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March's Journal

[16:55] I was completely shattered this morning when I woke up. Part of it is probably due to the various forms of stress big and small, personal and professional, that I'm deal with at the moment. That and the fact I seem to be running quite a lot at the moment. Yes, I ran again today too. It seems to be one of the few times when I can just concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of all other. Like I used to say climbing was good for back when I had the time and resources to get to a climbing wall. Anyway, there were a few things last night which knocked me off balance a bit and I spent the 12 hours between then and around the middle of the morning today getting to grips with them and coming back to an even keel.

So yes, tired and a bit emotional at the moment. I'm fairly sure there's a relatively easy solution to most of my issues/problems, I just need to be an adult about achieving them. The personal problems, that is. The work ones are just about trying to get something more substantial to sink my metaphorical teeth into and the slew of desktop machine replacements I'm doing at the moment so that everyone has something which has a bit more umpfh and isn't completely full of dust. I've done three today. Theoretically there are six more to do (including my own, which is going to be annoying) but at least two of those aren't really necessary on account of them being a simple monitor machine and one with so much state that trying to rebuild it would be massive amounts of Pain (it's someone's legacy development box, not his main one).
Anyway, I'm off now to either go to the gym or for a cycle, then have some dinner, then try and chill for the remainder of the evening. With luck there'll be rowing both Saturday and Sunday mornings as well as some useful errands run and maybe even some new jeans (unless Kris lets me take some slightly holey ones to Paris).

Bottom line: I'm a bit whirled, up and down and slightly shoved sideways at the moment. A few days/weeks/months of stability and normality with some fun and games would really go down well about now.

[12:40] Other things I forgot to mention yesterday is that one of the projects we have going here got in a panic about things they'd forgotten to ask for until far to late. This necessitated me reracking a machine in its original spot (until then occupied by an identical model for another job which isn't required in service yet) and reprepping one of those three old machines that I'd done my part in decomissioning but the DBA responsible hadn't dealt with yet. He was pretty peeved when we told him that it was going down in about five minutes. I got it rebuilt (RHEL3->RHEL5) in an hour or so and then spent the rest of the time playing with the now full-supported hardware, firmware and software repositories Dell has for keeping their servers up to date. It's all quite neat now, even if some of the firmware packages don't apply automagically and you have to still do one or two (like the PERC one) by hand. Still, it's all good.

I'm in such a good mood at the moment (even if I came back from bank party duty last night feeling pretty low about a lonely cycle up the tow path and back, thus necessitating pizza) that I'm going for another 6km run in a few minutes and then will be reading more of the Limitation and Latent Damage Acts while I get on with my work.

[17:20] The lunchtime run was done in drizzle, but I really didn't mind. I seem to have settled on a quite nippy 25min-ish kind of time for 6km for the moment. This is good considering that before I took a break I was doing about 26-27min for the same distance. Other than that I've racked up (but not connected our first Sun x4240, which looks pretty cool, read what I was going to and fitted some network cards to the box I'm going to build with RHEL5 and Shorewall. Tonight Kris is doing yoga and I get to stay home, catch up on some relaxation and generally chill out for an evening.

[26/02/2009 - 12:00] Sorry, I was working quite hard yesterday and forgot to write an entry. Let me tell you what happened. First off I got a call from the solicitor I called yesterday. He was damned helpful. Really astonishingly so. As soon as this is all over I'm going to be recommending him to everyone, for everything. Even if the problem doesn't require a solicitor at all. Anyway, he gave me some (free!) advice and even his direct dial number in case I needed to call back, which I did, with more questions. And he answered them too! Not only that but someone I'd called (another solicitor) while waiting for his call back also called me back too (after I'd been for my lunchtime run, which was pretty excellent). He gave me overlapping and similar advice. To cut a long story short they both reckon the amount is so small (in the grand scheme of things) that I really don't need a solicitor whose costs would quickly eat up any money I got from the window company in court and that I should do everything myself. They also said that I could go ahead and get the work done as it might even be easier to claim the money back for it rather than for work I was intending to have done (not to mention the fact that it should stop the side of the house falling off!) in the future.

