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[16:40] Another early morning of rising at 06:00, exercise, shower, breakfast, lunch preparation, cycle to work and beginning patching and rebooting machines by 06:45. Still, only one more to go and then I can get back to coming in at 08:15 until next week when I do it once and the week after once. I believe I get a break after that for an indeterminate period of time. Maybe until we schedule some more work which has to be done in a vulnerability period. Never mind, it means that I can take the entire afternoon off a week on Friday without using any vacation time and meet Kris at the bus station. Which, by the way, is going to be completely and utterly awesome. Its been too long since we saw each other in person. Far too long.

So yes, in work for 06:45. Eight more machines patched (two needing reboots) and only five more to go (one of which I do tomorrow morning). Plenty of small stuff to keep me occupied for the rest of the morning. 4km of gentle run (with a co-worker) and then 4km of flat out running after she took the 6km route and I ran an extra 2km before getting on her route. She only beat me by about five or so minutes in the end. I think in the grand scheme of things I did quite well.

As it turns out that I'm not rowing this evening and I really can't be bothered to go and erg indoors on a day like this I'm going to do some more preparing of the house for Kris' return by doing the washing up and then a few other things off the list. Also, chat to Kris on Skype, have dinner and watch some TV before going over to Cormac and Steph's for cake very late in the evening. I won't be able to stay too long though as I need to get some sleep before tomorrow morning.

I'm going to spare you even the short version of the frustrating time I had explaining why a user's VNC session looked smaller on a higher resolution monitor and just glide on by before my brain explodes again.

I think that's about it for today, and this month. See you tomorrow when we'll be more than half way through 2010.

[16:40] Today I have been mostly getting into work for 06:50, remembering the alarm code (thank goodness) and rebooting machines which haven't been rebooted in over a year. I have then been writing lengthy emails about how the scripts which control their startup and shutdown perhaps could have been a smidgen more useful. I have also prepared for tomorrow's early start also (same time, same place) by polishing up some other scripts and doing preparatory downloads on those servers which are just being patched. It should all go pretty much according to plan unless something untoward happens.

Last night, when I got home, (having left after a fire alarm at 16:45) I decided that the best use of the evening was to trim the garden hedge. Three hours later everything really does look a lot neater. I also had the fun task of writing it on the whiteboard and instantly putting a line through it. We like those kinds of tasks. I also saw the new Top Gear I didn't see on Sunday evening. I have it downloaded for Kris when she comes home. Did I mention that'll be a week on Friday?

I'll be painting this evening. Kris' room, and the last bit of painting for the moment, probably. I might be inspired to do some more, if I have time.

[16:45] Well we didn't win anything over the weekend. We nearly did but were beaten by a third of a length by one of our own crews. A bit disappointing but they have been training much longer together and harder than we have, unless I'm mistaken. So, all credit to them. The weather on Saturday was simply marvellous (if perhaps a little too hot) although the amount of waiting around we had to do between the IM2 heat (that we came last in) and IM3 final (that we came second in) was a bit too long. Still, a nice full day out.

I did miss a friend's surprise birthday river barbeque thing but made up for it by manning the barbeque at someone's house on Sunday which was to happen around the England/Germany football match. This therefore meant I missed pretty much all the goals. For at least the first half anyway.

Given the weather and early sunrises I was up and about exactly one minute before six in the morning on Sunday and in the absence of anything better to do painting some more of Kris' room (edging, if you care) so that all I now need to do is one final roller coat on the walls proper. This meant that I was then able to tidy the small bedroom (laterally thinking my way around the fact that the fabric wardrobe hangy thing didn't fit in the bedroom closet by dismantling the stand for it and hanging the hanging bits from the rail in the closet instead, and then clear out about one imperial buttload of old clothes (mostly T-shirts) into a black bin bag and have them ready to give to my parents to give to charity when they come back down in a few weeks time. That'll be to take me (and Kris this time!) to the hoped-for wedding venue so Kris can see it for herself. We'll also go to Ikea on the way home to pick up a brochure or two and see some of the bits of furniture we probably already know we want 'in person' rather than simply on a web/printed page.

