[16:40] And it was all going so well. Or fairly well, anyway. I got up early
this morning (after a slightly better, but still non-perfect, night's sleep) and
was in work to do some patching. Pretty much all of it went well, even
accounting for some firmware hiccups I now know how to navigate around.
However, I did manage to reboot a server I hadn't been supposed to, which caused
some knock-on effects later on in the day with processes unable to connect to
databases that'd vanished without saying they were going. Then it was the main
part of the working day and everything seemed to pretty much go according to
plan. I had someone from Networks come in to do some troubleshooting on the
network issues I've been having for the past few months. That took up some of
the morning. Then I had a good run at lunch time. Then everything went wrong.
A server I patched and rebooted this morning is having real difficulties with
multipath. Another server I patched and rebooted this morning has lost a power
supply. And I was just waylayed as I was writing this at 16:15 (in the hopes of
an early departure) because of a Samba connectivity issue that was taking place.
I've only just solved that. I wanted to be home before Rachel, but the odds are
I'm certainly not going to be now. Still, here's hoping that I can leave soon.
I've had no reply from my tame Dell engineer about the PSU I need tomorrow
morning, so I may have to raise a call directly to see if that helps. He may
not be in...
[17:00] Rachel came home last night, and there was much rejoicing. Getting to
Croydon was fine, as was getting to Rachel's house. I spent some time getting
things set up, and then about the same amount of time working out how to fire
her combi boiler back up again. In the end she arrived, looking a bit tired,
but very lovely. She pottered around the house for a bit getting herself
settled back in again, and then we sat down for some dinner and catching up.
Both of us were tired for very different reasons, so we went to bed quite early.
Unfortunately I had a bit of a bad night's sleep, so wasn't feeling altogether
happy about getting up earlyish in the morning, but we managed it. We cycled to
the train station and headed to our respective workplaces. I got in to work
only half an hour later than I'm usually expected, so that was pretty good.
Over the course of the day I've mainly been preparing for tomorrow's early
morning work, getting one of two hotel rooms booked for next month, and eating
the delicious lunch Rachel prepared for me. I'm going to head home now and make
sure that the house is ready for her arriving at it (potentially before me)
tomorrow. That means hiding her two presents and generally making the place
looks presentable. Tomorrow I'm in early, as I said, then I'll have a morning
of work, a run at lunch time (hill reps), and then a semi-early departure to get
home just before/at the same time as Rachel.
[13:15] Rachel comes home today. Rachel comes home today. That's about all I
have to say about today. Other than getting up early to do some patching
(which all went according to plan), and doing my sprintervals session at lunch
time (and taking a toilet break and forgetting how many reps I'd done and doing
one extra). Now I'm off to catch the train and have lunch on it as I don't have
time now. Back at work tomorrow, but from Croydon, so I'll be a bit later than
[17:10] A mixed bag of a weekend, if I'm honest. I decided to have delivery
pizza on Friday night. A clear sign that I wasn't feeling at my strongest as I
usually make something from the frisge/freezer/cupboards if I'm feeling good.
That was day two of pizza for dinner. I headed to bed at a moderately sensible
time, but still ended up waking in the night, possibly due to being thirsty.
When I did get up on Saturday morning I didn't really do all that much. A
second weekend without Rachel around was taking its toll on my ability to get
excited about much. I did eventually head out (in the rain) to see some friends
at a place in the south of the city they were renting for the weekend, and a
group of us had a good time catching up after (in some cases) a few years of not
seeing each other. The only moderate down side was that we ordered pizza for
dinner. So that was day three of heavy carbs and meat-based evening meals.
When I finally made it home I felt pretty leaden, despite the lightness of the
pizza base, and went to bed. The clocks went back overnight, but I still
managed to wake at around the same time on the clock, probably because I had
another bad night's sleep. I think it's stress about something, but I can't
really pin down what it might be. Maybe I'm worried about things to do with the
house. It's more than likely that. Anyway, once I was up and about I decided
to get my run done fairly quickly, so was out and doing so by 09:00 on the dot.
