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June
30
- Woken by the dog barking next door at 7am . . .walked in the rain and found a penny . . .PCd this. Seems like all this recent hot weather has thrown Sally's 'shedding' switch. Haven't found any creepy crawlies on her (she's still wearing a flea collar) but she seems to be particularly itchy and scratchy, and is leaving huge great clumps of her fur all over the place. I've brushed her a fair bit trying to avoid so much vacuuming, and easily filled the waste bin up several times, and yet STILL she leaves great clumps all over the carpets, everywhere, as soon as my back is turned. . .balanced my accounts and then surfed a little trying to get an idea of what my old, passing-drunk-battered, rusting, green mould growing on the window rubbers, little used car, is worth. VERY little seems to be the answer - maybe only a couple of hundred s. Given that - and that I'd have to pay 100 excess on any claim - seems a bit pointless continuing to pay for fully comprehensive insurance. Rang up and renewed the policy for only third party fire and theft for 155, which includes a 'no claim discount protection'. Saved myself around 35. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I probably should have just gone for third party only, and suffered the loss if anything else happened. Oh well . . .messed around for the next several hours experimenting with a narrated slide show of photos (great tits/pigeon/chimney etc.) to send to Mum for a little amusement. Figured out how to do it in the end and finally finished burning and testing the DVD disc, getting on for 4pm! Hungry - hadn't eaten all day so quickly scoffed the last couple of pastry sausage rolls with a cup of coffee as the disc burned . . Wrapped up all the DVDs and then walked with Sally across the field to the post office. In the field was the dog owner of the old black dog that had developed bone cancer and who someone else had confirmed had recently had to have the dog put to sleep. She'd not been able to stand not having a dog and had apparantly gone out and bought herself a new black lab puppy. First time I've got to see it. VERY cute and cuddly. I crouched down to say hello and the little chap kinda climbed up into my arms and I ended up just standing up with him in my arms! lol Very cute and bouncy . . carried on to the post office and posted the DVDs to Mum. Found a penny . . . napped for almost a couple of hours. . . walked . . .Mum called to touch base . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd . . .ate grated cheese, mayo, garlic sausage, lettuce, onion and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps and then a bunch of biscuits . . . abed around 11pm. pas
29 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . . sat in the garden watching the great tits. Those chicks sure do develop rapidly. Only a few days ago it was lots of squeaking when the parents arrived with food - now it really is quite a squawking din. Won't be long until they're out and away (to be cat fodder! :o( ) I think. . well - no doubt about it. I'm losing another tooth! One of the few I have remaining, is hurting and loose - just like all the others before I had them pulled out! :o( . . . walked and found 10p . . . PCd attempting to get to the bottom of sorting out that film for Mum. Hours and hours of processing and yet more wasted discs and lack of success. Eventually gave up the fight and managed to just split it in two and fit it on two discs. . . sat around lots while the PC worked all day, trying to think through the attic room floor project. Tried to 'think outside the nine dots' and imagine all sorts of different scenarios with staircases going up there from all sorts of different places, but at the end of the day, I always came back to what I'd already figured was the easiest compromise. Like it or not - without having to completely redesign the whole house and do major structural alterations, I'm gonna have to end up with a pretty steep staircase going up there - not 'so' different from just a ladder - mostly in the 'cupboard' of the back bedroom - but maybe with the possibility of sacrifing part of the bedroom and putting in a partition and an 'L' shaped steep flight of stairs! Gonna be a lot of work. Just to tackle the suspended floor up there (never mind beefing up the roof supports) it's gonna take something in the region of twenty, 4.8 meter rafters. The existing bedroom floor rafters are around 7"x2" so, in ignorance, I guess I'll stick to that sort of size. Need to do lots more thinking! . . . ate three pastry sausage rolls and crisps . . . experimented with narrated slideshows but mostly unsuccesfully. . . napped until woken around 5:40pm by LB calling to complain about the road works outside her house. Waterboard I think - two big holes dug in the middle of the intersection! The way people speed down this road, if there isn't a crash in the night, I'll be amazed! Briefly popped up LBs and dropped off the CD I'd burned for her, of my 'American Heartbeat' cassette, because she'd mentioned it the other day. Dunno why that compilation is SO popular!. . . walked. I was SO convinced those roadworks would result in an accident, I even took a quick photo of them as I left the house! Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home. . . TVd . . . BB called. . . TVd until bed around midnight. pas
28 - Up before 7am. . .walked . . . set the PC converting the 'Love Actually' film I copied onto the PC, down to a smaller 'EP' format/size so it'll fit on a DVD-R to send to Mum . . . climbed up into the attic and measured enough of it to draw a floor plan, with the intention of trying to formulate a plan of attack for putting a suspended floor up there. Various different ways to tackle it - not sure how to work out the best for likely floor loading and such . . . Mum called . . . three slices of bacon, the last of the mushrooms and two fried eggs with four pieces of bread and butter for lunch . . . napped for an hour or so, until woken by some delivery guy asking me to accept a parcel for next door in her abscence . . .turned out the attempt at converting that film was a failure, yet again - with yet another disc wasted! This PC/video business is SO unreliable and twitchy. . . walked . . . popped the parcel next door . . . Sally dashed out into the yard barking. Ran out after her to shut her up and see what had triggered her, only to be confronted by a three seater settee hovering above the garden fence!!?? It appeared next door had maybe sold it, and that route out to a van out front was the 'easiest' - out through their conservatory, and then held aloft above all the fences and carried down the lane and round into the street. I've been absolutly determined, NOT to get 'emotionally attached' to those nesting great tits - because the minute they fledge they will surely all be caught, tortured and eaten by the local cats (or Sally - or me!!) - and I don't want to be all emotionally trapped into rampaging around the local gardens trying to ensure they are safe. In fact, if I woke up one morning and they had all gone, that would suit me fine. It's pleasure enough to know, that bird hut (made by Dad), has successfully been used and gave them a safe start. As the guys awkwardly manouvered the sofa down the lane above their heads, it inevitably bashed into the old line post and the bird hut! So much for not being emotionally attached! I couldn't help myself shouting out - "Mind the bird hut! There are chicks in there!". Those poor birds must have been shaken up a bit - that pole sure does wave backwards and forwards quite a bit when knocked. . ended up peeking out for a while just to make sure the parents hadn't been scared off, but it was soon clear, all was well. . . dashed around trying to clear up a little and do some dishwashing before PS arrived . . . BB called . . . PS popped in for chats and biscuits. BIG thunderstorm hit and we ended up sat in the conservatory for a while, to better experience the spectacular show. Big rain - deafening in the conservatory, and the patio and road out front was like a river. Not a drop reached the living room fireplace. :o). . . TVd and watched a little of the news channel live coverage of the Traflagar celebrations and firework display from Portsmouth . . . ate three sausage rolls, a bag of crisps and biscuits . . .TVd. . . ate bowls of cornflakes after PS had gone. . .touched base briefly with BB before to bed around 1am. pas
27 - Up around 7:45am - believe it or not, woken by the sound of some weird gurgling from my stomach!!!!? In my sleep I thought it was a frog - but couldn't figure that out, so I woke up. As I lay there, my stomach really was almost 'croaking' - in a regular pattern - and no sign of stopping! Started having all sorts of horrible thoughts about reoccurring hernias, but thankfully as soon as I sat up, it stopped. No wonder Sally was sleeping downstairs. Guess I didn't really eat enough last night. . . walked . . . did laundry. Uh oh - not sure if those nesting great tits aren't gonna be scared off by the fully loaded rotary washing line!! Sorry - gotta be done . . . PCd this while TVing and doing laundry, not really in the mood for doing anything else . . .ate bananas and a handful of biscuits and then napped until around 6:30pm. Bit worried about the great tits - haven't really seen them all day, so as soon as I'd taken the laundry in and stowed the rotary line away back in the conservatory, I sat out there for a bit watching for them. No need to worry - still busily feeding a now 'squawking' brood despite my laundry scarecrow. . . walked and found a penny . . .BB called . . . TVd . . .ate bananas and bowls of co-co pops . . . to bed around 11pm. ps
26 - Up at 7am. . . . unsettling feedback from the site in response to the blister on my backside, warning/enlightening me as to the existance of something called a pilonidal sinus!!! (http://www.pilonidal.org/) Eewwww!!!!! Blimey! Thankfully, I do NOT have anything like that! Mine is definitely 'just' friction burns from where I spent a week - um - 'assing about' on my roof tiles!. . . touched base with BB . . .walked . . . sat around for a bit before managing to motivate myself to get on with the next part of the TV aerial project. Took the ladder round the front, climbed up and drilled a neat hole through the soffit into the attic. Fed some low loss cable through and then did the run down the outside of the house, holding it in place with cable clips. Slapped some white masonary paint on top to blend it in, assist in holding it in place, and to make it all fully waterproof . .chatted a bit with the neighbour. She came out with something weird like 'no one ever wants to talk to me these days', which of course demanded a gently probing response. Turns out her 16 year old son IS ill (I thought I'd seen him all fat around Christmas - and had recognised the look (from Dad before death) as steroid induced and had wondered if something bad was afoot - although - he looked SO different, I wasn't actually sure it was him!). She DID tell me what it was (IBF ?) but I was none the wiser - although I don't think it is actually life threatening at all. Seems as though her life has degenerated into lots of hospital visits. Poor woman (and her kid). I told her I had some little knowledge of how deeply s**t that sort of existance can be (from when we were doing the Dad hospital trips), and said I was available if ever she needed someone for a chat (although I'm SURE she'll be able to find someone else more suitable). I hope she didn't take it the wrong way, (especially after her 'no one wants to talk to me' comment) but I HAD to suddenly call a premature end to the conversation because I'd managed to get something in my eye and was in agony and couldn't keep my watering eyes open. Thankfully an egg cup of water eye wash easily resolved my blindness. Phew. . . with the ladder up I figured I may as well give the front bedroom window a clean and finally remove the paint splatter that's been on there since I painted the house. How many years ago?!! Stood on the bay window roof and washed and scraped away at the window with a razor blade type tool. Uh oh - no matter how I scrubbed, I couldn't 'clear' the window. Surely I haven't scratched it with that blade?!! Almost looks as though the scratches are on the inside of the double glazing? Oh well - never mind - still lets the light through. :o( . . . brought the ladder back round into the rear garden, cleared up and then climbed up into the attic to solder the socket onto the new aerial downlead and connect it to the smaller run down from the aerial. Back down into the living room and soldered a socket on the other end of the cable and tested it on the TV. Works fine. :o) . . .ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter and jaffa cakes. The chicken had to be eaten cause it's been in the fridge for a while now - but I also needed to make sure I still had a stomach for poultry, after last night!. . . napped late until around 6:45pm . . .walked. Weird bird calls - I swear they were all calling out to beware of the 'killer queen' and the 'schizoid bird eater'! :o(. . . sat in the garden . . . BB called . . . TVd until around 2am. Didn't intend to be up so late but bumped into some daft MTV channel that's on the cable free for a couple of weeks. Got intrigued by some stupid show called 'Pimp My Ride' where people got their cars customised for free. Interesting to see the before and after. How things have changed - they spent thousands on sound systems and DVD screens and coffee percolators and chandeliers (really!) but no mention whatever of anything being done under the hood. The modern world seems obsessed with superficial 'image' rather than substance. . ate a banana and a handful of biscuits. Richard Whitely (TVs 'Countdown' host) died this day. ps
