon back in reception, queuing up for a short while before paying the 39.50!!!!! :o( . . headed back down towards town in the rain. Toured a couple of charity shops before grabbing a loaf of bread in the high street supermarket, and then heading home in the rain all the way . . . ate garlic mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and a few biscuits . . napped until the 7pm alarm . . TVd . . PCd this - and then paused to actually upload a short snip (1m 47s - 106Mb - took approximately 25 minutes to upload!!!!) of one of my test widescreen videos from earlier, just to see what sort of a mess Youtube may make of the conversion. T's Battery Gardens Birdfeeder. Hmmm - well - that actually didn't turn out 'too' badly. Not the sort of High Def everyone else seems to be able to effortlessly do these days with their more modern cameras and high speed internet connections, but not 'bad' methinks. Maybe I SHOULD leave the camera menu setting on widescreen from now on? I think I need to burn a throw away DVD to see what my DVD player/widescreen TV makes of it before I commit? . . . PCd this at length some more - eventually with the electric fan-heater on for a bit. Down to around 4C outside - up to around 17C in the room with the heater on. . . TVd . .ate a banana, two little Kipling apple pies and then two pieces of buttered toast . . to bed just after 3am.
27 - Up around 8:45am. 13C in, 4C out. Still blowing up around 30mph gusts, but a sunny break in the squally showers at least. . . walked BGdns in layers. A definite bite to the cold wind (all the way directly from Canada apparantly!). Turned into a longer than envisaged walk, when we had to shelter from a passing shower under the roof for quite a while. Drank my coffee and whiled away the time by pointing the camcorder at the nearby birdfeeder, until the squall passed and we were clear to return in a sunny spell . . back via the store for a few supplies. Bumped into a 'neighbour' from quite some distance up the road, who seemed to be wanting to tell someone what a rough weekend they'd had. Turns out as far as I could make out, that one of their two dogs (a brown labrador) had allegedly 'suddenly' had a proper go at their other smaller dog causing it a bit of puncture wound injury. He also said something about his wife allegedly 'being trapped in the living room' by it at some point!!? I think he also said something about looking after some relatives dog at the moment also, which suggested to me that the normal 'pack order' had probably just been 'upset' - and strongly hinted to ME (along with other observations in passing) that they hadn't got things right and that a human was NOT the pack leader! I mean - whoever heard of a brown labrador of all things, getting all spontaneously aggressive? Anyway - their answer to all this - the poor brown labrador was immediately now a resident of the Ipplepen dog sanctuary - up for rehoming!!!!!!!!!!! Jeezuz. How DO people do that? Just 'throw it away' like that? I HAVE had some horrendous hard times with Bella, every day for several years now (you'd have to live with her - it does NOT adequately come across in what I type here), but no matter how hard it is, no way could I do such a thing. 'Emotionally' I just couldn't suffer it. Maybe its VERY different if you have several dogs? I dunno. With me - the intensity and closeness of the one on one relationship - the eventual hard won depth of mutual understanding and communication - the loyalty, oh my god the loyalty - all of all that stuff - how can you possibly just betray and throw all that away, apparantly 'so easily'? I just couldn't (and god knows, Bella has given me good cause to want to on many occasions!). That poor poor labrador! . . eventually returned via the local pet store for another large 3.99 rawhide chewy-thing for Bella. . . TVd a bit . . sorted a bit of paperwork and then phoned the vet and booked an appointment to have Bella's booster jabs done tomorrow afternoon . . messed around for a short while with my VX-7, and did the necessary menu changes and test transmissions/monitorings/recordings to confirm that the 'mains hum' fault, DOES indeed stem from the CTCSS tone circuitry. As I'd suspected, engagement of any CTCSS tone on any frequency, results in the 'mains hum' being audible on the transmitted signal. Tragicaly ironic and my singularly unique bad luck, that its pretty much exactly the same fault symptoms as those I began to experience on the FT-767 before I stopped using it in total despair! What are the chances of one person getting the same sort of fault on two entirely different radios (from different eras even!)? Only ever me ain't it!! :o( So - I guess when I finally get round to sending off the FT-897 for repair, I'll also be putting the damned VX-7 in the box too. The best of the possible dire outcomes I can envisage, will be it'll cost me a small fortune to have it back fixed. :o( <spit> . . .eventually got my priorities straight, and finally bit the bullet and went back onto Amazon and ordered some of the 'dog stuff' I've recently looked at and read up on, in the hope it 'may' help with Bella's constant itchy and scratchy behaviour. Ordered 'DermOpt antifungal and antibacterial Horse/Cat/Dog Shampoo for problem skin (1000ml)' for 28.27 and then kinda also 'impulse' bought 'CleanAural Dog Ear Cleaner 100ml' for 9.12 both including postage. Jeeze - she really is starting to cost me a totally unanticipated small fortune I can ill afford! (I was SO lucky with 'low maintenance/cost' Sally - I more fully realise that now!) . . . ate ham, mayo and grated cheese baps, crisps and a banana. . . napped until the 7pm alarm . . . skipped the evening walk by excuse of the poor weather again. . . guitarred just a touch and otherwise just TVd the whole evening away . . . ate a banana, crisps, ham sandwiches, kipling cake slices and a little chocolate. . . to bed around 3am.
26 - Up around 8:15am. 15C in, 7C out. Blowing the forecast 24mph wind with 40mph gusts gale with heavy rain. . . eventually dared to face the gale and walked BGdns in full weather gear - wellingtons and wearing my new charity shop 'long coat' waterproofs. VERY unpleasant. I seem to find it SO difficult and tiring walking in full raingear like that! Takes a huge amount more energy than normal - wellingtons and leggings in particular. Played a bit of ball from the cover of one of the lower gun emplacements, before eventually sitting on one of the higher seats under the roof for a smoke. Eventually fought our way back home against the full 'in your face' force of the wind and rain. SO glad to get that over and done with! Ended up feeling a bit headachey and fragile. The new, not 'yet' leaking long coat waterproofs did a fine job of keeping me mostly dry for once. Pretty much just the ends of my fleece sleeves all soaked and going to have to dry out on me during the day. That makes a nice change. . . sucked an annadin tablet and TVd with a coffee for a bit, recovering. By around midday the sustained rain band had been replaced by occasional windy sunny spells between the rainclouds . . . PCd a bit of this . . . ate ham, mayo and grated cheese baps, crisps, banana and biscuits . . . napped until the 7pm alarm . . .TVd . . BB called to touch base . . .radiod/PCd the night away as temperatures dropped to just above freezing. Gone 4am before to bed.
25 - Up around 8:30am. 15C in, 9C out. Misty sunny - and quite a 'lift' on the VHF radios. . .Image of a buzzard in Battery Gardens, Brixhamwalked BGdns, played ball and then sat around with a coffee for a while. Saw the buzzard again, which seems to have been noticeably hanging around BGdns a lot for the last week or so. Cracking sight, to see such a very large bird swooping low off the ground through the trees, before perching in a higher branch. . eventually back home to find the postman had delivered the watch I'd ordered off ebay already. Nervously opened the package to extract the long cardboard presentation box and opened that up and had a look at the actual watch (and black nylon webbing strap). Incredible for a mere 7! There were no instructions at all, so it took a little while to find out how to actually set the day and date. Turns out the 'winder' pulls out to two seperate positions, one for just altering the time, the other for setting the day and date. Image of my new cheapo watchAs I recall, pulled fully out and turned clockwise adjusts the day, anticlockwise adjusts the date! I don't think I've ever had a watch with a 'multi position/function winder' like that before. Also rather a suprise, was that in between the English versions of the three letter abbreviated days, there appeared to also be an alternative set of in Chinese (I presume) options (which of course don't show when the English option is selected)! How remarkably clever! Eventually set the time, day and date and got the thing fastened to my wrist and then sat around looking at the time lots, just trying to get used to the thing. A substantialy bigger 'flatter' face than my last one, with a good 33mm diameter visible face, which even has smaller twenty four hour clock digits included (not that I 'need' them), and a 'chunky' trio of hands (good for my failing eyesight) with plenty of luminescant green on them, etc. All in all, I was VERY pleased with the look of it, and even the stiff new nylon buckle-up strap wasn't particularly uncomfortable. I assume, rubbing on clothes etc, the strap will wear away and start to fray pretty quickly? Sadly the metal strap from my old watch is perhaps a millimeter narrower than the width of the strap pins on this new one , so I can't really just swap the straps over. Shame - that metal strap is far easier to quickly undo when having a shower etc. Whether or not it'll last and keep working is of course key (and doubtful?!), but - for a mere 7 (how on earth IS that even possible?!), I reckon it's a rather nice, basic, tell the time/day/date watch. Dare I say, I actually like the look of it more than my old one. Metal cased and plain and simple black and white - 'pseudo' military looking perhaps - it's very 'me'. 'Almost' tempted to buy another straight away!!! . . . Mum called in with the papers and food donations for chats etc . . . ate a slice of gala pie, crisps, two small bananas and the last of the chocolate raisins . . . the all weather lifeboat was called out at some point, to a paddleboarder over Goodrington way, alegedly having trouble getting back to shore with the stiff offshore wind. Must be so frustrating for the lifeboat guys - they get paged, all turn out, get all kitted out, rant across the bay in their boat - only to get there 'just' as the paddleboarder was successfully safely reaching the beach unaided. They turned straight around and returned to station! . . . napped, despite drilling and hammering noise from the new neighbours much of the day. . . . walked BGdns under a slightly hazy star-filled sky. Bright lights out in the bay from a couple of ships recently moored in the deep anchorage, taking shelter from the incoming storm (due to arrive in the early hours). Played ball in the mud in the pitch black on the lower seat for a while. In TOTAL darkness, the luminescant hands on my new watch weren't much cop (unless first 'energised' by a quick flash of my torch) - but that's normal and no criticism of the watch. On the higher seat, with a little ambient light from the street lights etc, seeing the time in the dark was no problem - even with my eyesight. Yep - it'll do nicely. .something going on over Paignton. Plenty of blue flashing lights on emergency vehicles heading in that direction could be seen across the waters of the bay, and within a quarter of an hour or less, the police helicopter arrived on scene, circling with its night-sun for quite a while, before eventually heading away again in the direction of Exeter. M turned up at some point with 'the' dobermans! I DO still actively avoid them whenever I have the chance, but I HAVE become just a 'little' less uptight about encountering them I guess. I still always keep Bella as still and close as possible when we do though, and was still fairly uptight throughout our lengthy conversation as the milled close around us both!! . . . . TVd/guitarred the evening away. . ate two smoked-ham finger rolls, crisps, chocolate and then a whole bag of five mum donated mini doughnuts!! . . to bed around 2am.
