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29/06/2007
[16:30] Not a terribly good night's sleep last night. Which is annoying given I needed to be in early this morning to do some stuff. I did the stuff. That was probably the highlight of my day. It's all been a bit of a slump since then. Jenny's also feeling a bit under the weather at the moment which is affecting me, as things like that are wont to do. It's happened before, I'm sure it'll happen again.

Everything's a bit "meh" at the moment and I don't know when it's going to be shaken off. Part of it is probably an artefact of the shape of my life right now.

Hmmm, bit down and depressing. OK, hopefully there'll be paintball tomorrrow if it's not too wet, also tonight is Steph's birthday thingy at my place so I should probably get off to the gym and home to get things ready. Hopefully the things I'm worrying about won't come to pass. But I'm sure some will.

28/06/2007
[17:30] Have been working on things today. Getting ready for tomorrow's early morning systems work work. As a result tonight's Thursday: session will be ending a little sooner than usual. Other than that I've managed to cycle to lunch and back all the way across town without needing my waterproof, which is nice.

Speaking of weather, the forecast for this weekend's paintball looks to be depressingly wet. Coupled with that is the fact that I don't think I've sufficiently waterproofed my hiking boots judging by last night's extremely wet wander around the wilds in torrential rain. Having a hot shower and a nice warm meal revived me nicely, as did a warm bed.

Erm, that's about it at the moment. Hmmm, things are pretty dull at the moment, aren't they? I'll try and think of something to spice up my writing soon. Probably something about the x4200 M2 servers that're coming in. Which reminds me that I consolidated the last of the out-of-place Dell PowerEdges at lunchtime today (just before going out). So now we have over 18U of clear and usable space in that rack and a good shot at tidying up the power and data cabling in the near future. We might even be able to put the sides back on it at some point!

I should go before I fall asleep with the dullness.

27/06/2007
[17:20] Erm.

Stuff. Nothing notable other than some machines of glorious specification ordered (well, tomorrow morning) and another moved within its rack. Installed another workstation, did some fiddling. Fought with Majordomo. Now going for a walk in the rain. Its been that kind of day.

Far better than yesterday and last night when I was feeling down and dulled. Buying things at Tesco and delivering them perked me up a bit, but then my body rebelled and I just wanted to go home eventually and sleep.

Much of how I feel at the moment can probably be blamed on two things. The situation and the weather. Both are pretty much out of my hands for the most part, so I should probably make hay should the sun shine.

26/06/2007
[16:30] I stayed up late (but not too late) rewatching old Battlestar Galactica episodes last night. I'd been for a run (I'm guessing about 10km) and felt like I needed something to lose myself in for a while. I believe I will do the same this evening after gym and whatever else I get up to. So long as I don't get home too late. I'm guessing that I probably won't, as things stand.

Today I went for another fMRI scan, the result I was allowed to keep can be seen on my gallery. Feel free to have a look. It's not as good (in some ways) as the ones I had done in 2005, but still, not so bad. Other than that today I've been on my own for most of the time, haven't had the lunch date I was hoping for owing to the other person being in the doldrums and generally been dealing with GID/UID mismatches between a couple of our servers. To tell you the truth I'm feeling a little listless myself at the moment. I'll pull things together after I've been to the gym, probably.

We'll see.

25/06/2007
[17:35] Weekend of ups and downs to be honest. Friday night was pretty good with a damned good gym session and then some smashing food while watching a DVD with Jenny. Saturday we decided to do our own things for the day which allowed me do a mass of washing, washing up and cleaning the house up a bit. By five though I'd been for a 10km run, watched some television and was feeling quite peckish so we met up again for dinner and chat.

Given we were planning on a cycle on Sunday we decided to leave from my house in the afternoon after a lazy and relaxed morning and cycled down river to a pub where we were due to meet Cormac and Steph for lunch. Not having eaten breakfast we were fairly famished and ended up ordering a starter before they arrived. The main course was excellent (consisting mostly of meat) and required a fair amount of cycling afterwards to stop us feeling quite so full. The remainder of the day was spent either reading or dashing to the cinema to see Shrek 3, although we made it on time and Cormac, Steph, Cat and Keith were late and went to another showing starting 30 minutes later. While waiting for them we had a long game of air hockey and I embarrassed myself on Dance Stage Euromix.

