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30/04/2007
[01/05/2007 10:00] So this is being written a day late due to things and stuff. The things and stuff were basically vomiting, back pain and stomach cramps. Not mine, I hasten to add, but Jenny's. Seems the reason she has been out of sorts this last week since the cycle ride last weekend has been an infection which has been slowly taking hold. It finally got around to manifesting itself properly on Friday when she was at a Hen Party on Friday night as back pain.

Saturday I popped into town to pick up some books and things before heading to the station to pick up Jenny who was returning (with an aching back) home. Trains were a wee bit buggered so I ended up going back into town to buy a reading book (a Christopher Brookmyre, very very good) and sitting on the grass until she got in. Once home and ensconced I left for Cormac and Cat's Murder Mystery Party. That was a most excellent and a wonderful opportunity to see some people I've not seen in far, far too long. Far too long. I also had the opportunity to take some photographs for the first time in a while on the semi-official orders of Cat.

Having left at the ludicrously early time of 01:30 on account of the windsurfing on the Sunday I quickly realised that Jenny was in no state for that or even getting out of bed so I spent some time in the morning waiting for her call to tell me she was back from the doctor and Tesco pharmacy editing the party photos and generally getting dressed. The remainder of Sunday was helping her keep a smile on her face and similar. I left some time in the late evening and went to bed.

This (Monday) morning I woke just in time to get a text from Jenny saying that she'd not been managing to keep her antibiotics down for more than 30 minutes without bringing them back up. I booked the day off and cycled over to see if I could help. For most of the day I was holding hair back, being witty (I hope) and making smiles appear when the back/stomach/head pain wasn't too bad. I also took a prolonged trip to the doctor and the pharmacy after some calls to the doctor to discuss why they antibiotics weren't staying down. Once back with new - stronger - drugs and some anti-emetics we instituted a regimen of anti-emetic, wait 20 minutes, paracetamol, wait 10 minutes, antibiotic, hope that it doesn't come up again before 30 minutes has passed. This is how we spent Monday, reading and talking in between and generally passing the day. I kept up to date on email and so forth and tried to get some food into her. Water wasn't a problem, but regular bringing it back up was. She's a real trooper that one.

I'll be honest, by 22:00 I was fairly knackered myself and was very grateful when the landlady of the house suggested that I take Jenny's room seeing as we had moved her down to the futon in the spare room on the same floor as the bathroom. I set my phone to loud and headed to bed around 22:30 after Jenny had dropped off. She called me at 03:00 with horrible pains in her left side at around kidney level which worried us both. I sat with her for an hour or so before the pain subsided and she sent me back to my bed.

27/04/2007
[16:55] Don't even ask about today. The only good bits have been going for a flat out run over lunch (from which I came back hot, bothered and in a great mood), seeing someone online who I always get on with well and doing a bit of solid and useful work on this on-going SNMP issue. I just with Microsoft and the company who are at the root of all of this would get on and come to the same conclusion that I did, which is that the API they're using is shit and it needs to be completely rewritten. Exhibit A for why: snmpwalk, which works it bloody works! Can't you see that? Which means there's obviously something wrong with your stuff!

I'd sigh but I'm all out of frustration at this point. Well, work frustration anyway. I should go to the gym. The weekend should be... interesting. Still no point in thinking about it, it'll happen whatever, just have to hope I do some good here and there. Sunday I may be going windsurfing for the first time ever which could be really cool. I guess you'll find out on Monday.

26/04/2007
[17:35] Today I have mostly been running SNMP scans, watching with a packet sniffing tool and sending the results back to the company (who're now also talking to Microsoft about this thing). I am utterly bored out of my gourd.

Last night was pleasant with Jenny popping over after she'd finished all the OU marking she could stomach without going nuts. It was nice to just relax for a bit before bed. Jenny has a headache and stomach ache at the moment which is fairly continual. We're not sure why but it's a bit annoying for her and leaves her feeling kinda sapped of energy. I've come across that before now. Oh well, coming up on the weekend soon. I may be going windsurfing!

