[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
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.
[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
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.
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.
[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
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.
[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
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
[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
[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
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.
[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.
[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
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
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.
[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
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.
[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
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.
[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.
[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!
[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
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
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.
[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
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.
[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.
[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.
[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
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.
[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
[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
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
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).