24 - Woken by a neighbour slamming their front door really badly at 7:45am. The whole house shook! 14C in, 8C out. Raining - and set to be so all day I think - and yet another bad storm forecast for Sunday. :o( . . .slow getting wet - PCd this . . . walked BGdns in wet weather gear, but somehow managed pretty much the whole walk in the dry under grey skies. The bay is like a mill pond. Trouble from Bella with her irritable ears again - despite me continually cleaning them out with cotton buds etc. I really do think its just a continual daily build up of mud from where she's playing ball in the mud all the time. In desperation we ended up on the beach at Fishcombe Cove, with me launching her ball into the water for her to swim after multiple times - in the hope some of the gunge would be dislodged by the soaking (although of course I've tried all that before, to no particular avail). Part of the cliff above the beach which I've been keeping an eye on for weeks because of the way some rock was obviously going to eventually fall, HAS finally fallen to the beach over the last few days. Damn - I knew I should have taken a photo of that before it did - would have made for an interesting before and after comparison. Dunno what's gonna happen come the summer with the dumb holidaymakers and their dumber kids. That whole towering rock face and trees above, looks HIGHLY dangerous to me - and really does make at least half the beach a dodgy place to be anywhere near I reckon! I'm sure it won't happen, but 'IF' with all the rain we've been having, all the trees and soil hanging on above decided to slip off the underlying fractured and crumbling rock face, that really could pretty much be the end of the little Fishcombe Cove beach entirely! That'd be a real sad loss. . . toweled Bella down, and even had a bit of a go at drying her with the hair dryer. She was having none of it. She is NOT keen on the hair dryer! . . . PCd . . balanced my accounts and eventually, perhaps rather 'hastily', bought some new house insurance which is coming up for renewal. I got it around 25 cheaper than the renewal, but not as much cheaper as my bank adverts had perhaps suggested it 'could' be. Oh well - it's done and off my back for another year. (ALL done on-line (no choice) and I don't even get posted anything!!! I Hate that!) . . actually also rang up the service department at Yaesu UK, asking silly questions about 'someday' sending my FT-897 (and also maybe the VX-7!) in for repair. Silly questions like, do I need to 'arrange it' with them beforehand, and do they need anything other than just the radio (powerlead/mic etc?). The bottom line was, just send them the black box on its own with a covering letter whenever I want. Guess I'm gonna HAVE to brew-up to thinking about getting round to doing that. Finding suitable packaging and stumping up the massive amount of cash for the postage and insurance is the only mental obstacle now then I guess. :o( I'm still in no hurry. . .vacuumed . . .cooked and ate chips, two eggs, and half a tin of sausages in baked beans. . napped until around 6:40pm . . . DF called in with his guitar for chats until around 10:30pm . . .ate a couple of packets of crisps, garlic sausage slice sandwiches, biscuits and a little chocolate . . TVd until to bed around 2am.
23 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up at 8:15am. 14C in, 6C out. Cloudy and wet, but not currently raining . . .Walked BGdns after 9:30am, just as a rain shower passed through. Typical! . played ball in the mud for quite a while as things cleared back up to almost sunny spells, albeit with a cold stiff 25 knot north-westerly type wind. Wanted to buy some new Duracell type batteries for my LED torch (in my experience, and I don't undertsand why, regular 'throw-away' batteries are FAR better than rechargeables for such things) so eventually we headed down to the harbour and town. . Image of a suffering Brixham Cormorant wrapped in nylon fishing net.on the edge of the yacht club slipway, down near the waterline and just above the waves, I spotted a very thin wet and cold looking cormorant. It was all wrapped-up in nylon fishing net!! :o( VERY wrapped up! It'd presumably dived THROUGH the mesh and become completely entangled in it. Lengths of nylon were visible protruding from its neck and breast, and a substantial amount of the net was hanging down from around its legs. Horror. I could type away here for as long as I liked, but I would NEVER be able to adequately express the overwhelming AGONY deep in my soul, witnessing such a thing causes me!!!!! :o( WHAT suffering. Suffering at length - until death. There was no way of helping it - I walked away. Ohhhwwww FFS!!!! I walked back. . Realisticaly, it was obvious it was still 'mobile' and I wasn't going to be able to catch it, but I just HAD to give it a bit of a go - didn't I? I just HAD to, to be able to live with myself. Tied Bella to a post and surveyed the slipway. This was gonna be borderline REALLY stupid! The slipway was all covered in winter green and looking really slippery, and the swell was putting some substantial waves up on it, reaching right up to where the comormorant was perched - on the edge next to the deep!! Proper risky (never mind several hundred pounds worth of radios and camera in my pockets)! I climbed over the barrier and started to inch my way slowly down the slipway towards the poor bird. It was obvious it wasn't gonna stay put, and sure enough, when I was within around six to ten feet of it, it quickly launched itself off and dived into and below the surface of the deep water. To be honest, I was relieved to be spared getting anywhere nearer the waters edge! I retraced my steps back to safety. The bird eventually resurfaced, perhaps twenty feet away. Ok - I gave it a go - it is NOT doable. We carried on our way without looking back, but still carrying the mental pain of it of course - and for a LONG while thereafter (and all fully renewed while typing this)! :o( God - HOW I HATE mankind!!!! . . . sat atop the viewing deck above the harbourside toilets for a while, drinking my coffee and having a smoke in the hazy sun, overlooking both the inner and working 'abbatoirs'!! :o( . . . the whole of the inner harbour appeared to be full of deisel, and the nauseating stench of it was thick in the air as we picked our way past the couple of coach loads of ambling retiree tourists from up north. . . toured charity shops. Yayyyy - bagged a pair of little worn, brown leather, clarks lace-up shoes for a mere 3. In the next charity shop, I then bagged a large-sized suit of hardly worn, green rubberised waterproofs for 6.50. Their the same type as I've already had a couple of sets of - which don't last for very long at all when walking about in them like I do, but before they do quickly wear/tear through, they DO do the business really well. What particularly drew me to snap up THIS set (aside from the reasonable cost), was that the coat is actually much longer in style than I've ever seen or had before. Only zips to the waist like usual, but the hooded coat actually goes down towards my knees - which I envisage could be VERY beneficial for some of the atrocious weather I go out in (despite the increased 'wind loading' - which around here, especially of late, IS a real issue to be considered)! . well - THAT was all an unexpectedly successfull charity shop sortie. The bad news was, it almost cleaned me out of the small amount of cash I was carrying! . had 'just' enough money left in my pocket for the batteries. I only wanted three Duracell AAAs for my little LED torch, but of course as seems to be always the way these days, I had NO choice but to buy a pack of five + three 'free' - for 3.99. Three will easily see my torch though the rest of the dark nights of this winter - so the rest will be hanging around unused for ages, 'going off'! On the upside, they are now advertising those batteries as having a mysterious 'Duralock' feature - with an alleged '10 years power preserve'!!?? Can that really be true? The 'Best Before' date on that pack is an incredible 2023! Blimey - if that's true, they could power my torch for several 'seasons', and potentially outlast Bella/me! . . sat on a seat in the high street for a smoke watching the world go by (largely at speed, in electric wheelchairs!) , before eventually back home well after midday to try on shoes and coat. :o) . . . PCd this at length, avoiding doing anything, and wasting away YET another day! . . . surfed for quite a while trying to look at watches. The way I seem to abuse and get through them, I was NOT prepared (yet) to start spending big money on a decent one which 'could' last a bit longer than all the rest I've had in recent years, so I eventually decided on yet another 'throw away' one on ebay which I thought 'looked' nice enough, and was dirt cheap. 'AK Homme Military Style Canvas Strap Date Day Men Sport Wrist Quartz Watch - Black' for 6.99 inc postage. They do an almost identical one but with a light green glows in the dark type face, and I was sorely tempted to go for one of those instead. I spend so much time sitting in the pitch black when out walking Bella, such a type would be very useful. Nevertheless, true to form, I ended up going for black instead. Based on recent experience, I doubt it'll outlive the first battery change - if I'm lucky!!! The local jewellers in town has also recently folded and closed (like almost every other actually useful shop in town!), so when I do now need a replacement battery, god only knows how or where I'll be able to have one fitted! :o( . . .napped poorly for barely an hour . . .walked BGdns. What a joy to have a torch with fresh batteries that actually gives some light again. Those 3 charity shop shoes are pretty damned comfy and functional too (shame they aren't black). Played ball in the mud before sitting around on a higher seat for ages monitoring radios. Brief chats with DF across the bay when called. Smokes and coffee as nearby owls hooted lots, before eventually heading home around 9:30pm. . . drank a tall shot-glass of Baileys . cooked and ate a meat pastry slice, chips and half a tin of sausages in baked beans, followed by a handful of chocolate raisins. . TVd until to bed at 12:30am.
22 - Up at 8am. 13C in, 7C out. Sunny but oh so damp. Even when there is a bit of sun, nothing is drying out! . . .walked BGdns for ball play in the mud, monitoring the scanner. As usual, a couple of fishermen were out in the bay chatting. This morning's words of wisdom quote - "Jus' chuck it out and tow it about. If you ain't caught it, you don' ave' to worry 'bout how to spend it." Not 'quite' the fisherman from Nazareth, aye? . . Back via the store for milk and opportunistic 'going off/cheap' supplies. .found some sort of gardeners plastic-covered wire mesh laying in the gutter along the way. Ended up walking back and picking it up and taking it home. . sat in the garden for a coffee and smokes for a bit . . . messed around with the mesh for a while, and had a go at making up a tiny 'box' of mesh 'guard' for where the rainwater runs off the garden and patio into the line of bricks around the drain grid - to stop leaves and frogs and suchlike getting stuck in there. It didn't work out very well, but 'may' be an improvement on the bit of bent chicken wire that was there before . . rain stopped any further outdoor play . . PCd/radiod just a bit . . ate ham rolls, crisps and mini cheddars . . . napped until around 6pm . . . I was just assembling stuff ready for an evening walk, when my damned watch fell off my wrist for no apparant reason. Turns out the plastic watch surround has actually broken slightly, where the spring loaded strap pin seats! Damn, damn damn!! THAT is NOT fixable! Modern-day plastic rubbish! So - that's the end of THAT watch! Bugger. :o( . . . walked BGdns and sat around listening to radios for quite a while . . TVd/guitarred . . .cooked and ate a pack of going 'cheap' sausages - on their own!!!!, followed by a whole bar of Mum donated chocolate somewhere around midnight!!! NOT a very healthy diet - but it was what I fancied and could be bothered with! . . . to bed around 2am.
21 - Up around 8:20am. 13C in, 7C out. Building cloud and wind. . tired and headachey, very slow getting out . . walked FGn under the threatening grey clouds in a strong cold breeze. . . PCd a bit of this, lacking the energy and just not in the mood to be doing any of that which I should - again. :o( . . PCd more - and frequently still just sitting at length looking at the images from Sunday and thinking about 'stuff'. Eventually dared to drop an e-mail with a couple of images into the local Newspaper site re the sunday thing (as much as anything else, in the hope it'll nudge them into reporting the incident and give more details, etc.) I strongly doubt it would be deemed 'appropriate' for them to make any use of such images? There IS of course a mention of it on the local lifeboat site - complete with an AIS image for the lifeboat's track. Literally a straight line 25 miles east, and back. Shame they didn't include HMS Northumberlands track. Quite 'moving' that I find. . . well - there we go. Just a coincedence perhaps? The local newspaper website has FINALLY reported the Sunday thing! (They didn't dare use my images thankfully!) "A police spokesman said at this time it was not possible to determine the nationality of the man or give a description." . Very sad. . . . ate two corned beef, mayo and grated cheese baps, crisps and mini cheddars as the forecast storm blew and poured . . . napped until the 7pm alarm. Still blowing and raining, so no walk again tonight . . . TVd ('Highland Rescue') . . .PCd briefly. Oh - blimey - I take that back. It would appear the local newspaper HAS now used one of the images I sent them (of the lifeboat returning behind the walkers on the breakwater). 'Acceptable' for people to see from a blurred distance is it?? How strange. . Tried to poke at my pile of paperwork and bills for a bit, but soon couldn't face it. My latest electric bill is a good 25% + higher than the same period last year!! :o( . .ended up back in front the TV for hours despite being nothing on worth watching. Definitely feeling pretty down, motiveless and 'insecure'. . hungry but no appetite. Ate the remaining half the cherry sponge cake thing, a banana and just a couple of chocolate biscuits before to bed around 2:30am.