Thursday evening beckons though and I'm walking home with Cormac, which is always a good way to lighten the mood a bit. It was his birthday yesterday so I should work out what I'm going to get him at some point. Anyway, better go, he's on the phone now.

25/04/2007
[18:50] A late one today. This is because I've been at a Sun Microsystems "ZFS Internals" course and my brain now hurts. I know all about uberblocks and zilogs and DMUs and MRUs and if I concentrate I can keep it all in my head. As soon as I think about something else - like trying to get this load testing software working and why the company are asking for the version of snmpwalk I'm using because their version of MySNMP for Windows isn't actually finding all of the OIDs snmpwalk does - everything else about the subtle and impressive intricacies of ZFS just leaks gently from my ears and I find myself almost as mystified as I was at the beginning of the day. Luckily my team leader was also on the course too so he's got ideas for turning our old V120 with a D1000 attached into a play box. Hopefully that'll keep our minds fresh with regard to what we can do with the Mighty Power Of ZFS!

In other news I failed again at something for the third time last night. I don't know what it is I'm doing wrong but I really better get a handle on it soon or I get the feeling there's going to be trouble. Or at least general dissatisfaction generally.

Turns out Jenny's coming to the Murder Mystery on the weekend as the Hen Weekend she was going to go to was probably going to be crap. This is going to make the party interesting I think. I guess we'll see how things go. Life, it's all a bit strange when you get down to the nitty-gritty I think. I should go shopping.

24/04/2007
[17:05] More work with the load testing software guys, more seeing someone online do something nice and more eating of highly sugary things in an effort to bumpstart my brain. Seems to be working. Still time for the gym I think. Sorry there's not much to say today but frankly not much has happened.

23/04/2007
[17:30] Erk, what a weekend! Friday night was nice, ended up getting some films from Blockbuster and eating lots of sausages, chips and beans. On Saturday, well, we took a train down to London and cycled 65 or so miles to Cambridge via highways and byways and tow paths and river beds. I'm a little peeved with the instructions we had as they told us to go via a route which ended up in a river bed/track in which I (with my heavy panniers) fell over in and discovered just how waterproof they really are (very). I'm also peeved with the National Cycle Network route No.1 which just stopped at one point rather than being signposted in a sensible direction which we would have taken if we hadn't been religiously trying to stick to it. Stupid thing. Other than getting lost once, having to push up a very very steep ploughed field and negotiate some very overgrown paths we had one shaken-loose bolt (for which I happened to have a replacement) and no punctures... At least until we got a rest and had showered and eaten. At which point we found one in a front tyre caused by a bramble. Not that we'd been over a bramble for a good dozen miles or so. Odd. Luckily I was able to fix it and get us back on the road to the train station in time to get the next train home. All in all a damned excellent ride with only a few dips due to bad signage, bad choices in going through mud and a sugar low which was so obvious it was almost textbook. It was nice to be part of a threesome rather than just a pair for once, too.

Oddly, even though I think we drank enough on Saturday, Sunday morning wasn't a particularly happy experience moodwise. I'm unsure as to why, as always, but there wasn't a particularly good mood in the air despite not being particularly enfeebled physically. And it's not like there wasn't fun being had. Jenny headed off to do other things and I got stuck into some housework which I made myself do before settling down to have some food and watch television. Did I mention I managed to get a few pounds off my NTL^WVirgin Media bill while at the same time upping my broadband again to 4Mb/sec and my television to the previous amount of channels I had before (minus Sky One and Mix of course). Anyway, Sunday afternoon was very relaxed and the only time I touched a bike was to use the old one to go and return the films to Blockbusters.

I woke up after a normal bedtime feeling really, really bad. Probably only dehydrated again, but I'm not sure. By the time I arrived at work I was feeling far better and things have been progressing a little more quickly with the load testing company I'm doing bugfixing for too. I think we might actually get this thing licked yet. Eventually.

I also got my ISA statement for the last financial year and was surprised to see that with the addition of the 3K I just put into it I'm actually far better off than I thought I was. Which means I have even less reason to wait around to get my kitchen redone.

