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27/02/2004
[11:10] Half day, and end of the working month. Hurrah, pay has come in, money for the ball eighteen of us are going to (which I paid for) has come back to me and I've managed to pay others back half of the money I owe them. Doing it now means that if I can't manage anything else for a while it won't be as big a shock to the system when I have to pay them the rest back later.

I've not really got a whole lot I can do this morning to be honest. I can't start anything big because I'm out of here at 13:00. I think I'll just tidy the place and let people know I won't be here.

[11:25] You know, since I upgraded zlib from 1.1.4 to 1.2.1 and OpenSSL from 0.9.6d to 0.9.7c I think my SSH connections have speeded up. Surely not.

26/02/2004
[12:30] The PFY's learning about everything I did yesterday with the antivirus stuff at the moment. As an added wrinkle it looks like there's a version of Enterprise 7.1 now available for us to download from Central now. I think I'm going to get settled with 7.0 first and then see about upgrading after that.

Cormac's coming over this evening before the Thursday: thing to take me to Homebase/B&Q to get some pegboard for the bed which hopefully should be arriving on Friday afternoon.

[16:25] It feels like a Friday here for some reason. Maybe it's because I've spent the last few hours nursing some very old and slow machines through a zlib/OpenSSL/OpenSSH upgrade and it involves lots of sitting around and not doing very much. I'm still waiting for the PFY to finish looking at the changes I've made to the antivirus situation so she's on the same page as me, as it were.

25/02/2004
[12:20] Stuff to do today. A new laptop (Dell D600) has come in so I'm setting that up with W2K as I still don't like XP. It's got Centrino wireless in it but I'm switching that off for the time being as it'll just confuse the user it's destined for. I have some maps to scan in for someone's PowerPoint presentation and then there's the little things which get to you every day to be dealt with.

I was late in this morning because someone from the water board came round to make sure they could install a water meter in anything up to four weeks from now. This kind of neatly ties in with the plumber who let me know this morning that he should be able to fit my new shower and extractor fan some time in the first week of March, I hope.

[18:25] Bah. You do some sample roll-outs of McAfee Enterprise 7.0 via ePO 2.5.1 and it all seems to be fine and you feel good, and happy and smug and then you log off the machines and you get that damned Userenv error again just when you thought you were rid of it. What is it with Windows, Windows software and being crap?

On the up side I made Elaine smile even when I wasn't there, so things are a lot better than otherwise.

24/02/2004
[25/02/2004 - 12:00] So I was on strike yesterday. We got letters yesterday telling us to inform the Administration if we were striking so we could have our pay docked. I've decided to use the day as a day off rather than getting pay docked, and I've come in today instead of striking again. It makes sense really because it'll mean less to clean up tomorrow. I've also got a bed arriving on Friday afternoon so it's better to be in now and take then off.

Anyway, the day was busy, even though it started with a sleep in. Once I was up and about I cycled into town with my panniers on and went to one department store, then across town to another three, then a fourth, then back across town to one more and then back to one of the previous ones. All this in the cold, rain and windy. All this for a king-size duvet cover in 100% cotton in a colour to go with the colour I want to paint the master bedroom.

Once I had something in burgundy (A matching set of everything) I headed to Sainsburys for some food. Rucksack and panniers bulging I eventually made it home and warmed up with some fresh pasta. After a few hours of Star Trek I cycled through the gathering gloom to Shaun and Linda's for some extreme pancake action. Soup and toast prepared the stomach for at least ten pancakes filled with maple syrup, chocolate icecream and the standard lemon and sugar. I make a mean pancake if I say so myself and I'm very glad I was invited over to eat, give company and help flip a few pancakes.

23/02/2004
[12:00] My Play TV Box II arrived from Jaid Technology this morning. While I haven't checked it, it does power on. I'll be playing with it tonight and probably tomorrow when I'm on strike. That's right, tomorrow I'm going on official strike for the first time in my life. It's over pay conditions and is a nation-wide union thing (I think that's hyphenated). Kind of useful really as it allows me to do some shopping while everyone else is at work.