20 - Up at 9am. 13C in, 4C out. Sunny. . . slow getting going. Nothing to do with me of course, but witnessing yesterdays events had predictably 'gotten to me' a bit, and I find my mind STILL involuntarily thinking about it all. . Walked BGdns real late . . sat around with coffee and smokes for ages on one of the higher seats in the sun. A very nice calm morning . . . did dish washing chores at length . . PCd. The AIS website shows the jack-up barge and tugs have now gone right up into the estuary near Falmouth!? . . aimlessly PCd for ages. Try as I may, I can find absolutely NO mention of that Sunday body recovery in any news articles anywhere? That's unusual and disappointing. I find myself eager to know more about the person and who it was and from where, etc etc. . . 'chatted' with BB via the PC until quite late . . .a bit late to walk, and the sky wasn't as clear as had potentially been forecast despite the drop in temperature, so ended up skipping it . . drank a glass of red wine and got tipsy while cooking - with the window and back door open to take out some of the steam. Chilly, with the outside temperature dropping to only 'just' above freezing. Cooked up a tin of minced beef and onions with some boiled mixed veg whilst boiling potatoes, and eventually made up a shepherd's pie (for the first time EVER?!!). Cooked and browned it off in the oven for a bit, before then sitting down and eating the whole big dishfull. Too much! Ugggh. Felt pretty unwell once I was done. . BB called to touch base briefly, but by that stage I was feeling overwhelmed with the wine and enormous meal I'd just eaten, and couldn't hadly speak! . . .almost fell asleep in my chair. Stumbled to bed around 12:15am
19 - Up at 9:45am (woken by noise from an electrician working next door?). 14C in, 6C out. Yayy - sunny!! . . walked BGdns with a coffee REAL late. Played ball in the mud for a bit before having to take shelter from a passing shower in one of the gun emplacements for a bit. Cleared up a carrier bag full of all the rubbish left in there by some kids over the last day or so. Eventually headed up to the higher seats after the rain had cleared, and sat around for ages, even catching a bit of sun. Seemed to be a LOT of people out and about, with lots walking the breakwater etc - all taking advantage of the first 'almost' nice day for - um - well, weeks really! . at midday as I was engaged in a chat with another dog walker, the Torbay lifeboat was launched on service, and started to make it's way out from its mooring. Our conversation promptly ceased as we both listened-in to the radio. Royal Navy type 23 frigate 'Warship Northumberland' out at sea approximately 25 miles directly East of Berry Head, had apparantly found a body floating!!! The lifeboat was tasked to rendezvous at that position and recover the body from the water! As soon as the lifeboat had rounded the end of the breakwater, it headed directly East out across Lyme Bay at speed. They gave an ETA at Northumberland's position of 50 minutes. . So - given my 'addiction' with regard to such things - that was me all stuck in BGdns for ages, waiting to hear the outcome, etc! . . . Sat around for ages drinking my coffee, chain smoking and having the occasional chat to passing dog walkers etc, whilst monitoring the radio(s). Other shouts (mostly out of my listening range) were ongoing elsewhere at the same time. A helicopter medivac over Beer way, and someone stuck in the mud up the Exe I think it was. . Image of HMS Northumberland and its AIS track circa 1300hrs 19 Jan 2014 The lifeboat quickly became a dot in the distance before actually disappearing entirely. Scan the horizon as I frequently did, there was not the slightest hint of ANY sight of Warship Northumberland. I guess 25 miles out, is simply below the horizon and well out of sight? Northumberland didn't launch any sea boats or attempt to recover the body - they apparantly just kept circling it and keeping it within sight, waiting for the lifeboat to arrive. The image I've included here, is a stock Royal Navy image of HMS ('warship') Northumberland, together with the track the AIS website later showed it had taken. Circling indeed! What an extraordinary image that counjers up - of some sad lost soul adrift at sea, 'escorted' by such a vessel, with all on board working to that end. :o( . . the lifeboat was on scene with Northumberland by around 13:05hrs, and was directed straight to the body, in Northumberlands wake off its starboard side. . by 13:17hrs the body had been recovered (how IS that 'actually' done I wonder?!!!) and was onboard the lifeboat. Northumberland was thanked, and resumed its passage to later live-fire excercises in the vicinity. The lifeboat headed straight back towards Brixham, initialy reporting it was too difficult to tell the sex of the casualty, due to the condition of the body! Shortly after, they suggested it was 'possibly male' - and it appeared the casualty had been in the water for around three weeks. Wow - THAT says something about what those extraordinary lifeboat guys routinely deal with doesn't it? That they could even make such an estimate of how long it'd been in the water! Can't be 'that' many people around who would have any such experience and knowledge of such awful things, sufficient to enable them to make such an estimate! :o| . . . dare I? I felt REAL uneasy about doing so, but I've never seen the 'shoreside end' of such an incident, and this seemed like a rare opportunity to have an image of such endings in my mind. Hard to explain. NOT goulish - just a desire to know how such (frequent!) things are actually dealt with. I couldn't help myself - I HAD to see the end of it - for future 'reference'. . headed off with Bella down to the inner harbour (briefly stopped at the quayside toilets) and then carried on around the harbour and out to the busy breakwater. As I passed the lifeboat station, a couple of police cars were parking up and policemen and women (including representatives of the coroners office) got out and entered the station. I had plenty of time to kill, and did NOT want to be seen 'hanging around' like some sort of goulishly inappropriate 'ambulance chaser'!! We ended up joining the rest of the many people walking the Breakwater. We walked all the way to the end, with me frequently looking back out to sea towards the east for sight of the lifeboat. Stopped at the very end of the breakwater for a while, and finally managed to spot the little orange dot atop white bow waves on the horizon in the very far distance. ETA to the end of the breakwater approximately 15 minutes apparantly. Headed straight back along the breakwater apace. . Difficult to know where I could stop to have best sight of things, without being obviously intrusive. Eventually headed a short distance up the steep slope out of the Breakwater beach car park, and sat on a seat up on the Berry Head road, directly above and overlooking the lifeboat pontoon. . . Image of the Torbay lifeboat with a recovered body aboard The lifeboat, with an orange bodybag plainly visible on its portside deck with a few crew in close attendance, rounded the end of the breakwater coming into the outer harbour at around 14:18hrs, and thence made its usual way in to its mooring - with the bodybag on the breakwater side, giving all the walkers a good idea of what was going on! Image of the Torbay lifeboat with a recovered body aboard Image of the Torbay lifeboat with a recovered body aboard It felt 'wrong' - and may arguably have been so - but I dared to as inconspicuously as I could, capture something of the ensuing scenes, hence the images I have included here. Ultimately there WERE quite a number of people stood around watching. The lifeboat turned around, reversed-in alongside and moored up, to be met by a waiting policewoman. She briefly boarded the lifeboat and appeared to perhaps have a quick look at the body(bag). Soon after, the body was quickly carried on its plastic orange stretcher, off the lifeboat and onto the pontoon. There was a short wait whilst smartly suited undertakers positioned their estate car at the end of the pontoon and then made their way down to the body.Image of undertakers and lost soul The orange body bag was swiftly wrapped in a white sheet and then zipped into a black undertakers body bag before the whole package was draped in a sensitively respectful black and ornately gold frilled blanket/drape. The two undertakers then quickly (and suprisingly seemingly effortlessly!) somberly carried the body away from the respectfuly lined-up lifeboatmen up the pontoon walkway to their car, loaded it into the back and closed the trunk door.Image of undertakers and following police car. By around 14:38hrs the deceased was driven away with a following police escort. A bit old fashioned and melodramatic perhaps, but it felt 'right' - I briefly slipped my wooly hat off as it did so. He who is lost, is found? . . . the lifeboat crew busied themselves washing down the plastic orange stretcher etc! Presumably their well practiced normal routine!! . Well - there we go then. THAT is what it looks like and how it's handled. Next time I hear of or read in the papers about such an all too frequent 'recovery', I'll be able to picture it. :o( Lets hope they can swiftly identify whoever that was, and ease the pain of the family etc. . I can't recall any 'recent' news reports of someone being outstandingly lost at sea - except 'maybe' a crewman from a ferry was it, during one of the recent gales? Time will tell. :o( . . . had a smoke to 'recover' and then walked straight back down past the lifeboat station, along past the marina into the harbour, and home through town . . . PCd this at length as heavy rain showers returned. Wow - nice timing to spare me for once. . . right - I think I need food - and to sit around being 'quiet' for quite a bit! . .ended up briefly having a word or two locally on the radio. . .TVd . . . cooked and ate four grated cheese and mayo quarter pound burgers in buttered baps . . TVd . . ate half a Mum donated cherry and almond sponge loaf thingy . . to bed around 1am.
18 - Poor sleep then up at 8am. 14C in, 8C out. Very blustery (gusting to 35mph+) and grey/soon to rain. Wow - given this and the weather overnight, it seems quite remarkable that jack-up platform made a dash to move so late yesterday. Gotta salute whoever worked out the brief opening in the weather for them. Like threading it through the eye of a needle! As I type this, the AIS website is reporting local southerly windspeeds of 27knots. The two tugs and platform are now around 20kms from land in the lee between Falmouth and The Lizard, with much lower westerly windspeeds of around 9 knots. . . walked the mud of BGdns in full weather gear in mostly light rain. Sat with a coffee on the seat under the roof watching the birds feeding from T's feeder for a while before eventually heading home . . . hosed Bella down in the garden again, for all the good it does the house. . .PCd a bit waiting for Mum to arrive. It then started to rain, and rain BIG time! Tried calling Mum to tell her not to come down in SUCH bad weather, but I was too late - she was already on her way and caught out in it! Mum eventually arrived with the papers and food donations, pretty soaked. I presented her with a fresh towel as soon as she came through the door. lol For quite some time after she'd arrived, it then proceeded to rain even heavier. It is no exaggeration to say I don't believe I have EVER seen SUCH heavy rain - certainly not since I've been living here. It was pouring down the steps of the back garden like a waterfall, carrying all the mud from the lane with it. Amazing - and a 'little' frightening. The garage must be in a hell of a state and absolutely full of it all! :o( . . at length the rain subsided enough for Mum to make a dash for home . . . ate a meat and pastry slice, a large packet of crisps and biscuits . . napped until around 6:45pm . . .still raining so skipped the walk . . . TVd/PCd . . ate two corned beef and grated cheese rolls with crisps . .TVd until finally to bed at almost 5am!!?