So, while I wait for the letter from the window company with their solicitor's details (hopefully also detailing what they take issue with with regard to my transcripts of the telephone conversations I've had with them) I'll be writing a Letter of Claim (which'll be very similar to the last one I wrote to them) and sending it off. Everyone I've had advice and comments from (both amateur and professional) thinks I have something between a fairly good and great case for getting some or all of the money I want. I find this pleasing.

[16:55] Today I fully intended to find out what my options were with regard to legal actions against the window company. Unfortunately I had a lot of work to do so I did most of that before calling Consumer Direct. I should mention that the builder forgot to come over last night and he's coming over this evening instead. I was hoping that I could give him a firm answer on whether to do the work or not but two calls to Consumer Direct yielded two different answers (one that there was nothing I could do and another that there might be and I should speak to a solicitor). After burrito lunch with Kris and Shaun I called a number of solicitors in the hope of getting some advice as to whether I had a case at all and unfortunately am still waiting for a reply. I know I've still got those two appointments but it really would be useful if I could work out what's happening a little sooner. I've left another message with a likely firm and hopefully will get a call back tomorrow morning. This means that tonight I'll just be talking to the builder about potential scheduling and whether or not the work he's going to do will halt the current cracks around the window in question.

After that we're out to Tesco for an ubershop and then home to eat and chill.

[16:25] Aside from a call on Saturday morning from the manager of the window company telling me that if I wanted to talk to him any more it would have to be through the company's solicitors I have to say that the weekend was pretty damned good. It started wonderfully and then I had a lovely run with Kris beside me on her bike, some smashing food, time in town to chill and relax, a resolution for me to do more to the house where I can (DIY, etc.) and some nice food. Sunday was just as good with a good race on the river (we took ten seconds off the last race's time), even if we did have to race in a later division because our cox was late. I came back home after that to find that Kris had done an astonishing bit of consolidation and organisation of the kitchen. So much so that she had to have a nap while I repainted the entrance hall to get rid of all the scratches and all but one set of holes in the walls (I'll be filling those tonight and painting over the gone-off pollyfiller tomorrow after we get back from Tesco). The remainder of the day was eaten up with cleaning the house and the settling down to have relaxation and time to smile at each other.

Kris and I took this morning off our respective works to go to the Citizens' Advice Bureau at 09:20. Unfortunately we weren't asked why we were there at the beginning so had to wait over three hours before someone could see us (I think everyone after us was told to go home) and in a short and hurried appointment (where the woman would have spent the whole time apologising rather than dealing with the issues if we hadn't asked her to move on) were told that if someone had known sooner we'd have been able to speak to someone (possibly by phone, but still) and that they (the person talking to us) probably couldn't do anything. Still, rather than scream and set fire to the building I took the offer of an appointment for 11th March with someone from Trading Standards (although the person wasn't sure there was anything under Statutory Rights which might cover this issue) and made my way to work as Kris went home to work for the day to make sure someone was in to talk to the builder again this evening. On arriving at work around 13:00 I found an email from the CAB's FLAG service saying I could ask for an appointment for 10th March to speak to a solicitor for free. Hopefully between those two appointments (I really hope I get an email from them saying it's booked) and a call to Consumer Direct tomorrow I will have some idea what's going to happen next.

I'm getting quite close to asking for the building work to be done now. I'm fed up of looking at the cracks and wondering if one or more of them will have increased in size the next time I see them. I need to be concentrating on other things, not least of which is having a wonderful life with Kris. I can see that despite her being absolutely, 100%, hands-down supportive and brilliant the toll the house is taking on me is affecting her too. I need to fix that. Quickly. Getting the house repaired (possibly swallowing the cost myself) may be a necessary part of that. The call to Consumer Direct too see if they think that getting the work done is going to prejudice any claims I may make later is important. That and talking to the builder tonight should hopefully sort almost all of this (and probably end up with me just footing the bill and getting on with my life).