Elaine and I painted the second bedroom this weekend. I thought it would take ages, but it didn't and we were easily finished by Sunday morning. We had time to get more paint, rip up some carpet where there were tiles underneath and paint those with eggshell as well. All in all it was a very successful weekend and we got a lot out of it. We also had time for a good talk to figure some things out as well as rejoicing in the fact that her eyesight seems to be on the mend a little. We're still hoping to get an MRI scan while she's still 'afflicted' so we can see what's happening, but we may have to pay to have that happen sooner rather than later. Frankly I don't care about the costs, we just want to know what's happening so we can work out what happens next.

[15:30] I feel useful again. Just been puzzling over adding people to the passwd file which controls SFTP access to our NT 4 server. We couldn't add people by using the mkpasswd command direct from the adduser .cmd file as mkpasswd didn't like %-substitution. I had the idea of rewriting the while passwd file every time (not that bad, really). The problem was that this created incorrect entries in the passwd file due to users having shares as their home directories and the cygwin components of the OpenSSH installation needing something else. Plus there were some problems with using the 'switch' shell which I changed to /usr/bin/sftp-server. In an effort to stop from having to search and replace everything by hand in notepad (dog slow) I found munge.exe from the NT Resource Kit. This seemed to do exactly what I wanted except that it was failing for some odd reason at points in the passwd file. We quickly tracked this down to users with apostrophes in their names (O'Malley, d'Abrera, etc.). Judicious use of the -l flag solved that and now we have the ability to create a user who gains a home directory, login batch file, printer account balance and now SFTP access 'chrooted' (not really) to their home directory. It's all good.

20/02/2004
[12:15] Funny how working for the morning can make the time speed by. I thought it was only about 10:00. I didn't sleep too well last night. I guess it's what happens when you don't have a proper bed for the two of you to sleep in, you're worried and you aren't able as yet to spend much time together to get used to being in the same place over night.

Anyway, it being a school night last night won't have helped. Tonight will be a bit more relaxed. I'm looking forward to lunch in town with Elaine and then coming home to someone this evening and some good food. Oh, there's bacon and eggs tomorrow morning too. We may do some painting this weekend too.

19/02/2004
[16:10] It was pretty good at the wall last night. Cold, but good. I did some reasonable climbs that I've not tried before and consolidated some that I had. When I got back I installed the wireless keyboard and mouse in the kitchen and had a bit of fun with controlling Winamp from across the room before Elaine rang. We were on the phone for a while before we decided it was time for bed. As a result I was quite tired this morning but I slept fairly well.

I didn't get to work quite on time but that didn't really matter.

[16:15] Today I've kind of solved the mystery of the machines that wouldn't AutoAdminLogon and I think these three boxes are finally ready to be shipped out of the office.

18/02/2004
[17:00] Very quiet day today. The highlight was probably someone coming in and asking me to order a PC, modem and laptop. I've managed to get a Dell Optiplex SX270 USFF, Dell Latitude D600 and a 3Com USB modem for around £2500 which I consider to be a fairly good achievement. Some of it should arrive tomorrow and the rest in a week or so.

Didn't go climbing last night so will be heading off tonight. Some good news; Elaine's going to be coming back this weekend and hopefully we're going to be doing some painting! I'll try to track down some sheets to put on the carpet (not that I care about them that much) and we'll pop out for some paint, rollers, trays and paint brushes. With luck we'll also be going to see Joe Simpson's 'Touching the Void' at the cinema too. I've read the book and am quite looking forward to seeing how they translate it to the screen.

[17:15] Time to go home now, anyway.

17/02/2004
[13:30] I'm back at work today so I'll tell you about the weekend rather than diluting yesterday's entry. Elaine turned up on the Friday with the biggest smile on her face I've seen in quite some time. Immediately I was in a great mood and while she caught the bus home I cycled home at a reasonable pace, put the bike away and walked to the bus stop in perfect timing to meet Elaine off the bus. While Elaine wasn't too hungry I had some more of the lasagne that was home made in the house last week before we headed to bed. I say bed, I mean the futon in the lounge.