17 - Up at 8am. 14C in, 5C out. Sunny spells and showers again it appears. . . walked BGdns in full weather gear, getting showered on a bit throughout. The ground everywhere is fully saturated and largely just mud! . sheltered under the roof for a bit. Some comms on the scanner suggesting the jack-up platform and attendant tugs 'may' be on the move later today. To further complicate their lives, it sounds as though they aren't allowed to leave the bay without having a pilot on board. . . hosed Bella down a bit in the garden again. Bizzarely, she doesn't seem to mind getting hosed with freezing cold water! The house is in a hell of a state again, with mud dust and smears of wet mud (from Bella's tail etc.) on the walls, door frames and furniture all over the place! :o( . . . PCd a bit of this while monitoring radios. Yep - sounds as though the platform and tugs are gonna start leaving the bay around 1pm. . at 12:12 a 'pan pan' was broadcast from Portland coastguard requesting any information on the whereabouts of 40ft yacht 'Blue Moon' with two persons on board which departed Lyme Regis around 5.45am for Portland marina this morning, and which appears to have subsequently disappeared!! (Rescue helicopter 106 and others appear to be out searching the coastline). . .PCd this at length whilst monitoring radios. . . At 13.58 Portland coastguard appeared to have made contact with the missing 'Blue Moon' yacht (all safe and well and no assistance required) - East! of Portland - and the searching Lyme lifeboat was stood down. At around the same time, operations appeared to be underway, to lift the jack-up platform's anchor and get it stowed on board the 'rack'. . the more of the snippets of comms I heard from the platform and tugs in the bay preparing to leave, the stronger grew the desire to maybe walk down and try and grab some film of it doing so. The seemingly never ending stream of showers throughout the day was the major dampner on the idea. . ultimately, somewhere around 2pm perhaps, it appeared to be a prolonged and even sunny dry spell, and I decided to go for it. . . walked with Bella and cameras, and with even my tripod slung across my back for the first time in absolutely ages, and headed straight for the high seats in BGdns. Image of filming across TorbayI actually got there a bit late - well after the platform was on its way - and missed the opportunity of getting some shots with Torquay etc as the backdrop. Hastily set up my tripod and camera by the railings in front of the seats under the roof, and was soon filming. Didn't seem much point in zooming in and following stuff and the like, so I set about filming prolongued fixed sequences, as the entourage passed through the shot, envisaging a sped-up timelapse result. Unlike I may have done with calmer Sally, Bella had to remain on her leash, tied to a seat a suitable distance away from the tripod. That's the trouble with timelapse sequences like that - ANY slight movement from or interference with the tripod (even from too strong a gust of wind), immediately 'kills' the shot! Blah blah blah. Anyway - the platform and ships eventually disappeared out of sight around Berry Head and on their way. I wasn't overly pleased with what I thought I'd got, but hoped I'd got enough to be able to make 'something' of interest out of it. (A LOT of people have shown an interest in that platform - so maybe they'll appreciate some video.). A brief bit of ball play for Bella before then heading straight home to start reviewing and editing. . . PCd editing the short snip of video for a good couple of hours. (Yes - they really DO take me that long to do! Far quicker to actually film, than edit and 'produce'!) Somewhere around 6pm, given how it ended up only being a few minutes long, for the first time EVER, I dared to attempt to upload it to Youtube as a full MPEG2 DVD quality movie. 237MB!! . running out of time with DF arriving around 7pm, I left the upload running and set about making four garlic sausage slice and garlic mayo baps and crisps to eat. Yayyy - the upload FINALLY completed successfully. JB115 Leaving Torbay - Timelapse on Youtube. ('I' like it - simply 'epic' stuff - passing by. lol) I was 'proof watching' the upload when DF arrived, and before I'd eaten my baps. Poor DF had to have a coffee whilst I ate in front of him!! . chats until just after 10pm . . PCd a bit of this . . . TVd as the wind increased outside to batter the house a bit . . ate a couple of chocolate biscuits before to bed around 1am. Poor broken sleep thanks to wind noise, and the re-emergence of a slight bit of 'howling' from some part of the bedroom bay window! :o(
6 - Woken at 8:15am. 14C in, 7C out, initially a break between showers then HEAVY rain. . .walked saturated FGn in full rain gear, but mostly between the showers as it turned out. . .Hosed Bella down a bit in the garden to get the mud off. . . -/unfinished/- worked on PCs again all day. Concentrated on the 'old, old' PC this time, because of its different motherboard which DOES have onboard graphics and sound. Figured it was worth dropping the NVidia video card out of it and reinstating the onboard graphics in the BIOS, in the hope that an Ubuntu instal would THEN work rather better, and automatically instal appropriate drivers (like it DID do with my main PC in the radio room when I ran Ubuntu from the DVD drive). Only problem with that idea was the DVD drive in that old machine having recently gone faulty and started to refuse to open - and needing to run the Ubuntu install CD from it! Despite all the work involved, I eventually decided to strip down the other old machine and temporarily swap the DVD drives. . swapped hard drives around and even laboriously swapped over the DVD drives. As with almost everything else I've tried, that turned into an unexpected waste of time. The newer DVD drive was reported as incompatable (no matter what setting I tried to alter) by the BIOS, so I had to put it all back as it was!! Eventually managed to force the old not-opening drive to open with a small jewellers screwdriver inserted in the little hole, together with a bit of brute force. Got the Ubuntu disc in and managed to eventually get it running from the DVD drive. It gave the impression it WAS liable to work, so I eventually went ahead and did a full wipe and instal onto the harddrive. . to cut a long, long, INFURIATING story short, I ended up doing all that MORE than once - with each attempt at a full updated instal download taking up to an hour!!! . . . -/ /- . . . . I really had expected that to work - but then NOTHING else I've tried has - so it really should have been no suprise that it didn't! Yet again, an issue with the damned video drivers!!!!!!! The Ubuntu boot continually failed, warning about low res graphics, and dumping me into a screen which gave no viable alternative but to accept the declaration I should wait one minute whilst the screen was re-loaded. THAT little infuriating process then simply resulted in everything freezing, and the screen going completely blank (actually 'no signal' at all to the screen!!). Maybe someone intimately familiar with Ubuntu would have been able to sort that out (and manualy get the appropriate drivers downloaded and installed), but it was TOTALLY beyond anything I could deal with. I was SO loathed to do so, but - well - I basically gave up at this point. What choice did I have? . . . put all the hardware in both machines all back as they were before I'd started, checked they were still both running XP all ok, ran a full series of updates on one of them (almost an hour of downloading etc!) and then just stashed them both in a cupboard in the back bedroom out of the way! I have absolutely had enough at wasting SO much time on the damn things. I'm convinced that the hardware really is a decade + past worth continuing to battle with! (The biggest problem 'appears' to be with the old video cards and their drivers?) SO infuriating. SUCH a shame. 'Maybe' I'll return to battle with them some more in some distant future - but I doubt it. Hugely disappointing after all the work I've put in on them. :o( . . . skipped the walk as frequent heavy rain showers continued . . PCd/radiod just a few words locally. Some dreaful 'interference' on the local repeater today - just locking the thing open on transmit for ages. Absolutely 'unlistenable'!! . . . TVd drinking red wine . . ate five oven-heated chicken drumsticks with four pieces of bread and butter, a banana and the remaining half of the coffee sponge cake . . .TVd until to bed at midnight.
15 - Weird broken sleep (maybe not even sleep at all!?) then up around 8am. 14C in, 9C out, windy and grey. . the tugs and jack-up platform remain 'trapped' in the shelter of the local bay by the weather. From a few snips of comms I've overheard, it sounds as though 'the operators' are getting anxious about blown schedules and costs. Sounds as though they are putting a boat ashore and shopping for fresh food and milk supplies today - and a suggestion of a 'possible' window in the weather to maybe resume their passage midnight Friday?. . walked FGn in what turned into a nasty rain shower pretty much throughout. Plenty wet through my 'non-waterproofs'. Back via the store for milk (and four going-cheap meat and pastry slices). . . started playing with the old PCs yet again! I really should have known better, but I just can't accept that two fully working machines, which 'mostly' work really well, are of 'no use' purely because they can't stream any 'modern' form of video while on the net!! . catching-up and typing this on the 17th, it's all become a bit of a blurr what I ultimately tried. I pretty much went back over every single possible BIOS and video card setting on the old PC under the TV, altering this and that and rebooting and trying online-video again and again and again ad infinitum! . . Mum called to touch base and give me a heads up on a TV show on Channel 4 later. 'The Restoration Man' - Episode 3 - Fisherman's Church. "Having never lived together before, architect Neil Worrell and his partner Jackie Robinson decided to cement their relationship by purchasing a forgotten church in the picture perfect fishing town of Brixham in Devon." I usually watch those programs anyway. It'll be particularly interesting to watch a local one. . eventually gave up on the old PC because absolutely NOTHING I did made any improvement on the problem. Figured I HAD to give it my best shot to get Ubuntu installed on the thing and see if that would enable it to 'be useful' and do what I want. Did the work to drop out the existing hard drive and temporarily replace it with one of my old ones. To cut a LONG story short, I DID eventually manage to get Ubuntu installed and up and runing, but something was horribly wrong, and the thing ran even slower then ever, and was frankly unusuable!! . it surely HAD to be the old NVidia graphics card drivers? . PCd LOTS, looking up updates for the drivers for Ubuntu etc etc etc. Just finding a suitable driver was bad enough. 'Manually' installing such a thing in Ubuntu is of course a whole new ball game for me. I had totally underestimated how much running Ubuntu would require immediately learning a whole new DOS like 'language' etc. FFS! Watch any number of Youtube videos on how to instal video drivers, but at the VERY bottom of a learning curve, it really was ALL entirely beyond me. I DID ultimately attempt to have a go, closely following one of the Youtube videos. I did EXACTLY as they did in the video - and the result for me? All I ended up with was a 'broken' installation of Ubuntu! Loads of errors during a boot attempt, and then it wouldn't even load the GUI and just continually dropped me at an unfamiliar dos type prompt! I of course had NO idea how to recover from THAT!. . . . PCd the WHOLE day away until gone 6pm, all to no avail. I eventually had no choice but to give up and reinstate the machine (with the XP instalation hard drive) as it was before I'd started! Jeeze - WHAT aa waste of YET more time! Boy did I end up in a foul mood again! . . TVd . . .cooked and ate four rashers of bacon, two eggs and grated cheese in two buttered baps, a banana and some chocolate . . TVd the evening away. Watched the 'The Restoration Man Brixham Church' program. Interesting. What a lovely property and nicely renovated, but oh my god, what WERE they thinking with their choice of decor!? Absolutely NOT my taste AT ALL! Fair ruined the place I reckon! . . .PCd reading about linux etc . . ate half a iced coffee sponge cake . . to bed around midnight.
14 - Woken earlier by door banging, snoozed on and then up around 9:30am!! 14C in, 5C out, sunny. . .walked BGdns and then since it was quite pleasant and sunny for a bit, before this evenings forecast rain, headed on down around the harbor, and out along the half mile long breakwater and back for the first time this year. Sat around at the end of the breakwater near the lifeboat station on the return, for my (by then, luke warm) coffee and a couple of smokes. Played ball on the big WWII slipway near the lifeboat, and allowed Bella to have a few swims after the thrown ball, despite the water being surely rather cold. She didn't seem to mind, but true to form, once she was all cold and wet (and had made me much the same!), she got doubley hyper and hard to keep under control. . eventually back through town and home . . . TVd and recovered from the walk with a coffee while listening to a modern radio production of a 30minute 'Dixon Of Dock Green' episode on Radio 4 Extra! . . .drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate - lots! Fried sliced potatoes, three eggs, four rashers of bacon, the remaining half of the P donated white pudding, and two buttered baps followed by a square of chocolate . . . napped until the 7pm alarm . . . rain and wind as forecast, so skipped the walk as expected . . . TVd . . PCd this . . ended up on-line (not for the first time) reading up on 'Ubuntu' - a version of the Linux operating system apparantly. I've never used a PC operating system other than (long forgotten) DOS and a few versions of Microsoft Windows over the years, but given how XP support is soon ending, and how two of my old machines running XP no longer seem capable of doing what I want, I figure it's high time I finally got round to seeing what alternatives there are. Linux is of course 'open source' or FREE, so that is a significant motivation to ME, to see if I can commit to such a change. (Hell - according to what I've read, even the international space station is now pretty much running Linux instead of Windows (after having been infected with a Windows virus thanks to a Russian's laptop a while ago), so that seems like a pretty good advert for maybe switching doesn't it?) . ended up laboriously downloading the (32bit) software and eventually burning a bootable disc image onto a DVD to try on an old PC. As ever, nothing went smoothly in the starting of such experiments, and part way through messing around with the 'old, old' PC BIOS and boot device order etc, it appears the DVD drive has chosen this moment to fail! Won't now even open the tray!! FFS!!!!! :o( . ended up nervously booting my MAIN machine from the DVD I'd burned instead, and had a bit of a poke at the Ubuntu software for ages. Not sure what to make of it. After a lifetime of using Windows, I'm BOUND to find it confusing and not like it aren't I. Also - running it from the DVD like that, it of course didn't have the ability to load required plug ins to the web browser etc etc, so I couldn't run any audio/video on websites etc, etc, so the jury is still very much out about how/IF it'll perform for me, and what it can and can't do. I think I'm going to HAVE to wipe one of those old hard drives and fully instal it all on probably the old PC under the TV in the living room, to really get a feel for it. Sadly, a lot more time consuming and frustrating messing around on the cards!! I 'think' I already bumped into a couple of websites I occasionally visit, which wouldn't be able to run the required add ons under linux anyway, so that doesn't bode well!!? Having said that, it DID appear to be substantially quicker at surfing the web than I've become used to - although of course a fresh non-updated instal of Windows tends to seem real quick too. . . ate a banana and a tiny piece of american fruit cake before to bed well after 2:30am.
