Menu Members Guests LTQ
BOFHcam navigation bar


1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 2024

June's Journal
August's Journal

31/07/2002 - Crete
[15:00] So we boarded the plane, no worries there. The plane didn't move. For quite a while. The captain came on over the intercom. It appeared that the storms over London had knocked out large chunks of air traffic control. Which was a problem. We were allowed to move about the cabin but were on 'ready to fly' which meant that if someone else wasn't ready we could get their take off slot. In that event it was run for your seats and belt in. That was cool. They turned on the in-flight entertainment anyway.

We took off an hour later than we'd been supposed to anyway. The amazingly verbose and helpful captain still managed to get us in only twenty minutes behind schedule.

We deplaned at speed and collected our bags, heading for the coach station. Oddly, for an international airport there were no coaches until 04:50. It was currently 02:00. We headed back into the airport and tried to get some sleep (or read) on the floor of the arrivals area. Around 4:50 we headed down again, blearly-eyed. Tried to sleep on the way home, didn't managed, got home at some ungodly hour of the midmorning and headed home. Spent too long working on email and writing up this journal before getting a few hours sleep.

[23:00] Went to the pub, had a good time, showed people my pictures by bringing my laptop with me. Came home, spent some time talking to Bob again and eventually went to bed. Holiday over. Some amazing times, some really hard times and a whole lot of thinking. Bed now.

30/07/2002 - Crete
[11:15] Lazily stayed in bed until 09:15 then showered and ate. Slowly began to packwhile Bob went into town to change some money. There are no cash machines in Plakias. No, I don't know why. We're aiming for the 13:15 bus to Rethymnon and then on to Heraklion. That should give us time to do some shopping, have a meal at Hiovanni's again and get to the airport in plenty of time. Bob's back from town now, so time to finish packing.

[21:51] We finished packing and said our goodbyes to those in the hostel we'd made friends with, including Chris who hoped we'd be back soon. If only to fix the computers. We can't escape them, even in Crete.

Bags on back and front we paced down to the shore road stopping to admire the scenery one last time. A twenty minute stop in the sun brought the bus to Rethymnon and an uneventful journey. The change of buses for the one to Heraklion was the work of fifteen minutes and then off we went again. I read for most of the 80km before we alighted where it all began. We took a trip to our original youth hostel and deposited the larger bags for the after for 5 euros. From there we decided on a savoury crepe for lunch (late) at the same place we'd been on our first night in Crete.

The cafe culture we've adopted lead us to work on our pet project for the best part of the afternoon and evening. A rapid bout of tourist-like shopping garnered a t-shirt and some gifts for the people back home. I'm out of cash now. Pretty much everything done, we went for our bags and meandered over to Giovanni's for a last and Last Night meal. As before it was excellent, as was the wine. Both attentive and attractive waitresses remembered us well.

Around 20:30 we finished our coffee, cleansed our palettes with lemon sorbet and walked to the bus stop for the airport route. When it arrived it was packed full and we just made it fuller. I was almost thrown off for crowding the driver. A few stops before the airport almost everyone got off and, as is the Greek style, shoved us our of the way.

At the airport, check in was painless, and purchase of a further gift or two for someone who's been helping me out these past weeks was made. Hope she likes it. Now all there is to do is wait. 23:10 flight, 01:10 arrival time (local time) at Gatwick. Then it's a really really long coach trip home.

No work tomorrow, just a debrief in the pub with others to discuss the project we have in mind and have a drink.

29/07/2002 - Crete
[17:00] Slept much better last night. I think the cold is already broken. A shower at 07:00 prepared me for the day and a continental breakfast and a mug of hot sweet tea allowed me some energy. We selttled down in the communal area after breakfast and played a game of chess. Unfortunately my mind was really on other things and I lost, badly.

We went for a walk, west out of Plakias, at speed. I needed the movement, and the heat to keep my mind occupied. Bob's a great friend and he's got some idea of where I am right now. This is why the holiday has been so uniformly excellent overall.

So we walked, in the heat, talking. Eventually we ran out of road. Turning back we stopped at a taverna for a drink, got to talking about other matters and had lunch there too. Many hours later we walked back to the hostel, hand wrote some emails on paper to be sent from the UK and settled down to wait out the sun. I decided to pop in and get up to date on the journal.