I'm at a coached erg session this evening so that'll help me settle my mind a bit after today's semi-fruitlessness. Sorry if this entry's a bit jumbled, I'm writing it between doing bits of work so I can leave on time to get home and see the builder and get out again with some carbs inside of me for the rowing session.

[17:15] While working, much of this morning was taken up with writing and rewriting the first of probably many letters I'll be sending to the window company. Following help from a friend who has sued a number of car drivers for dangerous driving (he's a cyclist) and won I wrote a letter which set out all of the issues, positions and phone call recollections I had made notes on, along with my understanding of what the owner/manager of the window company's position is. I have sent it to him as of this lunch time, recorded delivery. Hopefully, within two weeks I'll get a letter back either agreeing that what I have put down is correct (at which point I can take it to a solicitor or similar as well as Trading Standards and Watchdog) or there's going to be a rather angry phone call from him at which point I will either be taking notes and writing a revised letter or (although I doubt it) accepting some kind of financial gesture (probably below the full amount) to stop this going any further.

In an effort to stay sane and keep stress levels down I'm attempting to see this as a hobby or 'fun activity'. Currently, persuing this has cost the princly sum of £1.08 (I'm not including the cost of the repairs to date or the structural engineer's report). I'm prepared to go an awful lot further. While I wait for the response to the letter I'll be visiting my local Citizens' Advice Bureau for more information on how to deal with this issue.

There's going to be some rowing this weekend. I'm just not sure it'll be anything other than the race on Sunday. Other than that... housework and chilling!

[16:25] A conversation with the window company didn't go so well this morning. I'm forced to start writing letters as I don't think phone calls are going to cut it any more. The owner of the window company just doesn't seem to want to know and doesn't even acknowledge that his company has any responsibility for the problems the house is suffering from. This is where it starts to get difficult I think. He's begun to be extremely abrupt and is definitely past the helpful stage and into the annoyed stage.

It's causing me some sleeplessness now, here and there. I really just wish it was over. I have this forlorn hope that the builder is going to knock some sense into the window company's owner/manager, but I don't think it's going to be the case. For a start the guy would have to ring the builder, which I'm pretty sure he hasn't actually done yet. He claims he has but... well. With some help from a friend I'm constructing the first letter which details everything that's been in the phone conversations to date. If that can go off special delivery some time tomorrow the window company should get it on Monday. Then... I don't know what happens actually. I do know that it's getting closer to the time when I need to start mentioning FENSA, Trading Standards and perhaps even Watchdog.

It all feels a bit big an hopeless at the moment. Still, there's plenty of other nice things in my life at the moment. Like Kris.

[15:55] I've just reread the guarantee on my windows properly for the first time and noticed that the text states definitely that I should only have it in my hands if the windows were supplied and fitted by the window company. This means I can try and blow past the 'who fitted the windows in the first place' bit and on to the fact that parts of my house are falling down and it's the window's lack of support that's to blame. Also that I need the window guy to called the builder as well as giving me any documentation he has (probably only a line in an invoice book). It looks like he hasn't called the builder so there's a call I need to make tomorrow which I'm feeling quite militant but still quite nervous about.

Today I've mainly been working on getting machines rebooted so they're in a maintainable state, going for a 6km run (which went quite well) and now I'm off to give blood (if the queues aren't too long).

[16:40] A couple of noteworthy things have happened today. Not among those is that I woke up early this morning and was so tired that I just lay there for another hour and a half or so, not really happy to move. Before I get on to today I should mention that last night Kris and I dashed to the gym for a quick 30 minute gym session before cycling to the shops for dessert, to Halfords to collect her bike, to Cormac and Steph's to drop off said bike and to Kate's new place for dinner. Lovely chilli was had as well as fun conversation and stuff. Then we cycled home with the returned duvet and pillows Kate had borrowed and the spare bike from Cormac and Steph's.