13 - Woken earlier by noise from next door, snoozed on and then up around 8:45am, fully woken by the hammering. :o( Image of Antigua Barbuda registered cargo ship 'Lena' in Torbay14C in, 6C out, heavy rain showers . . .walked BGdns in the sunny spells and heavy showers. Played ball in the mud for a while. Another extraordinary looking ship was sheltering (further out) in the bay. Antigua Barbuda registered cargo ship 'Lena'. In the image I've included here, the little 'smudge' to the right of its bow, is one of the local day-boat trawlers - so that gives a sense of the enormous size of it!! . . heavy rain squalls eventually saw us head for the shelter of the higher roofed seats, to wait for a suitable dry gap before daring to try to reach home without getting drenched. Ended up sat under the roof sheltering from the rain with coffee and cigs for what turned into ages! Image of rainbows over TorbayWhile facing more or less north across the bay, some superb and bright double rainbows ultimately made the sitting around and waiting worthwhile. I was then treated to the unusual (at that location) sight of a rather wet squirrel climbing straight up the thin copper water pipe which T had fashioned into a bird feeder post and cemented into the ground nearby. Image of a squirrel on a birdfeeder in Battery GardensIt headed straight for the oblong plastic mesh, covering some sort of fatty lump of food, hung upside down on it, and successfully had a good LONG feed. Bella didn't spot it, so I had plenty of opportunity (almost ten minutes!) to play 'zooming-in' (between railing and roof support obstacles) from my seat with my camcorder as it ate (although sadly almost all that time, it frustratingly had its back to me). It was eventually disturbed by a couple of dog walkers arriving under the roof to take shelter, and in its haste to get away from their barking dogs, ended up falling the majority of the way to the ground before then disappearing into the nearby brambles and overgrown budlea. Once again proof (not that 'I' need it!), that if you have the time and patience to sit around quietly for long enough down there, there will ALWAYS be 'something' to see and be 'entertained by', if you have the mindset and eye for it. . . eventually back via the store for a few supplies in a 'bit' of rain . . . PCd this at length . . . ate four ham baps, crisps and a banana . . napped . . aimlessly TVd/PCd/radiod locally for a bit. . .ate two meat and pastry slices, crisps, banana, american fruitcake and a chocolate biscuit or two . .TVd until to bed at 2:15am.
12 - Image of jack-up barge JB115 and tug Vortex in TorbayPoor broken sleep then up around 8:30am. 14C in, 8C out, windy (30+mph gusts) , grey and soon to rain. .plenty of 'babble' on the radio - checked the AIS website and it looks as though a couple of tugs have arrived in the bay (to shelter from the storm?) with some sort of big jack-up platform which they appeared to be manouvering into an 'anchor' position. . PCd a bit of this . . . walked BGdns under the grey in the strong cold breeze (wow - HOW different to last night!), interested to see the barge. Wow - that's been brought-in unusually close - no more than 2km off Goodrington! Comms on the radio confirmed they WERE sheltering from the weather, and were liable to remain there for 48hrs, before carrying on (via Falmouth?) ultimately heading for Holyhead I think. Bahamas registered jackup support barge 'JB115' (out of Zeebrugge, destined for Holyhead?) with 16 people on board. An enormous great thing! To give a sense of scale, in the picture I've included here, the three-high stack of six 'white boxes' with black dots at the end, appear to be shipping-container sized portacabin type accomodation! UK Registered tug 'Vortex' with 6 people on board was holding it in position (with around 5 tons of pull on the tow line), and German registered tug 'Bugsier 21' with 6 people on board was anchoring-up in support nearby. Plenty of walkers and passers-by all stopping to take pictures. . sat around in the chilly wind with coffee and cigs before eventually heading back . . . PCd this, and then had a brief poke at the net looking up a little more info on that jack-up platform. Used to construct offshore wind turbines apparantly. . . PCd and radiod locally just a bit, as the gale moved-in in earnest mid afternoon, with gusts building later to 40mph and heavy rain. :o( . . TVd nothing! Absolute dross on ALL the channels again. . MUCH grooming and 'inspecting' of Bellas scratchy skin. Nothing found which would explain her current problems!?. . drank a glass of red wine . . ended up charging batteries for my DVD player remote control, and opened up the boxed set of 'Open All Hours' DVDs DS had sent me for Christmas, intending to settle down and enjoy an episode or two. THAT didn't go according to plan!! Would you BELIEVE it!! It turns out the DVD remote-control is no longer working!!!!! Tried all manner of different batteries in the damned thing, but all to no avail. FFS!!! How come everything I own is 'suddenly' breaking and becoming useless?! The absurd thing about that DVD remote is, that the damned DVD player itself does NOT have a full set of control buttons. You need the remote to be able to navigate through menus and chapters and the like! Without the remote - you simply can't! :o( . . sat and watched the first two episodes of the first series back to back. Dated it may be, but it really IS classic TV - from what must with hindsight surely be the 'golden age' of television? Nothing these days I've seen comes anywhere near close, in terms of the crafting of the characters and cleverness of the script etc, etc. Brilliant stuff. Hmmmm - so - how the hell am I gonna be able to skip those two watched episodes and watch the rest in the future, now the remote has gone? Bugger! :o( . . ended up poking at TV channels for a bit again, and somehow ended up on one of the Freesat radio channels, listening to a thirty minute radio 4 extra production of a Richmal Crompton 'Just William' story. Wow - how suprisingly enjoyable THAT was too. :o) . . . cooked and ate mashed potatoe with chopped raw onion, peas with butter and chopped raw onion, and fried slices of P donated 'white pudding'. . . a 'slight' lessening of the storm, but I easily skipped the evening walk . . PCd reading up on canine skin complaints and remedial shampoos and suchlike . . around 9:15pm the coastguard teams and then around 9:35 the all weather lifeboat, were scrambled to do shoreline searches, as a result of reports of a 'possible' woman in the water over Torquay way. A pile of women's clothes minus shoes had been found and reported to the police around 8:50pm by a bus driver on the road outside the Grand Hotel! . Around the same time, the JB115 platform called the Vortex tug (currently 3 tons pull on one of the bridles against the anchor) and suggested since the wind had veered round, they should allow the stern to swing round to face the wind. The secondary motivation for the adjustment was that apparantly the crew with it in its current configuration, were having trouble getting a decent TV signal! lol . .around 22:01 another bag of clothes had been found - and determined to be a donation for a charity shop - and the police log for the incident was apparantly closed. A weather report at that time from the Torbay lifeboat said there was good visibilty, a slight SSE swell from the surf, and a windspeed of 20knots. They were stood down and cleared to return to station at 22:13. . . . at 22:45 tug Vortex was moving the jack up platform again, because BOTH vessels had lost their "comms/internet connection"! Extraordinary - or at least it is to me - that such vessels are all wirelessly 'interneted-up' like that these days!. . TVd/PCd until to bed around 3am.
11 - Up at 8:30am. 14C in, 6C out, sunny! . . .Set the radios and PC up recording the output of the local repeater, and then walked BGdns in the sun with my handie, intending to do some test transmissions, in an attempt to record the nature of the fault. Played ball for a bit before heading for the higher seat to do my test transmissions with the VX-7 handie into the repeater. Despite repeatedly saying "testing ONLY", two people decided to come back to me. Hillarious when one said my transmission had a buzz, and then immediately after, the other (wrongly) reported it was nice and clean. lolol THAT is exactly why I 'needed' to record MYSELF. You can NEVER rely on anyone for an accurate report. You'll always get as many different reports as you get people giving them - and many people seem to be incapable of being in any way accurate for some bizarre reason. The ONLY way to know what it sounds like or to hear whatever fault may be going on, is to actualy hear it for yourself!!! Anyway - I did my four test transmissions (with different aerials - and to hear how dreadful the speaker-mic apparantly sounds) and then sat around for a bit. Soon after, while I sat having a ciggie with my coffee, the Coastguard helicopter became visible in the distance, over Torquay and Hopes Nose way, out on a training flight. There was a brief bit of comms with the coastguard, during which there was the suggestion that elsewhere at this time, the body of someone who'd been missing for nine days had recently been found! I wonder - is that the university student who went missing down Plymouth way, when he went out to take photos of the storms? (News reports on TV later in the day confirmed it likely was. Awful sadness for the family and friends - but also no doubt, such a relief to finally have him found. :o( ) . . eventually headed back home to listen to whatever I'd recorded. The recorded file time indicated how long such an 'average' walk takes me. 1hour 46minutes - mouse click to mouse click. . messed with the file trimming out all the quiet space and multiple repeater morse-code idents, before playing it back. Wow - that was SO worth doing. Turned out to be a VERY good recording and enabled me to hear my test transmissions as well as if I'd been sat at home listening to anyone else. (MeTesting.mp3) There IS a marked 'buzz' on my audio, and switching antennas made no difference - so there IS a fault. :o( I was also able to determine that the cheap speaker-mic I have for it, is really nigh on useless. (Yet more wasted money!) The audio quality that comes from it is SO bad, it was really quite difficult to actually hear what I was saying when I had it plugged in!! Almost as though it is far too sensitive, and overdriving the radio. .so - all in all, BAD news! Nevertheless, I was actually left feeling quite 'pleased' with how useful that little 'self record' expedition had been. No amount of other peoples well meaning reports would EVER have been able to give me as precise an understanding of what I sounded like, and what the symptoms of the fault are etc, etc. Doing such a self-record (or getting someone do it for you) is I think to be HIGHLY recommended to everyone! MOST useful. . . . Mum called in with papers and food donations for chats . . . ate two miniature pasties, crisps, banana, fruit cake and a few chocolate raisins . . napped until around 6:45pm . . . walked BGdns in layers, with the temperature only a few degrees above freezing. A really nice quiet 'calm before the storm' evening, with hardly a breath of wind (for once!), and with a clear star-filled sky. Played ball for a bit and then sat around on the higher seat for ages, with my smokes and coffee. I was eventually rewarded (around 8:30pm ish?) with the sight of a meteor briefly flashing across the Eastern sky heading northish. Seeing one of those, always makes having sat there for however long, seem entirely worthwhile and justified. :o) I wonder who else and how many saw it? Hot on the heels of those star gazing live programs on TV earlier in the week, I bet a whole bunch of people were out stargazing tonight, and inevitably perhaps 'many' would have shared my excitement at seeing it?. . . eventually back home after in excess of two hours out again. . TVd . . ate four ham baps, a banana and chocolate raisins . . aimlessly PCd a little before to bed in the early hours, after the wind had already started to freshen in preparation for tomorrows forecast gale force 8.
