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<My Diary Archive 2004 My Diary Archive>

December
1 - Up around 8am . . . walked and found 2p . . .PCd this . . .phoned the dentist and cancelled my two tooth extraction appointments. Ok - they may be loose and the dentist said I should have them out, but they aren't giving me any pain and when they are taken out, I dunno how I'm gonna be able to eat anything!!! No - sorry - I'm not sure I trust that dentist to tell me the right thing - I'm gonna take the risk and leave it until they hurt. Booked up a regular six monthly checkup appointment instead for some time next year. . . walked with Sally up to Kingswood to draw some money out and look for birthday cards/presents. . couldn't help walking the extra up to the library to have a quick look at their CD rentals collection. 80p per rental I think it was. Some stuff worth a listen, but I figured it'd be best to wait until I'm done with all I already have!! . .wandered aimlessly around and couldn't think of a single thing to buy as a birthday present. God I hate birthdays! . . shopped just a little for a couple of cheap Iceland pizzas. . Bought a new flea and tick collar for Sally (1.99). She's been without one for a while because - well - she just looks SO good and pretty without anything on. I think she may have been scratching more of late. I've been finding clumps of her fur deposited all over the place, from where she's scratched with her back legs! Frequent vacuuming is immediately made pointless! And there's me being all gentle and worried about hurting her when I brush her - hah. . . Also invested a few s in some rechargeable Ni-MH batteries for my cable remote control. Those damn Ni-Cads need re-charging SO often it's a pain. As far as I can tell (and based on my experience with the batteries in my digital camera) Ni-Cads have had their day and Ni-MH ones are far superior - and I think I've seen on TV there is an even better, newer one on the way!!! Can hardly keep up!! I'm really behind the times - like only having just discovered the power of Windows Media player and MP3s. I still have a pile of old 78 records in a cupboard for goodness sake (just in case they are collectable)! Dunno what genre to label some of these tracks I'm converting. There is an 'oldies' genre - now in MY mind that means old 78 record type recordings - but then again, I've gone and gotten so old now, most of my record collection should probably be labelled that!!! . . . walking back from the shops and crossing a junction, a dog in a parked car a little way off started barking at Sally - as dogs do. I turned to look - with a smile for the owner - as I do. Turned out it was a German Shepherd crammed into the very back of a small Fiesta like car, with four people sat in it. As I smiled and kept walking, the guy in the back seat behind the driver turned round and started beating the barking dog - presumably in an attempt to stop it barking!!!!!! Bastard! I was so taken aback that by the time I'd lamely mouthed 'don't!' , I'd walked on round a corner and out of sight. Made me feel sick. :o( Nothing I could do really - if I'd gone back and remonstrated with him, I'd have probably made their dog bark even worse and - well - someone who does something like that isn't gonna be open to reason are they. Made me feel sick - but I did nothing :o( - and carried on walking. :o( . . . cooked up one of the pepperoni pizzas with extra onion and grated cheese. I think they are SO good for only 1 each - very yummy - Sally only got a small bit of crust!! . . . PCd yet more CDs. . . managed to nap late for a couple of hours after the hammering next door died down. It's starting to get to me a bit, all this banging and hammering every day! Can't be long before it's all done and she moves in, surely! :o(. . walked and found 5p . . .PCd more music . . . BB called . . . TVd and over ate bowls of cornflakes, crisps and some microwaved frankfurter sausage thingys. . . to bed around 12:30am. pas
2 - Up after 8:30am . . .walked after having left the PC recording one side of a cassette tape!! This 'digitise my cassette collection project' is gonna take forever - but it is SO cool once its done!!. . . carried on PCing and figured I guess I could also scan in the front of the cassette covers for the windows media player to display as album art! Even more time consuming!. . . Mum called to say she'd spoken with sis2 who was now miserable in Canada! :o| . . . PCd this while testing whether or not I can do other stuff on the PC whilst recording a cassette with the Wave Repair program. Yep - seems to work ok. . .Lots of hammering next door - but it looks like new carpets are being layed, so maybe the worst is over with?. . .garlic sausage and lettuce sandwiches for lunch . . . PCd . . . walked in the freezing mist. A very beautiful atmospheric evening with layers of mist hanging low on the frosty field, but oh SO cold! . . . phoned and then popped up LBs to borrow a handful of her CD collection . . . PCd . . . ate garlic sausage and mayo sandwiches with crisps . . . PCd more music until almost 3am!! pass
3 - Woken by Sally around 8:30am! . . .walked in the frost. Wasn't in the mood to be doing 'litter duty', but three carrier bags in the undergrowth near the poop scoop bin looked a bit weird and caught my eye. Tramped over the frosted nettles and thorns to have a closer look and - blimey - discovered they were all full of cassette tapes!!! Oh good grief - more dumped stolen stuff? Been there overnight - covered in frost and no obvious disturbance to the surrounding frosted undergrowth, or obvious/suspicious foot trails on the grass. Dragged the bags out of the thorns and had a rummage through. All cassettes - most of them appeared to be 'singles' (which is a concept I am unfamiliar with) - no CDs. What a shame. More cassettes to convert to MP3 I could do without!!!! lol . .A dumped cassette collection!I couldn't just leave them there and figured I'd be doing another trip to the police station to hand them in, so I started walking round the field carrying them all. Blimey - they weighed a ton!! Ended up quickly coming to the conclusion that they were too heavy to carry all the way around the field, and because Sally had already done her business, I started heading straight back towards home. I had to pass the place they'd been left, so I thought I'd better have a real close look in the hedgerow, just in case I'd missed anything else! Uh oh - there WAS something else in those brambles, although a little way off from where the tapes had been. Left Sally guarding the tapes and climbed into the thorns. Definitely OUCH!! Eventually emerged stung and scratched with a moped top box, and a bunch of personal effects!! As if I wasn't already carrying too much!! Hell of a struggle lugging everything back across the field. Put everything down at the edge of the field, got Sally leashed up and tied to my belt, and managed to get everything back up in my arms and lumbered on - only to spot a 2p coin on the grass right then. Greedily couldn't pass it by, so I had to drop everything to pick it up, and then get everything back up in my arms! It was only a few yards before I realised I'd bitten off more than I could chew. No way could I carry all that, all the way back home. Headed into the nearby newsagent, explained and cheekily asked if he'd mind me leaving the top box with him for five minutes. He said ok, but made some joke about his finger prints being on it now. Dashed home, dropped off the carrier bags of cassettes and returned to the newsagent for the top box and carried that home. All that exertion saw me feeling a bit unwell and shakey! . . checked out the cassettes (leaving them to warm up and dry out) and eventually decided I'd probably not bother handing them in to the police. After all, who wants cassettes these days? It IS possible those carriers were left outside the nearby charity shop after closing as a donation, and some passing yob carried them off before deciding they were too heavy to bother carrying. Who knows. I'll make a final decision after I've digitised those I want to keep. I'll keep them all seperate from the rest of mine. . the top box had no name or address information, although there WAS one wet, half rotted away piece of paper in it, a pair of bike gloves, some pieces of rotted material (which I threw in the bin straightaway), a couple of baseball type hats and a rather neat looking and probably salvageable pair of fleece lined waterproof(ish) leggings. Hmmm -I could use those! Hosed everything down out on the patio, dislodged the snails and slugs and spent ages going through all the pockets of the leggings, trying to evict with their lives, the colony of woodlice that had set up home in them! All that stuff has been there a while. Put everything in the washing machine. The rotted biit of paper turned out to be one of those forms people fill out when they are job seeking - gives details of attempts at getting a job. The last entry on the list dated November 2003, suggested whoever it was, had actually started working at such and such a place. Aha! I wonder. Looked up the phone number and called them and explained - could they tell me who started working back then. They were understandably cagey but said they'd look into it, so I was happy to leave my name and number. . . PCd . . . cooked up a chicken kiev with chips for lunch . . . PCd and MP3d a couple of the cassettes I found this morning. Nice of whoever it was who dumped them to include a Christmas compilation album. lol :o) . . . walked with Sally up Kingswood after 3:30pm intending to just get some bread - they had none of the cheap stuff I normally buy left!! Humph! . . . back home for a quick coffee before intending to have a very much needed nap. . the phone rang and it was a lady claiming the top box stuff. Seemed a bit of a weird conversation where neither of us seemed to trust the other - or something? Well - I wasn't gonna give those hard earned, neat leggings away to anyone - I wanted proof (descriptions of contents) the stuff was all hers. Realised I was being a bit crazy so started to say where I was, for her to come get it. Could I deliver it? Cheek!! lololol Yeah - ok - Sally is always up for another walk. . looked up her address in the A to Z. Not 'too' far - so much for my nap! Wrapped everything up in refuse sacks, wore one of the baseball caps for a laugh and struggled all the way down to her house. Turned out she'd had two mopeds stolen within the last three months!!!!!!!! That top box and stuff must have been there since around September some time! Everything had been replaced on the insurance. I made some joke or other about wanting the leggings, and yayyyyy - they said I could have them. :o) The womans husband seemed impressed with my honesty, and started trying to give me some money as a thank you!! Good grief - it isn't as though I actually returned anything of value! I definitely refused the money, and said I was more than paid by having the leggings and thank you very much. Briefly reviewed their new bike security (gate lock, chain, floor bolt, PIR light, camera, etc!! Sheesh - what a hassle to get your bike out in the morning!) and then headed home. . most unusual to see a mouse dash out from a front garden and dive beneath a parked car on the way back. . dropped off the carriers and leggings at home and then walked on round the field. Found 5p. VERY tired. .uh oh. There is something weird going on with the PC!! That's twice on boot up I've ended up with a blank screen and had to hit reset!!!!!???? Video card trouble - or worse? :o( . . . Sis1 popped in for a quick coffee and chat. God I feel exhausted. Drank a tin of Red Bull to try and keep me going. PCd this . . . BB called . .carried on PCing this. Weird day. Weird that I've recently been all obsessed with digitising my music cassettes, and then I go and find three carrier bags full of cassettes. It IS unusual, isn't it? It's those sort of funny little coincedences that get people all believing in hocus pocus 'nonsense'. Or is it?!! lolololol :o\ . . . ate garlic sausage and mayo sandwiches with crisps, and a whole carton of Lidl Jaffa cake type things!!! . . . TVd . . . a bang outside! Popped out (too slow to see who) for a look and saw a car wing mirror had been smashed off someones car. :o( . . .very exhausted to bed around midnight. pa