Saturday was spent having a damned good relax in preparation for the evening's festivities. We spent some time tidying the house as well as having a spot of lunch later on. In an effort to get some fresh air we wandered up past a bed shop I'd been in to once before and started trying out mattresses after seeing a bed frame that might do. After fifteen minutes I found myself buying a bed and arranging for delivery in the next two weeks, which is nice. I just have to work out what I do about the bedroom before it arrives. Do I clear it and take up the carpet? Do I remove the fitted wardrobe?

Anyway, towards the evening people began to arrive so we sent Elaine out with Steph to get her out of the way while we hoiked out the helium Cormac had secreted in the garage and began to blow up balloons. I'd bought bluetak and string to put the balloons up but suddenly realised that they were going to keep themselves up because they were filled with helium.

Pressganging Linda and Shaun into helping me with the balloons we had everything up and done by the time Elaine and Steph got back with the icecream Cormac had 'forgotten'. While Dunk, Liz, Linda, Steph, Shaun and Tom relaxed and chatted in the lounge Cormac and I (with assistance now and then from the others) prepared the food. This was the first large-scale use of the place since I'd arrived and with MP3s piped down from upstairs to the kitchen machine and smoke and flames and hot fat in my face Cormac cooked up some delicious blackened chicken with a honey glaze, tons of vegetables, roast potatoes, stuffed peppers and all kinds of finger foods. The food was stunning, the company tremendous and the smile on Elaine's face throughout the evening a beautiful sight to behold. After the food there was much amusement with the helium (Not to mention the singing during food preparation) followed by balloon creations, high-stakes Jenga and general merriment and laughter. I haven't seen some of the people there that happy for a while and knowing that they were here to celebrate Elaine's birthday was a great.

Eventually it was time for people to go and people toddled off. Dunk and Liz stayed the night and headed off in the morning leaving us to socialise with Andrea who turned up after a netball match nearby. We all caught up on what'd been happening in people's lives and as Andrea was about to leave we got a call from Julian asking if we wanted brunch. Deciding yes we tootled down to a Beefeater and ate a lot of beef and accompaniments before Gary arrived with his Ferrari. Standing round it like schoolchildren we watched him try to get it out of the car park without causing another £19,000-worth of damage to it.

Back home we prepared to leave for Sheffield but Elaine was so tired she needed to have a rest. I left her to fall asleep and did some more of the washing up. By five o'clock we were thinking of leaving and took the bus, trains and another bus back to Sheffield. Both now completely shattered we had a shower each and then fell into bed which is where yesterday's entry takes over, if you get me.

Today has been mundane. I got up fairly quickly and was in work on time but have been thinking about Elaine all morning (in a good way). I've still managed to get back on top of work and reduced my inbox to less than fifty messages. This afternoon I've got someone coming in to swap a monitor I thought was working for a graphics card.

[15:10] Bah. The monitor worked perfectly and it's his laptop/power supply that's at fault. So I get to keep the graphics card and will eventually put it in a box when I get one that merits it.

[18:40] I've stuck myself with reinstalling a laptop for the hell of it at the moment. I could go home, I should go home, I haven't gone home. But I will, soon. Just as soon as I've put this last set of hitfixes on. Promise.

16/02/2004
[17/02/2004 - 12:35] I was in Sheffield today for Elaine's appointment. We travelled back on Sunday evening after a wonderful weekend (more on that in tomorrow's entry) and went almost straight to bed. In the morning I was so tired from the previous twenty four hours or so that I really couldn't get up. I think I'd been a little drained by it all. I was damned if I wasn't going to be there for Elaine though so here I was.

Elaine toddled in to work for the morning while I did some clearing up, put away some crockery, that kind of thing. Around 11:00 I headed in and we met up at her workplace in town. After grabbing some food from Greggs (including a chocolate eclair each, well you never know how long you're going to be waiting) we walked up to the hospital and took the lift up to Floor M (Neurology). Reporting to the Nurse's Station we were told to take a seat and were stunned by the great view from the window in the waiting room. Reading Cosmopolitan and laughing at the sex tips we didn't really mind that the consultant was late.