10 - Woken earlier, snoozed on then up around 8am with neighbor noise. 14C in, 5C out, big rain clouds building to a sky full of grey . . . walked BGdns with my coffee . . . did laundry . . . PCd this . . . ended up briefly commenting on the radio, only to then get bogged down (as I'd promised I would some time) in helping someone doing tests getting their radio successfully transmitting PSK and SSTV 'digimodes'. That went on for ages! . . finally got round to having another go at using the FT-897 and the PC, to record the audio-out from my VX-7. Set everything up on a blank frequency, set the PC recording the received audio, and then transmitted on the VX-7 from the conservatory and just outside in the back garden. Playing the recording back on the PC immediately after, showed a good, clean, 'as expected' transmission, WITHOUT a hint of any sort of buzz or hum. Exactly like when I last tried to reproduce the reported problem. On BOTH occasions I've been told there was a problem, I've been transmitting through the local repeater - so NOW I need to hear what my signal coming back through the repeater sounds like. That's far more problematic to acheive, because of the distance I am from the repeater, and how poorly the handie can reach it from this 'down in a black hole' location. Set the radio and computer up recording the repeater's output, raced all the way up to the very top of the back garden near the carport (the best possible place for the handie to have a chance of actually getting into the repeater) - and would you believe it, sods law, just then, a couple of mobiles came on and started having a chat! Gave up and headed back inside, waiting until they'd finished their QSO and cleared. . when the repeater was back to it's usual quiet, got everything set up recording again, and raced back outside, only to find it was suddenly pouring with rain! Grrrr. Ran up to the top of the garden in the rain and did my test transmission, peeking out from the cover of the carport, nonetheless. . I DID open up the repeater and WAS 'copyable', but only just, and with SUCH a low scratchy signal, if there had been any buzz on the transmission, it wouldn't have been audible anyway - so that was no use whatsoever! Another attempt transmitting from the bathroom (the best place INSIDE the house to reach the repeater on a handie) was similarly useless. Damn. That means I'm gonna have to be transmitting from somewhere else entirely (closer to the repeater), to have a better chance of making a 'useful' recording. Battery Gardens essentially - from where I have transmitted and been told I have a problem. Basically that's gonna mean I have to set everything up and leave it all on and have the PC recording for in excess of an hour, when I do a dog walk one night! WHAT a hassle! That's gonna take some planning - and hard drive space!?! Bugger. :o( . . . PCd this . . . ate a tin of sausages-in-baked-beans with four pieces of bread and butter . . napped for around an hour . . . DF called in for chats etc, complete with his Kindle which I'd asked to have another look at. Poor guy drank half his coffee before I discovered the milk had suddenly all gone off. Ended up being breifly driven to go buy milk at the local store! WHAT unaccustomed luxury, not having to walk! Played with DF's Kindle for a bit, poking at a couple of websites, to get a feel for how it acts, etc. The quality of video WAS excellent, but I confess I found it frustratingly slow and small and fiddley to use - and I even managed to have it all freeze up at one point! (It 'may' have been adversely affected by the speed of my internet connection perhaps?) All in all, it left me thinking, 'I' can quite happily do without one. . . . . touched base with BB after DF had gone . . ate bowls of coco pops and rice krispies, and then a couple of bananas . . TVd until to bed around 3:30am.
9 - Up at 8:45am. 15C in, 7C out, decent sunny spells for a change! . . .walked BGdns quite late in the sunny spells (without even wearing a raincoat for the first time in ages). Sat around, played ball, drank coffee and smoked cigs for ages before eventualy returning. Stopped in at the local pet supplies place and bought another big rawhide chewy thing for Bella. Miraculously over the last couple of weeks, I've managed to convince her to have an interest in the last one I bought, and she'd actually finished it off a couple of nights ago . . back home and onto the PC monitoring radios by 12:17pm, and heard Coastguard helicopter 'Rescue 106' heading out from Portland across Lyme Bay, to rendezvous with Uk registered tanker British Kestrel who was holding station around 10 kms east of Berry Head, to pick up a casualty who needed transferring to the helicopter landing site at Torbay hospital. They initially winched a crewman onto the tanker around 12:25pm to make an asessement of the casualty, etc. (CRTs and an ambulance were by this time, ready and waiting at the hospital landing site.) They winched baggage first, then the casualty. . Casualty on board and departing the scene, on their way to the HLS at Torbay hospital by 12:42pm. On the ground and transferring the casualty to an ambulance by 12:52pm. The helicopter was apparantly sinking into the mud at the landing site (hardly suprising after all the rain we've had), so they briefly took off again, leaving one of their crewmen on the ground helping with the casualty! . All done and airborne again by 13:07, reverting to callsign 'Coastguard 106' and resuming their training flight . . . PCd this at length . . somehow ended up radioing on the local repeater for quite a while. During the conversation, the person I was speaking to confirmed that the rescue from earlier had just made it to the local Herald Express newspaper website. "THE coastguard helicopter was called out to transport a tanker captain to Torbay Hospital on Thursday afternoon. A spokesman for Brixham Coastguard said the call was received at 12.30pm and the tanker was six miles east of Berry Head, Brixham. She said: “The master of motor tanker British Kestrel was evacuated by coastguard helicopter and taken to Torbay Hospital to be treated for suspected pneumonia.” She added that the 33-year-old was weak and needed treatment for his symptoms which he did not get at sea.". Boy - does that make me feel old. He's only 33, and the captain of a tanker! . . During conversations on the radio, P across town said I should pop over some time because he was looking to clear stuff out of his freezer again, and (if no good for me) would be stuff for Bella to eat. . I originally said it probably wouldn't be today, but then since the day turned out to be pretty fine and sunny, I eventually decided to walk Bella early and head off over his way, after all. . . walked with Bella across town to play ball a little in St Marys park, before heading for Ps. Was called on the radio by someone and ended up having a brief conversation on the handie. Once again I was informed that I had a 'buzz' on my transmission! Damn - I'd actually forgotten all about that. So - it DOES appear that my expensive VX-7 HAS developed a fault (which I was unable to repeat when I tried a while ago!??). I despair. I really do. :o( Right now, given all in all, I feel >this< close to just admitting defeat and pretty much giving up on all this radio nonsense. Fate seems to have conspired YET again, to see that I have just thrown all my money down the drain (with 100s more to follow, in unavoidable repairs. God HOW I wish I'd just bought everything brand-new with guarantees - or even better still, just not bothered at all, and spent all that money on central heating or some such about the house instead!) - and even when they ARE working, I'm just the wrong sort of personality (well - of COURSE! What WAS I thinking?!) to be able to handle all the nonsense and anal, controling, egotistical, nitpicking BS which seems to go on, on the airwaves between everyone (and undoubtedly me included on occasions - which just serves to feed my self loathing when I do). Actually - I forgot to mention - after that 'incident' and my outburst when chatting on the repeater yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone (I don't 'think' I've ever spoken to!). I presume whoever it was, was listening, and sent the mail as a result? "Hi Terry, It is not Seventy Threes, which is 210...It is Seven Three.....You would do better not to respond at all to these "Breakers", rather than encourage them with comments..Regards" I'm really not sure what to make of that. I 'assume' it was sent in - um - 'good humour'? The bit about don't respond to the breakers is of course common sense (I am usually good at NOT doing so, and more frequently just remain quiet, superior and aloof, while listening to others 'biting'), so point well taken on that. The other bit may also have been 'well meant', but I DO seem to be absurdly having a bit of 'difficulty' with the comment!!! Wikipedia says the following about its use - "Amateur radio operators often use the number 73 as an abbreviation for "best regards", typically when ending a QSO (a conversation with another ham). In Morse code, 73 is a palindrome (-- --)." Trying to be patheticaly polite with everyone like I do, I always use the term on air when ending a conversation. Always have done. I DO however apparantly 'inaccurately' so it seems, add an 'S' to it, making it plural - always have done. Kinda like, 'best regards - lots'? It certainly 'speaks' easier off my tongue than saying 'seven three' singular, in my usual goodbye speil. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway - I'm not 'quite' sure what to make of having someone (I think I don't know?) feel obliged to e-mail me to point out my 'error' like that. It's THIS sort of 'nit picking' over UTTER trivia which seems to be VERY much a part of the personalities of radio amateurs these days. Never used to be like this. Can't understand why SO many people seem to have gone this way. (I DO exhibit similar traits on the radio at times myself, but hopefully to a much lesser degree - and I AM at least aware of and on guard against it!) . . anyway - the 'people' part of it aside, back to my equipment - I just don't think I can keep on going, continualy banging my head against a brick wall with it all, when it seems SO obviously clear it 'isn't meant to be' for me. :o( Same old same old ain't it? Nothing that others acheive, ever was meant to be for me. :o( . . . arrived at Ps unannounced (because unusually he wasn't monitoring the radio whilst I was up in the park). He said he'd wished I'd said I was coming, because he needed some onions for cooking he was about to do. Ended up walking back out and round to his nearby store to buy a bag of three onions for him! lol . chats, coffee and a muffin with P before eventually heading home with some frozen foodstuffs in my rucksack, and an unwanted big old cardboard box and some bubblewrap (potentially useful for sending off radios to be repaired?!), under my arm. Bit of a struggle walking home carrying that, and having to have one hand free to keep Bella in check - not helped by her having a poop along the way and me having to carry that as well! . . . eventually back home in time to endure some more floor-board/joist type hammering from next door . . .TVd ('Stargazing Live') with a packet of crisps . . .cooked and ate two small garlic chicken kievs with a (misjudged) very large mountain of chips, eventually followed by a big chunk of american fruitcake and some chocolate raisins . . TVd until to bed at 12:30am.