25 -Woke earlier and then snoozed on until around 8:30pm! . . . slow getting going. Walked late after 9:15am after having taken the last cooked bone for Sally out of the freezer to defrost. Much cooler than of late with a hint of a misty sort of drizzle in the air. Took the risk and just walked in a T shirt and headed off on the long walk down to Eastville park. Sally deserves a good dog day after these last few of my neglect. Spotted a council notice on one of the lakeside benches aimed at fishermen - apparantly the male swan (one of the pair (that mate for life!) that has been nesting on the island in the middle of the old boating lake, and bringing up families of cygnets there for the last fifteen years) had got caught in some discarded fishing line and swallowed a hook and after two or three days of agony, had died! :o( The notice was asking fishermen to be more responsible. I think they should just ban it - the whole area, the lake, the river, up in the trees - it's a death trap to wild life - with discarded hooks and floats and line absolutely everywhere! According to a woman I got talking to - those swans had started out with a brood of five cygnets a few weeks ago - they're now tragically down to one parent and two young - and at least one of the dead young was also the victim of a fishing line incident!!!!! . . I passed a fisherman along the way. I wonder if the hairs on the back of his neck stood up - cause after having heard all that, I really wanted to push him in and poke him with his own rod!!. . . walked the extra to sit on the hill at Purdown for a cigarette. Something weird going on with the M32 traffic going into Bristol. It was pretty much a car park!? I climbed the hill - smoked my cigarette - climbed back down - and still that same bus load of people was stuck there in the queue. Miserable. . Back down through Snuff Mills, along the river into Vassals, and eventually the long trudge back along the roads through Fishponds. . .a mile or so from home, walking along the road, I suddenly spotted a little black rabbit just sat in someones front yard eating a weed!? That shouldn't be 'there' - and surely wouldn't survive very long out loose like that. What to do? Bit difficult with Sally in tow - who would have caught and killed it if I hadn't maintained a strong hold on a short leash. Didn't dare to try and reach the front door of that house to ring their doorbell, cause that would have brought Sally far too close to the rabbit. Ended up ringing the doorbell of the next house down and asking if they knew anyone nearby who had a pet rabbit. They didn't, but as luck would have it, the old woman who answered the door, her daughter, and her daughter's little girl, all seemed to have the right concerned, caring attitude. The old woman dashed off across the road to knock on doors of houses she thought it may have escaped from, and in the meantime her daughter actually 'relatively' easily succeeded in cornering and catching the rather docile rabbit. Sally was getting a bit out of hand straining on her leash and dragging me around trying to get at it, so I just carried on my way and left them to it, after having called out an apology for having lumbered them with the problem. One lucky rabbit - I think?! Back home by around 12:30pm. Found 2p along the way . . . gave Sally her bone and then ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter, followed by a handful of Lidl jaffa cakes with coffee . . .napped from around 3pm until woken by those damned noisy kids playing at around 5:15pm . . . touched base briefly with BB to see how she was getting on with her upset stomach thing she caught from an aquaintance - who very kindly called round just to pass it on, so it seemed!! . . . PCd a bit of this . . . walked and found 5p. - and - then - oh no! Sally NO!!!! Too late. Sniffing around under a bush, she'd flushed out a feeding woodpigeon, and after a very short flapping chase on the ground 'through' the bush, she succeeded in getting her teeth around it. By the time I got to her and dragged her off, the bird wasn't looking very well - to say the least! I picked it up and layed it carefully on the grass beneath the bush in the hope that it would recover and fly off. It died right there in front of me - although I didn't fully realise it at the time. :o( Dragged Sally away with me to the rubbish bin to deposit the litter I'd already picked up, before returning to check on the poor pigeon. It hadn't moved - except perhaps to look a little more dead. Poor little thing. Bloody devil dog! I never imagined she'd EVER have the speed to actually catch one. In fact, she seems to have learned she never will and has mostly lost interest in even bothering to chase birds any more. In that silly way people talk to their dogs as though they can understand, I've always said to Sally (after a failed squirrel/rabbit/bird chase) "You catch it, I'll cook it." Well - time to put my money where my mouth is? Dare I? Really? With some difficulty, keeping Sally away at arms length, I popped the pigeon in a poop scoop bag and headed home - growling at Sally much of the way! . . Dug out a couple of old cookery books (traditional old ones are SO the best) and sure enough, found a section on how to prepare and roast a pigeon. Eeeww, eeeeww, eeeeeewwww - but I said I would - and , well, somehow the idea of cooking it for Sally food, went 'some way' towards making me feel a little less guilty about its pointless death! I'm a meat eater - god knows I've eaten enough chickens of late - I felt kinda duty bound to face up to the unpleasant reality of preparing and cooking that bird - no matter how unpleasant - to fully understand what it means to be a meat eater (and because I have dreamed of having a smallholding and chickens - but wasn't sure they wouldn't end up being long lived, well fed pets!). :o( . . wasn't clear from the book if the bird should have been 'hung up' ('game' like) for a couple of days, but I decided to just get on and do it. First, the plucking, which I presumed would be messy, so I took the kitchen swing-bin out onto the patio to do it out there (in full view of the nesting great tits!!!!! :o( ) I couldn't feel a heartbeat, and there WAS a little blood on the poop scoop bag I'd carried it in, and there was no response from the eyes, but I couldn't bear the thought of starting to pluck it, only to have it maybe wake up half way through! I HAD to make absolutely certain that was not possible. I've seen single action kneck ringing/decapitation on TV - but I couldn't bring myself to try that. It was all I could do to give the neck a damn good crunching twist. Just to make absolutely certain, I followed that up by knocking its head on the side of the patio table!! Stomach churning - in fact, the whole process was stomach churning and grimace inducing/teeth clenching from start to finish!! :o( Sally watched closely. . I've never plucked a bird before. It was surprisingly easy - except for the tips of the wings. Amazing how small the bird was, without feathers. The Sally induced wounds were revealed. Blimey - those front pointy teeth of hers are like knives! That bird musta died pretty instantly!. . . read what the cookery book said and then 'winged it' with a couple of sharpened kitchen knives. Actually - that really horrible bit wasn't as bad as I'd imagined - apart from 'the crop'. I now have a rather better knowledge of foul anatomy. The crop was FULL! Absolutely full of what looked like grain. Not grass seed - proper grain. Grain around here? Must have been feeding on someones bird table. At least two handsfull of grain packed away in there!! Incredible. Oven-Ready Wood PigeonMaybe that was why it was on the ground behind that bush and didn't escape Sally. Too full of food! Strangely, it was probably this which upset me about the whole thing, the most. Couldn't help imagining the poor bird spending the day happily successfully foraging for food and comically pecking away at someones bird table (like I've taken great pleasure in seeing them do in my own garden in the past). :o( . . Things got much easier to deal with, as soon as the thing was cut down to no longer look like a bird, and was more like what you may find in a supermarket freezer. Eventually doused it in cooking oil and had it ready for the oven - gas mark 3 for around 40 minutes. . BB called! "Not now! I'm having a crisis! I'll call you back!!" . . . returned BBs call once the bird was in the oven and I'd washed my hands - AGAIN!! ("Yet here's a spot. . . Out, damned spot! out, I say! . . What, will these hands ne'er be clean? . . Here's the smell of the blood still : all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." - Macbeth. Act V. Scene 1.). . . TVd until the bird was cooked. Let it cool for a while and then tentatively cut off a tiny piece of breast and gave it a try. YUCK! Ewwwww YUCK! That is VERY tough meat. Blimey - how on earth do they make chickens so tender and succulent? I really was expecting it to taste like chicken - but it most certainly did NOT. More like dark turkey meat maybe? Or even some other sort of animal, with that sort of grey textured meat! Not nice - and got chunks of it stuck between all my teeth, so couldn't easily rid myself of the taste - although maybe that lingering bad taste (and STILL the aroma in the kitchen) was more in my mind! Ewwww. :o( . . set about scraping all the meat off the bones for Sally. Blimey - hardly any meat on that thing at all - just a couple of Sally mouthfulls! She seemed to enjoy it. . .well, there we go then. First time I've ever done anything like that - and I rather suspect it'll be the last. No more will I tell Sally, if she catches it, I'll cook it. No way!! And there was me being all self righteous and judgemental about fishermen killing the local wildlife! :o( . . ate multiple bowls of co-co pops - and very nice and inanimate they were too. .early to bed around 11pm I think. ps
24 -Woke around 5am but managed to snooze on until woken by the noise of the thunder storm and torrential rain pounding on the conservatory roof around 7am!!! Wow - just like they forecast - BIG storm! . . . sat in the conservatory for coffee and cigarettes with the door ajar to let out some of the heat. Well - I reckon what with all this rain, I would normally have seen some coming down my chimney into the living room fireplace by now. So far - not a drop. :o) . . . touched base with BB . . . walked in rubber but more or less between storms and hardly got wet at all. Still far too warm for all that wet weather gear - overheated! Found 2p and yet another pint beer glass thrown in the hedge . . . popped up in the attic to check for any signs of water penetration around - um - anywhere! There was none - and still no sign of any reaching the living room fireplace. Wooo-woo. :o) Cleared up a bit of junk and broke up an old TV aerial I've had laying around up there (Wrong type for the local transmitter - think I used it once, years ago, to catch signals from the Midlands transmitter, cause they often used to have different films on their ITV) and dumped it all in the wheelie bin. More 'light stuff' to hide the old bag of cement and rubble I've (over)loaded it up with . . . PCd this - time I got this up to date, now I'm not spending all my time up on the roof. I'm SO glad to have got that all done - and am actually rather amazed I managed it. :o) . . touched base briefly with Mum . . . PCd this, more. Blimey - it's gonna take ages to type all this nonsense. PCd pretty much all day as thunderstorms rolled through. . for goodness sake! Two obviously stolen mopeds with defective exhausts and considerable frontal damage, and two kids on each with no helmets buzzing around the neighbourhood throughout the afternoon. Grrrr . . . cooked and ate mushrooms and a couple of those peppered beef steaky things with four pieces of bread and butter around 6pm . . . walked and found a penny. . . raced to get the mountain of dishwashing done. . . BB called . . . PS popped round for chats until early. He brought a couple of muffins his daughter had made - tasted kinda banana-y. Not bad. From the few bits and pieces he's occasionaly brought round, she seems to be quite a good cook. . . LB called briefly asking if it was Sally who was out the back barking. I'd wondered (concerned and a little upset at the prospect) if people in the neighbourhood would be starting to assume that. NO - it is NOT Sally! My new next door neighbour has had her boyfriend move in with her, and he has some sort of - um - american boxer dog type puppy thing? From the little I've seen of it - it looks like a boxer dog, but is light in colour - it's not yet a year old - and it barks!! It seems to bark quite a bit for no reason! Not all the time - but enough to start to get on your nerves. :o( And there was me all concerned for the neighbours sake, over Sally's occasional (deafening) woof (and then me shouting SHUT UP!) when the postman calls or someone touches my front gate. I DO hope people in the neighbourhood don't start getting upset with the noise and assume it's Sally. :o( . . .stumbled off straight to bed around 1am, the minute PS had gone out the door. pas