But yes, today. This morning I rang the window people again and left a message with secretary asking for any documentation they might have about the job they did. I was told that more than ten years has passed so it doesn't exist any more. I therefore asked for the invoice line in the job book. Also asked for the owner to call the builder I've been dealing with before the end of Wednesday. I mentioned that they have all my docs but I don't have anything of their's. I also asked for a call back from the owner (which I haven't had). I'm not sure whether she wrote anything down I'm so not sure what information will get passed on to the guy. I certainly haven't been asked for a fax number or address for the information to be sent to.

I then called the builder and left a message about what was going on and such. He called me back and we had a long conversation where he explained what the window company owner was probably trying to do in not accepting the blame for things. He also told me lots of other useful stuff including the fact that he was on my side and that the window guy was probably not looking forward to calling the builder as it's about losing face at this point. He ended by saying he'd wait for the window company owner's call and call me after that. I don't imagine that's going to happen today or tomorrow so I'll have to prod the window company again on Thursday morning. This is annoying. I may prod tomorrow morning instead.

Lunch time was burrito of great joy and then fifteen minutes or so installing Kris' new pannier rack on her bike. Feeling pretty cool to have got it installed well I came back to work and discovered that I didn't seem to be able to get a certain kind of authentication working on a web site. After some faff and clearing cookies it started working for me and I could move on to upgrading the application itself and adding some new Subversion respositories. The last excitement of the working day (I hope) occured when we found that some Xen DomUs wouldn't reboot when cycled and failed with a kernel panic. After some flapping about, the power of IRC reminded me that it was probably a good idea to reboot the Dom0 so that the Xen userspace tools matched up (something to do with being tied to a specific kernel). Everything worked fine then. I've now asked the people who use the other affected DomUs when we can reboot them and the underlying Dom0s to make everything happy again.

I'm off at 17:00 today so I can get down to the boathouse and do some actual rowing tonight. I was only supposed to be being a bank party tonight but a strokesider has hurt his back so we're swapping places. That's going to be interesting; rowing in the Vet boat on my weaker side. We'll see how that goes. Luckily it's going to be dark so no-one'll see my terrible form.

[16:50] We had a brilliant weekend, all told. Saturday we cycled out to a local National Trust property with a watermill and got some freshly ground flour at the same time as having a jolly nice walk around in the cold sunshine and an absolutely spiffing picnic. Sunday we went into town and did some useful errands at the same time as getting some more of my 'Borders book' read (I'm only a few pages away from finishing now). Oh and we dropped Kris' bike off for its 6 week service at Halfords. We didn't expect it to be ready by today but apparently it is.

Today has been pretty light, workwise. This has meant that I've been able to leave a message with the window people, go for a 6km run, have lunch and then field the return call from the company with some fairly bad news. Like the other guy who came out the owner of the company was astonished at the amount of trim and the way the windows had been fitted. He also doesn't recognise the "system" - by which he means the type of frames, etc. - used.

He's looked through his paperwork but as it's over ten years ago he's pretty sure the paperwork has been binned as it's past the guarantee expiry year. He implied that the person on the guarantee was a bit of a chancer/jack-the-lad and was perhaps not the most reputable of characters. He also stated that the paperwork he _can_ find lists the job as £2500 or so, which apparently would be an impossible price for the supply and fitting of 11 PVC windows. He's of the opinion that perhaps the owner at the time is responsible for the situation, rather than the window company... and perhaps the windows have been changed again since then.