4 - Woken by Sally around 8:30am again! . . .walked in the damp. Much warmer than yesterday. Huge amounts of litter all around the field. That'll be because I didn't collect up any yesterday. Ended up filling three carrier bags full!!! Yayyy - found a 10 note by the swings and 7p in copper along the way. It IS true to say that I wouldn't have found that 10 note if I hadn't been picking up a bit of the litter. It's very pleasing to find paper money like that - all the more so when it has been dropped by one of the yobs that hangs around those kids swings, drinking, smoking their drugs, littering and causing mayhem at night. Poetic justice. . . PCd this . . .Mum called . . . PCd more music . . . left the PC recording a cassette and cooked up a chicken kiev and chips for a mid afternoon lunch. Actually ended up eating much of it in front the PC so I could catch the end of the cassette and cue up the next side!!!! . . . napped for a couple of hours until getting on for 7pm. . . walked . . .briefly popped up LBs to return most of the CDs I'd borrowed. Had a look at her newly acquired big rabbit hutch. Wow-it's big. That's better. . PCd . . . BB called . . . TVd . . .burned a CDRW of some of my new MP3 collection and sat in the living room listening to music on the DVD player/stereo. Really enjoyed 'surfing' from artist/album/track to track as the mood took me. Even got me in the mood to guitar a bit! . . . ate garlic sausage and mayo sandwiches with crisps . . . touched base with BB before bed, getting on for 3am. pas
5 - Woke late again! . . .set off walking with Sally but hadn't even reached my front gate before I was aware of a couple of women opposite stood by their car, one on her mobile, explaining to someone that they wouldn't be there for a while because they had a flat tyre and were waiting for the breakdown truck. Eavesdropping I got the gist of the fact that they were in a hurry and heading to take the older womans mother to Frenchay hospital!! I know how frustrating it can be, waiting for a breakdown truck to arrive. It was 'only' a flat tyre. I stuck my nose in and offered to help. Ended up leaving poor Sally waiting in the garden while I changed the wheel for them. All went ok and only took about five minutes - just got dirty hands and one wet knee. I think the driver woman was a religious type - I was 'blessed' more than once!! Heavens above!!! When I'd finished she even offered me a 5 note for my trouble, but somehow I've been brought up to pretty much always decline such an offer. Ended up being chased around the street by a woman waving money at me! lol My 'good deed for the day', wouldn't have been such if I'd accepted payment would it? Payment enough to feel all smug and nice guyish for the next couple of hours. (Hope I did those wheel nuts up tight enough!!!) Bid them farewell and quickly stopped in home to wash my hands. .walked and found 6p . . .defragged and virus checked the PC but found nothing wrong to explain the weird intermitant lack of video on boot up. Dunno what the hell is wrong, but it seems to be fine in every other respect 'most' of the time. :o(. . . PCd music all day . . a lot of agonising waste of time sitting waiting for recordings to complete, so ended up cutting my hair, trimming my beard, etc., doing laundry, vacuuming and chores in the 'down' time with frequent runs back up stairs to check on progress and cue the next side etc. . . cooked up four sausages, half a tin of beans, two eggs and four pieces of bread and butter for a mid afternoon lunch . . . napped late for a couple of hours until around 7pm . . .walked . . . PCd . . . BB called. . . LB called, drunk, asking if I had any 'co-dydramol' pain killer tablets left/spare!! Actually, even though those were NOT the type I had after my surgery, I DID have some still hanging around from when I saw the doctor about having put my back out badly for the first time, back in November of last year. LB popped down and took away a blister strip of the tablets, together with warnings from me that she'd drunk too much to be taking them! . . .TVd/PCd yet more until nearly 3am. Just incredible that I still have around 15 gigabytes of my hard disk free, considering all the music and pictures and everything I have saved. Amazing. How times have changed - I'm happily saving individual files now, that are many times the size of the first hard (card) drive I ever owned!! pas
6 - Woken around 9am by Sally barking at workmen arriving next door I think!!. . .walked and found 2p . . . 'ripped' cassettes and Cds all morning . . . cooked up four sausages, half a tin of beans, two eggs and four pieces of bread and butter for a late lunch . . .napped . . . walked . . 'ripped' more cassettes and Cds . . . Bb called . . . ate garlic sausage and mayo sandwiches before bed in the early hours. pas
7 - Woke late again. . . walked and found 7p . . . ripped more Cds while sorting out and packing some things for the mail. . . walked with Sally to the nearest Post Office, tied her up outside and then joined the big queue. Eventually all posted. Found 6p on the way home . . .'ripped' more casssettes . . .a courier called asking if he could leave a parcel for next door with me (as usual!). . . next door popped in for her parcel. I couldn't resist the opportunity to broach the subject of computers and MP3s (which she was all very aware of and familiar with cause her teenage son has been downloading music) and took the liberty of asking if I could maybe borrow some of her music CDs some time! :o) . . . cooked and ate a pizza for a late mid afternoon lunch . . . napped for a couple of hours . . . walked . . . 'ripped' more music and couldn't resist digging out my double Chopin cassettes and getting those done, just so I'd have something other than blues, rock and pop to listen to all the time . . .BB called . . ripped until around 1am! pas
8 - Woke not long before 9am . . .walked and found 8p . . .'ripped' more CDs. . . Mum called . . Actually hammered away at it all day, pretty much without stopping and managed to finish off the majority of my CD collection, with the exception of a pile of those free compilations that Mum gets with her newspaper and sends up. . . walked and found 5p. Treated myself to a 4.50 kebab and chips takeaway on the way home . . . burned a couple of CD-RWs and then listened to music on the DVD player/stereo, although I think I've been overdoing it. . . BB called . . TV'd but ended up needing to be quiet for a bit. Bit fed up with being surrounded by noise. I think I've kinda 'burned out' a bit with all this working at digitising all my CDs and cassettes. I need a break. Don't even know what day it is!! Doing all my cassettes, assuming I do a couple every day, is gonna take months!!!!! :o( . . Couldn't help myself and ended up back on the PC just for a bit, 'surfing' from track to track and artist to artist - because I could. It IS, SO cool being able to do that - oh dear - I can feel the desire is building in me to start thinking about getting another 'entertainment/media' PC, all linked to the TV!! I HAVE gently surfed some of the 'parts' sites, thinking about building one, but especially now you have to 'activate' Windows, I'm starting to think it'd be more cost effective to just buy a ready built system!! <must resist! Must resist!>. . . 'Early' to bed around 11:30pm. pas
9 - Woke before 8am . . .walked and found 5p. Did 'litter duty' and found a short black fleece lined jacket (split in the seem under the arm) with 8p in the pocket!? . . . PCd this and then, inevitably, more music!! . . .cooked up four sausages and chips for lunch . . .figured I was gonna be spending SO long getting all these cassettes into the PC, I may as well reorganise the PC table and move things around so the old stereo is neatly next to everything and plugged in all the time. Spent ages moving everything and cleaning away some of the layers of dust and taking plugs off leads to thread them through here and there. Finally got it all done and tested the stereo hook up and found I'd ended up with a horrible mains hum! Damn!! . . . touched base with BB . . . undid everything and moved it all around again so that the stereo was away from most of the mains cables and the monitor, and put the TV way over on the other side of the table away from it. Did the trick (apart from a bit of a 'wobble' on the PC monitor image when the TV is on right next to it) - and all quite neat and tidy. :o) . . did a couple more cassettes while doing laundry. Tried ringing up and advertising the pine table but ended up with some weird automated 'leave your advert here' type thing, so who knows if I placed the ad or not?!! . . walked and found 2p . . . BB called . . . returned Mums ansaphone call . . .did more MP3s while doing vacuuming chores . . . ate garlic sausage and mayo sandwiches with crisps and cheap Lidl Jaffa cakes . . . PCd until around 1am. pas