Today has been all about fighting with Nessus in an effort to get it to work from the commandline rather than the NessusClient. Don't ask me to explain the various (.)nessusrc files which appear to be scattered about the place, nor the need to specify a separate targets file. Suffice it to say, although it is a tad hacky, I have a solution. Now I just need to document it. In other news I've been able to keep all of my linux servers to only one version of Java (aside from those applications which install their own, like Dell's OMSA). This is something of a major achievement. Other than that I have some other documentation updates to commit to the wiki and am feeling quite fat for some reason. Given there's no climbing tonight I think I will go for another run.

22/06/2007
[16:15] I hate the sheer variety of SCSI types. Especially the older ones. It's not really worth going into the amount of hassle I've had today trying to do things with older SCSI arrays and things. I've managed to move over the last of the PDUs from one side of the Dell rack to the other and redistribute the power such that the phases are a little more balanced again. Other than that not much has happened today. We had two new people over for Thursday last night but various things kept me on edge and a bit frustrated for most of the evening. In the end I stayed up very late watching old episodes of Battlestar Galactica before going to bed. Turns out Jenny couldn't sleep much either where she was.

I'm heading off to the gym soon in the hope that that'll do something for me. I'm feeling a bit... "meh" at the moment so I think exercise is the order of the day. Not only tonight but tomorrow, when we should be going for a shortish cycle to a pub on the river to meet Cormac and Steph and then quite possibly a longer cycle after lunch to destinations unknown. We're taking rail cards just in case.

I think that's about it to be honest. Some progress on the Greece trip, some lack of progress on the thingy to Oxford and that's all he wrote. Have a nice weekend.

21/06/2007
[17:40] So there I am, working away in the gym, trying not to cause a bruise where my blood-giving scab is covering some nicely healing skin. I've just done 30 minutes on the stepper and am feeling quite fit and healthy when I look up and see that it's a truly fabulous evening outside. This gives me pause and within ten minutes I'm out of the door and on my way home, ready to meet Jenny at her place so we can go out and enjoy something of the evening. After a cycle over to her place (avoiding the really bad drivers and cyclists out on the road) we end up on one of the grassy areas of this city, eating take away thin crust pizza and drinking rather expensive wheat beer. This was rather wonderful. The remainder of the evening was rather lovely too, notable in that we forgot to eat ice cream and did something new, which I hadn't expected.

I'll admit that today I've mostly been keeping pace with documentation and catching up on new developments in the area of Kickstarting RHEL boxes (email backlog). This afternoon I shifted two servers (rack consolidation) and managed to drop most of the connections to the institution. Hurrah for me. Cue twenty minutes of people trying to work out what the hell had happened before the Networks guy took the opportunity to come back into the server room and find the cable which didn't lock into the patch panel properly and push it a few millimetres back into its socket from where I'd dislodged it in my rewiring efforts. All fixed now. No harm done as far as I can tell. I should go home before I break something else to be honest. I can do the remaining power work and begin the cable management stuff tomorrow.

20/06/2007
[16:55] I've only gone and been productive. Not only did I go and see some fireworks for free last night, I also didn't eat meat for my main meal. This isn't productive, but it is rare. Today restarted some applications from home now using the newer version of Java, discovered APC and MGE UPS software for the Solaris 10/x86_64 and installed it and solved some stupidities that Perl and CPAN brought up, again.

And now I'm going to go to the gym.

19/06/2007
[16:10] Last night I went climbing again for the first time in ages. And rather excellent it was too. Having missed the opportunity last Sunday I was champing at the bit to get back on the Wall. James, Patrick, Lois, Jenny and I headed on over and although Lois was suffering a bit from a cut on her ankle we had a jolly old time and I got to do some fairly tough routes, considering how off my game I am. I was fairly pleased to note that my grip hadn't deteriorated much since my last session. Eating beforehand helped a lot I think. Once home though I was famished again so cooked off some pizza before bed.