When he came to meet us he was a tall friendly looking man with grey hair. We went into a quite large room and he asked Elaine all kinds of questions about her health, medical history and symptoms. After a fairly complete examination of her eyes, nerves, and response to pressure, touch, etc. we sat down to talk about what could be wrong.

Obviously it's Optic Neuritis. As yet the cause is unknown. The doctor talked a lot about the possibility of Multiple Sclerosis developing later in life and how that might cause a rescheduling of lifestyle changing decisions. It was all rather unreal to be honest. These are the kind of adult decisions you don't normally need to take this early in life and in a relationship but we may need to think about them if the absolute worst happens (which isn't likely).

I'm a little frightened by the responsibility that could become mine later in life and the kind of things I may need to do. However I'm determined to deal with what we currently know, rather than what (in the worst case) could happen. Elaine's quite fit and healthy (a little run down and stressed, but who isn't?) and she eats reasonably well so the chances of things being difficult aren't too high. Dealing with your partner possibly developing a life-changing illness isn't something I considered more than once or twice in my last relationship. This time around it's real and I'm damned if I'm not going to be equal to the responsibility. I'm not bailing out yet, I like her too much.

If Elaine can deal with the worry when it's her body then there's no way I can't think about being around to help and support her. I just hope we're both there for each other when we need a little more.

Once the examination and the talking was over we were given eight separate blood test slips and headed down to the blood test area to take a ticket and wait to be called. That didn't take long and we were soon out of the hospital (after a little bit of time to hug and generally take stock).

We walked back into town hand-in-hand and did some vague shopping before going to M&S for some food before I had to head off to the train station.

We made some food back at the house and then took the bus to the station. The train journey home was reasonably uneventful and I had a book as well as the iPod so I was fine. Back at home I just went straight to bed.

13/02/2004
[13:50] Again I've missed the opportunity to go out and get some plates. I'll have to see if I can get some this afternoon by leaving early. It is Friday after all. I'm also going to need to get hold of some string and blue-tak too.

The day's been very very dull. I've been answering Fotopic support emails all day as well as resurrecting old monitors to swap for graphics adapters. If nothing else it's something that takes up less volume. I'm all for cutting back on the amount of stuff I have and the amount of room it takes up.

Elaine's on her way down tonight for a weekend of celebratory relaxation and general getting-away-from-it-all-for-a-bit type deal.

[17:30] Just been out to go to Tesco with Cormac to pick up some plates and odds and sods for the weekend. We then went to my house to drop off the stuff he'll be using to cook with tomorrow. I've hidden it in the cupboards so Elaine doesn't find it. I think she still assumes we're going out for a meal. Cormac's brought over some helium for the balloons and for making voices go funny and I've got some string and blue-tak.

I've also decided that if she wants me to I'm going back to Sheffield with Elaine on Sunday so that I can be around for her appointment on Monday. Depending on how things go I'll either come home on Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Probably Tuesday morning. I'll fill you in on stuff maybe on Tuesday. Depending on how things go.

12/02/2004
[12:40] The glaziers were round this morning. I got to sleep in slightly and then wait for them to turn up. Which, to their credit, they did on time. After showing them all of the windows which didn't close properly in terms of compressing the black seal (they're PVC abominations) they were shown the worst window in bedroom two. After some inspection they stated that there was some trim and sealant missing from the outside and after further inspection that the brickwork was cracked in places and that the water that I'd seen coming in was from the fact that someone had tried to seal the cracks previously rather than repointing and the water had run down the inside of the outer skin, collected on top of the window frame and then run in through the plaster. This means at some point I'm going to have to repoint the brickwork. For the moment he's sealed round the window with new sealant and resealed the brickwork with something a bit better. Nice of him.

On the way in to work I stopped off at Julian's to borrow on long term loan with option to buy a pair of DigiSenders. Once I have my PlayTV Box of some description I'll be able to try them out.

[16:40] It's been a very surprising afternoon. Someone's laptop died and I was asked to install all his devices on the desktop machine here. Fearing the worst I installed a USB hub, a USB printer, Zip750, scanner and CD-RW all without any errors or problems. I also installed all the ancilliary software and even made it look tidy, all without any problems. I'm shocked. Still, coming back to the office I found various minor problems to take the shine off the event.