23 - Up at 5:20am!!! . . . nice time of day - actually quite cool sitting in the garden, with the fence giving shade from the low sun. Missed an ansaphone message from Mum last night - she was out looking at the 'big' moon. Blimey - I was wiped out last night - didn't even hear the phone go, and the ringer volume on the phone right near the bed is up on maximum! . . . walked early . . . got everything set up (and a pair of shorts on under my ragged work trousers) and then climbed up on the roof and got a coat of paint on all the new chimney cement before 8am. Damn it looks good - and even not as noticeable as I thought it would be from the street (as if it actually matters) - although that huge TV aerial looks rediciulous! . . . touched base with Mum . . .temporarily brought the end of the TV aerial cable through the loft hatch and into the PC bedroom and soldered a socket on the end and tested it on the portable TV. Very clear picture - but is that a hint of ghosting around the edges of people and writing and such? Hmmm - actually - I have a sneaking suspicion it is too high a gain antenna for where I live. I just BET if I had a smaller one, or fitted an attenuator, it would be perfect. I've yet to put in the splitters and run the long lengths of cable down to all the TVs (like I used to have) so maybe that'll work out about right. Certainly saves having to buy a distribution amplifier . . . cleared stuff up a little and sat around on the roasting patio under the sun shade, drinking pints of water from the fridge, waiting for that first coat of paint to dry. The tin said it would take around 6 hours to dry but I figure under the baking sun and in these temperatures, it'd be dry in no time. In fact - it was instantly pretty dry by the time I put my brush down and was burning my bum on my way back down off the tiles! . . .around midday I climbed back up, tweaked the alignment of the TV aerial, checked and tightened all the nuts on the aerial and lashing kit, and got another coat of paint on the top of the chimney stack, and even decided I may as well paint over the entire chimney pot, to make it all match and ensure a perfect weather tight covering. Looks a bit 'bright' but in time it'll tone down and it actually looks pretty good and new from the street out front. At some time in the future - when I'm not SO exhausted - I have a mind to paint the rest of the chimney stack and the butress walls under the coping stones with white masonary paint - like the rest of the house. That would absolutely clinch the weatherproofing of the whole lot. I'm under no illusions - it WILL in time, eventually start to crack and fall apart but - well - right now, it must be the best chimney top in the whole of Kingswood! How some of my neighbours don't have major rain penetration problems is a miracle, looking at the state of theirs. The front 'bedroom flue' next door on the right, is practically wide open to the sky. Must get LOADS of rain down there!! . .got down, climbed into the attic and moved the 'working platform' ladder from across the skylights and fed it back out of the other skylight and wedged it under the purling so I could take it back down over the bathroom roof. Climbed back up outside and soon had it down on the bathroom roof and propped up against the guttering. . back up over the roof, grabbed a couple of photos of the chimney and then with some considerable satisfaction, manhandled the 'roof hook' ladder back over the roof and down, pausing on the way to replace the handful of 'pushed up for foot/hand holds' tiles for 'the last time', this time. I'm done! Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! Bring on the rain. :o) Ha! Lets see the rain get through THAT!!!. . actually, before I lock those ladders back up and clear everything away, and before tomorrows rainstorms come, I guess I should do a bit of a 'botch' on that front bedroom window cill - and paint over the cracks!! The paint was 'disturbed' by the scaffolding when I had my roof done, and I've never got round to attending to it since. The rain has got in under the rest of the paint and the whole thing is flaking and falling to bits, and I'm pretty sure that is why I had some water appearing under the wallpaper in that bedroom a little while ago. Walked the ladder down the lane and round to the front of the house and had a bit of a scrape around on the window cill, removing the loose paint and just a little of the cracked cement where it joins the bay roof (where I think the rain has been getting in). Put on a coat of Unibond adhesive and then mixed up a tiny bit of Unibond cement (in a tea cup!) and filled in the gaps. Put a dab of paint on another bit of the house front, bearing the scars of the scaffolding. . . Great tits nesting.chained and padlocked the ladder to the wheelie bin (just in case - although - I suppose if anyone was gonna steal it, they'd happily steal my wheelie bin too!), left stuff to dry and cleared up a little . . eventually covered the window cill and new cement filler with a layer of textured white masonary paint (god I LOVE that stuff. Covers a multitude of sins - and never a problem matching the color). . waited for the paint to dry, showered and made myself some grated cheese, mayo, garlic sausage, lettuce, onion and tomato sandwiches and ate them with two bags of crisps . . . put on another coat of paint and then called it quits. Stashed all the ladders back in the back garden and chained them up, cleared up the last of the mess and then - yayyyy - lay down for a much needed hour or so nap. . .walked and found 2p . . .sat in the garden for a while watching the great tit coming and going. Wonderful. No - no matter how I try, I can't tell if there are two parents, and if so, which is which. The babies have certainly grown in the last couple of days - their 'squeaking' every time the parent arrives with food, is now much more audible. They must be SO hot in there!! Sadly my camera is pretty useless (slow to go and too low res) at getting decent shots. . . ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter ( and no - the irony of that, after bird watching, is not lost on me!!!!) . . . BB called . . . TVd/sat in the garden with a glass of red wine (no sign of a moon!?)/TVd/ate bowls of Co-Co pops until bed around 1am. What on earth is going on? Feels even hotter in the house tonight than in previous days, and yet it's slightly cooler outside. pasd
22 - Up at 7:15am. Coffee cigarettes and annadin tablets for breakfast in the garden . . .walked . . ate a banana . . . back up on the roof and unibonded everything in preparation for the final cement cover. . . mixed up a mass of course sand cement, with waterproofing additive. Two buckets to force through my loft hatch and get up onto my ladder platform. Back down - and up the roof, and got the final cementing done. Went ok - spent ages trying to get a nice water shedding profile on everything. A damp paint brush is SO good at that . . Another brainwave. Why not paint it? Like I painted the bay roof tiles - yes, yes, YES! Left Sally at home around 2pm and drove to the Wickes DIY store in Longwell Green to buy a tin of brick paint (4.49) and some white spirit (1.35) to clean the brush . . stopped off at the other nearby store on the off chance that they may have a TV antenna lashing kit. Yayyy - they did! DIY stores are SO neat! Bought the lashing kit (7.98) and a short aluminium mast (5.98) and then drove on to Sainsburys at Emersons green and bought some groceries and two more ready cooked chickens . . popped into Lidl and stocked up on four boxes of jaffa cakes (2.36). . . back home to unload and then get straight back up on the roof to play TV aerials. . . Had to dismantle part of it to get it through the skylight, but succesfully had it securely mounted on the chimney stack by around 6pm. Blimey - it's HUGE!!? And the way that thin mast flexes, I'm not sure it's really 'man enough' for the job! Oh well - it'll have to do . . touched a couple of hairline cracks between the new cement and the ridge tile with a strong unibond mix in preparation for the painting and then called it quits for yet another day. If I can get some paint on it tomorrow, I'm more than good for the thunder storms that are forecast for Friday. In fact - some good hard rain will be good for clearing off the cement splatter on the tiles and such. . uh oh - I seem to have not only worn away my ass, but have also worn away the seat of my old work trousers by continually sliding up and down the tiles on my ass!! Bit embarassing - must have been flashing my underpants at half of Bristol from up on my roof!!! . . . cleared up and showered and walked. Sat on the grass at the edge of the field for a bit - only to have some brazen idiots do a drug deal within twenty feet of me! (The dealer with his mobile phone all going, had a Londonish accent and was wearing black fingerless gloves in the heat - VERY 'noticeable'!!) For goodness sake! . . . returned Mums ansaphone call about the moon (she'd seen a TV show that had suggested there was a 90 year phenomenon/optical illusion of a really big looking moon tonight!?) etc. but managed to get off the phone as quick as possible - need food! . . ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter . . . BB called but I was SOooo tired I wasn't up to talkin much . . . TVd and ate a couple of bowls of Co-Co Pops . . . sat in the garden for a bit intending to wait for the moon, but by 10pm it was still showing daylight and I just HAD to go lay down. Straight to bed with daylight still showing through the curtains!! paa
21 - Longest day. Up around 7:45am. Yep - a bad back. Trouble getting out of bed and getting my socks on. :o( . . .crunched two annadins for breakfast . . . walked. Not sure if it was the annadins, or maybe it just sorted itself out because I was walking all upright and doing weird moves with my pelvis, but my back seemed to get somewhat better and be much less of a problem. . . Slow getting going and sat in front of the TV for a bit, trying to decide whether or not my back was up to it. Mum called and chatted for ages. . . didn't get everything set up or start work until getting on for midday!! . . . more unibonding. Cemented the mushroom onto the top of my truncated chimney pot and filled the inevitable couple of cracks (the heat and sun and my poor cement mix) that had appeared in a bit of the cement. Actually - I was rather relieved to find my cementing had taken pretty well - better than I'd expected. :o) . . . ate yesterdays left over sandwiches during one of my down to earth trips . . . late afternoon there was a bit of unpleasant arguing (screaming-ish) from the housing authority house down the road. As far as I could tell it didn't amount to much and soon stopped so I carried on doing whatever I was doing . . called it a (short) day, cleared up and showered mid afternoon. What the hell is that? I'm hurting so much from so many different parts of my body, I hadn't even noticed - I think that is a burst blister - at the top of my behind!! Pretty much where I guess we have a 'tail' bone, just between the top of the buttocks, exactly where the ridge of a double roman roof tile will fit when you sit on one!!! Ouch - more! :o( . . . lay down for a nap around 4:15pm . . . slept for an hour or so but woken by the noise of screaming playing children in some nearby back garden . . . just setting off to walk Sally and a police car pulled up outside! I paused across the road looking up at my roof, just in case they were heading for my house (musta looked as though I was just being nosey!) , but it turned out they were heading for the housing authority house down the road. Hmmm - wonder if it was something to do with that argument I overheard a bit of earlier? Walked and found 6p. . . sat in the garden to bird watch but it was their bedtime. Yep - no doubt about it at all now - great-tits ARE definitely nesting in my bird box. Despite all my activities of disc cutting and cement mixing and climbing ladders etc , the parent(s) have been busily coming and going with beaks full of juicy grubs, and I've definitely also seen them removing the faecal sacks. Excellent. SO pleased that box is finally being used - albeit very surprised in that position. That box on top of my old line post is in FULL sun without shade, from sunrise until around 8pm! Surpised they didn't end up with fried eggs!. . BB called . . .cooked up peppered beef steaks and mushrooms and onion and ate with four pieces of bread and butter . . .TVd until bed around 11pm. paas