There are some moderately big changes coming for the house in the next few months. At least two have to happen before all of Kris' life-in-boxes arrives on a boat from the USA. Right now the most important things are getting the floors fixed/covered with boarding and new carpets laid in Kris' room and our bedroom. That and moving at least two big bits of furniture downstairs to the garage to make room for the rearranging we need to do to accommodate all the clothes and books which're going to arrive. Change is good (for you). Change is necessary. I must keep remembering that.

Todaywise at workwise I have been preparing for the first of three early morning arrivals here. Tuesday morning I reboot two boxes central to the IT administration (rather than administration of the Institution), Wednesday I patch-and-reboot two important application/db boxes and patch six more and on Thursday I patch-and-reboot the live db box for our flagship web application. I'm hopefully everything will go as smoothly as it did last week. I also did a rather pleasant 10km run in rather hot and sunny weather and have been looking more at RHEL6b.

I'll head off soon and probably spend the evening doing some hedge trimming. The next door neighbour is doing so much to her house (she only moved in a few months ago) I'm being spurred into doing stuff to mine. This is almost certainly a good thing. Especially with Kris coming home soon and the various things that need to be done. The more I do now the less of a shock to the system the other things we need to do will be. It's something to do with the binary state my personality likes to adhere to. I seem to be an all or nothing kind of person (have I mentioned this before? I'm sure I have). Plus I'm not so hot on change. So either I like the status quo or things to be in flux all the time. I can deal with change if change becomes a constant, as it were. Anyway, a bit more work, then I'm off.

[15:25] We had a wonderful time last night at Shaun's. A few of us cycled over in the evening sun. A few came by car. We at sausages and burgers and garden-grown salad (not a patch on a proper American barbeque of course) and it was mighty tasty and very chilled out and relaxed. We chatted, I laid on the grass a lot and pottered around the lovely garden attached to the house and generally took a load off, mentally. Of course people asked about the wedding so I caught people up on the generalities and then went back to gazing at the blue sky. Around 21:30 those of us who'd cycled over cycled home again and in the fullness of time I went to bed.

Today has been quite empty but has had two awesome points to it. Between me and two of the web developers we've been able to take the load off/speed up two of their servers by fixing bash scripts or algorithms in general. Munin (our server statistics monitoring application) has reported some awesome speed increases/load decreases. Also I managed to fix another of their servers which for some reason had stopped even giving Munin stats for its disk usage. A few, quality fixes today. So quality that I don't regret taking today off going for a run (and having lunch out on the grass with Cormac instead) and will be leaving earlyish to head to Tesco and then home to relax some more this evening (with recorded TV and dinner) in preparation for an early night and the racing tomorrow.

[16:00] Well, with our one man change to the boat last night the outing seemed to go really quite well. I certainly did a lot better (but not as good as I can be) than my last outing on Sunday. It was nice to also find out that the course at Reading is only 800m long. That's pretty cool considering the potential number of individual races we might be starting. It does mean things are going to be pretty anaerobic and hectic and full-on full power from the start to the finish and therefore I'm going to need to recharge my muscles whenever I can but hey, that's what it's all about. I was really hoping my new energy bars would arrive in plenty of time but I'm not sure they're going to at this rate, which is a shame. It's also probably going to be really hot and humid and sunny on the weekend so hydration is going to be important too. Luckily we have the world's best cox and she'll make sure we all drink enough and eat enough and stuff. All we need to do then is row as hard and as well as we can.

I'm rather thankful that today has been a lot lighter on work than the last few days have been. Its enabled me to catch my breath somewhat, figure out what I'm doing on various projects and have a lunch when I wasn't working or running. In fact other than the morning exercises I won't be doing any more exercise before Saturday morning. Saturday could be a very long day.

Rather than a Thursday at my place this evening Shaun's offered to host a barbeque at his place. Which is nice. It means no washing up for me to do and my first outdoor cooking of the year. Also a nice leisurely cycle to and from his place in what I hope will be rather pleasant evening weather.

Right, work now, haircut next, barbeque later.