10 - Woke at nearly 9am!!! . . . walked late and found 4p . . .left Sally at home and drove to Sainsburys at Emerson Green to do a 'huge' shop. I've succesfully managed to use up most of the 'old' stuff in the freezer and cupboards and have almost nothing left in the house. Couldn't resist popping into one of the nearby elictrical stores and drooling over the huge flat panel TVs, that also double as PC monitors. Still WELL over a thousand s, but gradually coming down - as are the prices of the DVD/hard drive recorders. Trouble with those flat panel TVs at the moment - they seem to vary wildly in picture quality. One of these days - one of these days I'm gonna blow all my savings on one - it can only be a matter of time. After all, I spend SO much of my time in front of a TV/PC, seems like a reasonable/justifiable investment. . Shopped for - um - everything, and ended up spending over 100 in Sainsburys!!!! Rather a lot when you consider it's just me on my own and I buy such expensive delicacies as 15p tins of baked beans, 38p tins of corned beef and 19p loaves of economy white bread!!! Smoking stuff, coffee and annadin headache tablets are my most expensive purchases!! The amount I bought should keep me going until - well - next year really! . . returned home via Jolleys at Longwell Green and bought 24 tins of Winalot (8.05), a 15kg (+2kg free) sack of PAL complete (17.95), and a new groooming brush (3.69) for Sally. Stopped off at Lidl on the way through Hanham and couldn't resist buying a universal 8 in 1 remote control for 4.99, in the hope it would replace the many I have to use (cable, stereo, TV, DVD, video!!). . . returned home, unpacked everything and then played with the new remote control attempting to set it up. I spent a good hour or so on it, meticulously going through the massive book of instructions and inputting all the codes and even doing auto searches, but eventually concluded - it was bloody useless! It couldn't find the TV at all. In fact, all it DID do was the DVD and even then, half the keys didn't work or did the wrong thing!!! Bugger! Waste of money. . . ate garlic sausage and mayo sandwiches . . . napped for a couple of hours . . LB popped in briefly wanting help in opening a bottle of wine!!? Something about finding it hard to pull the cork screw thingy cause of her recent operation! Uhhuh. . Chatted for a bit and the car wing mirror that got broken the other night came up in conversation. I suggested it 'may' have happened because whoever did it, was having to squeeze past her massively overgrown garden hedge, which now blocks a good half of the pavement. (Another similar one down the road is a particular source of aggravation to me - when walking Sally I always have to squeeze past it and get snagged and wet). LB seemed to take exception to this (in a familiar and uncomfortable (for me!) way she does when sober!) and got all defensive about not having trimmed it. She was gonna try and borrow someone's hedge trimmer. I rashly tried to calm things down by saying if she got the trimmer, I'd maybe do it for her - and even like to do the one down the road!!. . .walked and did litter duty. Had to say 'excuse me' to a large group of girls all sat around and on the waste bin on the way back, so that I could dump the carrier bag of litter I'd picked up. One of the girls (I've had 'hassle' and abuse from before - enough to make me colour prejudice!) took it upon herself to call me over, and then, sneering I should pick 'that' up, threw an empty crisp packet AT me. Very nasty. I think I said so - but managed to just walk away - seething! GGRRRRR!! :o(. . . 'ripped' . . . ate bowls of cornflakes. . . BB called . . .I've been going round and round in my head trying to work out what would be the best way to go, with the PC stuff I have, so as to make best use of everything without having to blow loads of money on new equipment. I think I have finally worked out a plan. That old PC I was gonna try and sell, but which I've concluded wouldn't sell for enough to make it worth selling - I could try and use THAT as a 'stereo' in the living room! Ok, it's slow and old by todays standards, but it works ok (despite that sad inabilty to network) and it's much more than adequate for just playing a bit of music. I wonder - I wonder if there is an update for the old Win98 media player? Fired it up, went on line and sure enough, there was an update. Spent almost an hour leaving it running, downloading the update (whilst carrying on ripping cassettes on the other PC!!). Hmmm - ok - it isn't 'quite' as good as the media player I've been using in XP on the other machine, but it isn't 'bad'. Hmmmm? I reckon - if I swap some components around from one machine to the other - I 'could' be up and running with a stereo/TV connection. Sooo - all I really need to go and buy is a new BIG hard drive, cause that would hold ALL the data I want to keep and could relocate to any new machine I may buy in the future - and that would free up the 9gig drive from my current PC to go in the old one with music on. Right then - that's the (cheapest) plan. . . PCd a bit before bed only to end up going on line and downloading lots of the pictures of the record covers (they are ALL out there!) from some of the music albums that I've borrowed and copied in the past, and then setting up the Windows Media Player to show the appropriate album art for every track. Very neat. Kinda 'got into it', and ended up PCing until getting on for 5am!!!!! pas
11 - Woke late getting on for 9am again!!! . . . walked late and found 5p . . .yayyy - a 50 premium bond win in the mail. Thank goodness. Haven't won anything for the last couple of months. It IS a very poor investment of a large proportion of my savings. Of course I was rather assuming I would have won the big million pound monthly prize by now!! :o\ Oh well. There's always next month (if I don't draw the money out and spend it on a plasma TV/new PC!) . . .ripped more cassettes . . .oops! Touched base with Sis1 and said happy birthday (which I'd forgotten completely!! I am SO single mindedly focused on getting this MP3 music collection up and running - not sure why! No wonder people are putting 'ZZzzzz' in my guest book! Yep - that'll be my life then. Zzzzzz. lol). . . phoned and transferred some money out of my savings and walked up the local PC store intending to buy me a new large hard drive. Typical - they were shut for lunch! . . lunch seemed lik a good idea so I cooked up two sausages, two eggs, half a tin of beans and a handful of mushrooms with two slices of bread and butter . . .polished off another 'ripped' double cassette album on the PC and then walked back to the PC store. Made an on the spot decision about which size to buy and ended up paying 60 for a new 120GB Maxtor 7,200rpm IDE hard drive. That should keep me going for a while - and then some. :o) Actually the guy in the store was really quite 'nice' and had no problem in me asking loads of stupid questions (because I'm so out of touch with advances in PC hardware etc.). Very helpful guy (Protege Systems & Components). He even happily gave me an at length demonstration of that 'Microsft Media Centre' software on some really neat and fancy media PC he'd built. It was all stuffed into a tiny little rather fancy looking case, no bigger than and looking very much like a miniature stereo (about half the size or less of my midi tower desktop PC!). Wow - from a TV like remote control he could do just about everything! Look at digital photos, play and record music (surround sound), play and record videos, DVDs and TV (digital freeview) programs, surf the net (broadband of course!), preview on line music before purchase, etc, etc, etc. Wow - so - 'the future' is pretty much here already. SO cool! Give me all that, and a big screen, and some surveillance cameras - I'd never have to leave my armchair ever again!! 3k would cover it nicely I reckon. If I was still at work - I'd buy all that real quick. Eventuallly tore myself away with my credit card spontaneously combusting in my pocket!! . . . carried on ripping cassettes for hours . . .PS called saying 'tonight?'. Oh yes - and bring ALL your CDs please!!! :o) . . . figured I had time so dismantled the PC and popped the new drive in, in place of the old 9gig drive. Hmmmm? What am I doing wrong? This should be SO simple - always has been in the past. Either it auto detects or you just alter a few jumpers and set up the BIOS, partition, format and off you go. How come it isn't working?????!!!!!!!! I tried all sorts of combinations of jumpers and ribbon cable attachments but got absolutely no where and started to get really, REALLY annoyed and dismayed. Surely I haven't just bought a duff drive? Arrrrggghhh!!!! Tearing my hair out. Got in SUCH a foul mood. . . briefly stopped and rushed round the field ('Come On. COME ON!!!' ) with poor Sally before getting back to it. Good job there wasn't any hassle from anyone tonight - I was in a dangerous mood!! . . poor BB called only to catch the brunt of my foul mood and to be rudely told I'd call her back later. . went round and round in circles getting no where until PS arrived. Poor guy had to sit there and watch (trying to make helpful suggestions, which didn't sit well with me because they seemed to all amount to 'go on line and Ask Jeeves'!!) as I battled away for another hour or so but got little further. Got a bit confused with trying out all the options (Slave, master, cable connection, jumper settings, etc.)in a process of elimination, but was pretty convinced that I'd actually tried everything now - and some of it twice with different results - which made little sense to me at all!! All of a sudden I somehow managed to get the new drive recognised on its own as the master and quickly threw the Windows disk into the CD drive to just get the damn thing partitioned and formatted - ended up letting the CD do a fresh Windows XP installation (which is what I really didn't want to have to do cause it means having to activate it again and then download all the service packs/updates and re-install absolutely everything. With only a dial up, that'd take days!!) :o( Oh well - at least I know the drive is working. Eventually turned it off and TVd with PS until he left around 12:30am . . . touched base with BB . . . couldn't help myself turning the PC back on and meticulously trying all the combinations again to try and get to the bottom of why I couldn't get those two drives working together - it just didn't make sense. Uh oh - in the middle of swapping the hard drive ribbon cable connections for the umpteenth time, the cable fell apart leaving the plastic connector piece stuck in the drive socket!! Managed to prise it out and luckily found a replacement cable in my drawer of 'bits'. I wonder - could it be? Set everything back up (exactly as I already had done many times before) and hey presto - everything worked fine straight away - both drives nicely together (with the new one currently acting as a slave). So it must have been a bloody dodgy ribbon cable all along!!!!!!!!! Jeeze - wasted how many hours because of that? Grrrrrrrr. Although - SO glad to get the new drive happily working at last. Couldn't resist calling BB and sharing the good news (as if she cared! lol) . . . celebrated by turning the PC off and eating garlic sausage, grated cheese, mayo and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps at around 3am before finally exhausted to bed!!!! pas
12 - Blimey - woke at almost 10am!! Amazing how Sally can 'hold out' so long - and she didn't seem in any hurry to wake me! . . . walked late and found 2p . . . PCd this with the machine all open and screws and bits and pieces all around me!! . . .LB called sounding all triumphant that she'd managed to borrow a hedge trimmer. Uhuh. Dowwww!! . . .finished what I was in the middle of and then put my overalls on and reluctantly headed up LBs armed with a broom, saw and an extension lead, to have a go at her hedge as I'd (rashly) said I would. Turned out the hedge trimmer she’d borrowed was a REALLY good one. Her hedge is SO overgrown, and some of the branches are SO thick, it was a pleasant surprise to have that machine go through much of them with ‘relative’ ease. Had to saw one or two, which was a real pain because I’ve given my proper tree cutting saw to Sis1, and the silly little thing I used was nigh on useless. LB didn’t seem to care what I did or how bad it would look. That seemed weird to me – but probably because I’ve grown up with Mum. If it was her hedge, I’m sure she’d have been inspecting and directing how much of which bit to cut off, and I’d have been all up tight about doing it wrong!