[17:30] Home time now. I'm sure there was something I intended to do today, but I... plates! Damnit. I need some plates.

11/02/2004
[09:40] It looks like the second GP Elaine went to see at her practice seems to be a whole lot better than the first one she saw. He knocked his guts out yesterday ringing round a whole load of people trying to get some joy and apologised that even he, as a doctor, wasn't getting anywhere. Anyway, it like we have some joy in the shape of an appointment with a neurologist on Monday. Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end of the worries we have about all of this.

[11:10] Microsoft released more patches recently. I've been dashing round the machines in the building which need someone with administrative rights to log in to to make sure the patches take on reboot. I'll be doing the other ones over night tonight. Servers I may do by hand this evening.

[16:35] Nothing much been happening this afternoon. I've caught up on email and been whittling down the number of places to get a PlayTV Box (II) from. I'm off home soon to do some tidying, get some washing up done and basically try to get the last of the unpacking done. I may even do something to the house.

10/02/2004
[10:50] Happy Birthday Elaine! She's reached another milestone and apart from the obvious seems to be doing rather well. I'm very pleased to report that she was happily making cakes for her work colleagues last night and after another visit to her GP this morning she's gone into work with chocolate brownies and lemon drizzle cake. Lucky people. I can't wait to see her this weekend and show her how we celebrate birthdays around here. I've got her present and card standing by and there are a few people who'll be coming to see her who'll make the day go with a bit of a swing.

At work I've been clearing up after what seems like a bit of a Day for the PFY here. I feel a bit embarrassed for leaving her in the shit on a Monday but there was no way I was leaving Elaine on her own when there were things to do there. The new custodial staff here continue to disendear themselves to all and sundry and we're not entirely sure they'll be kept on past the three month probationary period. I have some cheques to pay in at lunch time and a few machines to footle with before I can claim the week's under control. The AV settings seem to be doing their job pretty well so other than that we have a moderate status quo.

A little UPS has arrived for the door control PC downstairs so I'll stick that in later. I've also got some addresses to ring up and change, including the one the Inland Revenue have as they've sent me another tax code.

[11:10] Right, Inland Revenue sorted, quotes scanned and emailed to brother. All I have to do today non-work wise is pay in some cheques. And go climbing this evening.

[17:40] I've installed a printer, done some other small bits of work and basically had a go a trying to relax a little. I think I really need to climb this evening. I've also been looking for places to by something called a PlayTV Box. It comes in two flavours (old and new) with part numbers PV-TV102+ and 302+ (could be PV-STV) and is made by Prolink. I'm after prices in the UK. If you can find anywhere then I'd appreciate an email with some details. Thanks.

09/02/2004
[10/02/2004 - 10:40] We woke up and decided that today was the day we'd get some satisfaction from the NHS et al. No such luck. We spent about an hour trying to ring people to get some kind of information on when Elaine could get a consult from the opthalmologist and neurologist. Nothing doing. In the end we decided it was best if I headed back home and she went in to work to prove that she actually does want a job and also to tell them what's happening.

The train journey home was uneventful but tiring and having to get a bus home rather than just a fifteen minute walk from the station is annoying. Still, once I was home I could relax, deal with the mountain of paperwork I still have to deal with and open the collected post from the last few days I've been away. My cheque from the surveyors has arrived, which is nice. I'll pay that in tomorrow. I had a 'couldn't stick something through your letterbox' note from the post office so I went down to the sorting office and found out it was my contact lenses, wrapped up in a padded envelope containing my gratis T-shirt from The Register. Writing Word Macro Viruses is now available for purchase. So buy one. Either way, had they been separated they could have fitted easily, thus not necessitating me a cycle ride right across town to pick them up. I better not have to do this once a month or I'm going to get rather peeved.

Cormac and Steph came over in the evening to cook a lasagne (following a trip to Tesco) which turned out rather well and has left me with dinners for the next three nights. Marvellous.