Today I've been fixing lots of small things again, finding out all kinds of silly things some users are doing with my machines and upgrading the core version of a Java SDK on some of our key application servers. The crunch'll come tomorrow when we restart some of the applications. I've already reinstalled the UPS software to use the new Java and now all we need to do is a good reason to delete all of the unpacked .war files and restart the applications.

This evening I intend to go and give blood, and then have dinner in town and maybe pop down the river and watch some fireworks later on. Hopefully I'll make it back from the blood thing in time to have something to eat to keep from falling over.

18/06/2007
[17:05] Saturday was a bit of a non-event. With not much to do I spent some time tidying the house a little and making sure my sink was unblocked after putting Mr Muscle down it on Friday night. This had necessitated me taking the U-bend off the sink and pouring the stuff straight down the waste pipe. Cue getting some on my fingers and stuff. In the morning I tried some water down it and it still backed up... but one go with the plunger seemed to get everything flowing again perfectly. I celebrated by putting a wash on and watching for overflow. Once that was done I went into town and failed to buy some shoes again, ended up instead going to the cinema to see the Fantastic Four film, which was dross. The afternoon and evening were mostly spent cycling out for Chinese, talking to Jenny on the phone about Greece and going to bed late.

Sunday on the other hand saw me getting up dead early to go to London to climb. Only there were no trains. So I went home again and swapped rucksack for pannier and cycled out into the countryside. Long story short; passed by Cormac and Steph's to have some tea, then cycled on to a nearby city for a large bacon baguette and a sit on the grass, then wandered home via a 25 mile route. Total statistics for the day: 51 miles in 3 hours 20 minutes. Not too shabby.

Mostly today I've been fiddling about with small things. Not really achieved anything as yet. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Tonight may be better because I'm going climbing again for the first time in ages. Here's hoping.

15/06/2007
[16:40] OK, when someone asks me to look at a problem it's useful for me to go and ask the person who knows most about the machines whether or not the logs I need to look for are actually still in existence. Otherwise I spent an hour looking for things which didn't exist any more and feeling like a very useless sysadmin. Other than that I've decommissioned a few of the older, more useless machines here, sweated some stupid Java issues and updated the last of the RHEL machines with what they were requiring. Now all I need is a reboot schedule for them all.

Still hot here, even if it has been raining a lot. Other than that I found that my kitchen drain isn't draining any more and the washing machine wasn't able to get rid of all its water so it was widdling all over the floor via the waste pipe. One application of Domestos drain unblocker didn't seem to do anything so I've bought some Mr Muscle seeing as the drain guy I called out this morning said he couldn't do anything because there was no external gully for him to work with. Dyno-Rod want £92 + VAT to have a go. So I'm tempted to have a few goes with other things before that. Oh, and I have my hair cut.

Nothing planned for this weekend as yet. Hopefully either the weather'll be crap and I can stay in and do things, or it'll be fabulous and I can get out and do things. Who knows. I'm going to the gym.

14/06/2007
[16:45] I just fixed something really complex with a really simple thing today. This has made me very happy, and I'm quite pleased with what I've done and stuff. It was a very obvious and uncomplicated thing but it now means that a huge piece of functionality now works for a rather key bit of a large service that we offer to people. This is what's known as A Win. Quite a big one actually. Did I mention I'm pleased?

Otherwise the day has been deadly dull. Updating a lot of machines to RHEL 3 update 9 has barely registered on my mental radar. About the most exciting thing on today's agenda is getting my haircut in half an hour, then pizza for tea with friends, watching DVDs.

13/06/2007
[17:10] Too hot. Hot, and muggy also. Having a whole load of DNS and network breakages too hasn't helped matters. Still, it did mean I had to take a proper lunch break and catch up on Quicktime movie trailers via the Mac we have connected to the ADSL line. Otherwise I've been working out why a service we have here hasn't been behaving correctly with regard to HTTP requests and discovering more bugs and things in RHEL5. Oh, and RHEL3 update 9 just came out, but I can't update any of the machines due to routing issues.