I'm hanging around this evening in the hopes I can get a bit more done with the people in Detroit before I go home. Of course if they don't get back to me in a sensible amount of time I may just go home anyway and stare at the fridge until I work out what to eat. They've just this minute emailed me with a not completely great update so I think I'm going to head off nowish and see about relaxing for the evening. I'd be climbing but fixing Jenny's dynamo caused me to get some horrible blood blisters on my fingers (don't ask) so climbing is out for the next few days. That and I'm pissed off with the firefox installation I have here on RHEL 5 which refused to acknowledge that I have installed a fairly full compliment of plugins.

20/04/2007
[16:10] More fiddling with the load testing software today. Still seems to be me doing homework for other people. I'm worried I'm missing something at this end which is why things aren't working when the company sends me updates. I do hope there isn't something fundamental I'm forgetting. I wish I knew more about SNMP.

Have finally managed to get a 64 and 32 bit version of RHEL 5 installed on two different marque boxen and dual monitored them both. Just wish I had another TFT so I can make sure a Dell GX280'll do 1600x1200 in a dual display.

Otherwise I've been out for lunch to celebrate(commiserate) someone's 10 years here, done some political wrangling with regard to who does what job on another project and eaten my lunch almost during my lunch hour.

Am doing some major cycling this weekend, but tonight is about relaxing and stuff so with that in mind I'm heading off right now. More on what happens and stuff on Monday.

19/04/2007
[18:00] "Please do my homework for me." is basically what the one company I'm still dealing with is saying. "We're too bloody slack to do the things we need to do to get the product we said could do something to do what we said (Everyone got that? Good) so we're asking you to find the information out for us so we can supply it back to you in the manner in which you need it, and then wait for the plaudits to roll in" is what they meant to say, I think. Muppets.

So I've been having an excellent day otherwise. Last night was, aside from a moment's minor indecision, an unqualifed success, which was bettered only by this morning. Climbing last night was pretty good although Jenny still isn't sure whether she actually likes climbing. Weird, but then, that's girls for you.

The weather today has be fab-tastic. Completely and utterly. I had to get out of the building for lunch so went into town to share some Boots Meal Deal scoffing with Jenny who was in getting food for a meal she's making this evening. Other than that I've dropped some old Cisco switches off at another building in the institution, watched a few installs of RHEL 5 Desktop go by (trashing my USB boot stick in the process, thanks RedHat) and seen them fail to boot, citing issues with "firstboot". This is something I'm going to look into more tomorrow. Friday is almost always my 'fiddling with stuff' day.

Right now my stomach thinks my throat's been cut so I'm off for pizza and to do an imperial badgerload of washing up. It never ends.

18/04/2007
[16:45] So I tested the new file the people in Detroit sent me through yesterday and nothing doing. It didn't work. This is probably something to do with the fact that one of the OID counters they asked us to supply is most likely a BSD-centric one so was never going to work under A System-V setup. I only hope that the other two ones that're causing everything else not to work aren't going to have to be pulled too as that'll mean we don't have much left to monitor. Anyway, it's nice to know someone's working on things other than me.

Had a late lunch with Cormac after getting tied up with someone online. Sometimes it would be excellent to have a teleportation machine and a few spare hours. Suffice it to say it's nice that time doesn't stand still and things come to pass. Cormac was in bellicose mood owing to the stuff that's happening in his neck of the woods but some time out (and a timeout) on the grass around his workplace seemed to calm him down somewhat.

Off climbing this evening. In fact I think I'm going to leave now. Have a lovely evening. Tomorrow will be more fighting with one company rather than two and getting back on track with other things.

17/04/2007
[16:15] It's been a day. Started off great with a lovely morning wakeup. After that I was able to get into work in time to dual-path the NetApp and shift the last of the linux servers out of the old rack and into the new. Now I can start consolidating the U-space in the old rack and getting the wiring tidied up. Following that I wrote an email to company No.1 telling them we really didn't want to have a conference call with them about why they couldn't do what we wanted, and that from now on we'd rely on downloading the source for the thing we wanted instead and asking for suggestions from the denizens of the Internet instead of them. That was most satisfying.