8 - Up around 8:30am. 15C in, 8C out, showers but not raining to start with, and even some almost sunny spells. . . . walked BGdns and sat around at length, ultimately on the higher seat drinking my coffee etc. Plenty of 'twitchers' still in evidence all around the area - although I don't think they're having much luck . . back via the store for supplies as the weather deteriorated to grey and rain again. Scribbled down a phone number on an advert in the newsagents shop window. Someone was advertising some PC bits for sale - including a monitor. Managed to get back home before getting 'too' wet . . . PCd a bit of this . .listened-in briefly as the ISS orbited over, in conversation with a school in Italy. .briefly chatted to P across town on the local (GB3TR) repeater. I haven't actually really spoken to anyone on the radios since perhaps around Christmas, so it was an opportunity to have a bit of a 'proof of life' chat about nonsense, and just kinda 'touch base' with him and wish him happy new year and all that sort of thing. All of a sudden during the conversation, someone with a 'midlands' type of accent, butted-in WITHOUT using their callsign, and slagged us both off for chatting on the repeater despite us both being in the same town and within simplex (direct contact) range!?!!! Ohhh FFS, HOW pathetic! That really 'got to me'! I've heard a couple of conversations of late, where people have been 'critical' of people local to each other having chats on the local repeater. Utterly beggars belief to me, that people can be so absurdly and pointlessly 'anal' about it. Ok - it IS true that once upon a time, the repeaters were put in place specifically to assist mobile/handheld operators etc etc, and 'codes of best practice' do I think still suggest that they should be left clear for that, but todays reality (ESPECIALLY in this area, and specifically with GB3TR) is that there are SO few people actually on air and using their radios, that the repeater is hardly EVER actually in use. It sits there hour after hour every single day transmitting it's morse code ident, and almost no one uses it. And yet - almost EVERY radio amateur within range of it, is liable to be sat there monitoring it for activity (like I do for so many hours every day)! The absurdity of that is obvious isn't it? Why on EARTH would anyone have a problem, when people actually have a chat on it, and finally give some nonsense to listen-in to, and potentially join-in and comment on? Many is the time that repeater sits there silently all day, only for a good handful of otherwise 'sitting in silence' people to suddenly 'appear' and all join-in, when someone starts up a conversation. Those rare group conversations can often be an unexpected pleasure to all involved. It IS a natural on-air 'meeting place'. It IS a place to be sociable and chat and welcome in anyone who wants to join in. NO ONE local would act as an obstacle to the rare event of a mobile/portable station wanting to make a call and a specific contact, etc, etc. What sort of an 'anal' loon would butt-in and have a go like that?!!! . Anyway in my current 'winter down', and all wound-up with frustration about the computers and the bad weather and Bella, etc etc etc - my anger about that idiots comments got the better of me, and I 'slipped'. In an unguarded knee jerk reaction, I actually transmitted 'asshole' back at him - before soon after having a short rant in an attempt to explain why I was happily chatting on the repeater, and saw absolutely NO problem with doing so, etc, etc!! I regret all that of course. :o( I soon after terminated my conversation and got off the air - all shaking with anger and loathing of people! . . . . . called the number from the newsagents shop window advert a couple of times, and eventually got to speak to someone. The guy strangely seemed to have difficulty telling me what the actual model of the monitor was, so rather than mess around, because he was actually pretty local (and most vital to ME of course, WALKABLE), it was agreed I'd pop on over within half an hour and have a look at what they were selling. . quickly finished my coffee and then left Bella home alone (to undoubtedly tear herself apart in my absence! :o( ) and walked (in a mostly dry spell) the short distance down up and across town to have a look . . . Found the place straight away without any trouble at all - on the opposite side of the valley, really 'almost' within sight of my PC room window! . turned out it was actually a not particularly new 17" LCD BenQ model (complete with both cables) - and sadly had a pretty bad, inch long scratch in the bottom right hand corner of the screen! Nothing else they were selling was of any interest to me (printer/old ball-mouse/keyboard etc). The actual desktop tower had been partly dismantled and was just dumped (complete with an 80GB IDE hard drive!) in their front garden in all the rain! WHAT a crying-shame waste! Hmmm? Debated with myself at embarassing length (WHAT a shame about that scratch! Could I live with it? Would it actually even be visible when its switched on? Etc, etc), before offering to give them 10 for it. Waited outside with a cigarette while the guy had to ring his wife to ask. They agreed, so I was soon walking back home, with the cables, manual and CD disk in my rucsack, and carrying the monitor in my arms, wrapped in the refuse sack I'd taken for the purpose. There's not much to an LCD monitor of course, but it still felt pretty heavy by the time I got back home! . . .predictably returned home to find Bella had been 'self harming' whilst I was out!!! Clumps of fur all over the carpet, and her right ear all scratched bloody and raw! :o( Cleaned out and swabbed her ear as best I could - and then in desperation, squeezed the last small tube of 'spot-on' stuff I have, onto the back of her neck and base of her tail. So - for days now, I'll be having to try to stop her scratching her healing ear, and doing all that constant head shaking thing - again! Jeeze - it really IS a neverending battle with her, that nothing I do seems to have ANY positive effect on!??? . . . reassembled the living room PC and eventually tested out the new monitor on it. Works fine it would appear. Shame about the scratch, but since it isn't gonna be my 'main use' monitor, I can live with that, and well worth the 10 methinks. It enables me to think seriously about now getting rid-of (and sadly probably just breaking up and 'dumping' in the wheelie-bin! ) the enormous and heavy but fully working old CRT monitor I still have, taking up so much space around the place. :o( . . slowly/carefully sorted through more PC(camcorder) data for hours . . .uggh - more hammering from next door . . . skipped the evening walk as yet another squally storm passed through. . radiod locally on 2mtrs and joined in a little on the weekly club net + for perhaps a couple of hours. . . TVd . spent a good long while grooming and closely examining Bella. I can NOT find ANYTHING crawling on her, to explain this latest scratching business???? . . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of corned beef, mayo, grated cheese and chopped onion sandwiches, crisps, banana and some chocolate . . .to bed around 1:30am.
7 - Up around 8:40am. 14C in, 7C out, between squalls . . . walked FGn. The all weather lifeboat (and Y boat) was out doing excercises in the flat waters of the bay near the shoalstone pool and breakwater beach. Amazing how sheltered and flat the waters of the bay have been throughout all these westerly storms, compared to some of the breathtaking footage of mountanous seas and damaging waves that have been all over the news elsewhere - even just along the coast outside of the bay. I wonder if the local lifeboat crew of adrenalin junkies feel disappointed, cheated and 'left out' of it all?. . . trimmed my hair/beard etc. Vacuumed . . pretty much PCd the rest of the day away until I was feeling pretty down, all headachey, and didn't feel so good. . skipped the evening walk.(Just as well - we WOULD have got torrentially rained on.). . TVd as next door did a lot of hammering for a few hours - for a second evening. :o( Can't complain, because of course they've only just moved in and are bound to be making alterations (and god knows I've made lots more noise than that in the past, with all the major works I've done) - unpleasant nonetheless, especially given the paper-thin walls between us, etc. . . cooked and ate a whole pack of thin sausages, two eggs and four pieces of bread and butter followed by chocolate . . to bed before midnight.
6 - Up around 8:15am. 15C in, 9C out, windy (40mph+) with threatening broken cloud . . . walked FGn. Jeeze - was that an uncomfortable sit, playing ball in the full teeth of the gale up on the exposed green! Sat it out for as long as I could before heading back when the sky in the west started to look 'dangerous'. We did NOT make it. I was only wearing a light shower coat. Half way across the open green, the 'squall' hit. Gusting gale force winds, heavy rain, maybe a bit of hail thrown in for good measure. It was 'painful'. We both got UTTERLY drenched, despite it passing through pretty quick. .by the time we reached the store on the way home, the wind had even started to evaporate some of the moisture dripping from my waterlogged trousers! NOT the best state to be in, when going to buy cigarette papers! Got the woman in the newsagents to double wrap them in TWO plastic bags for me, in order to prevent them all being stuck together and useless by the time I got home. . . PCd, sorting through some of my massive mess of data. Boy - is this a bunch of work!! It's gonna take a LONG time to get all this straight, and for me to know where I stand. That's around 1 terrabyte of that new drive used up already (although plenty of duplication to resolve)! Amazingly, included in that, are an astonishing 35+ images of seperate DVDs which I filmed and created! I couldn't resist actually wasting time and having a look at just a couple of bits of those today. With hindsight, plenty of it is just amateur rubbish - but there ARE bits and pieces which I think are still pretty remarkable - that some crazy nut put in all that time and effort to capture that little moment in time etc, etc. I sat and watched the Red Devils harbour jump during the 2008 Lifeboat week in its entirety - and the 'rain' video from the Cowtown Carnival. Cracking little momentos I still think. I'm sure it's ultimately doomed to failure and will be all lost in time for some reason, but I DO think it's worth trying as best I can to hang onto them all - if for no other reason than, boy oh boy, I put a lot of time and effort into creating them! . . It IS an absolute JOY to have such a large hard drive to play with, and not have to worry too much about running out of space for once (although I AM worried it's going to fail at any moment of course!). Amazing how things have changed. One of the old IDE drives I had laying around which I had to go through, was a mere 10GB. lolol . . . eventually decided I was pretty much (more or less) done with transferring data from all the old IDE drives, and I could put the main PC back together and get the PC/radio-room back straight, rather than have everything encroaching in pieces all over the desk. The rest of what I need to transfer is either already on USB external hard drives, or is likely to be so little (once I sort through it all and compare to what I already have on the new drive), that doing the rest 'slowly' by USB will be adequate. . reassembled the main PC (after cleaning just some of the enormous layers of mud dust that covered everything inside it!) , sorted a few bits and pieces out, rearranged this and that, and ultimately late-afternoon had the PC and desk all back to normal and everything working ok (eventually - after a hickup or two - like 'losing' a functioning keyboard)!!! WHAT a relief. So - currently the PC has the 500GB (boot) drive, the new 2TB drive and an old 320GB drive fitted (all SATA). So - I'll be spending the rest of my life trying to sort through all the mass of old and often duplicated files then!!! Ugggh. :o( . . the MSI broadcast at 16:30 reported "Severe gale force 9 continuing", which pretty much seems to sum up this winter doesn't it?!! So far, according to the horrors of the floods and damage I'm seeing around the country on the news, I've been very lucky to have come through it all pretty much unscathed - although, there ARE some ominous looking cracks in the outside wall of the PC room I discovered today!! :o/ . . . walked BGdns in waterproofs after 6:30pm. It was still blowing an uncomfortable gale, but it stayed dry at least, and there were even a lot of stars to be seen - despite being somewhat blinded by the VERY bright lights on one of the many cargo ships anchored in the blown-flat waters of the bay. Coffee and cigs under the roof, all wrapped up against the howling wind, before battling back home against it . . . TVd . . ate two ham rolls, crisps and a tin of mushroom soup . . . PCd this . . .PCd until around 3am before to bed.
5 - Up at 8:30am. 14C in, 6C out, dark grey but not raining - yet. The next forecast gale is soon to arrive . . walked BGdns in waterproofs. The leading edge of the forecast storm arrived while we were playing ball. Home in the relatively light rain. . . the rain increased soon after arriving home and continued with strong winds ALL the rest of the day . . laboriously copied over data from all the old IDE drives I have laying around all over the place, using the living room PC. Walked the SATA up to the main PC and added it all 'unsorted' to the new big drive. Yet another hour of 'monitoring' the copying!! . . PCd a bit, 'sorting' . . . skipped the evening walk of course, because it was still raining and blowing a gale . . . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine. Cooked and ate four burgers in buttered baps followed by a waggonwheel chocolate biscuit or two . . TVd until to bed shortly after 1am.
4 - Up at 9am. 14C in, 6C out, dark grey . . . reluctantly walked FGn, still in a foul 'I wish i'd never got her' mood with Bella (on her halti, NO messing about!!) . Back via the store for milk and a few going out of date/cheap things. . .sorted through data on the PCs . . Ended up listening to a little music from my collection for the first time in ages, until Mum called in after midday . . . laboriously copied data over from three different old IDE hard drives and eventually got it onto the big new SATA drive in the main PC . . . ate a couple of large ham, mayo and grated cheese baps with crisps AFTER having set a copy of data going again! I turn my back on that old PC for five minutes making my rolls, and the damn thing crashes half way through the copy! . . listened to CW on the HF radio for a bit, as the main PC laboured at copying over another load of data from hard drive to hard drive. (Just under an hour?) Eventually had THAT bunch on the new drive, although yet to sort out/through . . .so much concentration not to make mistakes - exhausting. Napped for little over an hour until the 7pm alarm . . not much above freezing with passing rain showers. Skipped the walk . . . ended up 'making up' with Bella, TVing and guitarring the night away. Needed a break from everything and didn't even put the scanner on at all . . . ate a lump of cheese, two bags of crisps and biscuits before eventually to bed not far short of 3am.