20 - Up around 7:45am still hurting all over. . . walked . . .checked my bank balance and transferred over some savings . . . left Sally at home and drove to Wickes at Longwell Green and bought three bags of sand (3.27), one of cement (3.19) and a new expensive diamond edged cutting disc for my angle grinder (19.99). . . unloaded the car and dumped the sand and cement on the floor in the living room just inside the door. Got myself ready for work. Rehearsing in my mind how the hell I was going to be able to get all that stuff, and loads of cement, back up over the roof, I suddenly had a brainwave. Was it possible? Dashed around with the tape measure, climbed up into the attic and measured some more and - YESSSSS. I think it'll work. That longer single section of ladder I have, will just about span the inside of the attic from back skylight to front skylight, with a couple of feet overhang outside. If I can jam it safely in that position, and put some old bits of tongue and groove pine I still have laying around on top as a platform, I should be able to reach that from the ladder on the roof. That way, I could carry all the heavy stuff up 'safely' INSIDE the house and load it up onto my working platform, then just take myself up over the roof. Wow - that'll make it SO much 'easier'. . . getting the ladder up onto the roof and slotted through the skylight wasn't too bad at all, and sure enough, I soon had my protruding platform all set up, on top of a couple of rolled up Sally towels to protect the skylights. Very cool. It made ALL the difference. Carried all the bricks up through the attic in no time. Unibonded, mixed cement and made some pretty good progress. Only hitch was, picking up the bag of cement in the living room, I put my back out!!! Oh NO!!!!!!! Dunno how, but somehow I managed to just carry on working and 'almost' ignore the pain. . . Wasn't quite sure where I was going in terms of the final covering for each of the flues, but made such good progress that I had to face up to it sooner than expected. An old broken (trimmed with the disc cutter) ridge tile I've been keeping exactly for such a job, was definitely destined for the front (bedroom) flue. In fact, I was sorely tempted to just block the thing up completely since it isn't, and never will be used again, but I decided to stick with the ridge tile and allow some ventilation. Exactly the right width! . . ooh, oooh, ooooh - that broken chimney is broken in such a way that I could probably cut off the bottom with the disc cutter, and still use a decent length of it - for aesthetic reasons and because that'll enable me to easily re-use the 'mushroom' without having to construct some sort of base for it. . Oh yes - worked out nicely. :o) Finished the 'working day' very happy with the progress. More cementing and such needs to be done, but that is very much closer to being weatherproof already. In fact - if it unexpectedly rained tonight, I could handle it (with my Buddha having to make way for a bucket of course). . left the ladder on the roof again, withdrew the other (platform) ladder into the attic, replaced tiles and called it quits somewhere around 7pm . . . walked. Sat on the grass over the field for a while smoking cigarettes. Big mistake! When I came to stand back up, my aching back was in a dreadful state and I could hardly straighten up! :o( . . . made up grated cheese, mayo, garlic sausage, lettuce, onion and tomato sandwiches with six pieces of bread and butter and ate but somehow didn't have much of an appetetite again and left two. Wow - my left arm is REALLy red now - and I can feel my head is sunburned too - trouble with having short hair. . . BB called . . . tossed and turned (slowly-with difficulty) for over an hour before eventually to sleep. Not a good nights sleep - much back pain. paa
19 - Woke earlier and then up around 7:15am. Uh oh - I can hardly move!! Everything aches! I HAD suspected I 'may' not wake! . . . PCd a bit of this . . .walked - very slowly! . . . actually - I've no choice in the matter at all - NO WAY could I even attempt to climb up on the roof today - I can hardly 'climb' out of my armchair in front the TV!!!!!! Definitely over did it yesterday! Even an annadin tablet hasn't helped with the pain. If it wasn't so hot I'd be back asleep. If it rains now I'm gonna be in trouble - there is nothing covering the chimney at all at the moment - rainwater can pour straight down into the house. I'm not even capable right now of just getting up there to try and cover it with something. :o( Wonder how they got on with it like that in years gone by? Musta made the whole house damp from top to bottom. . . cleared up some of the rubble and debris on the patio, hosed all the dust away and then spent ages kneeling in a puddle, wire brushing and hosing all the chimney bricks, getting them ready for re-use. My god it's hot! Damned hot! The thermometer in the conservatory hit 110 F. and the one in the bathroom saw 85 F. . . . ate (6 pieces of bread and butter!!) grated cheese, mayo, garlic sausage, lettuce, onion and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . . napped but woke in time for the start of the USA grand prix. Oh dear - some nonsense about tyres - and only a handful of cars raced! Nonsense! :o( . . . walked and found 5p . . . ate defrosted roast chicken, potatoes and mixed veg with three quarters of a pint of instant gravy . . TVd . . . BB called . . .TVd/PCd until bed around 2am. paass
18 - Woken by the dog next door barking around 7:15am . . . still very warm. Sat in the garden waking up with a cup of coffee and cigarette and - hey - can it be? Lots of visits to the bird box by a great tit!! Ooooohhhh, oooooh I hope there is a nest in there. That'd be SO cool. . . walked . . .messed around on the PC for a while converting to a lower quality, some of the music tracks DS had sent . . . somewhere before 11am I bit the bullet and climbed up into the attic and opened the skylight windows. Back down into the garden with the step ladder amd climbed onto the bathroom roof, up the bit of scaffold pole and up onto the main roof. Managed (with very shaky legs) to slide a handful of tiles up enough to give some foot holds, and using the open skylight as a hand hold, managed to climb across, up and over the top of the roof and down to the front chimney stack, to do a 'survey' of exactly what is going on up there. It just makes no sense at all that I still get lots of rain water coming down the chimney when it rains, what with the 'mushroom' covering the top of the chimney pot. . . blimey - it's all falling to bits up there!!!!! No wonder the rain gets in - all the cement is cracked, the chimney pot is loose, and all the top couple of courses of bricks move when tested!!!!! Jeezuz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What am I gonna do? Sat up there for quite a while with a cigarette or two trying to decide. Actually, despite the nightmre of getting up there, and the nightmare of what I'd found, it really was quite an amazing place to sit. Can see for miles! Eventually carefully climbed back down and grabbed myself some tools. A hammer, chisels, old screwdriver etc. Like it or not, with several days of good weather forecast, I'm gonna HAVE to have a go at removing some of that loose cement and crumbling render and attempting some sort of patch up in an attempt to keep the rain out. Climbed back up, precariously carrying a bucket of tools, with a piece of rope tied to the handle so I could hang it round my kneck. Bloody hell - it's in worse shape than I'd first thought. Just like the rest of the house, the bricks are held together with little more than dust! The more I poked and prodded with my old screwdriver, the more seemed to be moving! That bit of cement and roof tile the roofers had plopped on top of the front flue was a bloody joke! Cowboys! Ended up back in the garden at some point with the socket set out, undoing the ladder roof hooks from the heavier bit of ladder I have, and fixing them onto the much lighter shorter half of the ladder, the old next door neighbour gave me when they moved. Somehow managed to climb back up with the half of ladder and eventually managed to manhandle it across and over the roof, and hooked it onto the apex next to the front chimney stack. . My 'truncated' chimney!The hammer and chisels didn't get used. Everything was so loose, I could dismantle it all practically by hand, with the occasional prod and lever of the screwdriver! The more that moved, the more obvious it was I was facing a much bigger job than I'd ever imagined!! Rapidly turned into an absolute f***ing nightmare. The biggest trouble was getting the dismantled stuff back down off the roof. With my bucket neck tie, I could only safely (safely? HAH!!!) manage to carry a relatively small load - amounting to approximately only two bricks or equivalent in rubble/broken tile etc. And then there was the really scary prospect of having to shift the actually quite heavy chimney pot - which pretty much turned out to be just sat up there with a lump of cement attached on one side of it. It didn't really matter to me whether or not I put that back up (in fact when I felt the weight of it, I rather decided I wouldn't) but how the hell to get it down?! Musta looked bizarre and hilarious to anyone watching (who must surely have assumed I'd soon fall to my death), but eventually I decided to slip it into an old sleeping bag and use that to hang on to as I eased it under it's own weight down the tiles. That all went reasonably ok, apart from a bit of a heart flutter when I got it caught on a sharp tile here and there, and the nylon started to rip!!! Left little bits of sleeping bag filling across the roof! Eventually I reached the relative safety of the edge of the roof and my scaffold pole and proceeded to hang onto the pole and lower the sleeping bag down onto the bathroom roof. Uh oh - oh jeeze!!!! I couldn't reach!! I hadn't thought that through. Holding the end of the heavy unweildy sleeping bag at arms length over the edge of the roof as I clung on for grim death to the scaffold pole, the chimney pot was only just touching the bathroom roof and I was too weak to hoist it back up. Bugger! I'm stuck! Oh well - I've no choice - such a shame cause it was all intact up until then. I just had to let it go and fall down that last little bit onto the bathroom roof. Crash - crunch. Oh dear. :o( Climbed down to inspect the damage. The sleeping bag was now making crunchy noises and I'd broken a bathroom roof tile. Still have plenty of spare tiles stacked in the front garden so nothing to worry about there - easily slip a new one in when I'm through. Eventually back down on the ground, the sleeping bag revealed the chimney was indeed broken. Oh well - never mind. . Belatedly wrapped the sleeping bag as protection around my rubble covered Buddha in the living room fireplace. . Turned out I had to remove the entire top of the chimney, a whole course of bricks, and even a couple more before things were anywhere near firm enough to even consider a 'rebuild' - and even then, I really probably should have gone lower, but I didn't want to disturb the stack rendering the roofers had done (and re-done - and STILL it is cracked and hollow sounding!!! Grrrr.) . .Stairway to . . um . . hell?!!! SCARY lack of mortar!!!!!! :o( Wow - how neat is THAT - that old hose pipe Dad gave me actually reaches right up and over the roof, so I can have a ready water supply actually up there when I need it! :o) Dug out all my building materials from the understairs cupboard and eventually started to try and firm things up. Covered all the exposed bricks with Unibond adhesive and then mixed enough cement to repoint them all on the INSIDE of the chimney flus. Not brilliant, but good enough to firm them up - especially considering there was hardly anything left between them anyway, after I'd brushed away the loose dust. THAT is what I've had falling down the chimney every time it rains - the 'mortar' being washed away!!! Measured up and spent absolutely ages with the angle grinder in the garden, trimming a building block in two dimensions, to fit neatly in the middle of the chimney and so, firm up the precarious looking stack of loose bricks that divided the two flues. Too heavy for my bucket - had to carry that big block up and over the roof on my back in the ruck sack BB gave me! . . . It was a LONG arduous job, on the very edge of my ability. I didn't count, but based on the number of bricks and the amount of rubble, unibond, cement, etc, etc, I calculate I made that climb - up the step ladder, onto the bathroom roof, up the scaffold pole, across the main roof, over the ridge and down to the chimney - and back with all the bricks and rubble etc - at least twenty times - without stopping for food - on the hottest day of the year so far!!! A truly horrendous experience. . . left the ladder on the roof, replaced all the tiles and stopped for a coffee, absolutely exhausted around 8:45pm. BB called but I could hardly speak! . . quickly showered. Blimey - I've caught the sun on my arms! Very red! Walked Sally late. Incredibly warm out still. . .sat (collapsed unable to move!) near the swings, I could see a group of youths assembled near the bottom entrance of the field, and then a police patrol car cruised past them. As it drove away up the street, one of the youths turned into the field and threw something with great force against a nearby concrete block wall - and then something else!? Eventually they all wandered off out of sight. I just HAD to see what it was he'd thrown away like that. Wandered over with Sally and found a smashed to pieces, clam shell type mobile phone! Collected up all the pieces and returned to the bench to examine if there was anything salvageable. There wasn't - even the SIM was missing. .Living room fallout. on the way back out of the top of the field the police car came cruising by. Flagged them down and told them what I'd seen and handed them the phone. Apparantly they knew all about it!?? Turns out, they'd already stopped that group of youths and one of them had broken the phone of his mate - so it was all innocent and just a temper tantrum rather than a stolen phone. Easy come easy go, for kids these days so it seems. . stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home. Had to try and force the food down, but really wasn't in the mood for eating at all, despite not having eaten all day except for a banana at some point. Sally ate lots. . . BB called briefly but I still wasn't very capable of holding a conversation, or making much sense. I don't feel well - at all! Exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburn? . . . shook the mat out onto the rubble strewn patio and vacuumed up the mess in the living room . . . TVd a bit - I think - not sure - was in a bit of a daze! . . Eventually to bed to toss and turn for ages in the uncomfortable heat - and because I couldn't stop my mind from rehearsing the next bit of brick work I have to do up on the chimney stack. LB called at some ridiculous hour, I think moaning about all the noise and drunken disorder in the street, now the local pub has re-opened, but I let the ansaphone take it. pa