Lunch was taken at my desk while I waited for company No.2 to ring me for a conference call and Webex session to work out why their load testing software wasn't doing the things we wanted. After some back and forth I was through to a group of sensible-sounding people in America who used their dime to work through the system with me, acknowledge that I was right and then request I email them an XML configuration file so they could hand-edit it and send it back to me. I have it back but I can't try it out yet as the person who does the load testing has set the PC off doing its thing for the night. So, first thing in the morning I get to try it out!

Off now for a haircut, then the gym, then some proper hard-core chilling out. Weather's not too bad either!

16/04/2007
[16:30] Busy weekend! Friday evening started off really, really well, although for the life of me I can't tell you what happened. I don't think I went to the gym so I must have done something else. What the hell was it...?

... oh I know, I watched Ghostbusters and ate fish and chips! At least, I think that's what was for dinner. This is terrible, I really can't remember. Oh! Yes, I remember now. I had a pork chop while I waited for Jenny to come over. That was lovely.

Saturday morning Jenny was teaching Open University so I set about trying to work with some of the servers James and I rescued from somewhere. Dual PIII 1.266GHz, two 18GB SCA disks and 2GB of RAM (if you sacrifice the disk and RAM from another server) makes a reasonably respectable 1U box. For a laugh I installed Windows XP Professional on one (they're IBM xseries 330 models) and it worked flawlessly. Plugged and Played everything too. I was most impressed.

Sunbathing (and sun breaks) was the order of the rest of the day until such time as we toddled into town to meet some friends by the river. After chat and stuff we went to a Pizza Express where semi-shouted conversation was had over good pizza and dessert.

Sunday lived up to its name around 11:00 so I stopped trying to update Jenny's laptop with patches and working antivirus software owing to a lack of power supply and we cycled out of the city and west. Stopping now and again for drinks and such we made it to a nearby hall and farm where we had a smashing picnic in a field under the warm sun. Following an icecream and a drink we took a long and rambling route home again to Jenny's where a shower and a relax left us ready for an evening meal. There's a Turkish place in town I've never been to but it does "big lumps of meat". With this recommendation I could hardly say no. Especially not after already having had two glasses of wine. We ate, had more alcohol and then I made sure Jenny got home OK. Cycling home myself was something of a feat but I wasn't that drunk really. I don't actually remember going to bed.

This morning I participated in another one of those psychology experiments, which made me some pocket money, before coming to work to fight with vendors who don't understand that their software doesn't do what it's supposed to. I guess it's not the guy I've been speaking to on the phone's fault, he doesn't know any better, but he really should be cracking heads at his end. I've sent him an email explaining why the most recent thing he wants me to do is useless and I've yet to get a reply. Maybe that's caused something to happen.

I'm loathe to deal with the other company for the moment. They want a conference call at some point which is far more involved than I wanted this thing to be. I've passed it on to my line managers for them to take a look at. Anyway, now I'm off to a talk on the "evil that lurks in men's hearts" by a guy who was an expert witness for some of the people at Abu-Ghraib.

13/04/2007
[16:30] I had my yearly appraisal this morning. This wasn't helped by the fact that I was taken to my surprise birthday party by Cormac last night. Of course we were the first people there but that's beside the point. It was great to have a barbeque in the garden at Keith's house and see everyone who came for the evening. Unfortunately I had to leave at 23:30 to get home in time to sleep such that I could perform adequately in my appraisal and do a day's work with the remainder of this stupid cold.

The appraisal went fairly OK to be honest. "Good solid progress, keep it up, no post advancement just yet; try doing a bit more proactive project ownership and it shouldn't be too long." That's almost exactly what I thought would be the case so I'm pretty pleased on the whole. They like me, I'm not going to be fired and the chances are good that if I prove I'm ready I'll get the payjump I'm after with no real hassle. Now I just have to find something to do aside from the masses of standard stuff that clogs my whiteboards.