[30/07/2002 - 11:00] No sooner than we'd sat down to read than Chris, the person who runs the hostel wandered over to ask us if we could fix someone's computer. Seems their ISDN doalup had failed to work when the machine had been reinstalled due to a Klez infection it'd picked up. Unfortunately the no-name ISDN box only had NetCon printed on the side and a manual written exclusively in Greek. It was making a connection very quickly, then dumping the line and claiming the other end had said there was nothing happening. We ended up using the standard 28k8 driver which was supposed to work, but didn't. In the end we blamed the woman's ISP and told her to try again in the morning. We got driven home again safe in the knowledge that by the time she tried again we'd not be around.

More reading was done and I enthused Bob about Karate and got him interested in attending classes when we get back to the UK. In the end hunger drove us back into town again. Good food and more cocktails solved most of the day's woes and sent us happily home at some ungodly hour of the morning. There were some noisy people who didn't seem to need any sleep at all wandering about the hostel and they were determined not to let anyone sleep. In the end I managed anyway.

28/07/2002 - Crete
[29/02/2002 - 01:10] So slept badly again, waking all the time to blow my nose and try to cool down. By 04:00 I was sick of it but managed to doze through the occasional torrential downpours. Up at 09:00 the the sound of Bach's Tocatta and Fugue (on Sunday Chris pays classical music in the morning). I headed off for a shower (water still at a perfect temperature, even over night) and then to stare at the overcast and rainy morning.

Bob was up by 10:00 and we had breakfast together before engaging someone in conversation until the hostel's PC became free. We checked email (some real suprises) and then I showed Bob the MUD I use habitually to demonstrate some key concepts we need for the project we're working on at the moment.

After reading some difficult to assimilate information on Bob's email we had to get out of the hostel and go for a hard walk somewhere, anywhere. We just needed to get out. Being a big problem tends to do that to me. We didn't take any water, any bags and we were lucky Bob had his wallet in his pocket. The path left out of the hostel goes straight up the side of the mountain to Mythrios and is supposed to take about an hour. We did it in less than thirty minutes, even in the raging heat of the day.

Once in Mythrios we headed to a taverna for lunch. This was uniformly excellent as usual and finished off with some yoghurt and honey for my throat. Plenty more talking took place. Some of should hopefully sink in and have some effect. Back down from Mythrios we investigated the route to One Rock beach. Apparently a forty-five minute walk to get to, we set off and were there, scrambling down the steep cliffs some time around when it was estimated.

One Rock is a very small nudist beach. So off came the clothes and into the very high waves funneling into the cove around the one large rock a few dozen meters out to sea. Naked swimming and sun bathing in mixed company is really rather fun in a liberating way. Eventually we ran out of drinkable water so I stopped bouldering/climbing on the rocks above the beach (in the nude, very weird) and got dressed.

Taking the long way back (by accident) we arrived back around 20:20 and played a game of chess which Bob won this time (I wasn't playing to win, honest). Headed out to town for a savoury and then sweet crepe with milkshake before talking until about technical things and heading home.

Bed time now. Hopefully with more sleep and a less runny nose.

27/07/2002 - Crete
[15:10] So I slept badly again for some of the first half of the night, but a breeze sprang up and the second half was much, much better. We woke, dressed and were packed and happy to see Nick an hour before he was due to in to open up so that we could collect our passports. With them safe from the safe(!) and packed away we could make our way to the pickup point for today's walk. There was no taxi this time though. As there were only four people paying to walk today our walk leader (same lady as last time) drove us out to the start point herself. We stopped off to pick up the Finnish couple who were our walking companions before a longer drive out out of town than last time.

Parked in a village on the edge of another gorge we started out. The walk was much less difficult than before, the heat less and much more of a breeze. Again we were innundated with the smell of oregano, sage, jasmine. There were wild pears, mulberries and plums to pull from branches.

