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31/05/2011
[17:15] And we're back, from a bank holiday weekend. One in which I did very little of anything other than eating and washing up. So much washing up.

I took the train to my parents' house in Manchester on Friday evening. Even with a delayed train here and there I still got in on time, even if my dinner was sadly lacking, being as it was a slightly stale baguette from Upper Crust at Birmingham New Street grabbed at speed. I think I was in bed some time after midnight in the end.

Saturday saw me heading over the Pennines with my father to pick up my brother so we could drive to see my grandmother (my father going home by train). We did so, met her, talked, had lunch, dropped her home, talked a bit more and drove back to my parents all without any muss, fuss or bother. And the pub lunch was rather tasty too.

Sunday was a bit of a blur, really. I know we went for dinner in the evening as a family but the rest of the day... I don't really know other than I got to talk to Kris on Skype and sleep in a little.

Monday was preparations for my father's 70th birthday party. I was let off most of the work so made sure that in the evening I did all the washing up as 25 peoples worth of plates, bowls, small plates, cutlery, glasses and serving dishes passed through the kitchen. I think I went to bed around 23:00 on account of having to work the next day. It was a great evening and a great weekend together as a family for the first time since the wedding last November.

Traveling home this morning went pretty much by the numbers despite having to use three trains. They were all pretty much empty, on time and with power sockets for my laptop. I even managed to make it to work on my bike in time for an afternoon's work. Depending on how I feel when I get home I may go to the boat house this evening but I may not. I am feeling a bit unfit and full of rich food courtesy of the weekend and my delicious packed lunch from my mother for the trains home, so maybe I should go down and put in 30 minutes or so. Especially as I'm off to Peterborough Regatta this weekend coming (if we have transport for the boat, again).

27/05/2011
[15:30] After an evening of showing people things, the rain coming down heavily and just feeling pooped I didn't have the energy to go to the beer festival. So I didn't. I stayed home, curled up on the sofa and relaxed for the evening.

Up early this morning I did an abbreviated morning exercise set and then went into work to do the last bit of Xen guest moving in this batch of changes. It all went perfectly, including mounting one of the Xen guest's filesystem mount points from space on the old and soon-to-be-decomissioned NetApp NAS. Which was nice. Following that all that was required was to reboot the machine now bereft of Xen guests into a non-Xen kernel, clean out all the Xen-related stuff and give it back to the project/service we borrowed it from.

Since then I've cycled to the new server room and back to let someone in to take photos of the fibres we just had terminated there (in the wrong kinds of trays, hence the photos), read more RHEL6.1 documentation and gone to the boat house and back to do a 30 minute erg. Other than that I think I'm done for the week.

It's a bank holiday weekend so I won't be back until Tuesday now so enjoy doing whatever it is you do when you're not reading this and I hope it doesn't rain too much (right alongside raining a little bit here and there because we need it to).

26/05/2011
[17:15] Last night's outing wasn't brilliant. Neither was it terrible. I have to say though that I really don't like being in the 3 seat. Very much not somewhere I feel comfortable. Anyway, I rang for my Chinese delivery from the boat house before I had my shower, showered, dressed, cycled home gently and was just getting the plate and chopsticks out when my food arrived. Now that's service. Ended up watching Green Zone (reasonable film, I have to say) over dinner. Not quite as great as sharing my evening with Kris, but you take what you can get.

Speaking of which, we received our first notification that something has happened with all the forms we're sending everywhere. So, that's that then.

Today I did some preparation work for tomorrow before being send off to be on hand to let some fibre termination people into our new server room. Once I'd done that (had to wait 20 minutes for them to arrive) I could head off, do some errands and get back to work in time for lunch. Since then I've been doing more preparation stuff. Moved my first ever Xen guest to another server (none of that swanky migration tool stuff here, we use SCP!) and installed a few bits of monitoring software. I then discovered that we couldn't move the other Xen guest tomorrow as there isn't enough room on the target server. Cue an emergency bit of space on the old NetApp NAS we're decommissioning and all is well. At least until they tell me the space can't be allocated elsewhere later on when it turns out that the temporary space requirement has become permanent...

There's a beer festival on this evening, but I may not make it as I'm going to be showing someone around for a bit first. Depending on how long that takes I may just stay home and eat some food which needs eating before getting an early night. I'm in early tomorrow and it's going to be a long day with travel in the evening.