Although the option to go climbing is there for this evening I actually have a prior date to go and see Ocean's 13 and also have an evening out for once. So that's what I'll be doing shortly. I've managed not to eat any of the office biscuits we have here at the moment and I intend to keep it that way until at least the time I go away on holiday. That, running when I can (I ran across town and, after a rest, back again to deliver a phone) and hopefully some more regular gym (and climbing, possibly) visits should deal with the slight excess I've put on since the cycling trip. For now though, I'm off to see something of the day!

12/06/2007
[17:15] Mishmash of things happening at the moment. Some of my colleagues 'found' my site today so they've been staring at me, I imagine. With lucky they'll realise just how dull this site is and move on to something that actually rewards loading it into your web browser.

I've been trying to get some recalcitrant Perl modules to install to see if I can clear away some annoying tasks which've been hanging over me for a few weeks no. Unfortunately the version of Perl I'm tied to with this distribution of linux has made it a bit of a trial. I'm fairly sure I've got it licked, but while I think I've done it I've also been doing about ten other things so I can't be sure I've not missed an error message in the scroll somewhere.

Some of those other things would be installing the V20z with 32-bit linux, getting new ISOs of some of the install CDs we use and incorporating them into the Kickstart area, having a massive packed lunch made for me by Jenny this morning and slowly gaining the movement back in my left shoulder blade which has been aching like a git since yesterday morning. I'm pretty sure that climbing not happening yesterday and going for a walk and a pub meal with Jenny was much the better idea. We spent the evening trying to pin down somewhere to go on holiday. Still not managed it today either. Still, we're smart people, there's plenty of opportunity yet.

Other than that I've been drilling through some more documentation, trying to get the 2500 to play ball (I'm very close to sodding it and doing I don't know what with the thing) and generally flitting between about ten (as I said) different things. Oh yes, and trying to get Thawte to play ball and give us the SSL certificates we've been asking for for the past week. I have half of them, but they're the ones which aren't a rush job. To be honest none of them were last week, but given we've not got them yet some of them have now become such!

In an effort to rest my shoulder a bit more I'm not going to go to the gym, but I am going to run (yes, run) Jenny's phone over to her house as soon as I get home, instead.

11/06/2007
[14:10] A pretty fab weekend all things considered. I went to the gym on Friday and had a reasonable session. I've put on weight and I'm sure it's around my middle since the cycle trip. I'm going to have to do some real exercise to get rid of it again. Drat it, and I was doing so well otherwise. Still, Saturday was nice with a chance to clean the kitchen properly for once while Jenny was teaching OU (although I think the washing machine's waste pipe overflowed due to the sink drain being blocked a little). Jenny and I read on the grass for a while before heading to her place so she could do some marking and stuff. We also went for a walk by the river and watched people rowing about like mad things. Dinner and a quiet evening with actual alcohol was rather nice.

Sunday we drove to a nearby forest and hired mountain bikes for the day! I've never done it before so that was kind of exciting. While the bikes weren't top knotch bits of kit they were good enough to get a feel for what single track would be like if we had good ones. Despite being tired and stuff Jenny kept up with me the whole day, even when it came to eating lunch. We got home quite late and after some showers and relaxing Jenny headed home while I entertained Sam with some terribly trashy DVD watching before bed.

Since getting up this morning I've had a really sharp pain behind my left shouldblade, close to the spine. I think it's probably something to with how I slept last night, or yesterday's activities. But I can't be sure. Other than that I've been unable to a) finish the technical thing I started on Friday because the contractor who I'm working it with isn't in today and, b) install Dell's OMSA client on this damned PowerEdge 2500 (now installed on the PERC3/DC rather than the standard SCSI interface.

Oh and the lovingly hand-crafted 64-bit linux install on the Sun V20z is going to have to be scrapped and a 32-bit version installed instead owing to Jolt segmentation faulting every time it's used. Nice. And no climbing this evening either, so I'm going to go for a run. I'm off out for this afternoon doing server room audits. The fun never starts. Or ends, or something.

08/06/2007
[16:55] I was supposed to get out of here at 16:30. But I've had such a productive and workable day that I haven't had time to stop until now. Which is nice. Machines working better, some hard tasks with a hefty mental component and a good tidying up of the load balancer configurations have left me with a feeling of satisfaction not even PeopleSoft and Weblogic can wipe away. Gym time now. Have a good weekend.