That got me home again by around 10:45 and I was showered and back from Tesco
before 12:00. After that I honestly just lazed around on the sofa, did some
washing, and generally didn't really stir my stumps much at all. I did manage
to have something other than pizza for dinner (hunter's chicken and broccoli),
and went to bed at a semi-sensible time.
This morning (after another slightly broken night's sleep) I was up and about
and in to work in good time for the day. Not a lot has happened at work
thankfully, but I have prepared for tomorrow (early) morning's two bits of
different work (patching some servers and working with the traffic managers to
restrict access to something while it's worked on by someone else). I also
cycled in with my running kit for tomorrow's lunchtime track session, as well
as the bike tyres I got for Rachel's old station bike (in Croydon) before it
was stolen (but then replaced with a similar bike that takes the same tyres).
Rachel arrives back in the UK tomorrow afternoon, so I'll be leaving work soon
after lunchtime (so after I've run and showered, basically) with the tyres so
as to be (at her) home by the time she gets back from the airport. I've missed
her very much, and I'm very glad she's coming home again.
[16:00] A sleep in this morning! After getting home after the course and
feeling... just awful in a variety of ways, having a pizza, watching a film and
getting an early night was just what I needed. Waking at 07:00 but then not
getting out of bed until 07:30 was wonderful then, too. At work I was on the
last day of my AWS course and it went as well as the other days, aside from
being shorter (hence me doing this entry now). I'm off home for the weekend
now, where I will see some friends, do some food shopping, run on Sunday, and
try to stay out of the forecasted rain as much as possible on Saturday. Still
no Rachel (back on Tuesday) so I have to amuse myself for the most part.
Hopefully I'll be able to keep myself occupied.
[17:35] My night's sleep was a tale of two halves. Before 02:35 I had a
wonderful uninterrupted block of sleep. After then, until 06:00 when my alarm
went off I slept fitfully, and with many wakings and odd dreams. Probably
because I knew I was going to be getting up early. Once I'd dragged myself out
of bed I didn't shower after doing the morning routine, but headed into work (in
the dark), passing what looked like quite a nasty car/cycle accident (which had
a lot of people already dealing with it) on the way. At work I got my couple of
dozen servers patched (firmware and OS), faffed for a little bit, and then
headed out for my hill reps run, which I usually do at lunch time. It felt a
bit odd to be doing it in the morning, and I think my body agreed on some deep
physical level. Still, I had a reasonable stab at it, made it back, had a
shower, and then headed into the training course for the day. Today's morning
and afternoon sessions were long ones, with me only just emerging from it now.
I've now been in work for close on eleven hours, and it's time I went home.
Tomorrow's the last day of the course, and I also don't have to be in work
before 09:30, so that should mean I get to sleep in, at least a little.
[16:55] Day one of my AWS course. Everything seems to be going OK. It's fairly
interesting, but I'm not sure when I'll ever get to use it if we don't actually
adopt/have access to it in my specific group. Still, it should mean I have the
ability to help and/or troubleshoot anyone else here who's using it. And I can
put it on my CV if nothing else.
I'm in earlier than I thought tomorrow morning as I'm going to get both the
patching and (hopefully) my running session for the day out of the way before
tomorrow's training session starts. We'll see how that goes...
[16:50] Odd night's sleep last night. I think it was a combination of slightly
too much protein, and knowing I had to be up early this morning for patching
and stuff. In any event it was a semi-broken night of sleep, and some really
strange dreams which I couldn't remember any part of immediately upon waking.
But anyway, I got up on time, did the morning routine, and cycled to work in
what was still essentially night time. Once I was there I had a leisurely few
minutes to get everything ready and then it was off to the races. I patched
about nineteen servers, rebooted six for additional firmware updates, and then
everything was back at precisely 07:30. They didn't need to be, but they were,
so that was nice. After that the rest of the day was a bit of a come-down,
which has been perfectly fine by me. I did go for a run at lunch time, although
it was supposed to be a track session and wasn't because the track had been
booked for some children's thing. I ended up doing my sprintervals on the
foot/cycle path next to it which worked, mostly. I never really settled into
the session though, which was disappointing. It wasn't wasted though, I don't
I'm on a three day AWS course for the rest of the week, but still have a
slightly early morning on Thursday to patch and reboot another big set of
servers. Otherwise I'll be checking in with work email at the beginning and end
of the day and probably writing something small and trivial here before I head
home. That's probably it. Hopefully nothing will go too wrong while I'm
learning something new for the first time in a while.