25/05/2011
[16:50] In some kind of karmic recompense for the last few weeks I spent the whole of this morning between 09:00 and 12:50 working by dint of sitting in the sun reading a book (fiction). I was responsible for opening up the new server room we're still getting comissioned and making sure that the electricians and other people doing things with wires and cables and stuff were able to get in and out of the building. Around 13:00 I came back to the office and had lunch. Since then all I've really been doing is looking up prices for the kit we're going to be ordering soon to add a UAT and Development stream to the new service we took on board a few months ago and putting those prices into the proposal I wrote up last week. Oh, and having a wonderful quick chat with Kris over lunch where we wished each other a happy half-year anniversary of being married. I guarantee you we will be in the same place (if only for a week or two) when our first year anniversary comes around.

Having been in early yesterday I left early and headed down to the boat house to do an erg. It was only going to be 30 minutes until I realised that I didn't have anything I needed to be home for, there was a nice view from the window and I felt like I had the energy. Cue a 40 minute erg with the music on, the doors and windows open and no-one else in the place until about five minutes before I finished. And I felt all exercised and fit afterwards so also did some weight work too.

I had been hoping to erg at lunch today but getting back from the other server room so late on and rowing this evening meant that I gave it a miss. Maybe I will go tomorrow lunch time instead given that I almost certainly won't have time on Friday. Yes, that sounds like a plan.

As tonight is an anniversary Kris and I will be having respective take out meals and thinking of the other person as we do so. I'll be having Chinese. Kris will be having Indian. Sad (in any sense of the word)? Not really. But I do miss her deeply.

24/05/2011
[16:15] So rather than sneaking off early, doing a quick hard drive swap and getting to the boat club in time to do a quick erg and be home to chat to Kris at 18:30, I found myself still in a server room at 19:45 waiting for a resync on a RAID1 volume to finish so I could swap the correct disk in to replace the disk I should have removed in the first place has the cables been the right way around inside the chassis. That was annoying. Also annoying was having removed my waterproof from my pannier to make room for the hard drive's box and it then starting to rain while I was waiting. In the end I was there so long that the rain actually stopped before I left.

By the time I got home just after 20:00 all I wanted was pasta, pancetta and peas, a drink of squash and some time to unwind. Luckily Kris was still around so we were able to chat for a short time before I went to bed.

Today I was in early doing some more fun server role changes. Everything seemed to come off without a hitch (other than some files not getting copied across as I wasn't informed that they were my responsibility). This means we can move on to the next and penultimate phase of work on Friday, which is good. That means I can head off to my father's 70th birthday weekend in the knowledge that I had a reasonable week (in contrast to last week).

I'm going to get out of here in a little while (possibly sooner), go do my day's erg and head home for a relaxing evening.

23/05/2011
[16:10] All in all a rather fun weekend on average. Saturday was a bit of a beast as I had to be up at at the boat house for 05:30. Not sleeping well and tossing and turning from about 03:30 didn't help there. The drive to Nottingham was OK at that time in the morning and we got our single scull competitors on the water in time. My 4+ wasn't racing until 15:25 so I had plenty of time to sit around and get semi-sunburnt. By the time our race happened the wind had come up to almost gale force and the water on the (enclosed) 2K rowing lake was so choppy it reminded me of the sea. Nevertheless we rowed our best and came 5th out of 6 in the worst conditions any of us have ever rowed in. We had an excellent time. The drive home was similarly uneventful and we left the boats on the trailer (which we nearly hadn't had until another boat club had offered space), went home and collapse. I broke and had my first delivery pizza since Kris went to Hanover. And it was good. However, in trying to keep with the new, eating less huge meals Ben I ordered a smaller than usual pizza and only ate half.

Sunday was planned to be the day I slept in past 07:00. Only I didn't because I appear to be on daylight savings time now. By which I mean I appear to be saving time during the day by getting up as soon as the sun rises. I thought I could do the whole saving time thing by going to Tesco before heading to the boat house to prepare for the race on our home river today... but when I arrived at the store I discovered it was closed until 11:00. Annoying. Anyway, the race was open only to 8s so we'd pulled together a rather good crew and headed down the river at around 11:20 to get into position. Even with Saturday's rowing in a gale it was surprising to see how rough the river was in the high winds. We rowed our own race, had a good surge at the right points and went home pleased with our performance given the scratch nature of the boat.