17 - Woken by Mum phoning just before 8am!? Huh - uh oh - what's wrong?!!!!! Apparantly Sis2 had called with some good news - she's been given a five year waiver - so she CAN now return to the U.S. if she wants to!! Blimey - wonder who pulled what strings to make that happen? . . . walked . . . downloaded and installed the latest handful of Microsoft security updates . . had another go at converting some of the MP3 files DS had sent me - actually re-processed the files back to WAV format, and then straight back to MP3. That worked. Sounds ok to me. Reduced the size of an individual MP3 track from 6,039 KB (at 192 K bits/second) down to 4,037KB (at 128 K bits/second), :o) (although it took a bit of processing time and means having to manualy rebuild the tag data afterwards!). . messed around on the PC with the Love Actually film, attempting to get the software to 'crunch it down' so I could get it on a DVD. Spent hours doing two different attempts at different resolutions, only to find they ended up the same flippin size as each other - and more or less the same as the original - 'just' too big for a DVD! Grrr. WHAT another waste of time! . . . used some of the down time to put the old, no-good car battery (saved specifically for the purpose) on charge out in the conservatory, and then set about (at last!) temporarily carefully wiring up that car radio I'd found dumped outside the house in the rain, back in November last year. I followed the wiring description on the sticker on the side of the radio - without which I'd have never managed to figure it. Not sure I understand at all how car radio wiring works. The black wire goes to the battery negative. The red wire goes to the ignition switch!? That must just be the same as the positive on the battery?. . it didn't work! Awwwww. Hang on - that orange wire says it needs a constant power supply for the memories etc. So - if I put both the red AND the orange to the battery positive - Yayyyy!! The radio display said 'Hello'. Well - hellooooo. :o) Experimented as best I could (without any instructions) and it appeared to be all fully working. Even happily played a test burned CD-R of MP3s (although sadly wouldn't read CD-RWs). Blimey. Guess I'll have to see about trying to actually mount and wire it into the car at some point - and at last I can clear up in the conservatory and throw that old car battery away (does the Tuesday council recycling lorry take those?) and store the charger back out of sight. :o) . did laundry in between playing around with PCs and radios. Still overcast but VERY (uncomfortably) hot and humid. . . PCd this . . .defrosted and reheated the other cheap pasty and ate it with a couple of bags of crisps for a late lunch . . . napped . . . walked. Sat around on the grass over the field for ages in the humidity . . .BB called . . returned Mums ansaphone call. Interrupted by Sally barking at something out in the back yard. Dashed out to see what was up - turned out to be a really cocky cat, sat on the corner of my fence looking down at Sally and kinda growling at her!! Bloomin' cheek! I'm not having that! I crept over to the hose pipe, turned the tap on and then did a 'Quick Draw McGraw' with the pistol type hoselock attachment. I squirted the cat. I got it gooood! Of course it wasn't my intention to hurt it at all. Just 'persuade' it not to come round here no more. I rather assumed it would turn tail and flee. It certainly did flee but suprisngly proceeded to flee along the top of my fence right across the bottom of the garden!! And this, in spite of the three inch nails I've hammered (point up) into the top of the fence every four inches or so all the way along (again, NOT to hurt but simply in an attempt to block the path of passing cats - it didn't work of course). Unfortunatly for the cat, this was too much like a fareground rifle range to be resisted, so as it made it's way along the fence over the nails, I was shooting at it with my hose pipe - and of course Sally was launching herself into the air in an attempt to reach it! The panicing cat ended up very wet and almost fell off the fence on a couple of occasions, which of course got Sally even more excited. Why on earth didn't it go the other way or simply climb straight down into the lane? Oh well - I guess we wont be seeing THAT cat anywhere near my garden again. It eventually disappeared from sight leaving little tufts of fur on several of the nails!!! . . . stood in the garden for quite a while with the binoculars looking up at the police helicopter, which seemed like an amusing reversal. . . ate bowls of cornflakes and biscuits . . . to bed around 1am. pas
16 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am . . . walked overheating in waterproofs and found 2p . . .connected the PC in the living room to my old video player, and started the recording of the film I'd borrowed from LB . . . walked with Sally up to Kingswood. Stopped off in a couple of charity shops and ended up paying 4 for a couple of VHS videos. 'Led-Zeppelin, The Song remains The Same' and Roman Polanski's 'Macbeth' . . stopped off in the building society and banked the PSB win and drew out a couple of hundred s. . Came out of one of the charity shops and found Sally's tether I'd foolishly put around the leg of a free standing fold up sign, had slipped off the leg of the sign!!!! Sally was basically loose, but still just sat there waiting for me with all the hussle and bustle of the people and traffic going by - albeit sat right in the middle of the pavement blocking the way of some poor guy in an electric wheelchair!!!! Sorry, sorry! WHAT a GOOOOOD dog! . . . walked round to the main post office and renewed my car tax (110 for 12 months - ouch!). . . briefly shopped in Sainsburys and then sat outside and shared a 'going-cheap' meat pastie with Sally before heading home. . . left the PC recording the Macbeth video and napped. Woke around 5pm . . . set the PC recording the Led Zeppelin video then walked and found 5p . . . TVd . . . BB called . . . TVd . . . heated up a tin of stewing steak with a tin of mixed vegetables and ate it with four pieces of bread and butter . . . TVd . . . experimented on the PC attempting to recode some of the MP3s DS had sent me, to see what the difference would be. All the MP3 files he's sent were done at 192 K bits/second. Everything I've done has been at 128 K bits/second - which actually saves around a third in disc space. Maybe it's my ears gettin old or the poor quality audio equipment I have, but I really can't hear 'much' of a difference in quality - if any at all. I'm sorely tempted to try and convert it all down to 128 K bits/second, if for no other reason than 'standardisation' of my collection. . . ran a test recoding process on one of the albums with the CDex software I've been using, only to find the files wouldn't play after I'd done it!!!?? Something to do with the meta tags suggested the media player error notice? Hmmmm? Experimented until bed around 1am. Very warm - ended up sleeping on top of the folded in half duvet, under just a light sheet. ps
15 - Woke earlier, snoozed, then up around 7:45am. Pouring with rain, true to the forecast . . .split one of the records I'd recorded yesterday and set it converting to MP3 . . . walked in rubber in the rain. Found a motorbike number plate in the hedge. Not worth bothering with, so left it laying on the top of the poop scoop bin - just in case someone else wants to bother with it. . . polished off the Mathis records and assimilated them into my collection . . . Mum called to confirm receipt of the discs I'd posted yesterday . . . PCd this . . .50 PSB win in the mail this morning. :o) . . .balanced my accounts and started to dabble with all the bills that are shortly gonna be due. I've got fully comp. insurance on the car - I wonder if it is now so old and of little worth, I wouldn't be better off just paying for third party. Rang the insurance company asking what amount they would give me for the car if I had to make a claim, but they said 'book value' (of yeah - I bet!) and they couldn't tell me! Useless - although - in this day and age, with peeople how they are - I guess I can understand why! . . .ate grated cheese, onion, mayo and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of cheese and onion crisps for lunch around 2pm and was laying down to nap pretty soon after . . . cheese induced, dream laden sleep. Can't recall now what I dreamed - but as far as I know, I NEVER have nice happy dreams! Shame. :o( . . woke around 6:45pm - and I CAN recall, waking was a deliberate act to escape the dream!!? Wish I could become a 'lucid dreamer'. . . Mum called to suggest a TV show to watch about scorpions - cause BB'd been stung by one (which actually turned out to have been replaced with some other program!) . . . set the PC recording the TV and walked in the lightest hint of intermitant drizzle. Found 4p. Wow - wonder when THAT went up? A 'No Motorcycles' sign has appeared, attached to the chain link fence at the far end of the cycle path. . .popped up LBs and returned her plate I've had laying around for ages, and borrowed the video casette she said I could borrow, because Mum would probably like to see it - 'Love Actually'. . .TVd . . . BB called . . .TVd/PCd ate lidl Jaff cakes and biscuits till early. ps
14 - Woken by Sally more than once then up around 7:45am . . . walked. Found a 'hoselock' connector for an outside tap. A useful spare . . . packaged up the parcel of DVDs for DS and the two for Mum and walked with Sally around the post office to mail them. The whole front of the shop was being replaced and customers had to detour arround the guy chiseling cement near the old doorway, and actually enter the shop by climbing in through the removed window!!! Outrageous. Cheapskates - they should have done all that out of hours! . . . toured one of the nearby charity shops and ended up having to ask if I could pay (14!!!) by credit card!! Hadn't intended spending that much but couldn't resist - three Johnny Mathis records for me to add to my 'for Mum' collection; an Eric Clapton CD; two boxed DVDs containing a total of six films (but actually bought because two would probably interest Mum)! . . . ripped the Clapton CD straight away and added that to my collection and then set the PC recording all the Johnny Mathis records for the next few hours . . . ate reheated meatloaf and chips for lunch around 1:30pm . . . napped as soon as the records had finished recording . . . woke around 6pm . . . walked and found 2p. As I began walking, a group of kids on the other side of the field set the poop scoop bin on fire and ran/cycled off. Uggh. Ran across the field (hey - my foot MUST be getting better) and managed to shake the melting plastic bin liner enough to put the fire out. :o( . carried on walking Sally, but the group of kids appeared in the distance taunting me! As I walked towards the exit heading home, they set the other poop scoop bin on fire up ahead of me!! For goodness sake! Managed to put that fire out as well, with only a little splash of molten plastic on my hand. The little bunch of idiots were all assembled up ahead of me, so I calmly headed towards them on my way home. They ran off. It amused me to detour and continue to calmly walk in the direction they had gone. To cut a long and very silly story short, I followed them around the block - twice!! It was tempting to just keep on following them, to see how long it took them to realise as soon as they split up, I wouldn't be able to - but I eventually got bored and started to head back home when they cut into another nearby playing field. Inevitably they ended up walking (a safe distance) behind me calling out abuse, once they realised I was no longer following them. What IS a 'scrag-head'? . . with the coast clear, back home in time to catch the start of the Bill Oddie Springwatch TV show at 8pm. That was soon ruined when I realised the bunch of kids had assembled on a nearby street corner and were looking across at my house and debating what to do. Thankfully they ended up simply noisily 'dancing' past the house shouting out 'scrag-head' some more?! :o(. . . BB called . . . TVd with the sound down very low, 'on guard', with Sally on guard (asleep?) in the back yard! . . . ate Lidl jaffa cakes and bowls of cornflakes . . .watched one of the TV shows I'd recorded onto the PC the other night. Actually a very successful recording, quality and lip sync wise. Even forgot I was watching a recording. :o) . . . to bed around 1am. ps