The stops off in a taverna was welcome and welcoming and the light snack (actually breakfast for us) was just what we needed. There then followed a lot more steep up and down after 11:00 but passing through villages (now mostly empty as more and more of the younger generation move to the larger towns) broke the walk up a bit. Through one village we came across their natural well/spring and were able to refill our water bottles. Just after that was a natural tunnel which was filled with butterflies. A walk and a final steep down hill stretch took us to the lunch taverna. Food, wine and raki was quickly consumed as we were rather tired and hungry. A lift back to our morning pickup point and a two minute walk back to the French-infested hostel to change shoes and repack for the the bus trip to Plakias followed. I decided to write down the day to date too, as the bus isn't until 16:15.

[28/07/2002 - 09:30] So we walked to the bus station, bought the tickets and lazed about inside eating icecream and talking about the issues which bothered me. Bob's been really good at letting me blow off steam and try to get things straight. I still wish that things weren't as they are now, though. The things that've happened are bad for everyone and had I been given time and opportunity (even now) I think there's hope to have something new. Anyway, the bus arrived on time, was nice and modern (with air conditioning) and was driven well. As we left the town though, for the first time in over 14 years it rained in Crete in July. Weird. Anyway, rain it did and it followed us south to Plakias. Not only that but my cold is getting progressively worse too. It's as if my body's given up defending itself and said "that's it". My throat hurts, it's hard to swallow, I have a running nose and a high temperature. We still arrived in Plakias and walked through the overcast day to the youth hostel.

Bob was instantly recognised by the manager (Chris) who dragged out the raki and some glasses and we drank our welcome. There were unfortunately no beds left indoors (we thought), but as people he knew he found some other decent places for us to kip. Turns out there were some beds inside after all as we started talking to others in the communal area and two attractive French women turned up. Mostly because Chris allocated the beds we thought he'd given us, to them. We moved our stuff and everything was sorted.

For the first time in a while I played a game of chess as my cold/flu kicked in. Dinner was on the outcome so I tried my best agains Bob, and won. Huzzah. Admittedly he'd played no more than a dozen games in his life, but he's an intelligent man.

Still, at around 22:00 we headed out to look for a place to eat. A fish restaurant seemed to be the best option so we had sea bass and grilled tuna. Given the uncomfortable seating that most places seem to have we relocated to a beach bar for cocktails next and slowly descended into a pleasant drunken happiness as the rain came down and the sea and the mountains were lit up by spectacular purple tinted lightning.

We talked until well past 01:00 but then, not even the words which come from deep places when you're more open through massive amounts of alcohol can give you the answers you need, sometimes.

We wove our way back to the hostel and to bed. The heat and my cold stopped me from getting a proper night's sleep and I was woken by the occasional downpour outside.

26/07/2002 - Crete
Woke far too early before the 06:30 bells but was still rudely brought awake by them, likewise the 07:30 ones. They sound like they're being rung by two children on a bet. No elements of campanology whatsoever. Anyway, tried to doze until 08:30 before getting up. Wandered to the area normally closed when Nick isn't there and ordered some Greek yoghurt and honey for my increasingly sore throat which had threatened to leave me unable to sleep and breath last night. It helped anyway. Over breakfast Bob engaged in an extremely unfair battle of wits with a fat opinionated redneck American with some pig-ignorant ill-informed opinions on evolution, among many other things. The man was also a fully paid up member of the World Jewish Conspiracy group. Idiot.

I dragged Bob out of there before GBH was administered. We wandered through the town to the fortress where we spent a hot two hours exploring the walls and the reconstructed chapel of St Catherine and the next-door mosque which seemed to have become a contemporary art gallery. A real shame.

From the fortress we went to find the minaret of what we thought was a still active mosque, only to find it closed and a music conservatory. We decided to seek solace and lunch at the Wine Festival in the municipal gardens. But it turned out that that wasn't open until the evening.

So we wandered toa shop, bought some more honey and Greek yoghurt. Ate it at the hostel, made sure email at home wasn't overflowing the inbox and had a slightly more pleasant conversation with the idiot about British broadsheet newspapers. In the end we decided to go to a part of town which the map claimed didn't have anything in it. The map was right, there was nothing there and we ended up walking around the outside of the fortress on the sea road, far below it.