I say home, I then spent the next hour or so with four other people walking across town (not more than a mile really) to re-rig our 4+ and row it back to our boat house. Then I had a shower, went to Tesco and then went home. Cue some serious sofa time for the afternoon. I was about to have an evening meal when I realised I was bored out of my mind so found out if anyone else was doing anything (Cormac and Steph were) and ended up at the cinema watching Attack the Block. I'm not sure it was worth the £8.20 but it was a fun way to spend a few hours. Back home again I had a small dinner and went to bed. But not before emailing Kris to tell her just how much I love and miss her and how this time apart really, really sucks.

Today has been OK though. A server started having issues with its HDD on Sunday. The issues were so bad (apparently) that they confused the RAID card and made it turn the filesystem read only. Obviously this was non-optimal. A reboot seemed to fix it but it went wrong again this morning. I opened a call with Oracle who dispatched a new HDD. I'll be fitting that on my way home from work in half an hour or so. I also did my first attempt at a 30 minute erg during my lunch hour. Amazingly I timed it perfectly (arriving back at my desk an hour to the minute after I left). I'll be doing that again on Wednesdays and Fridays until I either a) get bored or, b) can start running again. Which ever comes sooner.

Right, I should head off and do this HDD and then pop along to the boat house for a slightly more relaxed erg. Early morning tomorrow with some more service and Xen switching. Also Kris and I are Skyping this evening so I should make sure I'm all set up for that.

20/05/2011
[16:40] I'd call today a good day. I got in on time after doing my morning exercises (heel drops included). Had a morning of work and stuff writing a support proposal and infrastructure document which I've sent to the two people who I need to be most impressing at the moment... and have only had one minor correction so far. At 12:00, on time, Kris and I sorted out the major first step to us being together long term despite her having come down with a major cold. This afternoon I have mostly been eyebrow-deep in RHEL6.1 documentation as I strive to make sure I'm completely up to date on all the new stuff that has come in with RHEL6, never mind 6.1.

I'm about to head out into town to plug in a cable and do some relabeling before having a fairly early dinner with Teresa at Wagamamma's (her treat, but I'll make sure I pay for something). At present I may or may not be going to Nottingham very early tomorrow to row at the regatta. The people whose trailer we were hoping to get our boat on appear not to be going any more (maybe) so no ride for our boat. More on that on Monday. Otherwise I'm racing locally on Sunday. If the weather stays nice and because I can't run I think I'll go for a long cycle somewhere.

19/05/2011
[16:40] Last night's outing left me with a few new blisters on my hands due to changing sides in preparation for this weekend's race at Nottingham Regatta. As a result I'm going to have to take care of my right hand tonight so that it is in some kind of reasonable shape to hold a blade this weekend. We'll be in a IV+ as opposed to the VIII+ of last night, which wasn't too bad, all things considered.

Today I've mainly been... underused. I sent out a few emails to scare up some work (request for information on the migration from Debian Xen guests to RHEL Xen guests for a service we took on recently), license costs for our new UPS' client software, stuff like that. I also updated the two RHEL6 test instances I have to RHEL6.1 as well. However I'm just feeling totally without purpose at the moment at work. I'm being handed nothing to do, really beginning to struggle when it comes to finding anything left that needs doing (other than patching, and I need to submit requests to do that) and generally feeling as though my team leader and line manager don't think there's much point to me being here. I know more work'll come down the pipe soon (next Tuesday morning for a start) but right now next year can't come soon enough. Time to start looking at more things to learn about! There's always more to learn. I just wish I was doing more to support this place and putting into action what I know.

Oh, also my achilles tendons are worrying me to the point where I've decided not to run again until at least 3 June and the week to date hasn't really been all that brilliant.

18/05/2011
[16:20] A somewhat better day today, to judge by the fact that I didn't break anything or do anything I wasn't supposed to without asking. What I did do was wake up horribly early for some reason and then have to toss and turn for about two hours before I resigned myself to getting up. Still, that did mean I could do the exercise-shower-make-lunch-breakfast-leave-the-house thing a little more slowly than usual, which is always good.