As a result he's really not sure his company actually fitted the windows (or perhaps even supplied them)! As such he's only prepared to talk to the builder who alerted me (which he says he's going to do at some point) and supply someone to remove and replace the window while the lintel is fitted (apparently that's a non-zero cost in labour right there). I've faxed him the guarantee which states all the details I have about the windows and hopefully made it plain that I'd like a call back as soon as he has some/any more information.

It's not looking good. I'm calling back tomorrow with some more avenues of 'discussion'. Tonight though we're off to the gym, home for a shower, Tesco, Halfords and then Kate's for dinner. Busy!

[16:20] Oddly, for today being the date it is everything seems to have gone quite well. I mean, other than the window people not calling back when they said they would (by close of play today, which is in an hour or so) nothing has really gone wrong.

We had a minor issue with a Windows server probing the new UPS card for SNMP stuff but that's been fixed. Other than that I've been working on trying to get XBMC to install on a linux box. Other than some GLX issues I think I may have it. More as I know more.

[17:00] Not only does it not currently work, the hard drive on the machine has just packed up and the machine refuses to boot any more. I've swapped it out for another one and will do a complete reinstall on Monday, probably of Fedora 10 (just for kicks) and see if that's any better. Right now I'm waiting for Kris to arrive and then we're off to Tesco, having fish for dinner and then a weekend of (hopefully) relaxation, erging, maybe a big cycle out into the countryside a bit and some planning for our trip to Paris in a few weeks.

[15:00] After a truly brilliant gym session last night with Kris, including a off-my-best-but-still-useful 2km erg, we went home and some fabulous lamb fajitas. The house was a happy place as we sat on the sofa munching, drinking cider and watching Scrubs. Unfortunately, even though I spent some time installing xbmc on the TV-attached computer I still went to bed too early last night so woke far, far too soon.

Still, once I was in work I was able to ascertain (with a catalytic prompt from APC) that the UPS I was trying to get the AP9617 Network Card working with wasn't a Symmetra after all but another DP-series Silcon. Still, yesterday I'd tried installing the dp3e firmware on it and it'd just hung so I tried the Symmetra firmware again, then the Silcon one (which failed again), logged in via SSH to just do some 'stuff', logged out and tried the firmware application process again. Hey presto, it worked! After that all I needed to do was add in all the client IPs again, set up some other bits and then tell the Windows guys to do what I was doing, which was to restart the PowerChute service on all the servers which'd lost contact the previous day. All seems well now and we now have a set of three server room UPSes with the most up-to-date firmwares available on their network management interfaces. A huge improvement over a couple of months ago, let me tell you.

I'm going to get my hair cut later on this afternoon and then we're out for a curry this evening with those of the regular Thursday crew who're about. Other than that things appear to be going fairly OK.

[17:40] The day started so well too. This morning I had a really good set of morning exercises, I got into work at a nice late time (but before 09:00), composed a cover letter for the engineer's report and faxed it and the report off to the window company after a representative of it came to see the windows last night (I got home just as he was pulling away, but Kris was in), I went for a 6km run which didn't kill me and didn't make my left hip ache and then I and the networks guy went into town, installed a battery pack for a small UPS and swapped out the APC Web/SNMP card for a Network Management Card (AP617) on the large UPS in one of our machine rooms. That should have been it. A good day of tasks completed.

Only it isn't because the new UPS card isn't seeing the UPS it's attached to. I have no idea why but right now if there's a power cut none of the machines down at that machine room will shut down. Hum. Have opened a call with APC...

[16:30] I got a call back from the owner of the window company this morning. He sounded quite nice and helpful at the same time as... sounding as though if he could get out of doing anything he would. Then again I think I'd be the same if I was certain it was going to cost my company money if it had done a bad job.

He's sent some guys out to come and look at the situation and they're there right now. I'm going to go home and make sure they know what's happening. Kris is there right now as she's been feeling a bit under the weather these last few days. I think I should be there too to make sure she's got some backup. It's my house after all and she shouldn't have to deal with it on her own.