07/06/2007
[16:25] Another frustrasting day. I'm getting nothing done. This bloody PowerEdge 2500 is really beginning to get on my nerves. I won't go into the song and dance I had to go through to get it to display to the serial console (and GRUB still doesn't), but I'm pretty sure that the Xen kernel stuff has been my main woe. I fully intend to power down the old PowerEdge 1400SC we have and swipe the LVD SCSI cable from it tomorrow and do a fresh install of a non-virtualised instance of RHEL 5 Server and Start All Over Again. Gah, I hate wasted days.

Last night was good. Given no climbing I went for a run, which turned into something approaching 4 miles. On the way back I passed the gym just as my knee began to hurt like it does roughly at that distance. An hour and a half in the gym completed my workout for the evening and I went home to await Jenny and have an earlyish night.

As for tonight, given most people can't make Thursday: I'm going to go to Tesco and restock the kitchen, then have a proper meal and go to bed. Maybe even early again to offset some of the tiredness caused by the really weird bad dream I woke up from at 03:30 this morning.

06/06/2007
[17:50] A frustrating day. Not only have I had to fight with a server to get it to install linux, I still don't have an LVD SCSI cable to connect the RAID card to the hard drives enclosure with so I've had to go with software RAID and a mixture of RAID 1 and 5 across the disks. Should be interesting at any rate.

Also I've been unable to snag a lift to climbing this evening. Well I could have but I was told far too late in the day for it to be of any use. Still, I think I will go for a run this evening as the scales at the gym last night confirmed to me the fact that I ate rather too well for the amount of cycling I did last week. As a result, even though there are doughnuts in the room I will not be partaking. Neither will I be eating anything else extra to meals for a little while. That and hopefully starting some running again (beginning this evening before Jenny comes over) might bring be back into the weight range I'm more happy with. Or failing that change the excess that I have (yes, I know it's not much) into muscle. I'm damned if I'm going to let myself go just as summer comes around and there's a lot of activities to be done. Speaking of which, time to go.

05/06/2007
[16:15] Much of my time today has been taken up working out how to add RAID, hardware and temperature monitoring of the Sun V20z servers (running linux) to the Hobbit monitoring we have here. A good bit of scripting and checking the use of sudo later and I had everything apart from a way to parse the ipmitool temperature sensor output. I don't think we care overmuch about that though, to be honest.

I didn't go climbing last night. Aside from staying at work far too late to get this server all prepped for the DBAs to get their sticky little mitts all over I was overcome with tiredness and barely had the energy to get myself home and make some dinner. Make some dinner I did though and get to bed on time too. I fully intend to go to the gym this evening and then see if I can have dinner with Jenny and Alex who'll be back in town some time around then too. That probably means I should leave some time in the next twenty minutes or so...

04/06/2007
[13:55] I really can't separate all of the things that happened last week. But I'll have a go anyway.

Most of Friday night was spent relaxing and trying to work out what to pack. We got up on Saturday morning and packed my pannier before cycling over to Jenny's place to pack the other one. I don't think they were that heavy, but with Jenny's handbar bag and my heavy tail I recommended caution over big bumps. We went from her place to the train station and from there north, eventually to Newcastle. The trip was pleasant and uneventful. Something that couldn't be said for the return journey.

From Newcastle station entrance I reset the cycle computer to zero and we were off. Initially only from the station down to the river and out to Tynemouth, the start of our route the next day. However from there we went further up the coast to Whitley Bay were we stayed the night, first enjoying a spectacularly amazing curry. I'm not kidding. It was possibly the best curry I've ever, ever eaten. Ever. We watched amusedly from our bedroom windows as night time Whitley Bay came 'alive'. Happily it went quiet again in time for us to get a good night's sleep.