The morning was mostly taken up cycling into town from work to one of the server rooms we're shortly going to be vacating (next five months or so) to help a UPS engineer ascertain which battery was misbehaving in the unit. That done I was back at work in time to go for my lunchtime run. I'm still way way down on the distances (2.36K at the moment) but this hasn't stopped my achilles tendons from still being tight more often than not. I really have to wonder what started them aching in the first place. It's really not something I suffered from before the beginning of April. Hopefully the new shoes, a new way of running and building up slowly will help. Although the more I read about people who've beaten it the more it seems to say "stop running, don't run barefoot and do calve-strengthening exercises". Maybe these new shoes are making it worse. Not better. I think I'll try one more run on Friday in my old shoes and then not run for a month or so, see how that affects things. I will do calf exercises and will try to make sure I get on the erg as a replacement for running three times a week at lunchtimes. Calf exercises can be done in front of the TV in the evenings or at the boat house.

Anyway, enough of that. Kris is off to North Carolina today to visit her parents, renew her driver's license (apparently she's not allowed to do it by post) and file some very important forms. We'll be talking over the next few days and getting things In Motion. I will be going home soon, and thence to the boat house for the first row in an 8+ in a very long time. As usual I expect to be at bow as I'm always either there or stroking the boat.

17/05/2011
[17:10] Not the best way to start the day. I got in early having had permission from the head of the web team to do some minor httpd package updates. They all went perfectly. However, when I told my ops manager he reminded me that that kind of thing is supposed to go through change control. He was right, of course. Him sending an email to my team (of three) including my team leader meant that I was shown to be just a little more incompetant than usual to my team leader, which wasn't great. Doing some allowed patching straight after that and getting a kernel panic and core dump before all the patches were installed just put the icing on the cake. My low opinion of my technical merits is almost certainly shared by those around me right now. I'm pretty sure it has been for some time.

I fought back against my feelings of ineptitude by buckling down to read 200+ pages of Engman/Germlish transliterated technical documentation for the new UPS and UPS client software we've recently bought. I'd like to think I know my way around it pretty well now, including the "hidden cost" of needing a unique client license for every single listener we install on a server under power from that UPS (unless we don't and we can get an "Enterprise license" which might be horrendously expensive).

I went for a run at lunch time. 2.36km today. Same again tomorrow and Friday on which day I will be wearing my normal shoes again. I'd had no problems with my tendons for days until I got into my FiveFingers and was walking down the corridor to the outside to start my stretching. Somehow I managed to tweak my right achilles tendon within 5 paces. Some hefty stretching before the run and more afterwards seems to have done the trick though. I'll make sure I'm extra careful tomorrow. Speaking of exercise though I was down at the boathouse working off some of the sweets and biscuits I've had in front of me for the past few days (team leader likes to go to Tesco and come back with masses of stuff). A nice 40 minute (10.375km) erg left me feeling a little better and with some weights work on top of that I felt I could spend a little time giving some coaching to some of the new rowers we have before heading home to chat to Kris on Skype.

I'm aiming to make tomorrow a better day. I should hopefully be getting a call from the people who sold us the UPS to tell me how much client licenses are, cycling into town to find out what Estates Management are going to do about our unhappy (other) UPS and going for another run. And all of that before I eat my lunch (in a perfect world). Let's see what can go wrong.

16/05/2011
[17:25] The weekend was two days of highs and lows. We rowed so badly on Saturday (after I got there for 07:00 and everyone else except the cox arrived at 07:15 to rerig the boat to bow side) and were so late on the water because some of the rerigging took longer than expected, that our cox refused to ever get in a boat with that particular group of people ever again. In her defence the crew does tend to arrive late and we didn't tell her that we were rerigging the boat. In our defence if the backstays had fitted we would have been ready well before push-off time and doing an outing with "feet out" the whole time wasn't going to help us do all of the things the cox was asking of us because we're just not that good. We also got the boat we'd rerigged onto the water before the cox decided that the broken steerer wasn't going to cut it for moving the rudder so we had to get another boat out instead. That didn't help our eventual start time either. Suffice it to say I was very close to deciding that I'd be stopping rowing at the end of the month.