From there I needed the loo (too much water) so we popped into three tavernas in search of shade, among other things. The second place held on to us for a good few hours as we hashed out and then filled in the gaps on some really technical ideas for the future. Before too long it was 19:40 and a quick trip back to The Happy Walker to confirm tomorrow's walk. Once that was done we went to the hostel to find it infested with French backpackers. Plenty of eye-candy, no friendliness. Figures.

Quickly leaving we went to the wine festival and found we had to wait fifty-five minutes before the wine came out (children's part still running). We sat on a Greek memorial to some guy or other and Bob attempted to unroll some of my brain from the state it was in. Eventually running out of time we paid the 3 euros to get in, bought a glass and proceeded to drink far too much wine, even if it was interspersed with water. Luckily there were some burgers to be had and so, happy and lightheaded we talked some more about our pasts before thinking on to the coming days in Plakias. Those should be excellent times.

Eventually we'd drunk enough that even sharing a room with some French people seemed like the most sensible thing to do and we slunk back home with headaches and a need not to start something with the French guys lying all over the ground. I wrote the journal up to date and thought about tomorrow's walk before closing the book for the day.

25/07/2002 - Crete
[23:45] Slept badly in the heat again and tried to dose until 06:30 when we were supposed to get up. Off went Bob's alarm and up we got, to be brought fully awake a few minutes later by a number of church bells being inexpertly rung by what sounded like monkeys.

Now fully awake we dressed and walked in hiking boots rather than sandals down to the shore where we waited to be picked up and driven to the start point. At 07:30 our taxi appeared and in we got with someone else who'd been waiting with us. A few miles out of town we were dropped with about eight other people from all over europe and the southern hemisphere who were holidaying in Crete. I think there were Australian, Dutch, German and English people represented. We set off on the vaguely circular route and the temperature continued to rise.

Over the following hours we climbed and dropped along the side of a gorge, crossing the river at the bottom a number of times as the path wound its way up to its top. At one point we came across an abandoned village, totally covered in creepers and vines which still stood almost undamaged yet home to hundreds of bats. We also saw many many derelict mills run by the river as well as houses, villas and storage barns. Very odd.

at around 11:00 we left the gorge and headed for a village with a small taverna which served us cold drinks and snacks. Plenty of raki too, which I'm developing a taste for. Moving on we walked roads, through orange and lemon groves (eating from the trees as we went) as well as seeing wild oregano, basil, sage, mint, incense, capers and figs. The temperature was in the high thirties and shade wasn't always available to we were all pretty hot for most of the time. In the end we actually climbed out of the gorge completely and overlooked the town below before turning away towards a taverna which served us a healthy amount of food and drink, including lots of wine and water. The taxis arrived around 15:00 to drive us back to where we'd been picked up in the morning. A short walk took us back to the hostel where a cold shower and a shave restored some semblance of humanity. After a while we ambled over to The Happy Walker again to cancel the walk for tomorrow and book one instead for Satuday when we may have more strength to take it on.

Inside we found one of the people from the walk who'd been on eight others and was mostly a resident of Crete at the moment. A happy couple of hours was spent talking to him in the place and being supplied by Raki by the owner as we just sat there. It wasn't until that we noticed it was half past seven that we realised we should have something to eat. The three of us agreed on a seafood place and for the next 40 minutes we split up to relax and prepare.

Meeting up again we took ten minutes to wandered down to the shore and to a very well hidden place which did huge whitebait and octopus along with a lot of salad and wondeful meatballs. We talked long past 23:00 about relationships and where I was in my life at the moment. It was helpful but I still feel very much at sea. When we finished we said goodbye and headed home. While the heat may not have gone down much yet the wind has come up a bit more strongly now and I seem to have developed a really nasty sore throat. I don't know whether it's the Raki or the wine I had today (retsina) but time will tell.

24/07/2002 - Crete
[21:50] Sleeping in 28 degree heat isn't as bad as you might think. I woke at about 07:00 and managed to keep dozing for a while. On getting up and jumping out of the top bunk I headed for a shower again. There were two or three scantily-clad women doing morning things as I headed into the bathroom are and we all exchanged the smile of backpackers everywhere when met by someone attractive and wearing very little.