[15:00] Another day, another 21 servers patched and rebooted in under two hours. Yes, I really am that awesome. And, after being reminded of a little mistake I made yesterday with regard to permissions on PHP session directories, pretty much completely issue-free aside from the amount of time it took and all the .rpmnew files I needed to fold into the mix. To get in for 06:45 again this morning I went to bed nice and early last night. This was necessary not only for that but because I was putting the first coat of paint on the walls of Kris' room and even with all the windows open it was really rather hot in there. Still, it's all calories to burn. All in a good cause.

I'm off home shortly to... do something for a few hours. Maybe I'll read. I won't be doing any painting this evening as a) I'm a bit tired of it and, b) I have a rowing outing this evening which is going to wipe me out as it is because I ran 8km at lunch in the (British) heat and we're pushing hard to prepare for Reading this weekend. Keeping alternately one and then the other of my hands above my head for about two hours before I even start rowing won't help my technique on the water.

[16:00] I'm really enjoying being busier at work at the moment. I was at one of our central server rooms for 06:40 this morning. This includes getting up at 06:00, doing almost all of my morning exercises, a shower, breakfast and making my lunch (rather than buying a burrito). I had the box patched within 40 minutes and was back at work in time to send some useful emails and fix the load balancer all before 09:00. Today I've finally managed to get the web team to allow me to patch most of their boxes (last set happening tomorrow morning), helped the Networks guy completely rearrange his desk and get all his kit plumbed into the UPS we had spare, fixed an issue with PHP sessions on five servers (sort of my own fault for having users who decide to change which user runs apache/PHP processes from the Red Hat default) and prepared for about twenty-one machines I'm patching and rebooting tomorrow morning at 07:00 or earlier. It's going to be another long day.

Speaking of long days, last night I started on the painting of Kris' room so that she has a lovely blank (white) canvas to express herself upon once she's home and settled. It's about time the place was repainted. Even before we had one of the walls butched to add in the lintel over the window it was looking a bit shabby. Not that basic white is going to make it look a whole lot better in the short term. I'll do another coat on the hard to do bits (the edging around the ceiling/wall join) and then break out the roller either Thursday or Friday evenings (probably both) seeing as I'll be rowing on Wednesday evening as a final outing before the regatta at Reading on Saturday. With luck I might have it done by the end of Sunday.

[17:10] Among the things which happened this weekend was me rowing twice (once very badly, apparently), painting the bathroom ceiling, not managing to go for a 50 mile cycle and rather a large amount of wedding organisation. On the plus side I did order some new Torq bars (mango) and reorder a book for myself in the right size for my bookshelf and foir a greatly reduced price to the one I originally ordered. Amazingly I seemed to not be charged shipped to get it returned, which was nice.

Today I arranged to have a package for Kris redelivered and actually left this time, run 10km in the blazing (UK) heat of the longest day of the year, prepared for an 06:50 be-at-the-server-room start tomorrow (patching a DB server) and done some work to get a linux load and volume testing client/player working. Bit of a busy one really. I'd rather have been helping my fiancee deal with wedding stuff and things, but I can do that later once I'm home. Of course, I have lots of other things I can do for her too in preparation for her coming home, but looking at spreadsheets and giving thoughts, opinions and making decisions is probably the best thing I can be doing Right Now. There could be a moderately large change to how the wedding works out coming soon. The upside being a fairly big money saving aspect.

I don't think I'll erg this evening. Too much else to be done.

[16:30] The wedding continues to change shape, size and cost, but luckily not venue (for the moment). Kris continues to be amazingly awesomely amazing in dealing with the person on the other end of the phone for a place she's only seen in photos and with a person she's never met. I'm so proud of her and so very glad that she's going to be coming home soon and my parents have already offered to drive us both down there to see where we're almost certainly going to be married. It feels like we're getting closer to the most satisfactory (given the constraints and requirements imposed upon us) situation/deal that's possible. Once we've done this (or Kris has, as she's doing most of the work) there'll only be the huge mass of smaller miscellaneous costs and aspects to factor in and then we'll be done. Oh, and actually going and doing the thing.

I supposed we should do that.

Plenty of work going on here today. Patching in the morning, early 6km run to leave time for a meeting with regard to load and volume testing and the technical pickup I'm now doing on something called QALoad/QAConductor. I'm still shoulder deep in the PCI Compliance stuff for our credit card stuff and also have been doing some install work on a linux version of something we only thought worked on Windows. This last thing could prove to be very interesting come Monday.