Sunday morning we all turned up and with a new cox pushed out onto the water to see just how bad things were going to be. Amazingly, even with me still in the Stroke seat we seemed to do moderately well, all things considered. On one of the runs I almost reached that peculiar Zen Rowing state. I haven't been there in a long time. Now it turns out that we're going to the Nottingham Regatta next weekend where I will be almost certainly stroking my very first race. I guess we'll see how that goes.

The remainder of the weekend was taken up with grocery shopping, chatting to Kris and going to bed very very early on Sunday night. I'm not quite sure why I was so tired, but there you go.

Today I have mostly been looking at the new UPS we have, the software that is supposed to communicate with it and printing out manuals. I think we're going to be OK, but it's going to be an interesting time getting things installed and working. The first order of business (after going over to see where the UPS has been installed) is getting access to the network card on it and then running a network cable the whole bloody length of the server room to a network cabinet. Why no-one thinks of these things in advance I don't know.

In other news, Kris has probably found somewhere to rent in St. Louis. Which is good. I think I may go and erg this evening.

13/05/2011
[16/05/2011 - 12:00] Hmm, looks like I forgot to do a journal entry for today. I have no idea why. Maybe I was just too busy... Actually, I was! Yes, that was it. I was doing all kinds of things with Xen installations and stuff and as a result didn't get to flip back to the desktop upon which I have things like my journal editor until at was well past time to go home. So, Friday was all about work. Which was nice. I think I went home late (gone 17:00 is late on a Friday). Other than that, not much happened other than being assigned the research and setup of the new UPS controlling hardware and software for the new server room we're getting shortly.

12/05/2011
[17:25] Mostly today has been spent out of the office. Which is always nice when the sun is shining. After getting into work I made sure nothing was going to explode and then cycled out to see someone with a bunch of documents. That done I came back to work, made sure nothing was going to melt down and then explode, had lunch and then walked into town so I could get a taxi back with the other half of the old eSales cluster ("sykes", to go with the already dead "fagin"). Once that was done all that remained was to apply a few patches and see what was happening this evening (curry).

Kris is somewhere between Boston and St. Louis right about now, and almost certainly asleep. She's been on the go since 04:00 her time today and I can't think she's anything other than shattered by now. She's got a lot to do over the next few days and I don't envy her at all, except that she's going to see somewhere new and do some important things. I'll hear more from her tomorrow I imagine.

I'm off home now as I should have gone a good 25 minutes ago. I need to do a bit of house tidying and then I'm off to have a curry with people. Something that hasn't happened for quite a long time.

11/05/2011
[17:00] Today I have mostly been lamenting the fact that RHN has been up and down like a whores drawers. This does not make for a happy patching sysadmin. Still, it has meant I've been able to concentrate on making lists of things in the house. That and learning a few things about Xen that I didn't know before most notably the ability to attach new block devices to running guests without needing to reboot them. What's that you say? Old tech, been around for years? Perhaps, but out requirements are simple and static so we haven't had need of it before now. That and a few server renames and shifts (with more to come) has been my day.

Oh, and I went for a 2K run at lunchtime in the shoes (copious stretching before and afterwards seems to be the order of the day now) and I'm out in the calf-bloodying IV+ this evening so I must remember my socks with the toes cut out or suffer disfiguring.

I had a really weird dream this morning (some time between 04:00 and 05:00) which I didn't enjoy at all. However it did get me up and out of bed well before 07:00 which meant I was in work nice and early. Not that I appear to be going home early, but maybe I will on Friday.

10/05/2011
[16:35] This morning's patching and rebooting went perfectly this morning. The noisy reboots and initrd rebuilds were exactly as noisy as I was expecting and calmed down to nothing at all once all was done. I've patched a few other boxes happily too which means I'm only down to about four outstanding errata for RHEL servers now. Which is good.

Having eaten a few too many sweets (damn my team leader for going to Tesco and getting about 6kg of biscuits and sugary sweets fairly regularly) yesterday I determined that I would go to the boat house and erg. And I did. 6 x 4 minute pieces at my 2K pace (plus 5 seconds). I'm pretty sure I did it well, too. Although I think my form was a bit lacking in the last few ones. I then went home and had bacon and eggs for dinner. Kris reminded me later on that I should have put in some onion and pepper. She's too smart for me (and I wish I'd thought of that at the time). I'm not eating quite as many vegetables as I perhaps should, but I've tried to do a little better today sweets-wise and only had a handful of the stupid things. It would really help if they weren't within arm's reach the whole day through. I wonder if there's anything I can do to mitigate their effect. Every time I try to move them to elsewhere in the office they get moved back again. Which is annoying.