Given free reign, I got real brutal and cut the hedge back as much as I possibly could. Managed to hack it back to ‘just’ overlapping the pavement. Ended up looking from the street like there wasn’t so much a hedge there – more a pile of sticks! Looked awful – but LB didn’t care. Reclaimed about two or three feet of the pavement – and found a big bouncy ball in the middle of the hedge for Sally. :o) Half way through trimming down the top of the hedge on her neighbours side, the trimmer started cutting out!!!??? Uh oh. After messing around with different sockets, I ran my hand all along the yards of wire and found a ‘bared wires that could kill’ cut in the cable, only a few feet from the machine!!! Uh oh!!! NO WAY did ‘I‘ do that! No way – and in fact that would have been difficult to catch in the blades, being so close to the machine? I was being SO careful – I guess I was pretty much being Dad – being as meticulously careful as he would have been about such things. Nevertheless, there WAS a break in the cable, it was a borrowed machine, and giving it back dangerous and broken like that would have been outrageous. LB didn’t seem to care too much but it seemed like a big deal to me. In MY world, if you borrow something, you look after it better than if it was yours – and when you give it back, it really should be all freshly cleaned and such, and in better shape than when you borrowed it! And if you break whatever you’ve borrowed – you have to go and buy a replacement. It’s ‘the law’!!!! (I lent my welding mask to ?? once – and got it back useless with the darkened glass all broken and stuck together with superglue!!! Did he think I wouldn’t notice?!! You can NOT see to weld through super glue! lol ) . . I wasn’t happy with the state of the ‘nearly’ finished hedge but figured I couldn’t go on with the trimmer as it was and called a halt. Swept up and filled both our bins! Returned home with the trimmer. Very nervously and carefully unscrewed and dismantled the trimmer. Phew – thank goodness for that – all the pieces stayed in one half of the case when I split it and nothing sprang out. All VERY similar (almost identical) to the inner workings of an electric drill. Couldn’t help myself examining the threaded drive shaft for wear – like I’ve worn out on several drills. Looked like new. . excellent – the cable wasn’t soldered and was simply screwed into a connector. Unscrewed it, cut off the cable just below the break, and then successfully reassembled everything as though nothing had happened (except for it being a few feet shorter of course). I doubt LB will mention it when she returns it. . . couldn’t resist knocking on the door of the house down the road with the big overgrown hedge that keeps snagging me as I squeeze past with Sally twice a day. It blocks a good three quarters of the pavement!! I was gonna offer to trim it for them. Sadly they didn’t answer the door and I didn’t think it would be appropriate to do it without asking, so I called it a day and returned the machine to LB (ooops – I forgot to clean and oil it – oh well – that’s LBs job. Yeah right!). . BB asked later why I was doing the work for her, when LBs guy should really be doing it. True – although in my mind, I wasn’t really doing it for LB at all. I was doing it for the benefit of anyone who walks down the road – and would very happily have done the other one down the road for nothing if they’d answered their door! It just needed to be done, and since I carry some considerable guilt about managing to survive without ‘working’, I don’t mind doing such things for the ‘common good’, if it isn’t ‘too’ much hassle. Something like that - ish! :o\ . . . cooked up a two rashers of bacon, two sausages, two eggs, a handful of mushrooms and ate with four slices of bread and butter after 4pm. . .napped and didn't wake up until nearly 8pm!! . . . TVd . . . briefly touched base with BB to say I was running late. . . walked real late . . . touched base with BB . . . still haven't made my mind up about the final configuration of my hard drives but figured it could wait so spent a time brushing and vacuuming out as much dust as I could (and there was a LOT of it!!!) from the inside of the PC before screwing the drives in and putting the case back on and getting everything back straight. Even dug out an old toothbrush, mixed up a little diluted washing up liquid in a cup and gave the PC case front, keyboard and mouse a much needed clean. . . PCd more music, ate a few biscuits and somehow didn't get to bed until getting on for 5am - and then had difficulty sleeping because I felt strangely cold! Not enough to eat I think!!!
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13 - Woken by Sally around 9am . . . walked and found 7p and a dog ball for Sally . . . spent the day laboriously 'ripping' most of PS's CD collection . . .heated and ate a pepperoni pizza with just a sprinkle of extra grated cheese mid afternoon. . .napped for just an hour or so before waking up and getting straight back on the PC to split up and MP3 the cassette I'd left playing/recording when I slept!! . . .walked . . . PCd yet more. . . BB called . . . kept at it and managed to polish off 'ripping' all the CDs PS had lent me . . . cooked and ate bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches and then a banana not long before midnight . . . PCd and then MP3d just one more old cassette before bed. Actually sat/lay down and listened to it as it played - Pink Floyd's 'Animals' (especially the 'dogs' bit - I've cried over that before now with Sheba in mind!!!). Some of those cassettes (and the forgotten feelings of a moment in time they invoke) are like old long lost friends. :o) Eventually to bed at getting on for 2am. p
14 - Woken by Sally before 9am . . .walked (having a bit of trouble with the pain in my left ankle - been painful and a bit 'limpy' for a few days now!??) and found 28p in mostly copper all along the way! Actually so much, it was hard to just walk along without having to stoop to pick up every few steps!? . . . PCd this whilst listening to one of the cassettes I've recorded but can't easily distinguish where the different track breaks should be. Surprising how many records are like that - its a time consuming pain, nudging split points around by milliseconds back and forth to try and get it right! :o( . . .updated my journal and discovered an old 'festive' GIF (Sally in snow) I'd done a couple of years ago was still on the server. Can't be bothered with Christmas at all this year, but I do usually try and do at least 'something' seasonal on the site somewhere - seemed little trouble to quickly change the index page to point at that file for a while, so I did. . . . PCd music all day again! . . . cooked up two sausages, two eggs, chips and beans mid afternoon and then napped for just a couple of hours before getting straight back to the PC . . .received feedback from the site - "Comments: wot a piece of shit website! are you sad? ummmmmmm yes you are!" Uhuh :o( . . . walked . . .BB called . . . PCd music and just ate a handful of biscuits. . . .prompted by a couple of comments on my guestbook and the feedback I got earlier, I ended up surfing my own journal and reading the account of when Sally was spayed. Amazing how I can remember almost none of that any more. Extraordinary experience to be able to read about it like that - like it was someone else. Ended up surfing my own journal (looking back at pictures of Dad etc. - and yes - apparantly I have largely 'forgotten' him too, kinda!!!!!!!?) for quite some time. Eventually to bed getting on for 5am!!!!! p
15 - Woken by Sally after 9am . . .phoned and transferred some savings over . . . walked and found 5p. Carried on walking and joined the big queue at the nearest post office and drew out a bunch of money, to give to LB for tobacco when she goes to France - um - tomorrow is it? Stopped by a couple of charity shops and invested a couple of pounds in two classical/spanish guitar CDs and a brand new unopened cassette of the spoken word - 'A Christmas Carol' read by Andrew Sachs . . . PCd music . . . PS popped round briefly early afternoon with some scones and more of his family CD collection. Blimey - he has a bunch! Returned all those I'd already done. Wouldn't you know it - a couple of those CDs are the same as the cassettes I've just spent hours recording and splitting!! Wasted my time ( a day?!!!). Guess I'd better do all the Cds first to make sure that doesn't happen again. Think I'm also gonna 'flag' the albums on my hard disk that are cassette derived, so I can easily replace them if I get my hands on the same CD from somewhere. At least 'some' of what I've already done, is such bad hissing dragging quality from those old cassettes, I'm not sure it's worth keeping at all!! . . . .ate a couple of bananas and then napped for a couple of hours until around 5pm . . . PCd CDs . . . walked (hobbled!!!) while recording a couple of cassettes. I've been keeping real busy doing this music collection thing - not a bad way to get through the grey miserable dark winter months. If I stop to think - I have been feeling a bit more 'down' of late - usual seasonal winter (S.A.D.) stuff I suspect. I even couldn't resist buying a new bulb for the living room light, last time I shopped. Don't think I've ever seen a 150watt bulb for sale before. I like it. Makes the room REALLY almost daylight bright. :o) Only trouble is - the lamp shade is only rated to 60 watts, and I'm not sure the plastic socket is rated for more than 100!!!!! I daren't put the light on for more than a couple of minutes at a time, in case it all goes up in smoke. lol. I need to go look for a new lamp socket/shade . . . BB called . . . TVd while recording a couple of cassettes . . . ate bowls of cornflakes, a bunch of biscuits and then fried up four sausages and made sausage sandwiches! Crammed all the days eating into the last couple of hours!! Feel a bit too full! . . . 'early' to bed around 11:30pm. ps