Today I've spectacularly failed to install the new wireless cycle computer transmitter and stuff on my bike over lunch. I'll do it this evening as I'm not going to the gym until this cold has gone. In other news I've been informed that this weekend may be rather nice in terms of play, so we'll see how that goes too. I should probably go, there's a ton of washing up to do at home before I have fun covering my bike in dowdying tape.

12/04/2007
[17:40] Another day of frustration with the two companies I'm deal with. The SNMP stuff I was fiddling with didn't work so I've punted it back to the company for their actual technical people to take a look at. RedHat on the other hand are still bouncing me from Customer Service to Sales repeatedly in an effort to work out why my plain and simple requests are too difficult for them to get their collective head around. This has left me feeling frustrated and (if it wasn't for the fact that I find all this terribly amusing and right now there's no real deadline for the stuff I'm trying to get sorted) not a little worried what might happen if we truly need something sorted quickly.

Otherwise I'm a bit frustrated generally by things at the moment. Not really worth going into them, but having a cold doesn't help right now either. I can only hope that things improve in the next few days or it's going to be a bother.

I should head off really, got Cormac to walk home with and washing up to do before the evening's guests. Bit of a useless entry this one. Oh well.

11/04/2007
[18:15] RedHat continue to frustrate me utterly. Their inability to give me a straight answer, give me any useful answer or even return any of my phone calls has left me... perturbed. Luckily, with some fiendish investigation work by myself and my line manager I've been able to get to the bottom of why SNMP monitoring has been failing with another product. Turns out the product we're being asked to use is trying to monitor deprecated SNMP counters which are updated in Solaris 9 but not in Solaris 10 (even though they still exist).

Joy of joys it appears we're going to be rewriting their XML file and doing the bugfixing for them. Still, I had a fantastic day yesterday from the moment I left work. Pedaled on over to grab some flowers and then to the station to meet Jenny. Headed home and then out on the bikes to the Orchard for a spot of lunch before cycling about 25 miles or so around the area south of the city. The weather was lovely and I've seen even more of the area I've lived in for close on eight years now and not explored so much until this last few months. Dinner was had in town at a lovely place before heading home for home-made scones, clotted cream and home-made jam. In fact the clotted cream was probably 'home' made too, at least on a farm.

My stupid stinking cold meant bed was fairly early, even given it was my birthday. Still, it did mean I woke this morning feeling really quite lovely and didn't want to get up at all. Ah well, maybe tonight'll be just as nice, if not nicer. That would be nice.

As I said I've spent most of the day working on getting companies to play ball. However I've also take the opportunity to rackmount a Sun V120 (retro!) which we've had sitting on top of a D1000 for the last year. The server room remains even more tidy than before, we just need to get rid of some of the older servers which a) aren't rack mounted but stand on the floor and, b) are being obsoleted anyway.

Right now I should head off on my new shiny bike (I still love it to death) and get to Tesco so there's some dinner to eat this evening.

10/04/2007
[10:50] I have a cold. This is annoying for a number of reasons. But let me go back to Friday, or ever Thursday of last week. Thursday night I had a ton of people over. We managed to squeeze three films into the evening somehow, don't ask me how. I will admit that I dropped off a few times here and there but given we weren't going to work the next day it seemed like a good idea.

On Friday I decided to go for a cycle on my new bike. Having fitted my excellent new pannier rack I was eager to try it under load so off I went towards afternoon. Little did I know that it would be 46.4 miles before I'd arrive home again. I think I went a little overboard. Still, it was a fabulous ride and I felt not a bit of fatigue on the Saturday morning. Even after just under four hours in the saddle.

Saturday I popped along to Rachel's son's 6 month party/barbeque thing where I'm pretty sure I picked up someone's cold. I also watched the Oxford and Cambridge boat race for the first time in about a decade. It's far more interesting to watch from a position of more authority than obtained previously. After I left that (feeling a little people/claustrophobic I went for another cycle. Ostensibly to stretch my legs after Friday, but mainly because there was no way I was going to be indoors on a day like that. This time it was only a short cycle, maybe 20km or so.