Cormac is mooting a cycle this evening. The weather is rather nice so if he gets his act together in the next half an hour or so I might just take him up on the offer, should he make it. It's that or erg... or just go home and relax for the evening. Maybe make a list of things in the house that I don't want to keep.

09/05/2011
[16:55] The outing on Saturday morning was a bit of a bad-tempered affair. I don't think at least two people were on the game, one person was over-tired and I'm pretty sure someone else was hung over. None of those people were me. As it is two of the people also need to get their organisational hats on straight and ensure we actually have a cox for the outings we want to do (as evidenced by the fact that we didn't have one for Sunday morning). Instead two of us (should have been three but he was hung over, again) spent rather longer than we wanted rigging up the boat we're supposed to be using. Of course it's "the best boat in our fleet" but I hate it utterly as it gives me nasty slider bites on the backs of my calves. I'm going to have to start wearing socks with the toes cut out of them around my lower legs so as not to end up with scars (and potentially a blood infection). Still, if we master the boat it may make our season in terms of speed.

So yes, outing on Saturday morning, rigging a boat (and carrying lots around on Sunday morning). I then went home and came back in time to do two Head races back to back with the Novices (who weren't that bad, to be honest) in a IV+. After that I felt I'd earned my chance to relax on the sofa for the rest of Saturday. Sunday after the rigging I did an erg and then likewise retired to the house to do washing and reading and generally relaxing in the nice weather. Also on Sunday was a good long Skype chat with Kris about which visa route we were going to take (K-3 or CR-1, the latter won). We may be apart for a good long time between now and early 2012, but we know it'll be worth it in the end.

Today I've been preparing for tomorrow's very early morning patching session and Wednesday's server (physical and virtual) shuffling. Also a bit of sneaky patching of some other machines here and there (mainly workstations) and the first of two hard drive shreddings which will leave me with only one RHEL3 server running, hurrah! I also went for another FiveFinger run. This, I think, went better than the previous ones in terms of my potential achillies tendenitis and aching calves afterwards but I'm still getting a rub on the outside of my right foot at one particular point and I have a bone-type ache in my right mid-foot this time, too. Still, all in all I think I'm improving my gait, my technique and my speed in these new shoes.

So yeah, that's that for today other than probably going to the boat house this evening for an erg. If I can be bothered. I should, really, maybe once I've done the washing up. I'd love to go for another run, but I need to keep to the plan of working back up to my usual distances and number of sessions.

06/05/2011
[16:55] Some work, some cycling into town for a psychology experiment and some printing out of forms. That's about it for today. Except for listening to my coworkers get upset with a new coworker who doesn't seem to understand VLANs.

Rowing this weekend. Probably an outing on Saturday morning, then a double Head race at lunch. This gets in the way of the afternoon cycle, but I don't think I mind as it means I can go to Tesco (or go on Sunday) and chat to Kris about stuff.

Next week should be interesting with another experiment, forms to hand in, an early morning to patch two servers and... I dunno, some other stuff I can't think of right now.

05/05/2011
[17:00] Brilliant news from last night. If all goes well I should have some useful big things sorted out, lined up (ducks-wise) and generally off my mind weight-wise for the end of the year (or before, if bureaucracy pulls its finger out). More on that when I know more myself. Anyway, it was great to catch up with Teresa (she who made the big curtain for the bottom of the stairs), show her the wedding and honeymoon photos and discover that sometimes waiting can save you a lot of hassle and over two grand in fees.

Otherwise work has been quiet. A few patchings here and there. I didn't have to be in early for those though, which was nice. Hopefully there'll be a little more to do tomorrow. At the moment the only major thing seems to be moving SCC, Hobbitd, snmptrapd, rancid and syslog-ng from one old and busted server to another. However my team leader seems to think he's the only one who can do it, so I don't get to. I have other things to be getting on with, but not much. It's the same across the team though, there's not a lot going on at the moment.