13 - Woken by insistant Sally at 8am . . . walked and found 21p . . . carried on burning data DVDs for DS . . . Mum called to touch base and confirm I'd spoken with Sis2 . . . dish washing chores while the PC carried on burning etc. . . cooked an Iceland Frozen foods meatloaf I've had in the freezer for ages, and then ate meatloaf sandwiches for a late lunch! Tasted 'ok'-ish despite only costing 1 and having the ingredients list include such tasty delights as emulsifier, triphosphates and 'beef connective tissue'!!! Eww! . . . napped until around 6pm . . . set the PC working and walked. Three guys were strangely hiding beneath an overhanging tree down 'in' the hedge by the building site fence!!! I can only begin to imagine what they were up to!!!!!! Very weird and frankly a bit scary! Doing drugs is my guess. Actually - of the imaginable alternatives - 'doing drugs' was probably preferrable!!!!!!!!! :o( . . . finished burning all the data DVDs of my music collection for DS (ten or more was it? Messed up and wasted three - yet more coffee cup coasters!), and then set another couple going of the TV shows I'd recorded for Mum, to get them out of the way and enable me to delete them and free up hard disk space . . . TVd while the PC processed . . . BB called and mentioned the jury in the Michael Jackson case had arrived at a verdict and the court was reassembling. Ended up putting the news channels on and watching the live events as they occurred for the next hour or so. Uncomfortable voyeurism - made me feel kinda 'dirty' - and not 'so' different from the crazies camping outside the court! :o( What a surprise all those not guilty verdicts were!! Then again - from MY jury duty experience, I could absolutely imagine what sort of dilema the jurors had, and why they had felt obliged to arrive at THAT verdict, given the 'evidence'. It's all been very disturbing - not least of all to have Jackson's mental health issues on full public display like that. :o(. . . eventually to bed after 1am. pas
12 - Woken by insistant Sally around 7:45am . . . sunny - headachey. Walked. No signs nearby of anything having gone on in the night, although some of the plants from someones front garden appeared to be in the street down by the pub. . sat around, PCd, listened to music, TVd . . .Hot dog.poor Sally seemed to be pretty bored and suffering from the heat and had sought out the coolest possible place to lay in the garden. She somehow ended up squeezed in by the rainwater drain in the corner of the patio, next to the pile of breeze blocks and bricks (destined for use in my building work - if I EVER get back round to doing it!) Didn't look very comfortable - or pleasant using that drain as a pillow! (The white bucket is full of tap water - I leave it to sit for a few days to allow any chlorine to safely dissipate, before topping the leaking pond up with it - every few days!) . . ate garlic sausage, mayo, lettuce, cheese and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps and then chocolate biscuits . . . lay down late afternoon for a couple of hours sleep . . . woken by Mum leaving an ansaphone message around 8pm, suggesting a TV show to watch!!! . . . set the PC recording the program mum had mentioned, walked late and found a penny. Blimey - really cold out! Should have worn a coat! . . . touched base with BB . . . touched base with Mum to confirm I'd recorded the show. Suggested that if she spoke to Sis2 on the phone later, she could call me afterwards and I'd maybe give Sis2 a call (on the number of wherever she was at the time). . sat in the garden for a while around midnight but really quite chilly out . . . ummd and ahhd trying to decide if getting hold of a medium sized hard drive would be the easiest way of sending my music collection to DS. None of the old ones I have laying around is large enough. Eventually decided it was probably cheaper (but not easier) to burn a bunch of data DVDs. If DS could do it, so could I! The hassle with it, is trying to get everything on the discs, in a reasonable 'order', with the least amount of unused space. Started working it all out and actually got on pretty well. Each full disc took a little more than half an hour to build, burn and verify . . . Sis2 called to touch base around 1am. Called her back and ended up chatting for an hour or so. . . touched base with BB . . to bed around 3am but then trouble getting to sleep. Think I left it too long between swallowing my fluoxetine tablet and actually getting to sleep. pa
11 - Woken by insistant Sally around 7:15am . . .walked around 8:15am and found 8p. Uh oh - more debrise laying around on the grass over the field, obviously from some stolen moped. More stolen 'moped' propertyPart of the fairing, some waterproof leggings and various bits of paper. One of the papers was a wage slip with enough details on it, to maybe attempt to contact the owner - so I collected all the papers up in a nearby carrier bag and ended up walking round the field carrying it all, together with the fairing!! Actually detoured on the way back down the field and returned to an area of undergrowth close to where I'd found it all, just in case the bike or some other bits and pieces had been hidden/dumped there. Found a really nice, expensive and intact, security lock and chain thrown in the nettles - obviously, foolishly 'in', and not actually ON the bike when it was stolen! Made the carrier bag rather uncomfortably heavy to carry. Scoured the rest of the field and hedges as I (embarassingly) walked round, but found no sign of the actual bike. Eventually struggled home carrying it all, with Sally tied to my belt. . looked up the phone number of the company (in Clifton) which had issued the wage slip, called them and confirmed that the guy worked there ('he's on the other phone at the moment - and YES, he HAS had his bike stolen!'). I told them NOT to get his hopes up. He called me back and I gave him the bad news about what I'd found and agreed to drop it all in at the local police station. (Staple Hill police station is easier to get to and park outside rather than Trinity Road). He didn't tell me exactly where he lived, but he did mention a road name - just round the corner! (I probably passed his house driving to the police station!) His bike had been stolen some time late last night/in the early hours of this morning - he had been trying to sell it - and his life was gonna be hell without it! Poor devil - getting to Clifton on public transport is a bugger! :o( . . jotted down a brief description of events and where I'd found it etc. together with the crime reference number the guy had given me, left Sally at home, and drove and dropped it all in at Staple Hill police station. Is it JUST me who bothers with such stuff (many dog walkers would have already walked past and ignored all that stuff by the time I was walking Sally! And it was all laying around only twenty feet or so from some houses - didn't whoever lives there notice someone riding around and smashing up a moped at the bottom of their garden in the night???!!!!!), or are there honest people all over the country going through similar 'sad' experiences?!! <despair!>. . PCd this . . .sat around lots just listening to music and such. . . ate garlic sausage, mayo, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps and even more biscuits than yesterday!!! . . . napped until woken by loud music around 6pm!? Some idiot aquaintance of the woman from down the road (in the housing association house) pulling up in his car, with his stereo on loud enough to rattle my letterbox (literally!). . . walked . . . did dishwashing chores . . . touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for chats, music, coffee and biscuits . . . eventually to bed after 1am . . . woken by noise from the street around 2am. I'm still sleeping in the back bed(PC)room at the moment, so that was a LOT of noise to wake me! (although I did have the window ajar because it was so warm). . SO tired - somehow decided (unusually) to just ignore whatever was going on a try and get back to sleep. Snoozed but the noise of 'a shouting crowd' eventually had me fully awake at around 2:30am - so I figured I'd peek through the front bedroom blind and out the window. Couldn't see the noisy group of people somewhere just up the street, but something had been going on - two police cars were just driving away down the street !! Eventually back to bed and sleep. ps
10 - Woken by insistant Sally around 7am . . .walked . . . felt a bit down and ended up just sitting around, TVing, and in the sun in the garden for quite a while . . .'strimmed' my head and face . . . a courier turned up late morning, delivering a box!!?? Huh? Must be from DS, but he only just mailed me to say something was on its way?That was incredibly QUICK!? Ooooh, oooh, ooooohhh - a pack of 8 DVD+R data discs, jam packed full of MP3 music albums (23GB)!! Blimey - a HUGE amount of music!!!! His whole collection - and then some?!!! Wooowooo. :o) Blimey - how much space have I got on my hard drive!! . . . PCd deleting some stuff and then set about copying all the DVDs data onto the hard drive - making sure I temporarily keep it all seperate, so I can make sure I don't end up sending all the same stuff back, when I finally get round to getting a copy of all MY music collection back to DS. I think I need to now make that a priority! . . listened to some - surfing from track to track. A few of those albums will happily replace the awful 'dragging' cassette/ scratched record recordings, I've already got. Cool. And a whole bunch of new stuff - and even a bunch of stuff I've never heard of. Wow - I now have a HUUUUGE music collection!!! :o) . . . BB called early. . . walked and found a penny . . . PCd and finished off copying the contents of all the data DVDs onto my hard drive. Listened to some of the new music. .ate garlic sausage, mayo, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with two bags of salt and vinegar crisps - and then a mountain of biscuits. . TVd until bed around midnight. pas
9 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am . . .an aggravating guestbook entry this morning - amongst the usual masses of SPAM and ISP notifications of viruses intercepted. Of course, having my website address bandied around like that, is absolutely nothing to do with me!! Dunno how these viruses work, but I assume that someone somewhere, with my website address in their favourites or address book, IS unprotected and infected with something or other. (It isn't me - assuming McAfee are doing their job. I even downloaded that free Spyware checker the other day - and was actually surprised to be given the all clear/nothing found by it.) After all - what would I have to gain by encouraging such hits? It's not as though I'm actually selling anything is it! I make NO money whatsoever out of ANY of my web presence. Quite the opposite in fact!! There is a 'cost' to doing this - and not necessarly only financial! :o( (All life changing donations from passing millionaires gratefully accepted. (I'll buy some land somewhere and open up a non profit making retreat, and you can all come and sit quietly.) Except - Mr Ungomo from Nigeria need not apply!) I reckon that is the worst thing about those viruses - the way they hijack someone elses details and pretend to be from them! Grrrr. You know what - if it were up to me - 100% anonimity on the web, would be a thing of the past! THAT would stop a LOT of the unpleasantness - guest book entries included! . . .walked under a warm (hot) blue sky. Hilarious considering the hot weather - all the 'usual suspects' playing truant from school, were still wandering around all lost in their image, with their hoods up! Must have been SO hot! lol Maybe that explains why they are SO 'dumb' - they've boiled the little brains they have? . . dabbled around with the PC just a bit but ended up soon all overcome with tiredness, and was laying back down for a 'bit' more sleep around 10:45am . . .woke around 4:45pm!!!!!!!! Blimey - what happened to summer? All grey and overcast! Well - that's another full day where I got lots done - NOT! Terrible waste of a life. :o( This last year or more seems to have absolutely whizzed by - and I haven't hardly moved. . . PCd this . . . walked . . . briefly returned Mums ansaphone call before settling down to watch this evenings 'Springwatch' TV show with Bill Oddie etc. Marvellous 'comforting' little bit of live natural history type TV, with hidden cameras in bird nesting boxes and near badger sets and such, mostly on a farm in Devon. . . ate lots of cold chicken with four pieces of bread and butter . . . touched base with BB . . . PCd/TVd until early. pas