Sunday saw myself, Cormac and Steph driving a ways to Thetford Forest where we'd hoped to a) go on Go Ape (full), b) hire mountainbikes (all out), or otherwise c) go for a walk. We must have walked close on 25km by the time we'd made it back to the carpark again. Throughout the entire day I'd had the beginnings of a sore throat and just knew what was coming. It didn't stop me from cursing whoever had visited this bug on me.

Having arranged a good few days ago to go climbing in London with Keith and co. on Monday I was reluctant to cancel but, considering I wanted to retain some energy for the Tuesday (today) and knowing Keith's ability to stay up very late (and hence a very late train home) I opted to try and stay at home and relax. This I managed to do quite well except for a few fun online conversations and popping out to see Gareth and 'Nessa to debrief on the cat situation over the last week. Armed with a bottle of wine, some smashing fudge and some fresh clotted cream I'm sure tonight is going to be at least vaguely fantastic.

I say this because on the down side I have a stinking cold now and my sense of taste and my appearance isn't smashing. Which is annoying as on the up side Jenny comes back into town today and we're probably going to meet up. I've decided to take the afternoon off as I'm not feeling so hot and I think being active will probably help. Maybe a cycle ride will help.

The network is down today as of early this morning so we're not getting much done right now. Hopefully this will continue until just before I get to go so I can slack this morning and then head on out of here. Still, it being my birthday today means I got some post this morning, which was nice.

05/04/2007
[17:45] Hurrah for Easter and two short weeks in a row. Not only that but it means there's no Monday next week. We don't like Mondays, do we. Not unless the Monday morning has been especially fine (which it has been, before now) or we're not actually at work (I intend to be in London, climbing). So, yes, today I have done very little actually. I cycled in on my new bike after replacing two of the three quick release mechanisms with the security ones I rushed over to the bike shop last night to get. I can't replace the seat post one as yet owing to the bit that grips the post itself not really being the right shape for the replacement skewer. Going to have to think about that one a bit...

Morning and afternoon work had a highlight of a call to RedHat which may or may not result in something positive on Tuesday morning next week and another positive in that the service pack we downloaded for another bit of software appears to have fixed the SNMP monitoring issue we were having. Whether it does in practice remains to be seen. More on that on Tuesday.

The Networks guy and I went for something approaching a 20km cycle ride over lunch following some rather frisky tracks in places. I got to have a go on a bike kitted out with Fox forks and Whyte hydraulic brakes and I have to say, "Yes, I'm impressed but I like mine too".

Other than that the weather's been pretty decent today, I've had some contact with the people I wanted to talk to, even if I think some things are fading, again, and now I get to see if my new pannier rack which arrived from Belfast this morning actually fits my bike.

Happy Easter everyone and I'll see you on Tuesday.

04/04/2007
[17:15] Quick entry (fnaar) as I have to get to the cycle shop before it closes. Better day. Some resolution on both niggles from yesterday, a productive meeting, some good running done and a chat to Jenny online in Boston. Doesn't look like there's any climbing this evening so I'm off home for some relaxation of an evening for once, then maybe read a book.

03/04/2007
[17:15] Argh, bloody software companies who are bloody useless. I'm really rather angry now. Really, really rather angry. I can't be arsed to go into it on here (amazingly), I'm just pissed off. And I'd had a reasonably day up until just now.

Actually, no I hadn't. It's been crap all day work-wise. I got in this morning to deal with the stupid load testing software which refuses to work over SNMP (now that we've got the company to admit that their software doesn't actually work under Solaris) and throws exceptions about the XML it's generating. This went on so long that I couldn't be bothered to go for a run. That annoyed me. Luckily I'd been for a 15km cycle ride last night on the new bike so I wasn't that annoyed. To try and calm down after firing off and responding to idiotic emails from the company who wrote the software I decided to blitz the server room from end to end. After about twenty minutes the place was looking a lot better, but I'd missed a chance to talk to Jenny, which was annoying.