After packing Bob and I headed down to the communal area for a cheap breakfast before I took a few pictures of the place to remember it by. We paid to have the bags minded for a while and headed out to look at the place in the daylight.

We wandered through the town and took in some museums including the Archaeological Museum where some time was spent in the shade drinking cool liquid and admiring the sun through the trees. More photos and then we took a trip down to the fortress on the shore. Deciding that as it was there we may as well walk down it we took a trip in the blazing heat down the entire length of the harbour sea wall. It's about a mile in length. Took a picture of some fish and a rusty sunken trawler before getting to the end, turning round and coming back.

As we reached shade again hunger struck and Bob recommended a small place only slightly hidden away called Giovanni's. It's an Italian place for sure, but it never seems to be full and the waitress service and the food are tremendous. I couldn't have found it on my own but it was an oasis of calm and cool in the middle of a hot and mentally hard day. If I ever come back to Crete I will go to Giovanni's again. As it is we whiled away a few hours until it was time to pick up our bags from the hostel and head for the bus station. Grabbing and carrying the bags through town in the middle of the day was hot work and it was a pleasure to buy the tickets and wait in the shade. While the driver was angry and incoherent everyone managed to get on and I dozed the two hourish journey to Rethymnon, west of Heraklion. I felt a bit dizzy with heat when we arrived but managed to follow Bob to the hostel about a mile from the station and just inside the old city walls.

Once settled in by Nick (the hostel operator) and showered we walked the 20m to The Happy Walker. This is a company started by a man from the Netherlands who came here a long time ago and never went home again. It organises walking trips around Rethymnon. We booked a walk for tomorrow and one for Friday provisionally. As we were sitting there he handed us small tumblers of Raki which we were allowed to keep.

Bookings arranged and time spent talking over we headed back to the hostel where I got a chance for the first time to read and Bob got out his sketch book and did a reasonable attempt at drawing a minaret just visible over the roof next door. We made some conversation with some French girls who'd just arrived before wandering out into the old part of town in search of food again. We settled on a place called The Old Tavern which served good salads brought to our table by an extremely nice waitress. Who didn't even notice me. Tough luck. Bob and I picked up our previous conversation on credit disks and secure transfers. It's all good stuff, maybe we'll do a paper on it one day. A walk back to the hostel and and ATM visit rounded off the evening in preparation for tomorrow's early rise at 06:30.

23/07/2002 - Crete
[24/07/2002 - 00:10] After staying up late with friends I packed past midnight before crashing out to the sound of the radio, the only way I can sleep at the moment.

Woke before the alarm and got myself sorted. Double-checked the stuff I needed to do and walked to the bus station. Met my travel partner (Bob) and enjoyed the feeling of the rain beginning to fall as we boarded the bus for the long trip to Gatwick airport.

We passed the journey with a long and detailed discussion of universal credit disks, encryption and cybernetic implants and wearable technology. We took a nice lunch in the Pizza Express there and check in went very smoothly and we passed through into the departures lounge and duty free. We were wandering around when suddenly the fire alarm went off. The entire airport was cleared and we ended up walking for about five minutes to something which looked vaguely like a concentration camp. Once the alarm was over we went back in and had an uneventful boarding and takeoff although for a few moments I was midly dissapointed that we didn't crash and burn into a violent conflagration of twisted and burning metal. Odd, that.

A flight time of three hours took us to Heraklion where our bags came out of the bowels of the airport's carousel system in less than ten minutes. Very efficient. We bought bus tickets, not from a ticket machine or similar, but from a newsagents-type stand which didn't advertise itself as being able to do that. It was about midnight and 30 degrees centigrade. Wonderful. Once on the bus we headed into town and were dropped off a few hundred meters from the youth hostel. When we arrived it was full though, which wasn't helpful.

It was hot, late and we were tired but we headed off across town to the second hostel in the town. Walking along the shore in the dark was relaxing and I began to feel that perhaps this holiday might work in helping me sort my head out a little.

Open and with vacancies we paid our 9 euro for the night and headed out for food and to see something of Heraklion. My first taste of Crete was a monster savoury pancake and a drink from a vendor about a mile from the hostel. A shower before bed cooled me down a little but I know it's going to be hot all the time we're here. I've finished for the last twenty four hours or so now, so I think I'll get some sleep.