I've no idea if I'm rowing this weekend. Either day. I'll turn up and see what happens. If nothing then I'll either go and do a parkrun or go home and spend some serious time doing things like painting the bathroom ceiling and clearing out old clothes from the built-in wardrobe in the bedroom. Kris is coming home sooner; my schedule of things to get the house ready needs to get pushed up quite a bit!

[10:00] I got a telephone call last night as I was opening my front door. A rather excited young woman by the name of Kris breathlessly announced that her INF-4 Finacée Visa was on its way! It's brilliant news and we are both so very happy that this is the case. Obviously a few things have to happen before she's back here in my arms. There's finishing packing, getting a carrier to collect all her stuff, finding an at least reasonably cheap flight and then waiting for the day... But she has her visa! She's allowed to come and we can actually get married!

It's a good job we'd started looking at venues. The woman who called Kris reminded her of the six month deadline to get hitched.

[15:50] When one good thing happens there's usually something less good which 'balances' it out. In this case it's a sudden increase in workload for me (which I don't actually mind, but it gets in the way of wedding organisation) and the first worries that the wedding venue we've picked (or at least the way we thought we'd have the place) might be just too much of a bill to swallow. Part of the reason is (I imagine) down to the large amount we have to necessarily use elsewhere. I'll head home in an hour or so and talk to Kris and see how we might be able to salvage things.

There's probably a Thursday this evening. I don't know if anybody's going to come though.

[16:50] I decided not to do any exercise at all last night. I think it was a very good idea. Instead I chatted to Kris a bit before she left for Nashville and watched the first two episodes of Persons Unknown. I have to admit, I don't have much patience for TV series hiding lots of earthshattering plot from the audience for most of a series. I really hope they let people know what's going on sooner rather than later or I'm just going to get frustrated.

Anyway, I woke up this morning and did my new, slightly extended morning exercises as a kind of Day 1 of the trying to get me a bit fitter routine. I added in an 8km run at lunch today and I think I'm rowing this evening. I have no idea which side of the boat I'll be on, but that doesn't matter these days.

Kris sent me an update on wedding plans and I sent her a lengthy email back which ended up requiring a Skype call from her and then me calling the venue we're negotiating with to see if they could handle what we wanted to do. At this point it looks like we're having a bigger wedding that we thought (wanted, expected, hoped for) but there's a chance we'll be able to offset the cost a little. Frankly any money we can save/get back is going to be very helpful in making sure the bill doesn't eat into the amount we have. By having this bigger wedding there's a good chance we'll be able to minimise the upset certain people feel about the whole thing. Plus we can guarantee all the friends we can fit will be there.

I have a database server to patch and reboot tomorrow, a meeting with someone to look at load and volume testing frameworks and probably a few other things which'll crop up as they usually do, not to mention a load balancer to patch and reboot. It should be a nice full day.

[15:25] I tried really hard to do an uninterrupted 30 minutes of erging last night. I think I could have managed it but I still stopped twice towards the end just to give myself a break. I think I should have tonight off any exercise to see if I can let my body recover a bit. Even cycling to and from the place I volunteered for a psychology experiment was a little tiring today.

Dinner with Kate night night was pleasant and gave us plenty of time to catch up on each others lives. She's recently completed a half marathon and is doing a full one this weekend coming. I'm quite envious.

I was in for 06:45 this morning to do a standard Zeus ZXTM upgrade. Obviously this went without a hitch (by 06:52) so I've spent the rest of the day (except the cycle out, experiment and cycle back) prodding the wiki, accidently fixing apache problems and talking to Kris via Skype and email about telephone conversations and revised quotes she's been getting from the place we want to hold the wedding. That and potential jobs. I'm not sure about the jobs but the work she's been doing with the venue has been, obviously, amazing. She's so awesome.

Because I was in so early I think I'll go home right about... now.