08/02/2004
[17:00] It's Sunday and while I don't normally do weekend entries I figure that this weekend is rather more important in the scheme of things than normal. We went to the hospital on Saturday but the only place open was the nurse-run walk-in centre. They weren't able to help us at all and left us feeling like we had nothing to really act upon. All we can do is ring the ophthalmologist on Monday and make sure we get an appointment to rule out some of the worries I've begun to have based on the information I've found on the web in the past forty-eight hours. The best information to come to light comes from the fount of all sensible knowledge, my mum: http://www.rcophth.ac.uk/publications/focus25.html.

There's nothing else I can do for the moment except provide the support I can for Elaine and this will mean I'm staying in Sheffield as long as I'm needed. I guess this may mean I go home on Monday evening (missing a meeting) but this is far more important than anything else in my life at the moment.

06/02/2004
[08/02/2004 - 16:55] I headed over to Sheffield early this morning and met up with Elaine at lunch time. The sight in her left eye had now faded quite badly and was rather worrying to us both. After a lunch in town I headed back to the flat and Elaine back to work. I spent some time tidying the place before she got home, as well as checking that work hadn't fallen apart without me there for the day.

The evening was spent talking about what's happening to Elaine and working out what we'd be doing over the weekend. I'm worried by everything that we've been reading.

05/02/2004
[09:05] Well, it looks like I dodged the bullet on last night's role-call of problems. Apparently both LCD projectors were safely locked away (I thought they must be). None of the servers seems to have died doing an upgrade overnight and all of the workstations seem fine too. I guess we'll see what happens when more people get in.

[11:35] Looks like everything seems to be reasonably OK. Which is nice. The problem is that I'm shattered today and also quite worried about someone. They've gone to 'eye casuality' and I'm expecting a report back soon. I dearly hope nothing's wrong that can't be fixed.

[16:45] Right, well owing to one thing and another I'm taking the whole of tomorrow off and travelling to Sheffield in the morning to see Elaine. I've spent what amounts to an extra day at work already this week so I'm leaving early for the weekend.

04/02/2004
[15:45] Another day where I've been rushed off my feet all day. This morning I was fine-tuning the AV software to make sure that viruses didn't bugger up the downloading of email. Once that was done I had to go around and track down all the email which had come in which was MIA. That took a while.

Once that was 'under control'ish I started on dealing with the futzed PC with the dodgey CPU. I got a call from the Dell courier who was, of course, lost. In the end I had to run down to him with the buggered CPU in my hand and take the new one from him. I've got that machine and the other two doing soak-tests again now. I reghosted the odd one to make sure any problems that the CPU may have imparted to the OS have been removed. Currently (touch wood) seems fine.

I have all kinds of things I need to be doing here but I've become embroiled in a bid by the new custodian to empty the basement of cruft and it's driving me up the wall. I went climbing last night for the first time in ages and I think it wore me out slightly more than I was expecting. I've decided not to go this evening and instead will be doing some more unpacking.

[17:10] Great, there are two LCD projectors missing that I can't find anywhere. I hope...

[17:12] Powercut. On UPS.

[17:19] Mains power restored.

[18:15] Am spending time scheduling some Windows updates for tomorrow morning. This involves me going round and turning back on the PCs that didn't come back after the power cut. It also means that I have to spend some time working out what to do when and which patches don't need doing/can't be done on this OS image. Frankly I'm rather tired and feeling a bit put upon. I don't really have any spare time to think about anything else, so I really hope the upcoming weekend is everything I want it to be.

03/02/2004
[12:45] I don't feel like I've achieved anything this morning. From the off MyDoom has been causing a continual drain on my time and effort and that, coupled with Virus Scan (NetShield 4.5.0) and Eudora is causing me monster amounts of antagonism.

On the plus side Elaine's new DSL router/modem should be arriving today at some point so she'll be back on the net again. I've also ordered a new CPU for that dodgy machine (still in warranty, luckily) which will enable me to get them out of the door finally. Only a year or so late.

I don't think we've sorted the virus problem here in terms of Eudora woes. We can't really get a handle on it until something else comes down the pipe though.