[09:40] The PFY missed the last train home from London yesterday so he's not due in until around 11:00 this morning. I think he got a little drunk.

I'm on holiday from tomorrow. I'll try to keep a journal as normal. I hope it's good. I'm shopping today for new boots (lots of walking planned, keep brain and body busy). Hope everyone has a good time while I'm away.

[17:05] Went and bought some hiking boots this lunchtime. Had a great time with people, managed to forget about stuff for at least five minutes. Almost a record. Waiting for someone to come round so I can leave for the cinema. By 09:10 tomorrow morning I'll be on my way to Crete.

[12:00] Nothing happening today, either. Which, for a Friday, is good. Off to see some friends in Milton Keynes this evening. Sorry entries are so short at the moment.

[12:30] Nothing happening today. Tonight is DVD evening.

[14:25] Spent lunch talking about SSL certificates and starred certificates for domains.

[16:55] Headed out to the outskirts of town to fix someone's floppy drive. I couldn't be bothered to even find out what was wrong in the end, just whipped it out and stuck in a spare I'd brought. I'll take a look at the other one some other time.

[11:30] Climbing last night was excellent. People came back for Chinese again afterwards (almost a curry) and we ended up watching Family Guy episode until we started to fall asleep.

There's a problem machine in here at the moment, someone from Central's come to have a look at it.

[12:25] Well, not so much a clean bill of health concerning the machine as more likely a denial of service which caused the box to barf in new and exciting ways.

[10:40] Climbing was good even though my feet were torn to shreds at the weekend. Still, I was happy to have that happen, helped me focus on things. Better than the alternative.

I ended up sitting on the grass with someone until late into the evening and talking and reading and drinking fruit smoothie and eating chips. Nice.

This morning I've been doing more reading, getting stuff done and dealing with a door which has been unlocked for the last few months and suddenly decided to lock itself this morning with someone in the room. Which was fun. Engineer en route, apparently. I also have a PC four miles away with a broken floppy drive, a course on Apache SSL this afternoon and PCs and toner to buy.

[17:00] The course was pretty good. Left before the IIS section as it wasn't applicable to what I needed to know. I also needed to get back to work as there were things I needed to be doing. Climbing again this evening.

[14:25] Driving lesson this morning. Pretty good. Went on sliproads to dual carriageways, more reversing, more roundabouts and lots more other stuff again.

Weather's great today, but work isn't really something you want to do on a day like this. Still, climbing again this evening.

[14:30] It's filehandles today. I've already dealt with them a fair amount under Unix anyway, but it's good to see that it's the same thing, practically. This morning was regular expressions, this evening is films and tomorrow is looking for a holiday for the end of July. Don't worry, I'll keep a journal as normal and try to get it typed up and stick the photos onto the gallery.

[17:15] At the risk of having everyone and their dog download it from me, I have the theme tune to 'Scrubs' as an MP3 now. It's the full song as sung by Lazlo Bane. If you can find it on this site, download it. It's called Superman.mp3.

[15:15] Another driving lesson today. This is hour eight now completed. He's really rather suprised at the progress I've made (which is why I've already booked the test) which is cool. The problem is that my driving instructor is stopping working for the BSM at the end of July so I need to be passed on to someone else for the one weekly lessons I'll be having before my test. This is probably good practice as I'll have someone else in the car for the test, anyway.

More learning this morning. It's odd to do after so long not moving anywhere. It's a good feeling. This afternoon I'm doing learning and configuring a RedHat 7.3 box for gateway duty, as I mentioned yesterday.

[17:00] Turns out that it's not needed after all. Perhaps I'll just use it for play purposes.

[10:45] Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon working in another part of the Institution. Got some stuff done, saw how the other half live. Or at least some of them.

Climbing was cool, although I don't seem to be improving at the moment. Nearly made a black run though, had my first proper falling off. It was good to see that my belay person was on the ball and my knots held. Scouts came in useful after all.

[17:25] Installing a RedHat box for someone so they have a gateway machine for their home network. Gives me something to do, anyway. Must remember how to do an IP-forwarding kernel again...