Sunday's cycle to Wark from Tynemouth was a slog. After cycling back to Tynemouth from Whitehaven we found the start and rolled our bikes' wheels into the sea to christen them at the beginning of the journey. Then we set off, hoping we'd make it without too many punctures, accidents or other mishaps. It turned out to be the hardest day of the week. We weren't in the groove yet, it was just as cold and rainy as it'd been the day before and my hands weren't happy. We pedaled for a long time (upwards of four and a half hours), it was cold, the paths weren't always very smooth (an issue given my pannier rack was only seatpost mounted and the weight of the panniers) and the wind was very much in our faces. I think we did too much. But it was still fun. The route was nearly always perfectly signposted and otherwise everything seemed fine. Starting off on the Waggonways old railway cutting was nice but the only time one of my panniers came off was going over some of the bumpy ground there. As the rain came down on entering Ponteland we took refuge in a pub for some hot soup and a drink. From there we left a lot of civilisation behind and entered the countryside proper. Plenty (and I mean plenty) of steep ups and downs awaited us, necessitating getting off and pushing now and then. When it finally came time to depart from the route to get to Wark we were close to being completely shattered. Finding a very nice brige ansd our arrival at Wark and subsequent collapsing after shower was then further helped by a very, very nice meal in a pub/restaurant just down from the place we were staying. The upshot of the day was that we cycled roughly fifty miles. This turned out to be the longest day by some margin.

Monday's cycle was from Wark to Kielder. This was also quite tough but having elected to go via the road route meant that we simply needed to keep on pedaling and stop now and again for drinks and cakes and sugar. The scenery was beautiful, the rain heavy and intermittent and the wind against us, as always. We made it a fair whack of the way, taking a wrong but fortuitious turn at Falstone and finding a solarpowered cafe which served a much-deserved baked potato before carrying on in the rain (which seemed to stop every time we got off our bikes and under cover) over some rather rough tracks towards Kielder. Once over the dam we headed up the main road on the west side of the water and felt a bit happier about things. After stopping at Leaplish visitors centre for cake and food and things (as well as a chance to walk rather than cycle for a little while, and play on some slides) we cycled downhill and into Kielder proper. Finding the YHA place was fairly easy but not someone to allow us to check in. After some wandering around (seeing the castle and the maze and more cake) someone turned up; a weird man with a high-pitched and 'interesting' laugh. As a result, after a calorie-replacing meal in the nearby pub we retired to our room and locked the door firmly. Going to bed in bunks isn't something I've done in a while but we coped happily, eventually.

Tuesday was the day when we really started to hit our stride I think. It was raining as we left after a cooked breakfast (as normal) but we battened down the hatches and entered a Zen state of meditative cycling as we crossed the border into and back out of Scotland. Some monster hills defeated even my bottom-most gear so we walked now and again. I'll admit that we departed from the official route a little but with the panniers on my bike we felt a road route was better. This did mean we had to travel further but it seemed better under the circumstances and meant we got to stop at Newcastleton and find a rather lovely cafe for morning snacks. Back on the route at Kershope Bridge meant a trudge up a very steep hill for about a mile before a series of steep up and down sections extending over about ten miles. Even so the day was relatively easy and as such we arrived slightly early at the farm we were due to stay at. This didn't bother the owners who not only let us get in and cleaned up early but showed me around the mini farm they had while Jenny slept. They also drove us to three different villages in an effort to find us an open pub that would serve food, and drove us home again too! Above and beyond the call of duty most definitely!

Wednesday was another good day. Most of the day was pretty much on the flat and passing through Carlisle was over quickly. It was pleasant to be back in the countryside as quickly as we were. I'll admit I'm really starting to think about moving out of cities and into the countryside at some point in the future. Shortly after Carlisle we stopped at Dalston in the blazing sun (the first of the trip) to eat a picnic in the churchyard and allow Jenny to be bitten by something, maybe a spider. The latter half of the cycling day was very much 'uphill' overall and we were glad to finally make it into Hesket Newmarket fairly early. In fact so early that we could check into the B&B, have showers and go for a walk, as well as book a meal in the "first co-operatively owned pub in the UK". The place we stayed was lovely, with a good line in complimentary fluffy white robes. One of the better nights of the trip as I think Jenny would attest (if she was reminded), although the room's decor tended towards a bit too much pink. The food in the pub wasn't bad either.