Pub tonight, then it's Friday. I may run again tomorrow after today's 4K second acclimatisation run in the FiveFingers. The achillies tendonitis I may have in my right leg seems to vanish after about forty paces when I run and by the time I was half way around today's loop it was my left calf which ached more than my right. Bodies are weird. Still, I think I'm getting the hang of mid-foot striking (but still letting the heel make contact with the ground). It's amazing how much padding/cushioning/spring there is in modern running shoes and how you notice when it isn't there any more.

04/05/2011
[17:05] Updating a few recalcitrant boxes today. Tomcat can be such an annoyance sometimes. Still, the weather has been nice so I took the opportunity to cycle into town to post a cheque Kris got for an article to her in the States. Once I'd done it (and paid for the AirSure thing) Kris asked what the fees would have been for simply depositing a US Dollar cheque in her bank account here in the UK. I called her bank and discovered that finding out the fees involved for the amount she'd been paid was pretty much impossible and that it would take between four and seven weeks to get credited to her account. As she's going to be spending more time in the US than the UK in the future, and because AirSure should get there reasonably sharpish I think we did the better thing in me posting it to her. So long as it arrives. The wedding cheques sent to us from the US never arrived.

I was out in the tub (think more traditionally style rowing boat) last night with the cox and one of my fellow rowers getting back to basics on stroke style. I think I learned a lot. I just have to hope I can remind my body to make the movements required enough times in the future that it sinks in and stays.

Otherwise, I think that's it for now. I need to head home and be ready to show someone the house, and then think about whether or not I want to go and erg this evening. Frankly, I think not. I've lots to watch on the telly, I'll be running tomorrow and Friday and rowing on the weekend both days so I think I deserve to ease myself back into things a little more slowly. Plus it could be a while before the person I'm showing the house leaves as she wants to see the wedding photos (and probably the honeymoon photos) too.

03/05/2011
[17:00] Wotcha. I'm back from the US and visiting Kris. Hanover, NH is really, really nice. Even when the weather goes from sleet and snow one day to T-shirt and shorts weather the next. It's tiny, but quite pretty, has three outdoor shops and pretty much everyone (which for the most part is students, I have to admit) seems fit, runs or generally looks like they could break into one at any moment. If Kris got a job there I think I'd be OK with that (so long as I got one in town or close by). We spent as much time as we could together given she had to teach most days and always with the course writing and preparation. When we couldn't be in the same place I explored, or went for runs (real hills!) or went to a demo afternoon on Vibram FiveFinger shoes.

Speaking of which I now have a pair of these having tried them for an afternoon (the Komodo Sport model) and been convinced that they were pretty much the most comfortable thing I've ever had my feet in other than a the mud on the bottom of the Dead Sea. Unfortunately now I'm back in the UK which is not where Kris is. This is upsetting. Also upsetting is the fact that I have to really cut down my distances while getting used to the new way of running these new shoes promote. Much shorter strides at a higher cadence and making sure to strike with the mid-foot is taking a little getting used to. Especially in the calves.

So yes, the journey to and from Hanover, NH consisted of a 3.5 hour coach ride, 7 hour plane and a 3 hour coach ride. Then the same in reverse. Happily, on the US side I had free wifi everwhere so that and the episodes of stuff I had downloaded to the 'new' (Kris' old MacBook) laptop meant many of the hours just flew by. The flight over was pretty good, I even managed to sleep. The flight back - despite being shorter - was filled with crying babies (one of which threw up in the row behind me before we even left the gate). I still managed to get a little sleep and was only mildly out of it when I got home on Sunday. Unfortunately the person who was supposed to come and look at the house called me from a telephone box in the Lake District to tell me they'd forgotten about it. Hopefully they'll pop round soon.

Since getting back I've ascertained that I miss Kris a lot, the battery in my UPS has died, it has been very sunny here the whole time I was away, my neighbour watered my garden, Thor isn't a great film and barbeques (while brilliant for catching up with people) aren't as fun when it's as windy as it was yesterday. Also that work hadn't burnt down and I still don't have terribly much to do.

I think that's it, otherwise. I was going to get photos of Hanover and stuff but we didn't ever really get around to it. I'm off home now, then to rowing for the first time in a few weeks. I've had my hair cut and I've written a script which will now bug my team when the Nessus Professional Feed approaches subscription expiration. Not a bad first day back all things considered.