[08:50] More of the same today. Climbing this evening. Sorry there's nothing more exciting to report at the moment.

[12:20] Fairly good morning, had a good driving lesson. Came into work. Nothing apparently happened. Finally gotten the new version of SSHd to work with my hands off journal update script. Stupid thing.

[15:10] Lunch was good. More work this afternoon. Slowly slowly, it's the way to get it done.

[12:40] Minority Report: Overlong, unsettling, variably paced, well lit, hauntingly scored, odd, gruesome in places, for a 12 certificate. Overall, I'm glad I saw it. We all went to Pizza Hut beforehand, much joking about stuffing the crust. Very juvenile. Cycled home with people after midnight, lent someone a toilet roll.

Learning lots more this morning, but slowly. I think it's the best way, even though it chafes so much.

[14:40] Good lunch. Brain in gear.

[10:00] Pushing on with stuff today. Hopfully the books will arrive and I'll be able to get some more information crammed into my head. Going to see Minority Report tonight. Spielberg, Cruise, "Everybody Runs".

[10:45] Athena rang this morning, my frame's in stock. Will pop over there at lunch to pick it up.

[15:00] Got my frame, went to lunch, walked back. Rescheduled the cinema for 21:00 this evening, which means we're all eating first, then film, then all heading back to our own houses.

[08:10] In far too early this morning, but I'm away for some of the afternoon talking with another sysadmin about stuff. Hoping to learn some new stuff in the coming weeks. As well as keeping me busy in the evenings I think it'll be good for me to stretch myself again. I just need to find a good reason to use it.

[12:25] Off to town this lunchtime to by some new clothes. First time in a while, about time really.

[14:50] Back with clothes in hand. I've got two new long-sleeved tops and a fairly smart T-shirt which is streets ahead of the stuff I wear normally. I think it's time to start changing.

[19:00] Back in work to do some quick clearing up. Won't be here long, unless something really crops up.

[10:45] Second driving lesson this morning. Went quite well, apparently I'm ahead of the curve generally speaking. Not sure at this time whether I can get away with just ten hours of lessons before the test. Went on roundabouts, lots of junctions and some reversing around corners. Stalled a few times, got the peddles a little messed and am not keeping my heel on the floor when controling the clutch sometimes. Other than that, it's going well.

[16:55] Busy day. Got into work and had some problems installing someone's new library management software which appears to be constructed of string and wishes. Went to a pension seminar at 12:00 and then on to lunch when it finally finished (far too long). Had a good lunch then came back to reghost a machine which has been causing me Issues for a good long time now. Hopefully a new image, a new printer and all new patches to all kinds of stuff might help and I won't get nasty notes on my desk in the mornings any more.

Climbing this evening.

[11:40] Another month, but this one is different, obviously.

I had my first driving lesson this morning. It was pretty good, I impressed the driving instructor with my technical knowledge and apart from stalling twice in the two hours and occasionally being too far to the left (near the curb) I was doing very well, was out in traffic between 08:00 and 10:00 and driving between 15 and 60 miles an hour the whole time. Current problems are not keeping my clutch foot's heel on the floor, and occasionally losing clutch control at slow speeds/moving off.

Giving blood this afternoon. More on that after lunch, etc.

[16:20] So I went to lunch and then went to give blood. Fairly easy, only it was a little uncomfortable. The finger prick was fine, after the initial stab, but the draining was painful to start with but once they'd wobbled it around a bit it was only mildly uncomfortable. Either way I won't mind doing it again in twenty-four weeks time. Apparently I have a good, strong heart. Only took seven minutes to give the requisite amount. Had to lie down longer (eight minutes as a first-timer) afterwards.

[16:35] I was sent an unsolicited CV this morning for a post which doesn't exist. Kudos to Sebastian for having the balls to do it. Shame I don't need anyone. I'd imagine he'll find somewhere to work fairly soon. I gave him some CV design tips which he may or may not use in the future which might help.

[17:10] Another fairly full day tomorrow. Driving in the morning, then in for an hour, install some software for someone, off to a pensions talk, lunch, back to work to reghost a machine and install some extra stuff. Then I get to breathe.