16 - Woke at 8am . . . walked in the rain and found 4p. Wearing Wellingtons seems to make me walk differently and is just a little easier on my bad ankle. I think all it needs is a rest for a while - but of course I have to walk round the field twice a day so that isn't possible! :o( . . received a Christmas card and letter in the mail from Sis2! Hmmm - think I'll read all that later! . . . LB called to confirm arrangements hadn't worked out and she'd NOT gone to France. Oh well. . .touched base with Mum . . .PCd this - or tried to, but all the days doing this music (chore) stuff seem to be rolling into one. Can't remember what happened just yesterday!! Nothing much I guess. . .left Sally at home and drove to Emersons Green to shop - mostly for tins of Cadburys Roses chocolates. That’s the closest I ever get to 'doing Christmas'. One tin for each 'family unit' (sister, mum, nephew, niece and - oops, bought one too many - better keep that for myself! :o) ) Grabbed a few groceries too while I was there. . .unloading the car outside the house and the new neighbour pulled up. Said polite hello's and 'how’s it going with the alterations to the house' and she offered to show me. Cool - I'm SO nosy - just love to know what the neighbours houses look like inside. Was given a guided tour and expressed the necessary approval at her alterations. Suddenly figured it may be interesting for her to see how my house differs slightly (with my downstairs extension-on-the-back bathroom and conservatory, and still with the original rear chimney in place) so ended up giving her a quick guided tour of mine, and introduction to growling Sally. Probably made her feel all the happier with the condition of hers!! Had a bit of a conversation and found out she works for a chocolate factory and can sometimes get cheap, not quite perfect, chocolate. She said she’d get me some (dunno what, but if it’s cheap and chocolate, who cares) in the new year. :o) Couldn’t help myself asking about CDs but she didn’t seem to have any, although said the guy who is paying for a room in her house may. Oh well. . . ate pizza . . . PCd . . . napped late for a couple of hours . . .walked. As I headed towards the side of the school building I could hear a football being kicked at the school windows. It wasn't a poorly aimed mistake. It happened over and over with increasing force. The mistakes were when they missed the windows!! As I rounded the corner, I could see a large group of children were assembled in the school grounds car park and they were watching, as one or two of them were kicking the football at the windows. Right then, they succeeded in smashing one of them!! Whoever had done it grabbed the ball and started running towards the school fence. All the rest of the assembled kids then decided to run as well. Unfortunately just before the kid who'd done the deed began to climb the fence, he threw the football over ahead of him and I lost track of precisely who it was who'd done it. It was one of the two kids who ran down the road after the football but then calmly began walking back up towards me, after they knew they'd got away with it. I just couldn't help myself. Yobs!I sneaked my camera into my hand, turned it on, and as I walked past them I grabbed a snap, complete with flash! To be honest I didn't think the photo would come out because it was dark and they were on the other side of the street, but I figured it would maybe give them something to think about. If that was me - I'd have been sick with worry, for weeks, that someone had just caught me in the act like that and had taken my picture. Doubtless, todays yobs don't have such a conscience, but I figured it was worth a go at messing with their heads a bit. They deserved it! That school must get through a minimum of one window per week. What a cost to the taxpayer!! There was a bit of calling and abuse from the large bunch of kids behind me, but I just carried on walking and left them to maybe stew on it. A few more comments were made as I passed by on the way back, but I didn't stop to get into it with anyone. I confess I DID make sure the coast was clear and I wasn't being observed before I came back in my house. As it turned out, with a bit of contrast and colour enhancement and such, the photo WAS actually not that bad. I would imagine if you 'knew' those kids, you'd be able to identify them from the blurry image. Shall I? Dare I? Yeah - why not! I went on line, found a contact e-mail address for the school website and sent them an e-mail and a big picture! "At approximately 19:50hrs on Thursday 16th December a large group of children were assembled in the school grounds car park alongside **** ****. From some distance away it was audible to me that a football was being kicked consistently at the school windows, with ever greater force. This continued until one of the windows was broken. As soon as this had been achieved, the perpetrator followed by the assembled audience, fled across the car park and climbed over the security fence adjacent to the locked gates, and as is usual, made use of the refuse bin to climb down into **** ****. One of the two individuals in the attached photograph (who 'may' be identifiable) was responsible for the broken window." I have no doubt, nothing will be done about it. If it were up to me (if I was a teacher there) I'd do my utmost to identify who they were and then absolutely make them pay for the damage. Consequences and responsibilty for your actions - best lesson they could be taught. Grrrrrr. Why on earth doesn't that school have surveillance cameras? They'd pay for themselves in no time at all, in savings of broken windows, etc. Boy - if I lived in that house near the field on that junction with the clear view of that side of the school, down three roads (one of which is always used for the dumping and burning of stolen cars) and over the field, my house would bristle with night vision, motorised, zoomable cameras. You'd get some incredible footage!! :o( . . . BB called . . .ate a banana and biscuits . . . TVd a little but then mostly PCd music until bed in the early hours. p
17 - Woke just before 9am . . . walked in the torrential rain and found 21p in coppers all along the way. . . LB popped in asking if I could store her man's Christmas present for her until Christmas Eve. Needed to be opened and watered!! Let her open it up (covered the place in bits of straw packing!!) and put it in some water on top of the tool cupboard in the conservatory!! . . . PCd music . . .renewed the trade it advert for the pine table, although it's now so close to Christmas, I doubt anyone is gonna be out running around looking to buy furniture! . . . ate corned beef, mayo and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps for lunch . . .PCd until napping for a couple of hours late afternoon. . .walked and found 3p. . . Bb called . . .TVd but awful rubbish on all the channels AGAIN, so mostly PCd the evening away. Ate a banana, some crisps and then defrosted a couple of beef pastry pies in the microwave and ate them luke warm followed by half a box of jaffa cakes!!! . . . to bed before 1am. ps
18 - Up around 8:15am. Almost a proper night’s sleep for a change . . .walked and found a penny and another silver hoop earring for my jewellery collection! Another stolen dumped burned out car next to the field. I'd smelt burning when I was walking back from the field last night but hadn't been able to identify from where. Guess I must have 'just' missed the thieves as they set the fire and made their get away across the field! :o( Stopped off in the newsagent on the way back and bought a couple of cards - paid for mostly in coppers found while walking! . . .PCd music while writing out just a handful of Christmas cards. Less this year than ever before. :o| Eventually walked with Sally round to the post office and mailed them all (together with a small bunch in an envelope which had come for the old next door neighbours). Probably too late for some of them to arrive in time for Christmas but - well - frankly I just see the whole thing as an unpleasant chore, that 'ought' to be done just to keep people happy! Humbug! 'Found' 2p on the floor of the post office as I was being served at the counter, so popped it in the animal charity collection box on the counter next to me. Found 3p on the way home . . . PCd and did dish washing and vacuuming chores while tapes played . . ."It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"read the five page updating/venting letter from Sis2 (blimey - she'll be starting a website next if she keeps on like that!!!! lol) and then tried to call but ended up leaving an ansaphone message . . . BB called to touch base and for me to 'sing' happy birthday. :o) . . . ate corned beef, mayo, onion, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . .napped late for a couple of hours until waking around 7:30pm!!. . . walked in torrential rain and wind. Picked up some litter and it turned out to be a 20cl bottle of vodka, one third full! Ended up bringing it home in a pocket (duh??) but decided against touching it and ended up putting it in the bin. Filthy night - very pleased to get back home . . . PS popped round for coffee, biscuits and chats and brought the Windows XP service pack CD he'd said I could borrow. Assuming I DO go for a fresh copy of windows on my new big hard drive, that'll save me a whole bunch of downloading time. . . defrosted and ate a couple of beef pastry pies, a banana and then a bunch of biscuits. popped up to the PC every now and then to turn cassettes over and cue up others and kept it all going all the time PS was here. heavy rain for hours . . . PCd after PS had gone until the early hours. Very surprised to see a strange orange light coming in from outside at around 2:30am when I went downstairs without turning the lights on. Turned out the rain had turned to snow and it was the reflection of the orange street lights!!! Brrrrr! Sometimes it's good to be awake at odd hours, to catch the 'atmosphere' . . . couldn't help myself converting some of the cassettes I'd recorded throughout the day and didn't get to bed until getting on for 5am again!!! ps