No rowing tonight as the river's flooded a bit and getting boats into the water and rowing in the dark when there might be objects in the river with us and the flow's a lot faster... let's just say it's better we stay on dry (damp) land. I'll go for an erg later.

[10:35] Today I have started my calls to the window people to try and seem what kind of resolution I can achieve with regard to stopping the end of my house from falling down. As a precursor I called the builder to ascertain what his quote for the work I needed doing was about (particularly the "contingency" amount). It wasn't a brilliant answer but I was loathe to press him when I could do for the moment with keeping him in a good mood.

Following that I made my first call to the window company. I asked to speak to the owner/manager but he wasn't in the office at the time. I gave my name, address, work telephone number, date of installation and the details that wooden load-bearing windows had been replaced with PVC ones and no lintel had been installed and as such the wall had begun to collapse and was told I'd be called back by him when he was there. I'll try again at midday.

[15:50] At around 12:20 I got a call from the window people to say they were having trouble tracking down my paperwork. As I had the paperwork to hand I was able to give her the job number straight away and enquire when the owner might be back. He's apparently out on a job or jobs today so she couldn't say. I don't actually expect a call back today. I'll call again about 09:30 tomorrow morning. Even though it's raining and I thought I might miss a call I went for a run at lunch time at Kris' insistance. She's a smart one.

[17:05] The weather here keeps alternating between moderate to light snow and a horrible slushy thaw. This means that cycling isn't particularly pleasant in the main. Luckily Kris is around for me to concentrate on (especially when cycling, keeping her safe) so I tend to forget about the slush going all over my legs (better than trousers anyway, which wouldn't come clean of greasy, oily, dirty ice as easily as skin). She's at work right now doing her presentation on what she's up to at the moment (a kind of group help session that everyone there has to do at least one of while there). Here's hoping its gone well.

Work today has been quiet. I haven't really done anything worth mentioning to be honest with you. Oh, other than some Ruby configuration. Turns out the blind (Ruby/Rails developer) was leading the blind (me) when it came to getting Oracle DB connectivity working. I'd install activerecord-oracle-adapter but not ruby-oci8. I remedied that this morning, along with some user management and staring out of the window and wishing the weather were better or a lot worse (colder, to freeze the slush) so I could run. I think this weekend I'll do an erg session at the boathouse on Saturday and then contemplate a run on Sunday. This evening there's gym, sausages and chips to be had (if we have any chips left).

[16:35] It snowed again over night. That, coupled with a thaw for most of the day means that there's going to be a deeply unpleasant cycle home in prospect today. I got in earlyish this morning so I could leave earlyish nowish. I think that's going to help. Still, there was no condensation on the windows again this morning which, coupled with other nice things, made it a nice place to be when I woke up.

Today I've rebuild one of the (now old) Sun Fire V20z servers we have here that was supposed to be a standby/test box for Zeus ZXTM upgrades (until we realised that the upgrades were always - touch wood - going to be pretty foolproof). It's going to be our QIP (DNS services) box while we upgrade the hardware on another machine. That's going to be a bit of a nightmare as even I can't remember all the bits and bobs we've installed on it Perl module and other applications-wise since it was installed. Couple that with the fact that the only guy who really knows everything that it does is leaving at the end of this month (the Networks guy) and it's going to be an interesting transition in all kinds of ways and places.

The bill (and new quote) from the builder arrived at home today. Kris has been there today rather than cycling in the treacherous conditions on the roads so was able to open the envelope and tell me the damage. The work I've had done is no more than I expected but hasn't been reduced like I'd hope it might have been. The new work which has cropped up is going to be towards the thick end of £3K (so close to £4K). The ball is now very definitely in my court to call the people who installed the windows (and no lintels, or measured properly, or put in any expanding foam) way back when and see if I can get some satisfaction from them.