[17:20] I don't enjoy weekends without Rachel anywhere near as much as those
with her. I probably spent far too much time indoors, and/or watching
television. As it was I got up on Saturday morning quite late (as I didn't have
to run and couldn't be bothered with a muddy parkrun after all the rain
overnight) and did a bit of television-watching. Then I forced myself to do
some house work, some cleaning and tidying, and even a little bit of weeding,
all over the course of the day. This meant that it wasn't until much later in
the day before I allowed myself to sit back down again and watch some more
television. As a 'reward' for not being a couch potato all day I got myself a
Chinese takeaway, as this also necessitated me leaving the house and getting
some fresh air.
Sunday was somewhat similar in that I didn't do all that much. I did rise early
enough to have some breakfast and go for a run such that I was home, showered
and had done the weekly shop before lunch time had sensibly passed. So that was
a positive. Rachel and I coordinated on a Skype time in the evening (her bed
time) and the connection was even good enough that we could enable video as well
as audio. It was wonderful to be able to connect and I went to bed feeling a
Disappointingly, I woke feeling very groggy this morning, for no readily
apparent reason. I dragged myself out of bed and, after morning exercises and
all the usual stuff, got myself to work in the drizzle. Today has mostly been
about preparing for tomorrow's mammoth firmware and OS patching session before
09:00 (starting some time around about 07:30). I'm pretty sure I've got all my
ducks in a row, so it's just a case of pressing 'go' a lot and watching for
problems (of which I hope there are none). I sent some good emails today, and
got some lovely replies in return, so that was nice, too. I'm off home now to
relax for the evening and get an early night. Although from the looks of things
it's already getting dark outside. I can't wait for the clocks to go back this
[17:00] I stayed up a bit too late last night watching television, but I felt it
was worth it considering how many early nights I'm going to have to have over
the next few weeks to deal with the early starts I'm going to be doing. In any
event it was a nice evening of writing a long email to Rachel (and getting a
text reply just before she headed to bed), having a nice dinner, and generally
This morning I was a bit groggy when I woke up, but morning exercises soon blew
the cobwebs away... Although I have had very tight and sore hamstrings and lower
glutes since after the hills session yesterday, which is both good (muscle
workout) and bad (should I really be this sore?). Hopefully having today and
tomorrow off running before Sunday's relatively easy long run should mean I'm
ready to go.
Work today has been mostly a holding action against the entropic decay of
silicon. I fixed stuff, maintained stuff, even patched a few servers. In the
end though we've finished the day (and the week) with roughly the same number of
red and yellow lights on the monitoring system. What has increased is the
amount of work I've got over the next three weeks.
Before that though there's the weekend, where I intend to do very little,
except run once, hopefully take a cycle trip to a friend's house to use some of
his specialist cycle tools to replace a chain, rear cassette, and both sets of
brake disc pads, go to Tesco, enter Rachel and I for our usual new year's eve
10K race, and generally not think about whether or not I still have a rodent
problem. With luck I won't get to wet and or wind-blown at any point, too.
See you on Monday.
[17:35] Another moderately quiet day, thank goodness. Although I have just been
given another two early mornings in the next few weeks. One of them is even a
06:00 start. I don't think I'll be staying much past lunch time on that day.
I ran at lunch time, in what I can only imagine is the last nice weather of
autumn unless something amazing happens. It was a short hills session, which I
liked, even as I know they're going to get longer, and more difficult. I think
I'm going to head home now and try not to think about the early mornings I've
got myself into starting this time next week.