8 - Woken by Sally getting on for 9am!! . . . walked late in the hot sun . . .thought I may as well get this 'spending spree' thing over and done with, so left Sally at home and walked up to the local PC shop and bought the other 512MB of RAM (39.99) I wanted for the living room PC. . . fitted the RAM and then set the machine doing a long TV recording, just in case that would be an instant correction of my lip syncing problem. . .left Sally at home and drove to Argos at Emersons Green and bought a (digital ready) 'View+ Large High Gain TV Aerial' for 39.75. I've been meaning to get round to getting a new aerial, ever since all my old ones were taken down when the roof was done. I've really missed not having one. Ok - so I DO have the cable box TV service, but without an aerial on the roof as well, I can't easily run the rest of my TVs around the house. Also - if I want to record anything, I have to be actually watching the program! I figured I may as well buy that high-ish gain Argos one, in the hope that maybe I could just set it up, all accessable to me, inside the attic. If that didn't work - in the fullness of time I'd have to buy a lashing kit and try and get it back up on the chimney stack! (Or maybe even pay for it to be done by an installer - but the chimney needs sorting before that!) :o( . . Stopped off in Sainsburys and bought a couple more cooked chickens and loaves of bread. . .the PC/TV test recording was unimproved. The lip sync was still very noticeably adrift after around forty minutes of recording! So - that RAM was a 'waste' of money! :o( . . . ate half a chicken and four peices of bread and butter for lunch . . . put together most of the (huge!) flat packed aerial in front of the TV, before getting the step ladder out and moving it all up into the attic for the final assembly. Got it all clamped in position, temporarily connected the cable, soldered on the end plug, and tried it on the portable TV next to the PC. Bugger! Hopeless. Grainy and ghosty (as I rather suspected it would be, from past experience of similar attempts). Damn - the portable TV was just a little bit too big to get it up through the (useless, narrow) hatch into the attic. Ended up with it propped up on the top of the stairs, facing up towards the attic hatch as I attempted to fine tune the aerial position for improvement. . no - it's just not gonna give a good enough picture. Extraordinary how just having it about four feet higher, but outside on the chimney stack, can make SO much difference. :o( Oh well -so that too was a 'waste' of money! :o( I'm in no hurry to go scrabbling around on my 'new' ("those tiles break like biscuits") roof - especially after having recently fallen down the stairs for the first time in my life. I think I've actually lost my nerve. .Unfortunate really - looking out of the attic skylights, I could 'just' see, that the top of the chimney stack cementing and pointing is all falling to bits (where the roofers didn't bother doing it, like I'd wanted them to!)!! THAT explains why I still get rain water falling down the chimney in really bad weather! That needs to be sorted - and pretty soon. :o( WHAT a nightmare! . . messed around just a little with the velux skylights and instructions and finally got round to connecting up the sprung catches like they should be, so they happily remain open in three different positions. . . ended up feeling VERY fed up. Spent heaps of money on silly stuff, and none of it has made any improvement to anything! I'd have been better off spending that money on a builder to do my chimney - or at least, a large enough ladder so I could climb up there myself. Tis' weird - I always feel sick and guilty whenever I spend any money on non essentials. :o( . . .ended up in bed late, napping for a couple of hours . . . walked in the hot evening sun. Very nice to have more people out and about playing and walking in the field, and seemingly less anti social stuff going on as a result. Found another squeeky dog toy for Sally. . experimented with the living room PC some more. Turns out that the new video card I bought, came bundled with a couple of pieces of interesting software! Intervideo WinDVD (DVD player) and WinDVD Creator 2 (video edit/capture disc creator suite). Uggh! Gonna require a whole new bunch of hours of testing, with all the infinite different options, to see if it is any better than what I've tried so far. . . Hang on - Oooh, oooh, oooh. Wasn't long before things were looking up. Using that new capture software, the PC TV card actually showed up in the drop down, as a seperate audio capture device. None of the other software I've used enabled me to select or even SEE that - even though it DOES show as an installed device in the system Device 'Mangler'. The TV card instructions (such as they are in pigeon English) INSIST that a small jumper cable be used to route the audio through the sound card, and only THAT should be selected as the audio capture device. Wow - with this new software, and the TV card selected as the audio device, and with everything audible - I can hear a slight echo effect from the PC speakers!! THERE it is! THAT is the root of my lip sync problem!!???? I 'think' - somehow - that capture 'Line In' audio arrangement, is taking a fraction of a second to 'build' the audio - and over time, that delay mounts up and causes the lip sync problem! Oohh, oohhh, oohhh. If I'm right - I reckon that points the finger at the cheap TV card/software as being the prime suspect in all this hassle. . quickly familiarised myself with all the new program options and then set a long recording test going for a couple of hours . . . BB called . . . ate jaffa cakes and then four sausage rolls and a bag of crisps . . .Yayyyyyy!!!!!!! That recording seems to have worked perfectly. Yayyyyyyy. :o) . . couldn't resist touching base with BB and telling her the good news (even though I rather suspect her mopping her floor was of rather greater interest to her! lol) . . . experimented some more with the PC until around 3am!! Well - god bless Intervideo WinDVD Creator 2. Very successfully enables me to simply record, in all sorts of different quality settings, with a far better end result than anything else I've tried to date! And the video editting software is ALSO SO much better. At last - I can pretty much do what I want. :o) Hmmm - I think all those (huge file) pop videos I recently spent days recording, are gonna be destined for deletion. What a waste of time all THAT was!!! pas
7 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am. Real sunny clear sky as had been forecast. Took one of the LB donated lamb bones I'd cooked, out of the freezer to defrost. Gonna be a dog walking kind of day I think. Avoided the temptation to have an annadin tablet before setting out, so I could give my bad foot a proper review. I hardly dare to admit, but I think it's been getting better of late. Still definitely something horribly wrong going on down there with the joints or something, but there have been occasions of late, where I've even (more or less) forgotten about it hurting all together. Maybe it's the warmer weather - maybe it's because I try and walk with my aching back more upright - maybe it's because I seem to be sleeping differently to ease my aching back - who knows? Whatever - ooooooh fingers crossed. . set off in the cold sun at 8:30am . . walked down to Eastville Park, around the lake, along the river and then up onto the hill at Purdown for a long sit in the sun.

eventually back down to Snuff Mills, along the river into Vassals and then along the roads through Fishponds and back home . . .found a penny along the way. Back home after midday . . . gave Sally her huge lamb bone. One happy dog today. Such a pleasure to be able to 'make' such happiness. . . touched base with Mum and thanked her for the vacuum attachment etc. . . ate the three remaining pieces of Miss Millies chicken with four pieces of bread and butter, followed by a couple of chocolate biscuits . . . napped until around 5:30pm . . . PCd this . . . walked and found a penny. Sat on the grass at the top of the field, pleasantly for ages. . . BB called . . . sat in the garden for a bit and had me a smoke. . . ate Lidl jaffa cakes . . . TVd/PCd until bed around 1am. Pretty nice day on the whole. :o) One day like that, goes a long way to cancelling out a handful of those horrible dark winter days. pas
6 - Woken by insistant Sally more than once, but managed to growl at her and not stroke her when her nose forced its way under my hand, and slept on until around 9am. Nasty headache - coffee and annadin for breakfast. . . walked and found 2p . . . messed around with the main PC and finally got round to doing a full and complete defrag on both of the big hard drives. Took hours!! . . . skipped lunch, experimented some more with the living room PC (does it make any difference at all, putting the 'pagefile' - whatever that is - on the secondary hard drive? Um - no.) and eventually made up my mind to go and spend some (more) money on them. I figure if I buy myself a 'half' decent new 'higher' performance 256MB video card replacement for my 'main' machine, that would enable me to move the existing 128MB card into the living room machine. That together with another 512MB of RAM for the living room machine would be about as much as I'm prepared to invest in it. If THAT doesn't improve things, then clearly the motherboard/processer is just too slow for what I'm trying to force it to do. . . left Sally at home and walked up the local computer store, armed with all that 'tobacco' money LB recently returned to me. The guy was as usual, very helpful and tolerent of my ignorance and stupid questions. He even ended up doing himself out of a sale and recommending (although I HAD already decided on the same course) that I just buy the graphics card for the time being, and see if that does me the trick. He also suggested trying various different hardware configurations (which I hadn't thought of) - especially when he heard I had an old 10MB secondary drive in the living room PC. Somehow he seemed to think (if I understood him correctly) that the data transfer rates on such an old drive would be a lot lower than more modern drives, and that could be dragging the speed of the whole system down somehow. Also - put the hard drives on different controllers - and - and, etc, etc, etc. Hmmmm - yes - lots more experimenting to try before I'm defeated. . paid 65.89 for a NVIDIA Tornado GeForce FX 5500-8X 256MB (128BIT) graphics card and rushed home to dismantle both machines. Yep - seems to have noticeably improved the performance of my main machine. . I was still on my knees behind my comfy chair on the floor of the living room, with the PC in pieces and a screwdriver in my hand when Sis1 turned up with my vacuum attachment etc. from Mum. . . Coffees and chats until around 6:45pm. . . finished fitting the 128MB video card to the living room machine, set it all up and then set a long video record test going. Walked and found 5p. . .vacuumed the whole house (except the stairs). Yep - that newer 'Turbo' version of that turbinette attachment, does the job of picking up the Sally hair quite nicely. Much less work again. :o) . . .DAMN!!!! I don't believe it!!! That long video recording test STILL ended up with a lip sync problem!!! Hang on though?? Hmmmm??? I may be wrong - but I think the lip sync probelm has actually changed round the other way!!!! Now, the audio increasingly lags behind the video. I think before, it was the video lagging behind the audio!!!??? . . .Sis1 called at exactly 9pm asking for help in sorting out why her printer wasn't working. Impossible to do over the phone like that (particularly since Sis1 is SO unfamiliar with using the thing!) - especially considering it's been a while since I used Windows98 and can't really remember where all the properties, etc. menu options are any more. Eventually had to just wish her luck and left her to write out the letter she was trying to do, rather than print it!! . tried calling BB but only an ansaphone. Ummd and ahhd and really didn't want to, but felt obliged to jump in the car and drive to Sis1s on a mercy mission. Left Sally at home and drove to Sis1s. Felt really rather weird to be 'out and about' like that, at that time of night. Eventually arrived at Sis1s only to be greeted by her at her door saying she'd just left me an ansaphone message, that she'd got it working - it was simply out of ink. (Aha - just like my printer - don't use it for ages and the damned expensive ink just drys up anyway!! That's why I can't afford to run a printer!!) Oh well - a wasted journey. Grrrr. :o( . . . stopped off in the Miss Millies in Staple Hill on the way home and after uncomfortably waiting in a huge queue for ages (oh for goodness sake!! My legs started shaking! Because I hadn't eaten all day? - or simply because I was 'trapped' amongst that queue of people?), bought two three peice meal deals for 7. . .TVd and ate both lots of chips and three pieces of the chicken with a can of coke before 'just' managing to resist eating the other three pieces. They'll keep for tomorrow . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd but pretty soon 'hit' by the food. To bed before midnight. pa