[17:15] Curiously, I'm currently sharing a chair with Kris who's waiting for me to finish what I'm doing and come home with her. We were hoping to go climbing (I miss climbing an awful lot) this evening but our ride fell through and going by train to London and back in this weather really didn't appeal. As a result we're going to make our own entertainment. No idea quite what we will do as yet, but it should be fun and will need to be warm.

Today I have mostly been fixing Oracle tnsnames.ora entries, learning how Oracle Connection Manager works (somewhat) and going for a run in the cold. I must remember to note down stuff on the spreadsheets, actually. Other than that its been a rather relaxing day what with one thing and another. Even my desktop machine's X session crashing couldn't affect my cool today. I think I should get out of here before I run out of positive karma for the day.

[17:00] Something is still (still) causing me to not sleep so well at night. I know I should go and ask someone about it and I will. Just not right now as I'm busy. Even so I'm still feeling perfectly fine in terms of energy during the day. Not that I went to the gym last night, I went home instead in a bit of a funk. Helping Kris build a snowman in our garden cheered me up somewhat, as did having some time to myself over the evening to catch up with a bit of television I've had recorded and pending. I'm getting better and better at working out what's bothering me as time goes by. As a result I'm starting to tie off, pack away and generally ignore or attempt to forget (or at least not remember to remember) stuff which gets in the way of me having the good, nice and wonderful life I think I'm due, with Kris. Without searching through back entries in this Journal I'm pretty sure I've said similar things more than once before but this time I won't say it's different so much as I've come on, grown and generally improved with regard to personal development since the last time I might have written things like the above. Incidently, me smiling more means Kris smiles more, so a happy Ben means a happier Kris. That's twice the incentive, right there.

I've been building RHEL5 on a succession of rather meaty x4600M2 servers today. That requires me manhandling them into the same set of rack rails, connecting up, setting up SP, BIOS and RAID and then booting from USB and kickstarting them. Post installation configuration's handled by kickstart and then I update them, rebuild the initrd.img to support proper multipathing, reboot once and then shut them down and derack them. Aside from the occasional inability to rack a 40kg server on my own precisely I think things have been going rather well.

Couple that with a rather scrumptious burrito at lunch time with my best girl sitting beside me eating a tasty taco treat and some long-overdue pruning of some lists of things and it appears to have been a reasonable day, all things considered. Well, aside from a bit of a wibble, but I'm pleased to say that really isn't affecting me as much as I thought.

Off to the gym shortly. I think it's time I put my muscles through a bit of a session.

[17:05] I was in well before 08:00 this morning so as to avoid as much of the snow-turned-to-ice as possible. It was pretty beautiful (if very chilly) cycling in. Still not cold or horrible enough to preclude me going for my lunchtime run though. Just a short 3.7km again on the days I can manage it this week before I try doing 6km again next Monday.

I had thought I might be doing a gentle 10km yesterday as part of being a bank coach for the junior boys at the boat club but the wind was so bad and there weren't enough of them that they just ended up going out in a double and I walked/jogged a little as far as the pub and back. Most disappointing. Coupled with Saturday's lack of rowing (but a wonderful cycle out to the local country park with Kris for a mile or so through the woods) I didn't get as much exercise as I might have liked. But it was enough. Doing the Tesco shop on Friday evening (although that meant missing the gym) was also a good idea.

I solved two problems today which turned out to be of my own devising. It turns out that the reason RHEL5.3 wouldn't work with the NIC in the Dell Optiplex 760 I have sitting here is because someone (probably me) disabled the stupid thing in the BIOS. Two days I wasted on trying to get it to work. Still, I know an awful lot more about loadable kernel modules and the network subsystem than I did before. Additionally, swapping from D-SUB to DVI meant that I got a reliably displayed X session at the correct resolution for this video card and monitor, finally. Hurrah.

I think I'm going to risk going home now. Having run in the snow I'm not feeling a huge desire to go to the gym this evening. Especially as I will be going tomorrow for certain. Time to go slip and slide a little!