I hope Rachel's OK, too. She's very busy these next few days and we haven't
been able to email each other. I'll send her one tonight, so she has something
to read before bed.
[17:10] Last night I definitely heard noises in the wall/under the floor in a
place there should absolutely not be any noise coming from. I'm 100% certain.
What I'm not certain of is what is making the noises, or how it happens to be
coming from the place it is. There is (as far as I can see) literally no way
an animal could be in that location unless it was walled in when I had my work
done. And if it was, surely it should be dead by now given I had the work done
in late August? It's distressing, and not a little confusing. The smell I
associate with the rats is back a bit, too. Definitely not dead/decomposing
rat. More 'dirty rat presence'. I'm not going to pull the washer out again to
check for droppings for another week and a bit, to allow them to feel
comfortable about using whatever teleportation method they might have to get
there again. Alternatively, as I said yesterday, they could be old droppings I
didn't clean up properly. I still care about the noises under the floor/in the
In other news, in the space of about five minutes I was assigned five days of
coming in for 07:30 in the morning to do various kinds of sysadmin work. It's
not for a week or so, but then one day in one week, and then twice a week for
two weeks. Some days are going to be pretty full-on as I'll be doing lots of
work in a very short amount of time across a variety of platforms and services.
I'll just have to take it as it comes and see what shakes out.
Otherwise I think all is going reasonably well. I miss Rachel a lot, but
keeping busy 'helps'. I think, though, it's time to go home and to try not to
think about what's happening under my tiled floor. I really hope the
foundations are as the pest control people said, and aren't going to allow
whatever's under my floor access to the rest of the house... I spent such a lot
of money getting this issue 'fixed'.
[17:35] Another doubly-extended weekend, and another Tuesday when I come back to
work feeling like it has been a lot longer than four days away. This is
probably because weekends with Rachel always tend to be packed from beginning to
end with Stuff and Things. This one was no different. I headed to London on
Thursday evening and made my way to the GBK near Clapham Junction. Rachel
arrived a little later and we had a lovely dinner there (I've been craving meat
for a while now). After that we took a train back to Croydon, and then the tram
home, getting there in time to watch two episodes of Person of Interest, which
we're rewatching. On Friday morning we had a semi-lazy morning and then took
trains to Par, and then caught a lift to the Eden Project. Rachel's in with the
CEO of the Eden Project, so we had a meeting with him before heading over to the
YHA just outside the grounds to welcome some other people (supporters of
Rachel's charity) who were coming to run the Eden Project Marathon. On Saturday
a number of us, including Martin Yelling from Marathon Talk and Benard Rotich
from Kenya did the local parkrun, with Benard gracefully setting a new course
record and giving the second place person a nasty shock as he was expecting an
easy first place. There was lots of other stuff during the day, some nice stuff
in the afternoon (including a tour of the biomes after closing time from the
CEO, and a 'pasta and ugali party'), and then we were off to bed again. On the
Sunday Rachel and everyone else did a rather wet and muddy full or half marathon
(Benard set a new course record for the half marathon) while I minded the fort
and handed out room keys for people to shower post-run. Once most people had
finished and headed home Rachel and I caught trains back to Croydon, collected
pizzas each on the way home, watched another episode or two and then headed to
bed. On Monday we managed to sleep in quite wonderfully, before having a fry-up
breakfast in the house (more television), and then preparing to head out.
Rachel to Heathrow for a two week visit to Kenya, Uganda, and DRC, and me back
home for work this morning. We went our separate ways at Victoria and I was
home again within a few hours. Disappointingly, when I got home the house was
incredibly hot. It seems the batteries had failed in my central heating
controller over the weekend and the heating had failed 'on'. Rather a lot of
gas got used. I'm not terribly happy about that. Still, you live and learn. I
headed to Tesco, and then settled in for the evening. There was a slight smell
I used to associate with rats when I walked past where they used to be, so I
pulled out the washer to find one or two rat poos on the floor. It's entirely
possible they were ones I didn't sweep up properly last time, or ones displaced
when I had the builders concrete up the hole the rats were coming in via. I
really don't want to think that they're new since the work was done. There's
honestly no place for the rats to get in, and after the work was done and I
could hear at least two of them trapped in the foundations you would have
thought they'd have tried to escape via that area. So, I've set a reminder to
check for fresh droppings in two weeks and tried to put it out of my mind...
other than remembering it again to write this entry.