[15:10] And now I've pissed off someone who's already feeling low, I have a machine so full of viruses they're getting in each others way in making the machine slow down and I just feel rushed off my feet. I've also got to deploy the new Internet Explorer patch at some point and I'm going climbing this evening, probably. Sometimes it's hard to hold it all together. Especially when there's someone I want to be there for too.

[16:40] Just cleaned nine viruses, three trojans and the old explorer.exe-is-actually-vncserver hidden in the Fonts directory from a PC. It's also W2K Pro and on SP2 with no hotfixes whatsoever. Something of a challenge cleaning it up. But this is what they pay me the big bucks for.

Or not.

02/02/2004
[11:00] A very full weekend this one. Elaine's at home for once and is spending some time recouperating from things. On Saturday I woke up to winds and rain and the sound of dripping. Water was coming in through the plaster around the top of the main window in bedroom two. Not great. I called Shaun who was coming over with Linda and Tom anyway to put up my Masterplan Whiteboard in the kitchen and he packed some sealant and a light to look up in the loft. When he arrived he took a look and we noticed that some of the windows also didn't close quite properly and press against the black seals. I dug out my guarantee for the windows and realises they were still within the ten year period. I called them this morning and someone's coming out a week on Thursday.

We drilled and screwed up the whiteboard before heading up into the loft where we found that the insulation was bad to missing in most places and could really do with being redone from scratch. We also found that the extractor fan for the bathroom vented straight into the loftspace. Not great. I think I'm going to have to have a hole knocked in the bathroom wall than try to vent properly through the loft. The rest of it needs boarding, the water tank needs relagging and there's a whole load of cruft that needs removing. Fun fun fun.

In the afternoon we all went back to Shaun and Linda's where I helped move a filing cabinet upstairs and spent some time looking after Tom. Oddly I quite enjoyed it. Maybe this whole children thing is something I can get used to with a bit more time. Shaun dropped me and the first parts of a really very nice double futon back later on in the evening after a wonderful evening meal and I headed to bed.

Sunday was all about helping Cormac at his house. He picked me and Steph up at around 11:00 and we spent most of the day clearing some of the many rooms in his dad's house. There's a lot to do but I can really see the place looking stunning once it's been cleared, cleaned, stripped and redecorated. As a reward we got a bloody marvellous evening meal. I hadn't managed to eat the pheasant wrapped in bacon I'd bought as a treat for myself so I took that along and we had it in toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch.

I didn't manage to sleep very well last night. I blame the wind, the creaking of the house, the worry about the leak and generally being 'too tired to sleep'. As a result I was feeling really, really crap this morning and didn't want to come in to work. It's a good job I did as everyone and their dog had more MyDooms this morning and I had to go around soothing nerves and making sure everyone was clean. I think I mentioned that I rang the people who did the windows... yes I did. Other than that I'm waiting for some speakers to come in for work, some CPU fans which seem to have vanished into the ether and I need to go out at lunch time to buy a few things for the kitchen. On the up side my bank balance still seems to be reasonably healthy.

[16:20] Things going up and down today. Have been organising something for Elaine's upcoming birthday but can't say anything more in case she reads about it here. I went in to town at lunch time to complain about my Palm Tungsten ultra-slim keyboard which seemed to have give up the ghost for no discernable reason. I got it out to show the assistant and it worked. Silly thing. If it breaks again before the end of the month I'll get a new one free, but not if it does it in March onwards.

I wandered into a department store and started seeing loads of things the house could do with. I managed to confine myself to a washing up bowl, kitchen towel rack and some self-adhesive hooks. I hate shops now, they're full of things I could use. What I really need is a new kitchen, bathroom (including shower), loft insulation and boarding and the garage roof redoing. They're going to be a tad more expensive than some new dodads for the kitchen.

[17:00] We've had some really odd problems with Eudora (POP mode), Virus Scan and MyDoom today. A whole load of emails have gone missing. I think it's something to do with the way Eudora puts stuff into the spool directory before putting it into the .mbx file. I think we've lost some email, but I don't know where. Bastard thing.