Thursday's leaving of Hesket Newmarket was an uphill start but we were more than equal to the challenge. After that we were very much on top of the fells and miles from anywhere. It was fabulous. From then on we were heading down, down, down and making so much excellent time that we had an extended and very relaxed lunch time in Cockermouth. Walking around the town and exploring the streets not only provided us with the route out but was also very useful to me a few days later... From Cockermouth we cycled on along highways and byways, enjoying the sun for once and actually getting some tan on our faces and shoulders. The cycle shorts that Jenny bought me providing the rest of me with the padding I needed to complete the journey in a seated position without permanent damage to various parts of me. For that alone she has my thanks. Arrival at Whitehaven via Workington was along perfectly maintained cycle path and it was something of a surprise to be bouncing across cobbles on the Marina. We missed the rather obvious C2C sign the first time and had to go back around before we could officially claim we'd finished by dipping our bikes' tyres in the sea. We had to trek around to find somewhere that'd do us food and ended up buying fish and chips and sitting on the Marina watching the sun set. Not as an auspcious end as we would have liked but the guest house we'd booked was nice, the bikes were safely locked away from the masses and we could go to bed happy.

Of course, we weren't finished yet. Friday was the first part of the mini return leg via the C2C route. Once we'd had our usual cooked breakfast we left Whitehaven and headed inland again via a long, slowly climbing cycle path. This time we met other people doing the same route. It felt nice to have done the less well-known Reivers Route rather than the more popular C2C when we spoke to them. As this was Jenny's warm-down day we didn't push ourselves, yet by this point we were so into the swing of things that we still made very excellent time despite it being about 33 miles. A couple of steep hills to cycle, including one very, very long steep climb we walked up as day cyclist slogged by us and we were into Whinlatter forest and stopping for a well-deserved lunch at the visitors centre. After that it was just a case of heading downhill finally into Keswick. After finding our guest house and getting cleaned up we found the place Jenny would be staying for the next few days (for a wedding), did some window shopping and then tried to find somewhere that wasn't booked out for dinner. Success and a fabulous evening ended with a wonderful night's sleep.

After breakfast on Saturday morning we repacked my stuff evenly across both panniers and allocated Jenny some shopping bags to carry her stuff to her new accommodation. Quick goodbyes were said as I had to get going. The previous evening I'd rung National Rail Enquiries to make sure of times of trains from Penrith to Carlisle and had been told that there were only rail replacement buses running and they would not take bikes. After some thought Jenny and I decided my best bet was to cycle back towards the West coast and Workington. This necessitated retracing some of our route and then striking out back along some of the C2C and up what was marked as a "steep, rough descent". Believe me, it was all of the above, only I was ascending it. It was there, on top of a mountain, that I discovered the hairline crack in the only support of my pannier rack. This necessitated me using some of the ziplock bands I had to take some of the weight off it and no longer going as fast as I wanted to. Happily the thing survived and I was able to make it all the way back to Workington through parts of Cockermouth I was only able to recognise having been walking in them with Jenny earlier in the week! I got to the station in plenty of time, from there to Carlisle, and Carlisle to Newcastle.

The person I was supposed to meet in Newcastle never turned up from Durham so I found a bookshop and bought a couple of books even though it meant walking with both my panniers through the middle of the city. I retired to the station and ate food while reading my way through my purchases, moving only when someone who smiled sat down nearby. The journey home was a bit woeful unfortunately. After arriving late the train proceeded to gain a large amount of loud drunk people between York and Doncaster who were impervious to Clue about the carriage they were in. We then waited at Doncaster for over half an hour to allow a connection's passangers to join us and then made two more stops that we wouldn't normally have made. All in all this meant I got home at around midnight.

Total distance: 268 miles. No punctures, no accidents, and no squashed frogs.

I cycled from the station straight to Keith's house to see if people were still at his barbeque but they were all leaving so I went home to bed. Sunday was spent pretty much mowing the grass, buying some food and lying on the lawn reading. Definitely a chance to relax a bit.

Back at work today I've been catching up with email, preparing for a test RHEL install on a Sun V20z and generally trying to get to grips with typing again! Photos of the week (such as they are) will follow soon(ish).