I got into work at a sensible time this morning, having triaged my email last
night so I could get to work on useful stuff a little faster. Nothing terrible
has gone wrong today, but there are plenty of things coming up which might.
Mostly I've been preparing two physical servers and four virtual ones for
patching (OS (and firmware too for the physical ones)) tomorrow morning. It
won't be a horribly early start, but I'd like to get them done as soon as
possible. I ran at lunch time. The first of the new training block's track
sessions. I think it went OK, and there's room for improvement (I hope!). For
now though I'm heading home to try to relax and not miss Rachel too much. Only
two weeks to go.
[15:55] I'm off to Cornwall via Clapham Junction and Croydon (tonight) this
weekend. I'll be helping Rachel with some stuff she's doing for her charity, as
well as dog-sitting, running a parkrun, and generally being with Rachel for as
much time as possible before she heads off to Kenya and the DRC for two weeks or
so. I was in early this morning for a very easy software update, so I'll be
heading off in just a few minutes to catch the train to Clapham Junction where
I'll be meeting Rachel for an actual dinner date, which'll be smashing.
Nothing particularly interesting has gone on today at work. I did go for a nice
run at lunchtime which was somewhat faster towards the end than I was expecting,
but it was nice to know I'm recovering quite well, finally.
Anyway, back on Tuesday for more of the same!
[16:40] I'm feeling much better today in terms of leg ache. Not 100% yet, which
is disappointing, but certainly improved on yesterday. I also managed to
restrain myself from running at lunch time. There's absolutely no reason why I
needed to run today, and especially not given I ran yesterday. I can go without
running, and I did. I will be going tomorrow lunch time, although it'll be at
the same relaxed pace as yesterday. Train most definitely hasn't started for
Work-wise the day hasn't been all that interesting. I've done a few things, got
a few bits and bob sorted, generally kept the place ticking over, and prepared a
script of commands to run tomorrow morning to do a software update on a service
we host for a group. Coming in early should mean that I get to leave early for
the train to London so I can meet Rachel. We're going for a well-deserved GBK
dinner before heading back to Croydon (which'll necessitate a detour from my
usual journey). More on what I'll be up to for another double-extended weekend
in tomorrow's entry. For now I'm off to collect Rachel's order from Sweaty
Betty (if they'll let me) and then head home.
[17:20] Well, I didn't die doing the marathon. Owing to some determination on
my part I even managed a reasonable time given the training I'd been doing.
Rachel, on the other hand, did amazingly and got a new PB as well as beating
me. I'm very proud of her for how well she did, and I even think she's capable
of more when she does London next year (a week after I attempt a sub-3 hour
marathon in Manchester). I headed to Manchester on Friday and arrived just
after Rachel, who went from London. We got the tram to Sale and were collected
and driven home. A quiet evening followed. On Saturday we drove to Chester and
found our AirBnB place, which was really lovely. We walked through town and had
a free tour of the cathedral from one of Rachel's charity's donors, then went
back to the accommodation for a bite of dinner, to watch the athletics, and then
head to bed. On Sunday, contrary to the weather forecast all week, it wasn't
raining. We had breakfast, sorted ourselves out and walked the few hundred
meters to the start area. Disappointingly, I needed the loo as we waited for
the gun, so after about 2.5 miles I ducked into a portaloo and dealt with the
issue. I managed to catch Rachel up again within a mile or so and we stayed
roughly together until around half way, at which point I fell off the pace
somewhat. In the end she finished about four minutes and forty seconds ahead of
me (about a kilometre). We were both pretty shattered afterwards, but able to
walk back to the accommodation (still very close), have a shower, and then head
out with my parents for lunch. After that, back to the car (also parked close
by) and back to Manchester again. We had dinner out at a lovely vegetarian
restaurant, and then a very early night as all four of us were pretty pooped.