19 - Woken by Sally around 9:15am. . .walked in the thawing slush, although there was enough snow left to play snowballs with Sally. Apparently great fun being able to 'eat' the ball once it's been thrown to you to catch. :o) Blimey - an even bigger bottle of Vodka down by the children’s swings with even more left in it! Expensive stuff to just leave like that. Buried it out of sight in the bin. . PCd cassettes. PCd this on the laptop and then ended up spending ages messing around with a little on The Hood page. I'd pretty much given up keeping that page up to date because the way things are round here, it'd be a full time job and use up all my webspace!!! Filled in a couple of the blanks - there's a lot not mentioned there - or here in fact cause I guess I've just got used to some of the 'stuff' that goes on. That's bad. :o( . spent ages going back through my journal, totting up the money I've found in the street. Blimey - rather a lot again - and only a couple of s different to last year! How bizarre. Ooooh, oooooh - gotta find a couple of pounds quick, to beat last years total. lol . . . hello? Looks as though something has changed with the website ISP. It appears I can now upload, and recieve my e-mails, without having to use their dial up number every time (although of course I'll still have to keep dialing in occasionally to keep the account alive)! That's useful. . .ate corned beef, mayo, onion, grated cheese, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . .napped for almost a couple of hours . . .was about to set off walking in the freeze when I discovered I've lost the little strap I always carry. A simple little piece of thin nylon webbing strap almost two feet in length with a ring on one end and a spring loaded dog lead style catch on the other end. I always carry it clipped to the key ring on my belt and use it for tying Sally's lead to things when I leave her outside shops and such. It's a silly little thing I sewed up but has become absolutely indespensible. SO upset to have lost it!!! :o( Until I try and make up another, I won't be able to take Sally shopping or anywhere I'll need to leave her outside! Bet it undid and slipped off when I was bending down playing snowballs yesterday. Somehow bending down crushes all my keys and such together, and that strap can become affected. First thing I've 'lost' in a long time!! :o( Walked trying to keep an eye out for my strap glistening in the frost, but it was too dark. . . TVd . . . BB called . . .TVd while splitting up and MP3ing just a couple of the casettes I've already recorded. . to bed around 12:30am. ps
20 - Woken by Sally around 8:15am. . .walked scouring the ground for my missing strap. Mentioned it to one of the old lady dog walkers and lo and behold, she'd found it a little earlier and had it in her bag. JOY!!! And I told her so. Said I was SO happy I could hug her - and she said she hadn't had one for a while, so - I hugged her (poor woman!! lol) :o) . carried on walking and found an unopened but rather dented can of Fosters lager which I brought home. I think it's still intact (rather than opened but frozen). The last time I thought I'd found a full can and was in for a free drink, half way home I discovered the carrier bag I'd put it in was filling up with lager and I was embarassingly leaving a trail dripping from the bag!! . . found 7p and a cheap and nasty childs like Italian gold bracelet on the way home . . . PCd and decided to bite the bullet and activate (by automated phone system) the fresh Windows XP and reinstal and activate all my software and data on the new 120gig hard drive, and move the old 40gig one over as the slave. .took ages and was the 'usual' battle with stuff crashing and such! . grabbed a quick corned beef and onion sandwiches and crisps for a late lunch while something or other was installing. Actually, things didn't go 'too' badly until I started to try and re-instal the anti virus software. Had to reinstall from the two year old CD I'd bought, only to then find that it appeared to have to go on line and actually download every single update there has ever been since then!!! I actually fell asleep for an hour or so while it was doing so, only to wake up and find it had crashed and failed!! :o( . . BB called . . . walked . . . figured I'd try turning the firewall off and make sure I updated the virus software scan engine first, so went on line and had another go at around 8:30pm. . TVd while the PC downloaded all the updates. Ate bowls of cornflakes with much sugar. . . the virus software FINALLY finished doing its thing and was all happily up and running at around 11:30pm!!!!! Jeeze - what a hassle. . kept on working away at tranferring stuff and setting up stuff until finally giving up at around 3am, 'nearly' there. ps
21 - Woken late by Sally around 9:30am. My feet tend to stick out of the bottom of the bed (and yes, on really cold days I DO wear socks to bed!) and Sally woke me by giving one a lick!! Brave dog. :o) . . . walked late and found 8p. Damn - missed the postman trying to deliver a packet that wont go through the letter box. Gotta wait 4 hours before I can pick it up at Kingswood post office. . returned Mums ansaphone call and touched base. Let her know I probably wasn't gonna be visiting until after Christmas - I just can't face the long drive and am not in the mood for 'visiting'. Feel guilty of course. . . spent the day PCing and eventually pretty much got everything up and working from the new drive. Finally swapped the drives on the cable and adjusted the jumpers and put the case back on. No going back now. Actually feels as though things are set up a little better than before and everything 'appears' to be running nicely. . celebrated by recording a cassette or two while cooking up a pizza for lunch . . left Sally at home and drove in the big traffic queues up to Kingswood. Miraculously managed to get a parking spot pretty quick in the free short stay car park. Rushed (limped!!) to the building society and deposited this months 50 savings bond win. Popped into Iceland and bought another four pizzas for a each. . picked up the packet at the post office. Weird - something posted to me from Scotland!?? DS had e-mailed me to say 'something' was on its way. MUST be something ordered by him. Figured I'd keep it until Christmas morning and have something to open. :o) . . . back to more PCing . . . napped for a couple of hours with the PC still running . . . walked and found 5p. A HUGE group of extremely rowdy and mostly drunk children (the police really should 'test' the local shops for selling to kids) were all rampaging around by the school (celebrating the end of term today I think). Actually quite intimidating despite their youth. Maybe I DON'T want to live in that house on the corner after all!! As I walked through the mayhem, a couple of the girls started shouting out about how I'd taken a photo of them the other night!!! Blimey - that sounds iffy!!! I couldn't help myself stopping in my tracks and going back up to them to correct them and explain that I hadn't taken a photo of them but HAD taken one of the idiots who'd smashed the school window, and I had e-mailed it to the school. As I turned and walked away, there was some abuse and then VERY loud shouting of "PEDOPHILE!" after me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was upsetting. VERY upsetting. Makes me scared. :o( . . the walk round the field was spoiled by that comment (and fantasies about being innocent but killed by a lynch mob!) and the knowledge I had to return past that mob. As I did so, one of the boys caught my eye and deliberately threw his beer can on the ground in front of me. Guess he's seen me picking up litter. Sally was embarassingly unnerved by the clatter as it hit the ground and kinda scooted forward as we walked, so I just reassured her and kept walking. Horrible. :o( . . . PCd music while TVing . . . ate a microwave curry, bags of crisps, bowl of cornflakes and jaffa cakes!! . . . BB called . . . PCd until early . . Checked my mail and looked at my guestbook before bed. Someone doing poetry!?? lol :o) To bed with a smile on my face around 2am. ps
22 - Woke around 8:30am and immediately turned the PC on. Uh oh - something isn't right!!! Half way through booting up, it rebooted and started over again!!??? Eventually got there so set a cassette playing and recording . . . walked in the strong wind and found 2p. Did litter duty and picked up a bunch of the beer cans from around the field. Was so busy picking up litter, Sally ran on ahead and 'did her business' without me noticing. One of the lady dog walkers actually poop scooped FOR me!! Blimey - that was good of her. Told her so - but refrained from any temptation to hug her - I mean, she may have been a bit poopy! lolol . Left Sally wallowing in muddy puddles and made my way out of the other side of the field to deposit my full carrier bag of litter in the public refuse bin that is there. Hang on - that's not right!? In the bin, just visible on top of all the rubbish was a handbag! Oh jeeze - someone been robbed? Forced my hand through the bin opening and fished around in the rubbish and managed to pull the handbag out and a very small amount of personal effects (bits of makeup mostly). Aha - hang on - groped in the muck a bit more and managed to grab what appeared to be a driving licence! It was - so I had a name and address. Dunno how the hell those bins are 'locked' shut, but try as I may, I could NOT get the thing open, so couldn't make sure I hadn't missed anything. VERY depressing to be picking some poor persons belongings out of a bin like that. Felt SO very sorry for whoever she was. :o( Detoured briefly because I was SURE that road was close by, but couldn't find it, so ended up heading home with the handbag. . Stolen handbag and personal effectsthere was a small book of phone numbers amongst the stuff and on the inside cover it said 'My Mobile' and a number. Gave it a call and left a message asking her to call my number (in the full knowledge that it was more than likely the phone had been stolen and if anyone heard the message, it was likely to be the thief!!) Dug out my A to Z and looked up the address on the driving licence. Damn - walked right past that road on the way home! Dug out the phone book and had a scan through and suprisingly quickly found a number for that address. Gave a call but no answer. . .PCd cassettes after having changed and saved the bios settings in the hope of correcting that weird double boot behaviour. . . .cooked up four sausages and a bunch of mushrooms in butter and ate them with four pieces of bread and butter for lunch. Tried calling the handbag phone number again and got an answer! Unfortunately sounded like a young kid - managed to kindof explain, although I don't think it sank in. He DID confirm they'd had a burglary. I asked when his Mum would be home and he said around five, so I said I'd drop what I had (which I warned had little value) in later. . .napped as the PC recorded cassettes - woke for long enough to set another tape going and then fell asleep again! Or did that happen a couple of times? I can't recall. It's all blurring into one long nightmarish chore!!. . . set a double cassette going and walked (after having tried to dry the damp handbag a little with the hairdryer). Found a penny. Found the house and returned the handbag and stuff to its rightful owner. Someone had broken in through a downstairs window on Monday night, and had grabbed her bag which she'd left there on the table. She pointed out where SOCO had been round and fingerprinted the window frame. (Oh yes - I remember that aluminium powder - hellish stuff to clean off as I recall!) Luckily neither her phone nor nothing much of value had been in the handbag (cept her purse and check book etc). I explained about the bin and suggested she send her son ( perhaps NOT the one I'd spoken to on the phone who she explained has learning diffculties!) to go empty out the bin and look for more stuff. I also asked her to inform the police of developments (although at no point did she ask for or did I give her my name or number! lol) She seemed more than happy to have just got her handbag back!? Ok, so it WAS an expensive looking suede, 'Maxx - New York' handbag, but - I dunno - she said it made her Christmas getting it back!! Ain't women weird?? :o) . . walked . . . PCd this . . .BB called . . .left the PC running all evening but TVd . . . ate bowls of cornflakes . . . PCd before bed around 2am. ps