[16:55] OK, rowing Saturday and Sunday mornings. Not bad both times even if I did have such a long break that I created a blister due to my hands softening up. Nothing to worry about anyway. Most of Saturday afternoon was spent talking on Skype with Kris about the new hurdles that have been sent our way with regard to relatives we apparently have to invite. Stress? Somewhat. We have to wait just under a week for Kris' parents to come back and be presented with a flowchart showing that this will mean that and we really don't want that if at all possible. Relatives are annoying. Why can't we just elope and tell people about it afterwards?

Even though I rowed on Sunday I decided to do another 50 mile cycle so set off (mostly) north this time (last time having been west). It was much harder than last time with poor road conditions in places and a headwind pretty much the whole way back. Definitely not as pleasant and the false start of locking my keys in the garage and having to break into it with a bit of wire to retrieve them didn't help me get back in good time. Amazingly I did it in pretty much the same time though (within a minute or two). Probably due to the extremely high speed I did the first half in.

We've had a quote back from the place we really like for a wedding venue. Two actually. The first had far too high numbers on it and nearly caused us to faint. The new one (after Kris called and explained what the manager'd got wrong) is a bit more reasonable, but it still seems like such a lot of money. I really hope we don't end up running out of parental payment money and having to go into our own savings. I also hope we don't have to invite all the relatives we might have to. I mean, I don't care about Kris' as they probably won't be too bad, but most of mine I haven't seen in over a decade and have no connection with whatsoever. I guess we'll see. I absolutely hate the apparently necessary protocols you have to observe when inviting people/relatives. I only want the people I want at my wedding. Why should I have to invite those I don't? It makes no sense to me, even when people 'explain' that it's the done thing. Bollocks to that. Why should I be unhappy on my wedding day and pay for people I don't want to be there to make my day less pleasant?

I'm off home to talk quotes with Kris, go and erg (even though I'm still tired from yesterday) and then have dinner with Kate. I thought I had a paid psychology experiment today at lunch time and even cycled over to the place to do it. It was only when they couldn't find my name that I looked at the date on my printout and realised my mistake. Still, it got me out of the office. Turns out it's tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow I need to be in at 07:00 to do a ZXTM upgrade. It won't take long (less than five minutes) but that's when the vulnerable period is.

[16:20] It has been a busy few days and no mistake. My parents arrived on Tuesday evening just as I was finishing installing both of their new PCs. I'd previously doen the washing up, tidied the house and prepared the bedroom for them but I thought they should take away two working machines when the left. Unfortunately they had brought (by arrangement) my father's current PC which (installed with Windows XP) just didn't boot. To cut a very, very long story short it turned out to be Registry hive corruption and after some completely disrecommended hive manupulations, replacements and generally froburisation I appeared (at around 23:00) to have the machine booted again with all of the important settings still/back in place. I'm just that awesome apparently. I stayed up a while to try and unwind my brain and then went to bed some time after midnight.

After a moderate lie-in my parents and I drove down to Richmond to look at the first two places on the new list of potential wedding venues. One was really nice, the other really not so nice at all. However the latter did have a very small but quite interesting wedding expo-type thing which we got some nice ideas from. A drive south east after leaving early from that and we were at our extremely basic Travelodge for the night. I ended up watching the second half of Office Space in an attempt to go to sleep and just about managed to turn off the TV before I became unconsious.

Thursday was a very busy but ultimately amazing from a logistics point of view kind of day. We saw four places over the course of the day and managed to get to see them and the people we were due to meet early in most cases. This very much helped us to stay on or ahead of time. Of the places we saw three were nice, one was really not appropriate. Of the three nice ones one was just too big even though I'd have called it a 6 star hotel (yes, I know the rating only goes up to 5) but was just too big by far. Of the remaining two one was lovely but let down by stairs in unfortunate places (we have two people in the wedding party with reduced mobility) and a not-great selection of rooms lighting-wise and the other was brilliant. We were able to see the last place early and leave from it early having decided pretty quickly it wasn't going to make the shortlist. As a result we were back on the M25 and heading home well before we thought we would be. The traffic was favourable so we actually got home in plenty of time to upload the photos and talk Kris through them online before making our zombie-like way to bed.