On Monday morning we got a lift to the train station, then began our journey
home together before separating at Peterborough to get different trains. When I
got home I made an effort to get out to Tesco for the short week's food (more on
that later in the week), and then collapsed on the sofa for the evening. All in
all it was a lovely (to see my parents) successful (PB for Rachel, about what I
expected for me) weekend.
This morning it was a bit strange to be getting up to head to work, even after
only four days away, but I managed it. Legs still stiff the cycle in wasn't too
bad, but I'm glad I didn't have further to go. Work has been OK, with a few
servers, firewall objects, and traffic manager settings removed, and I even got
a new NIC installed in my PC so I'm not using a USB3 dongle any more. I've even
managed to fix a network time protocol issue that I hadn't realised was one
until someone pointed out some issues. I'm off for dinner out this evening,
then home to catch up on some television and generally not do much. I ran (very
gently) at lunch time, which I think has helped my aching legs somewhat. We'll
see what happens when I get out of this chain in a few minutes from now, as well
as how I feel when I get out of bed tomorrow morning.
[13:50] Right, a reasonable night's sleep had. A good morning's work of little
bits and bobs done. A nice short-but-punchy session on the track. A shower.
Lunch. Time to go home and not be back in the office until Tuesday. Between
now and then I'll be relaxing, packing, and taking the train to Manchester on my
own (Rachel's travelling separately and we're meeting at Piccadilly), then
Saturday with parents and travelling to Chester. Sunday is marathon day. My 'A
race' for this half of the year... although I have no real idea how well I'm
going to do given my slightly 'off' training since the ultras in the first half
of the year. We'll see. After the race we'll go back to Manchester and then
get the train home again on Monday. Monday afternoon/evening should definitely
have a lot more relaxing in it. We might even make a start on a rewatch of the
last season of Person of Interest.
See you Tuesday for a brief debrief on the marathon and stuff.
[17:35] I fell asleep on the sofa at around 21:20 last night, so headed off to
bed early. Consequently I woke feeling pretty refreshed this morning, which was
a delightful change. Seeing the completely blue sky outside (but wearing gloves
to cycle to work for the first time since spring) was a good way to start the
The most annoying thing about today is that I appear to have broken the built-in
network port on my work PC by being a bit to aggressive unplugging the cable
from it yesterday when doing network testing. As a result I'm using a USB3
dongle at the moment instead, have tracked down an add-in card to replace that,
but may potentially be getting Dell to come out and replace the motherboard/NIC
if at all possible after I've done some tests. We'll have to see. Otherwise
work was all about more of the little things, documenting stuff, and generally
keeping the place running. Nothing really to write home about.
I had a nice gentle 6km run at lunch time, and I've got one more semi-difficult
session tomorrow lunch time before I go home for the day. I won't be in on
Friday either, or Monday next. So, short entry tomorrow, then nothing until
Tuesday. Hopefully tomorrow morning will be quiet.
[17:55] Busy day. It started sleepily, with Rachel and I really not wanting to
get out of bed, but there being not enough good reasons to stay in it. Rachel
headed off to work and got myself in gear and left the house a little later. At
work I had a morning of getting things in order, with very little in the way of
stress and concern. Over lunch I had a really good run down to and then around
the track doing fast miles and slow half miles for about fifty minutes. The
afternoon was then one of mini-meetings, doing some useful volume expansion
practice involving the SAN, VMWare, and RHEL7, and being handed work to do which
has to be up and running before the end of the week. Given I'm not in on
Thursday afternoon, all of Friday, and the following Monday, this was a bit of
an issue until I had a meeting with the people who were involved and got a
better handle on expectations. Everything's pretty much in hand now, but it was
somewhat stressful for an hour or so.
I managed to just about avoid the rain at lunch time, but I think I'm going to
get pretty wet cycling home in a few minutes. Still, that's what waterproofs
and towels are for.