23 - Woken by Sally at 8am . . . walked and found 3p . . .PCd music all day . .stopped late afternoon to cook up some chips. Had a huge plate full together with some chopped lettuce (finished it all up cause it was going brown!), tomatoes and onion, drenched in that weird rice vinegar stuff that's in the cupboard from when BB was here. Actually, turned out to be really very nice. . . napped . . .walked . . .BB called . . . PCd music until early. Couldn't face spending time in the kitchen and fended off my hunger with a bunch of biscuits. Actually - trying to type this three days later - I'll be damned if I can really remember anything about the day - they're all rolling into one long, dark winter of MP3ing 'work' chore!! :o( ps
24 - Up around 9am . . .walked and found a penny. . . LB popped in to pick up her guys present. I think it survived in the cold of the conservatory except for one leaf. A little chilli plant I think it was - with a handful of little red chillis hanging off it. Uhuh? . . Bits of straw packing all over the conservatory - again! :o( . . .touched base with Mum and suggested she should maybe watch the 'Shrek' film that was on TV later. Everyone who's seen it seems to think it's cool. At LAST it's on TV(no longer available in the local video hire store), and once I've seen it I'll be able to go rent the second one. . .popped a Christmas card through each of the neighbours' letterboxes , as usual . . . fried up four sausages, a handful of mushrooms and ate them with four pieces of bread and butter . . .PCd . . . the new next door neighbour called at the door to hand over a Christmas card, and to also give me a carrier bag!!?? I was horrified and couldn't help fearfully blurting out, "No, no, NO!!!! We Don't 'DO' presents!!!!!" She insisted on giving me the carrier bag, heavy with different types of chocolate bar and such like, from where she works. Blimey - that is a HUGE amount of Cadburys chocolate!!!! (2x200g bars of Dairy Milk Whole Nut. 13xfingers of fudge. 6xDouble Deckers with nuts. 2x100g packets of mini eggs. 14x26g toffee Curly Wurly bars. 14xcream eggs.)!!!!!!!! Cool. :o) Ate some chocolate - because I could! . . .napped for a couple of hours . . . walked a little early and managed to get back in time to sit down and watch the film, without interruption. Wow. WHAT a film. Found it impossible to actually just sit back and enjoy it for the cute nonsense it was. I was too overwhelmingly in awe of the amazingly incredible computer work that made it all possible. A masterpiece of its time. Just incredible. .ate (amongst other chocolatey things) a toffey Curly Wurly, and maybe did some damage to one of the 'loose' (bloody is now!) teeth the dentist recommended I should have had pulled out! :o( . . . phoned Mum once the film was over, to see what she'd made of it. Sis2 answered!!!!! Aha - so she WAS gonna do a 'surprise, surprise' thing on Mum. :o| It had apparantly been the longest ever journey from hell! All chatted for ages and eventually ended up getting off the phone rather worried about how strangely 'hyper' Sis2 was acting!! She was suggesting Mum and her should drive up to Bristol and drop in on everyone tomorrow - and make a picnic to have somewhere - and - and!!!?? Adrenaline, jet-lag, no sleep, and much caffeine maybe? I think, she is not 'well'. :o| . . . touched base with BB . . .TVd . . . ate the last of the browning lettuce as a plate of salad with four slices of bread and butter . . PCd music until around 4:30am!!! pass
25 - Woken by Sally before 8am. That isn't enough sleep!! . . BB called early to say Happy Christmas - said 'humbug!' in return . . . walked. Very quiet out, except for dog walkers. Sounds of excited kids on the way back and then radio controlled cars whizzing by down the road. I think maybe Sally wants one!! ("Sally NO! You do NOT chase radio controlled cars!!") . . .quickly vaccuumed around a little and cleared up the LB straw packing debris in the conservatory . . . opened the packet I'd been sent. It WAS from DS!!!! Bloody hell!!!!! He's sent me an MP3 player from Amazon!!! Bloody hell!!!!! SO small! . . . sat and read through the very confusing instruction manual (and couldn't help myself doing so in a very polite Japanese accent!! lol ) - "The power will be turned on when PLAY/PAUSE button is pressed momentarily. In 2 seconds, a glorious picture with blue backlight appears." "If you want to change playing repeat mode, please do it follow below:" "According to your needing, you can set different recording sample, the higher of the recording sample, the better of the voice quality." "Now you can record sounds from different way, such as you can record file from MIC, and line-In." . . . Mum called to say Happy Christmas. Sis2 was still sleeping off her trip, and Mum hadn't hardly slept so 'hopefully' they wont be driving up and around today! . . . experimented, learned and played with the MP3 player. Boy is that thing CLLLLEVER!!! :o) Sat in the freezing cold garden and conservatory for a while listening to Jimmy Hendrix on the player - because I could. :o) . . .PS called to say humbug stuff . . . PCd a bit of this but feeling oh SO tired . . .left the PC recording tapes and fried up a four sausage, handful of mushrooms, three eggs meal with four pieces of bread and butter. Mum called in the middle of me cooking to say it was snowing down there!! Finished cooking and ate before calling Mum and Sis2 back. Cut the call short because a program Mum had wanted to see, came on TV in front of me as we were talking . . . napped until woken by Sally around 7:15pm. . . walked in the freezing silvery moonlight . . .TVd and drank the can of lager I'd found over the field, and got a little tipsy . . . ate corned beef, mayo and onion sandwiches with two bags of crisps and then some chocolate and biscuits . . .BB called. . . TVd/PCd until around 3am. Actually treated myself to NOT 'working' at the digitising, and just sat back and messed around surfing and listening to tracks and bits of tracks. Even played at doing weird random searches of the media player database, just to see what tracks would be returned by the query. (Searching for 'Sally' returned:- 'Down By The Sally Gardens' by The Chieftains. 'Lay Down Sally' by Clapton. 'Be My Girl - Sally' by The Police. 'Universally Speaking' by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. 'Sally' by Sade. ) Funny. :o) The bigger the database of MP3 tracks - the more fun. :o) The sooner I get all this digitising cassettes 'work' done, the better - then I can move on to Sis1s CD collection - and maybe a couple of other peoples?!!. I'm strangely SO looking forward to being able to maybe share some of this with people, by passing around a hard drive maybe? VERY naughty thought, but - well - it's almost tempting to MP3 everything I can get my hands on from everywhere - buy me a bunch of big hard drives, copy it all, and then advertise them for sale at a huge mark up, as 'used' hard drives 'requires formatting to comply with copyright laws'. Tut tut! pdss
26 - Woken by Sally around 8:15am . . . walked in the ice . . . Just another hard day in the 'music factory'!! PCd the day away again . . . ate pepperoni pizza with extra onion and cheese . . . left the stereo and PC running and napped for a couple of hours until around 4:45pm. Dreamed about the software I 'm using to record and split all of these tapes! I think I must be over doing it a bit. . PCd . . . walked - on ice in moonlight . . . good grief - WHAT a terrible TV schedule tonight!!! I haven't seen such an awful schedule of rubbish for ages, let alone on boxing day of all days! Who makes up the program schedules? Who in their right mind would imagine half the country would want to be watching a two hour plus documentary program all about the life of Ronald Reagan on boxing day??!! Duuhhh!! :o( . . PCd the rest of the day away without the TV on in disgust. . . PCd this . . . BB called . . . PCd music until early. Much of Asia died this day!! pas
27 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am . . . walked in the ice and frost and found 2p. . .set cassettes recording on the PC and then dug the step ladder out of the understairs cupboard and climbed up into the attic. Found them. I thought I had some more cassettes stashed up there somewhere - not that I want anymore to have to record!!! . . . ate two sausages and chips . . . napped . . . oh for goodness sake! That Ronald Reagan documentary is a two parter, so there is another couple of hours of it on today!!! Ended up sat watching the news in much horror. . . BB called . . . paused between cassettes and plugged in the MP3 player and quickly loaded an arbitrary album onto it. Walked with the MP3 player for the first time. I have to confess I'm rather uncomfortable walking around kinda like I'm deaf. I like to be able to hear what mayhem is happening nearby, and who may be coming up behind me!! Funny how much I don't look and simply rely on my ears when I cross the local roads, too. Having said all that, it really was a bit of a treat to be able to walk round the field listening to music. Turned out the album I'd loaded up was the soundtrack to the film American Graffiti. :o) Ended up having fun changing lyrics as I trudged through the mud. "We're gonna poop around the clock tonight"; "Yes - I'm the great poop scooper"; "Dog doo doo, number nine" etc, etc. Silly but fun. Weird how the right music 'can' elevate your mood sometimes. When the horrible chore of MP3ing all these casseettes is done, I'm gonna have to experiment with my own choice of custom playlists to fit different moods. :o) Found a penny. . .PS popped round bearing some mince pies . . ate corned beef sandwiches with crisps, mince pies and biscuits. . . PCd until near 4am. pas