5 - Woken by insistant Sally around 8:15am . . .walked and found 5p . . .PCd and split a few audio files into tracks and then converted them to MP3. . .Sis1called to touch base and said she'd call in tomorrow and drop off the vaccuum attachment and returned CDs from Mum . . .left Sally at home and drove to Staple Hill police station and handed the mobile phone in - together with a little written explanation of the details surrounding it. Seemed easier to write it down rather than try and stand there and explain. . . ate defrosted roast chicken and potatoes with some mixed veg and a pint of gravy for lunch . . .PCd/TVd and then napped until around 7pm . . . walked in the drizzle . . . TVd . . . touched base with BB . . .TVd . . . listened to music on the PC until gone midnight. . . TVd and ate bowls of cornflakes before eventually to bed getting on for 3am! pas
4 - Woken by Sally after only a couple of hours sleep . . . walked. . . phoned up the '3' mobile phone company around 10am and explained I'd found a phone that wasn't working, and was there any way with all the serial numbers and such, they could help me identify who'd owned it. I was actually amazed that the guy on the line WAS prepared to be helpful. He confirmed (I think - based on the SIMM card serial number more than the phone serial number) the phone was listed as stolen and that was why the SIMM card wasn't working. (Actually - with hindsight - as I type this - I guess that SIMM card may have actually originally come from a totally different phone?!!) More amazingly, (but-goodoh) he WAS prepared to give me the home phone number of who was registered as the owner on his database!!!!! (So much for the Data Protection Act!?) . phoned the number and eventually got through to some young guy - but strangely, it seemed to be difficult getting to the bottom of whether or not it was his!!!???? Something fishy going on here I reckon. By the end of the call, I'd been given the name and phone number of his mate, who he said HAD owned the phone, although he'd been mugged ages ago and it had been stolen. Phoned THAT number only to end up speaking to that guys brother, because he was still asleep! Yes - his brother HAD been mugged and had a phone stolen only a while ago, but he'd not bothered reporting it to the police. (Huh?? Why not? Hmmmm!!!) Gave the guy my address and he said he'd pop straight round and pick it up, because he only lived a short distance away. . the guy turned up, only to look at the phone and say it was NOT the one his brother'd had stolen. Off he went leaving me with the phone. It is my impression from all this (rightly or wrongly), there is quite a trade in stolen phones, and people end up not being sure whether or not the one the have in their pocket is stolen or not - and as such, if they 'lose' it, they don't tell anyone!! . . . PCd on the living room PC, tearing my hair out, experimenting with TV card settings etc etc some more. Actually started getting 'serious' with the PC and cleared out all unwanted files, components and programs, defragged it, altered BIOS settings, etc, etc, etc - everything I could think of - in a desperate attempt to maximise its performance, just in case it was simply struggling with the task! . . . It's no good - no matter how tired I am, if I don't do it today, it'll be on my mind all weekend. Set the (noticeably 'slightly' quicker - oooooh - fingers crossed) PC doing a long test DVD quality TV recording, and walked with Sally up to Kingswood to the 'Carphone Warehouse' store and asked if there was any way they could simply tell me if the phone I'd found was actually working at all, before I ended up throwing money away buying chargers and such. Helpful guy - said he'd take it out the back and put it on charge. He said, assuming the battery was totally drained, it'd take at least five minutes to charge it enough to turn it on. I said that was fine, and I sat outside with Sally amongst the shopping crowds, for a cigarette. Had time to think, and started getting all paranoid. Thank god AO had witnessed me finding that phone! (If I was the guy in that shop - I would strongly suspect the phone was stolen - and I'd make up some excuse to give me time to take it out the back and ring up and check on it - and if I found it WAS stolen - I'd call the police and delay things long enough for them to arrive and arrest the customer who was guilty of at least, handling stolen goods! I'd done exactly that, more than once, with people presenting TAX discs, MOT and insurance certificates, when I used to work on the Post Office counter.) I sat and smoked my cigarette, ultimately rather surprised when the police did NOT turn up to arrest me! . . sadly, the guy in the store eventually confirmed the phone was completely dead and not working at all. Oh well - never mind - I'm happy enough for the time being with that simple cute little one PS gave me. But - so - what the hell do I do with this broken phone? Just throw it away (like someone had obviously already done!) - or hand it in to a police station (just in case they would bother looking into its dubious origins, and maybe uncover something of interest to them?). . shopped just a little. Shared one small pastry sausage roll with Sally, sat outside the shops. Found a penny on the way home. . . ate three more pastry sausage rolls with two bags of crisps . . . checked the long PC test recording, only to find that once again the audio had grown increasingly out of sync as it continued. I'm 'almost' reaching the point where I am gonna HAVE to accept, that TV card just isn't gonna do what I want in that hardware configuration! :o( . . to sleep (oh HOW I need MORE sleep!!!!!!) around 4pm. . . woken by Sally around 8:15pm . . . walked late. . . BB called . . . PCd this - took ages - until gone midnight!! . . .ate bowls of cornflakes and TVd until bed around 1:30am. pas
3 - Woken by Sally barking as some leaflet or other was put through the letterbox around 7:30am. . . walked and found 5p. Things appeared to have been just a little quieter around here of late (maybe all the yobs are away on (school half term) holiday?). I guess it was too good to last. Another stolen burned out car dumped by the field this morning. Nice car too! :o( . . .PCd this . . .Mum called to touch base and confirm she'd given Sis1 the vaccuum attachment and the couple of Cds she had to return to me. .PCd pop videos etc. . . ate garlic sausage and mayo sandwiches with two bags of crisps for lunch around 1:30pm . . .PCd yet more - for hours! . . . managed to grab just a couple of hours sleep real late . . . walked. Bumped into AO (wife of JO I used to work with) who was walking her puppy, and ended up being accompanied around half the field as I walked. . . Well - I guess that proves it - I DO walk along, scanning the ground for stuff to pick up!!!! I saw it, about twenty feet away laying in the grass. AO didn't. The weird thing is - so it is almost possible to believe - it really WAS only a matter of time, before 'hocus pocus' arranged things so that I WOULD end up finding one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even Mum had joked accordingly - based on how things 'usually' seem to work in my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Weird really - feels as though there is always something 'happening' TO me in my life, that I have to deal with, which seems to take up ALL my mental time and energy - and yet - I AM aware - I live this extraordinarily small, 'innactive' life, where I really actually never 'DO' anything!!!!! I can only imagine, how full, exhausting, (and absolutely overwhelming for ME), must be the lives of 'normal' people who have jobs, families, a social life, friends, hobbies, etc, etc! Far too much 'nonsense' to carry all at once! :o( ) . . NEC e616VJust laying there on the damp grass about twenty feet from the road, half open (I'd spotted the screen sticking up), was one of those fancy looking clamshell mobile phones! Turned out to be a NEC e616V '3' mobile videophone, with onboard camera and MP3 player - although, it would NOT turn on. Just no charge in the battery maybe? Blimey!!!!! Wow - wonder if it works! SO tempting to maybe keep it if it does (IF having to swap SIMM, buy leads and chargers and such wouldn't make it non cost effective). Hmmmm - guess I'm gonna be (having fun?) playing private detective in an attempt to find its rightful owner. Maybe the SIM will work in MY phone and contain personal numbers to call? . . . stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . . touched base with BB . . . nervously tried the SIMM card from the phone I'd found, in MY mobile. Awwww. :o( Didn't work - although it DID say I could still dial the emergency services if I had to - which seems clever and wise . . . PS popped round for chats, TV, pop videos and biscuits until around 12:30am . . . BB called . . .PCd and surfed all over the place for ages, trying to learn about the phone I'd found. Blimey - I could buy a whole 'nother phone for the cost of that optional long life battery alone! And around 20+ just to buy a charger!!! Expensive phone - although, rather old, large and heavy by the standard of - um - this 'week'! . . . all very confusing to me - but - well - as far as I can tell (not really understanding 3G at all), that phone is pretty much reliant on being on the '3' network and on a monthly billing type contract to really be useful. It also looks as though it 'was' probably a pretty damn good and expensive one when it first came out, what with the camera(s), MP3 player, modem and everything else you could probably want, all built in. Oh well - I guess I'm gonna have to try and do my best to return it to its rightful owner - and if I'm unsuccessful, hand it in to a police station . . . very daylight before bed - again!! . ?? :o( pas
2 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am again. Attempted to shrug her off and sleep on, but she insisted I get up! . . . walked and found 10p . . . PCd videos all day . . .remembered to ring up and renew the table advert for Sunday in the free ads paper . . . ate garlic sausage and mayo sandwiches with two bags of crisps for a late lunch . . . napped until around 7pm . . .walked . . .vacuumed . . .got the step ladder out and climbed up into the attic with the intention of searching for some coaxial cable, but ended up just sat up there for around half an hour trying to think through how to put a suspended floor up there and how to put in new roof supports (from the inside) so I could cut out the main (rotten) purlins . . . BB called briefly . . . messed around for hours knocking up a coax lead with phono sockets on each end, to connect the SCART socket video out from the cable box to the PC in the living room, rather than have the TV card use the aerial out socket. Improved the picture quality just a little. . carried on messing around with different cables and such for hours - and then carried on experimenting with recording frame and bit rates and all that confusing nonsense. . dunno how but somehow carried on messing around with it (getting nowhere again pretty much) until it was getting light!!! Eventually to bed around 4am. Trouble getting to sleep with all the loud bird song outside! pa
1 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . . walked in a dry spell between the rain and found a penny. . .PCd this . . . split just a few of the larger TV recordings into the individual videos . . .Sis1 called to touch base and confirm she was gonna be visiting Mum with K and little O this week. . BB called early around 1:30pm. She'd been stung by a scorpion in her sleep!!!!!??!!!!! From my TV/film education, I assumed that meant immediate death - but apparantly thankfully not. (Makes me think of that scorpion scene in the 'Predator' movie). . . ate a microwaved chicken curry with four pieces of bread and butter for lunch . . ."Don't bogart that joint, my friend . . . pass it over to me . . . "napped until woken around 5:30pm by LB dropping in the left over cooked lamb bone for Sally. Gave it to her straight away and she made VERY short work of it . . .split a handful of videos . . . walked. Walking back from the field like normal, a noticeable piece of litter laying on the other side of the road drew my attention. Thought it was some money for a moment, but as I walked by on the other side of the road I could see it wasn’t. It WAS just rubbish – although - hang on? Crossed the road to look closer. Oh my god!! A FULL baggy – just laying in the street like that!!! Scooped it up real quick hardly missing a step and stuffed it straight in a pocket (for sometime safe disposal – purely in the interests of public safety you understand! :o) ) It’s a mad, bad, sad, mad world. :o/ . . . TVd . . . tried calling BB but she was sleeping off (go check she's still breathing!!) her scorpion sting . . . disposed of just a tiny bit of my find. STRONG stuff! :o). . . ate garlic sausage sandwiches . . . BB called . . . TVd and over ate Lidl jaffa cakes and bowls of cornflakes . . Blah, blah, blah, gibber, gibber, gibber, ZZZzzzz. :o) . . to bed around midnight. pas
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