Still, we now have a vacuumed server room for the first time in about five years, everything is squared away and I've even found a cable with which to complete the dual-pathing of the NetApp, which is rather spiffy. This is all nought compared to the bloody frustratingness of the company I've just been emailing and phoning in the last ten minutes. Tomorrow is either going to be very, very frustrating or only mildly so. I can't see it being anything less negative than that. Not even the delivery of my new seatpost pannier rack is going to raise it up much. Especially not if it's inappropriate/isn't any good.

Gym now, then omlette. Hopefully endorphins plus food will stop me being so peeved.

02/04/2007
[17:30] Settle down little ones and let me tell you about my weekend. It's not particularly interesting, but it's better than whatever else you were doing a few seconds ago. Guaranteed.

After Friday's gym session which wasn't so bad actually, although I could do with getting there a little more regularly at the moment, I went to bed kind of late, being mainly into watching DivXen of NCIS at the moment. Saturday was going to be bike buying day. And it was, but not in the way that I had planned. I didn't actually get out of the house until gone midday and the walk to the bike shop took a little time. Once there I announced that I'd be buying a Scott Reflex 30, please. They prepared one and I took it out for a spin. I really don't know whether it's riding that Tampico for so long and the differences in frame stiffness, etc. but the Reflex 30 was a terrible ride for me. Not only that but I felt high and odd in the saddle. Completely the wrong position. I think the top tube is too short. Anyway, as soon as I wheeled the thing back into the shop the guy working with me took one look at my face and said "The boss and I had a chat and we were pretty sure you'd not like that, so we found this..."

The Scott Scale 60 (2006 edition). A fantastically beautiful bike with forks and groupset far above in quality what I've ever had on a bike before. I took it for a ride. It has flappy paddle gearshifts! It rides like a dream over everything and it goes like stink on the road. It's completely disc-ready but doesn't have them fitted (for that 'fade into the bikerack' look that stops it getting stripped for parts when locked up). I wanted it. I desired it.

It doesn't have pannier rack hardpoints. Damn.

Long story short. I bought it, a seatpost pannier rack, new bar grips, a different set of pedals and rode away quite a bit lighter of wallet. Of course I didn't go home. No, I made my way to a railway cutting and after sliding through the temporary fencing proceeded to thrash the wheels off a thirty minute old bike as I made my way out of town on the ballast and bramble as far as a village about five miles away. Amazingly, the only thing to get punctured for the majority of the journey was me... (bloody brambles) until the final road part of the slog, where whatever thorns were sticking into the tyre were pushed into the rubber and punctured the rear. Happily I was visiting a friend for a drink and some soup so was able to use their repair kit to get back on the road again. Tooling back along the road allowed me to test out just how fast the thing'll go. I can report: "Whoooooosh".

The rest of the day I spent doing washing and popping out to look at at my new purchase every so often. Given how much money I'd just spent I figured I was due a delivery Chinese to soften the blow. I don't think I'll have any more of those for the next month. In fact I think I may try to ring Powergen and get them to refund some of my overpayment amount for gas and electricity.

So anyway, Sunday I decided to go to Tesco on my new bike (even though I don't have the security skewers to replace all of my quick-release stuff yet) only to find that the panniers didn't fit on my rack. Bums. I slipped back onto the trusty older bike and did the duty in time to come home home and do some more washing, have a very late lunch and settle down to some more NCIS watching before Sam popped over. We chatted, watched the end of Stargate (the movie, classic) and then went down t' pub for a meal. Coming back we watched some more telly (something I'm actually doing very little of these days, really) and then she toddled off and left me to go to bed.

Just like Saturday and Sunday the weather has been fabulous this morning, though happily a little less windy. I've still had no joy with RedHat although the promise that there'll be some resolution tomorrow. I remain to be convinced. Still, Ben and I did a great new run this lunchtime and I was reminded how hard it can be to run in hot weather and the importance of keeping hydrated. Not that I did, but I'll try to remember for next time.

Right, I think now's the time I head on home and go and have some more fun on my new bike. I'd climb, but the weather's too fabulous to be indoors.