3 - Up around 8:30am. 15C in, 7C out, windy with gusts up around 40mph and brief sunny spells between threatening rain clouds. Worse forecast for later! . . . Image of ships sheltering in Torbaywalked BGdns after 9:30am. It was actually not unpleasant to start with, with some sun around the place. Eastwards out to sea in the distance beyond Berry Head it looked pretty rough, but the sheltered waters of the bay were almost a dead flat calm. A good handful of ships were anchored in the bay sitting out the storms. Gibraltar registered cargo ship Fri Skien, Antigua Barbuda registered cargo ship RMS Lagona, Netherlands registered cargo ship Abis Bordeaux, Gibraltar registered cargo ship Constance, Netherlands registered cargo ship Jade, and Norway registered tanker Nordic Saga. . After playing ball in the mud for a bit on the lower seat (so much for bathing Bella yesterday!) , an enormous thundery rain cloud appeared towards the north west, accompanied by some flashes of lightning and impressive rumbles of thunder. Definitely some pretty bad stuff coming our way! Abruptly halted ball play and rushed up the paths in the increasing rain to reach the shelter of the ('faraday cage' metal supported) roof over the higher seats. Reached the roof just in time to see some major flashes of lightning and to see what looked like a thick 'wall of water' rushing across the bay towards us. Extraordinary how quickly things changed. Sudden strong winds, torrential rain and hail, a marked drop in temperature, flashes of lighning and thunder. Even under the roof I (and other dog walkers sheltering) got pretty wet, as the wind drove the heavy rain, horizontaly under and into us! Amazing (and a little frightening) weather! As the storm continued Eastwards, there was a VERY closeby flash of lightning!! Looked like it may well have hit the ground (or the lighthouse/aerials?) just up on Berry Head!!! After around ten to fifteen minutes, the storm cell had passed through and some brightness in the western sky suggested now was a good time to make the break for home (since I was NOT wearing full waterproofs). . managed to luckily get back home by just after 11pm in what had turned into another decent albeit brief sunny spell. . . PCd this as more HEAVY thundery hail and rain storms blew threw on the strong gusting winds. At 11:45am the coastguard were putting out a special new maritime safety information broadcast from their NON local aerials. The Berry Head transmitter was off air. So - that flash of lightning I saw WAS pretty close to Berry Head - and presumably 'tripped' some sort of safety cutout on their VHF/DSC transmitter? The local 'Berry Head Mobile' coastguard response team, appeared to have been sent to reset the equipment up there (as I've heard them do on several occasions in the past). It DOES perhaps beg the question how they'll deal with that sort of thing when they close the local coastguard station later in the year, or whenever it's planned? I don't suppose it'll actually make any difference, as long as the CRTs are still around? . . . yayy - around 12:45pm the postman delivered a substantial box from Amazon. Yayyy - my new hard drive. . just then the batteries in my chordless mouse ran out - again (so soon?). Put them on charge and would you believe it - my battery charger reported that one of them was 'bad' (i.e. unchargeable/unusuable). That's one of the new ones I only just bought FFS! My money just thrown away - AGAIN! FFS! :o( . . raced down to dismantle the living room PC, and eventually fitted the new 2TB SATA drive. Whilst I did so, left on her own in the PC room, as soon as my back was turned, and in the space of just the couple of minutes before she joined me downstairs, Bella had gnawed on her back and made a big bloody raw patch!! For goodness sake. I can't take my eyes off her for a minute without her doing something stupid like that, and starting that neverending rollercoaster of the wound getting better, itching as it does so and then making her gnaw on it again! And this, after all that aggro bathing her yesterday (AND giving her a flea tablet and spraying around the place with flea spray etc on whichever day that was). The endless hassles with her overwhelmed me - again. Living with her has been just one big constant nightmare battle - if not over her constant scratching and 'self harm', then over her 'hyper' behaviour and constant 'refusal' to walk to heal etc, etc. She SHOULD have been put down - NOT put up for re-homing to some sucker like me! I ended up in a dangerously despairing and VERY angry mood. I'll be honest - I absolutely hated her about then! :o( She was despatched to the garden and shut out there - to do whatever damage to herself she wanted - I just couldn't care less anymore. Not right NOW. :o( . . I eventually fired up the living room PC with the new drive in, only to find the drive was NOT recognised as existing by the system - and the existing 320GB SATA drive already in situ, and hitherto working perfectly , had ALSO now 'disappeared'!!!!???? WHAT the . . ????? . fearing the worst (that the drive was maybe a duffer?) and having no other way to be sure, I had no choice but to remove the new drive (after which the existing smaller drive, reappeared working fine), take it upstairs and open up my main (SATA drives ONLY motherboard) PC, disconnect one of the resident SATA drives, and use the cables from that to temporarily connect-up the new drive. To my surprise (and relief) the drive was immediately recognised and was all soon working ok, etc. So - what the hell am I to make of that? The ONLY thing I can imagine, is that for some reason my old machine/motherboard is not compatable with a brand new SATA drive OR it can't read such a large one? What a bugger! So much for my plan of using the old PC with its handy IDE rack and SATA drives mix, to be able to quickly go through all my old hard drives and just copy everything onto the new drive, before mounting it in my main PC in the radio room to sort through. Hmmmm - so how do I get round this? The last thing I want to do is go spending a penny more right now - and I do NOT want to have to delay further. Trying to do the mass of data transfers by network cable between the machines or by external USB drives would take an absolute age. Damn, damn, damn! I figured the only realistic way of doing things with the smallest investment of wasted time, was going to be to bring the old small SATA drive up from the living room PC, temporarily instal it in the main PC, copy off all the data, 'blank' it and then re-instal it in the living room PC and start copying IDE drives onto IT, and periodically carry it back up to the main PC to transfer the data onto the new big drive!!!!! WHAT a pain in the ass! :o( . at some point a nasty squall arrived with strong winds, rain and hail. Bella was allowed back in - but only as far as the conservatory! I did NOT want to be disturbed and distracted by her, and with bits of PC and especially the 'live'/open PC on the living room floor, it was just easier to banish her out there - and well suited my mood with her! :o( . called DF to cancel his intended visit this evening. I was running out of time. The place was in a hell of a mess with the radio room now also all in chaos thanks to having to dismantle the main PC etc. I hadn't eaten anything. I couldn't stand the sight of Bella! I was in a FOUL mood! Unfortunately he wasn't there right then, so I had to leave a message on his anspahone. . battled with the PCs some more - at length. All of a sudden Bella was barking as someone rang the doorbell. Jeeze - it was around 7pm already, and DF had arrived! Damn - he hadn't got my message from earlier trying to cancel. Damn, damn, damn. So - I won't be eating until later then! . Poor DF. I was SO not in the mood to be interrupted and waste hours in 'meaningless' conversation. .DF tried to be 'helpful' with PC suggestions, but I was absolutely NOT in the mood. I was irritated, angry, and did not in any way attempt to appear otherwise! So - we mostly 'argued' for the next three 'wasted' hours! . . . ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and a wagonwheel biscuit soon after DF had gone . . to bed around 1am, after having completely 'ignored' Bella for the whole evening.
2 - Up around 8:20am. 15C in, 6C out, calm and a clear sky to start with - and then the next time I look out, just as I'm about to go walking, it was pouring down with rain! Jeeze - this weather!!! . . . walked FGn in wellingtons and waterproofs, but actually managed to miss the worst of the passing shower and was treated to some 'vibrant' rainbows across the bay towards Torquay again . back via the store for milk, and ended up buying a whole bunch (three packs!!) of ready to eat small chicken drumsticks going out-of-date and cheap. . hosed Bella down a bit in the back garden. She's gotten all badly scratchy again of late, particularly under her tummy. I can't find anything crawling on her, and suspect it 'may' be her 'sensitive' skin and the effect of constantly getting wet/salty and muddy? I'm tempted to get her in the bath and give her a proper flea-shampoo soaping down again, but given the weather is forecast to be continuing with rain and gales for - um - well, forever so it seems! - there really seems little point right now. . . . vacuumed . . opened up the little box and checked that the latest wireless mouse works ok. . PCd a bit of this . .no sign of the postman with my new hard drive today. That's REALLY disappointing - again - and means the house continues in a mess with bits of PCs and all manner of related junk laying around all over the place, that can't really be cleared away back into cupboards etc, until I can get started on transferring all the data, etc. :o( . . .surfed a little before ending up just 'playing' and daring to download a new freeware program ('Yawcam') to mess with my webcam. Ended up wasting time just playing around with that for quite a while before then messing around briefly some more with it set up on the living room PC, with the cheap charity-shop USB webcam clipped to the top of the TV screen. Not something I'm intending to make a habit of, although I DO intend to play around with that neat software some more, because it appears, amongst much else, it has the capability of being able to actually stream video. How one goes about setting up such a thing with 'opening of ports' and the like is currently well beyond my understanding and ability, but it 'may' be interesting to give it a go some time as a learning experience. . I turned my back on Bella for literally only a couple of minutes while I popped upstairs to shut down the PC, and lo and behold, she'd gnawed one of her hind legs all raw again!! Arrrggghhhh!!!!! :o( . . .bit the bullet and put the expensive emersion heater on for a while to warm up some water. Covered the bathroom floor in an old sheet, dressed myself in leggings and shower coat, and then gave Bella a bath and soapy shower as best I could. Rather than the proper anti-flea dog stuff of which I only have a very little left, I actually used some of the shampoo Mum had donated for ME to use some time ago (which 'I' never use when I shower). Bella was NOT happy about it, but it didn't go 'too' badly. Suprisingly physically tiring! I can't see it doing any good with regard to whatever it is making her scratch - and the very next time we go out, it'll all have been for nothing of course! Nevertheless, it WAS eventually nice to have a clean, 'soft', sweet-smelling dog there for just a while. Plenty of ear cleaning and grooming afterwards . . Mum called to touch base and mostly talk about the scary forecasts and bad weather . . . skipped the walk and guitarred a little as the latest storm of high winds and heavy rain arrived . . TVd . jeeze - Bella is actually kinda scratching whilst asleep!!!??????? . . . ate a pack of crisps and then five small microwaved chicken drumsticks with two buttered bread finger rolls and lots of salt, followed by half a chocolate yule log. . TVd and bumped into a somewhat interesting BBC News channel 'HardTalk' interview with Ruby Wax of all people! Turns out she's spent her life suffering from depression etc, and seems to have largely withdrawn from her past TV appearances to pursue a new life of studying and university education about the human brain etc, etc. . . TVd until to bed around 1:30am.
1 - Woken earlier by the noise of the latest storm battering the windows, maybe snoozed on for a bit despite, then up at 9am. 14C in, 8C out, a scary gale with heavy rain and 43+mph gusts. Sorry Bella, no way am I going out in THAT this morning!!! :o( . Woke at the PC, mostly desperately searching online for a better weather forecast than all those I was getting! Wow - there's no avoiding it - this is a real nasty and slow moving storm which appears to be set in, with heavy rain and similarly strong gusts, throughout the entire day without lettup until at least the early hours of tomorrow!! The coastguard put out a special MSI broadcast around 9:50am. "Southerly Severe gale force 9, increasing storm force 10 imminant" . . . try as I did, I just couldn't muster up the energy to get on and do anything, and ended up sliding into a totally non-functioning, interested in NOTHING state, which resulted in me pretty much just sitting in front the TV hardly moving ALL day, going round and round the channels and largely watching 'nothing' as I recall! Actually - that's not entirely true - I DO recall watching more or less the whole of the old Glenn Miller Story film with James Stewart. Utter nonsense, sentimental old 'candy-floss' of a film, but an enjoyable classic nonetheless, and full of that truly excellent old music. I even shed a tear or two at the end!!!!! . . Couldn't even muster the interest to monitor the scanner like usual - just couldn't stand the largely pointless noise of it all. The rain poured and poured, and except for a couple of very brief interludes, kept on going like that ALL day! :o( . . drank a good couple of measures of Mum donated Baileys and ate a few chocolates . . .headachey and nose blowey . . apart from a couple of brief visits into the rainsoaked and totally saturated garden, poor Bella had to pretty much sleep the whole day away. True to form, her less than a quarter-eaten, rawhide chewy-thing, has ceased to be of any interest to her, despite my frequent encouragements!???. . . . eventually ate a stack of six pieces of bread and butter corned beef and BBQ ketchup, and ham and mayo sandwhiches, crisps, banana and the last of the Sis1 donated chocolates . . . to bed well before 1am. Well - THAT was not a good start to a new year, with the first day of it entirely wasted and 'written off'! :o(