28 - Woke around 8:30am . . . walked and found a penny . . . recorded cassettes on the PC all day . . .LB called to confirm I'd 'do the cats' around new year. Oh whoopee! :o( . . . ate corned beef mayo and onion sandwiches with two bags of crisps for lunch . . . napped until before 5pm . . . spent a crazy amount of time trying to set up the FM radio presets on the MP3 player, in the abscence of proper instructions. Sussed it in the end. . walked listening to the radio but somehow pressed the wrong button (or the right button but for too long) and somehow went into an automated station search and succeeded in wiping out all the presets I'd just set up!! Grrr. . . BB called . . . PCd the day away until early - again. Felt very down today - perhaps overwhelmed by the amount of 'unhappiness' that seems to be all around (Sis2 and BBs 'stuff' - and) all the overwhelming horror on the news about the asian tsunami. I cannot comprehend, that many peoples lives just washed away in a moment. :o( ps
29 - Woken by Sally . . . walked and found 2p . . . recorded cassettes on the PC all day . . . touched base with Mum and Sis2 to see what they'd been up to. They were planning to drive up and would see me later. . . cooked two sausages and chips for lunch . . .watched a bit of the Star Wars film showing on TV. What was it OB1 said when Princess Leya's home planet was destroyed byu the death star? Something like "It felt like there was a big disturbance in the force. Like millions of voices cried out in pain and fear, and then were silenced." Uncomfortably poignant!!! :o( . . . washed dishes, vacuumed and tidied up just a little . . . BB called . . . couldn't help myself laying down to nap for a while. Not long after falling asleep, Mum and Sis2 arrived. Mum had brought the big pack of ham and some bacon she'd bought for Sally and I 'in case' I came down over Christmas!! <guilt> Chats for a while. Mum handed me a Christmas gift!! But we don't do gifts!!!!! A box of expensive Belgian coffee chocolates and 100!!!! Cool. Thank you. Even Sis2 produced a gift from somewhere!!!! A black sheet metal sillouette candle holder in the shape of scrooge - which she'd bought for me years ago and thought was appropriate. Given her circumstances and all the stuff she's just been through, seemed inexplicable to me that she'd bothered to carry such a thing all the way here! Ummm - thank you. It'll end up in the seldom opened suitcase of Christmas decorations (mostly nonsense given to me by Sis2 over the years!!) that I've got stored in the attic. Clutter. .didn't even manage to persuade Mum/Sis2 to stop for a tea/coffee. Sis2 seemed eager to get going and find somewhere to eat and then a hotel to stay in overnight!!?? I wasn't really in the mood to be going anywhere to eat, and the mere mention of maybe finding 'a pub' somewhere clinched it. No thanks - not for me. I got rather wound up when Sis2 couldn't decide what she was gonna do about the hire car - apparently it was scheduled to be returned to somewhere in Bristol tomorrow afternoon (unless she extended the rental - but it was costing around 100 per day!!!!!!). It probably showed that I really didn't want to have the hassle, but I said I was available with the car should they need me, and I'd drive them both back to Brixham tomorrow if they wanted. Sis2 couldn't decide, but did decide to get straight back out on the road with Mum and head for a hotel in town!! Poor Mum. I'm pretty damn sure she doesn't want to be dragged into doing all this. It is a terrible sad admission, but I do have to admit, Mum and I are more alike than I care to say - and even more so, now she's living on her own without Dad! I KNOW she doesn't want to be doing all this chaotic running around. . I popped out into the cold drizzle to see the fancy Mercedes hire car, tell them to call me later, and to wave them off. It was such a relief to get back inside, in the warm and comfort of my own home, away from running about craziness. Poor Mum. . walked in the lightest hint of drizzle. Well, after a few quiet nights, it seems as though all the yobs are back out on the streets causing mayhem. BIG bunch near the shops, kicking a football at the end shop metal shutters and unprotected windows above! :o( . . . TVd waiting for the phone to ring. Mum and Sis2 eventually called on the mobile. They'd checked into the Marriot hotel in town, had eaten a nice meal, and were all exhausted watching TV in their double room (100 + for the night!) Blimey - how has Sis2 got that sort of (Mums?) money to burn?! Oh well. . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd/PCd until the early hours again. ps
30 - Woke around 8:45am, just before Sally came up to wake me . . . walked and found 3p and a lighter. Someone had stolen a box of magazines from a local store and dumped them near the top entrance to the field behind a hedge again, so I helped myself to a 'Venue', the local whats on magazine! Should have taken it all back to the store really, but I'm tired - particularly tired of of having to clear up after peanut brained yobs and thieves. :o( . . . PCd this but felt oh SO tired and ended up putting some cassettes on to record while I snoozed. . Sis1 called to ask what was going on with Mum and Sis2. Told her what I knew . . . woke here and there to cue up more cassettes, only to lay back down and snooze some more. . .got up around 1:30pm and made big sandwiches with the ham Mum'd left for Sally - lots of ham (gently warmed in the microwave), six pieces of bread and butter and bags of crisps and then some biscuits! . . . called Sis1 to ask if she'd heard anything from Sis2. She had - Sis2'd just called, she'd returned the hire car and Sis1 was gonna go pick her up and spend the rest of the day with her and she'd be going back down to Mums on the bus tomorrow. That's me 'off the hook' then. :o) . . .slept some more . . . Sis1 called to say she'd picked up Sis2 and mum had given them some money for us to all go out for a meal. I said I wasn't in the mood to be going out and told them to carry on and enjoy it . . . carried on like this morning and somehow ended up more or less sleeping the whole day away until around 6:30pm!!!! . . . LB called to remind me about the cat feeding as from tomorrow night . . . touched base with Mum to make sure she was back home safe and sound. She was - and as I'd suspected, was very pleased to be there and wasn't 'up' for all that crazy running around that Sis2 seems to want to do. . . walked past the herd of drinking, bottle smashing kids. How utterly, UTTERLY repulsive their behaviour seems after having watched all the horrors on the news. :o( Had to go for milk so ended up carrying the cardboard box and the few magazines that were left dumped in the field, back to the store. Apparantly it'd been stolen from their industrial bin which didn't have a lock on it! Why do they throw away magazines that are still in date? Almost tempting to have a look in their bin from time to time myself!! . very mild out for the time of year all of a sudden. Too warm for hat and gloves. Actually quite pleasant sat on the seat over the field for a cigarette. A thermal hat was laying on the grass by the swings - of the type I have taken to wearing when it's cold enough. Ominously, two eye holes had been cut in the fabric of the turn up!!! Put it in the bin . . .gosh I feel SO much better for having 'slept my fill' . . . BB called . . .ate the last of the ham in more sandwiches with crisps and then some chocolate. . . TVd/PCd until around 3am, deliberately NOT watching the news! Ate bowls of cornflakes before bed. ps
31 - Woken by Sally climbing up on top of me around 8:30am. . . walked and found 5p amongst all the broken bottles from the kids last night, strewn across - well - everywhere really!! . . .PCd cassettes . . . PCd this - at last! . . .discovered the local free newspaper dumped on the doorstep again, rather than actually posted through the letter box!? It was all damp and bits of it were blowing around the garden or missing altogether!! Really annoying. I wonder if the kid who delivers them has taken to doing that cause he or she is afraid of Sally barking? Whatever the reason - it ain't right and has to stop! Tried ringing the paper distribution department 'to have a go', but they said to ring back on the 4th!! . . . PCd music all day . . .ate - um - something - can't remember what! . . . napped . . . walked and found 15p . . .fed LBs animals. Usual unpleasantness where they haven't been cleaned out for ages! Stench! :o( Covering the rabbits over for the night, the tarpaulin flicked 'water' (I hope!!) all over my head and face! Eeeewwww!! Eeeewwww!! . . . cut my hair, trimmed my beard etc. showered and got clean . . touched base with BB . . . smoked/PCd/TVd until midnight. TVd - Seemed appropriate that the festivities were held with the asian disaster in mind and a two minutes silence was observed before midnight. :o| Sat on the wall in the front garden just after the stroke of midnight and listened to all the noise and mayhem all around. Sally was just a 'little' nervous but handled it all really well. Someone just down the road opposite was letting off a whole bunch of fireworks. Big ones. Must have been expensive. Actually ended up being like my own personal display, right in front of me. Pretty cool. . . BB called . . .big impressive fireworks on TV, centred on the London Eye wheel! One of the most impressive displays I've ever seen! . . . called Mum Sis2 to bid happy new year. . . was still looking for something to watch on the TV at 3am! psss
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