Today my parents went home with Kris and my very grateful thanks ringing in their ears. A bottle of whisky for my father for doing all the driving and a 'new' PC for each of them went with them. I've been in work catching up on two days of being away, popping into town to push drives back into a server and going for a very tiring lunch time run in very humid weather. I'm pretty out of shape again after a whole week of sitting in a car or on hotel sofas. Luckily I'm rowing this weekend which should help a bit.

Kris and I appear to have settled on the place she/we want as of today. At least I've been cancelling other provisional bookings we've made on the assumption that a quote is going to come through from the place we really like. I don't know if I'll tell you which place it is as that's probably more information that I should share. However, after the fact there'll be masses of photos and everything. Speaking of which the countdown timer I just made tells me I have less than 200 days (again, no precise information I'm afraid) before I'm hitched. How weird (but cool) is that?

Right, fifteen minutes or so and I can get out of here for the weekend. But before that I need to do some copying of a whiteboard to the Twiki!

[15:30] Last night, while Sam was over for a chat, I installed two spare computers with Windows XP for my parents. Hopefully my brother will be able to make them the same as their current machines with regard to software as soon as he and they have a free day/afternoon to get them set up. Much more RAM, more disk space and hopefully a bit more speed for them both. Because of some issues with partition tables and lack of experience with Windows these days I ended up not getting started until well past 19:30 and so didn't finish until gone 01:00 this morning. Still, they're pretty much done now and ready to be taken away and have the final bits done to them in situ.

Around work today I've mostly been printing out maps and brochures for all the wedding venues my parents and I are going to be visiting over the next two days. Six in all (two tomorrow afternoon/evening and four on Thursday). Aside from that I learned today that you can combine multipathing and mdadm to do load balancing over FC. I had no idea.

Oh yes, and first things last; I was in for 06:45 this morning to do a patch and reboot on a major database server. It went perfectly so now I'm off home early. See you on Friday.

[16:50] Having ruled myself out of the rowing this weekend at Peterborough I then proceeded to be pretty much in perfect health come Saturday morning. As recompense I toddled down to the parkrun and managed to put in a time a little less than a minute slower than my personal best. Given I wasn't wearing my best running shoes and was still coughing and hacking up gunk the whole way around I was quite pleased with the time. Tesco and home followed. After chatting with Kris I decided today was the day I was going to clear and tidy the garage. Rather than starting and then stopping for lunch and not wanting to get back to it I opted (semi-accidentally) to just work on through without stopping. By the time I'd finished (and oddly only thrown out about half a wheelie bin's worth of stuff) it was 15:30. The place looks a hell of a lot better and is primed for whatever of Kris' stuff we need/have to store in there. It'll be even emptier when a few bits and pieces I've been storing for a while either get sold or used in the house.

Sunday I pottered about the house for the morning, trying to get used to the idea of sleeping in (didn't work) and lazing around (also no joy). At around 12:00 I pulled on my cycling stuff, made up a packed lunch and went out for a cycle. It turned into a bit of a power cycle and 2 hours and 57 minutes later (of cycling, I stopped at the half way point to eat) I'd completed exactly 50.0 miles and was feeling a lot happier with what I'd done with my Sunday. In light of the amount of calories I'd burned I had a nice cool shower and slobbed on the sofa for the remainder of the day. I'm pleased to say I felt no noticeable ill effects from the effort today.

Speaking of today I've been patching machines, sending emails to Kris (lovely person that she is) and using my lunchtime run to head into town and back to play around with fibre and multipathing on one of our new backup servers. I'd like to think I have a bit of a handle on device multipathing now. Not a complete grasp, just the fingertips. Enough to stop me slipping and screaming my way into the abyss anyway.

My father's PC appears to have bitten the big one recently so I'm taking this opportunity to build him and my mother a new PC each from left over older machines. Hopefully my brother can do the necessary migration of data, etc. once they've taken them back up to Manchester. In the mean time they're due to arrive tomorrow late afternoon with the broken PC to see if I can fix it. I really hope it's just a bum registry rather than a broken HDD.

In other news all the crews I was probably going to be in this weekend won or came very high up in their races at Peterborough. I wish I'd been there.

[17:30] Slept a little better but still woke feeling like I really didn't want to get out of bed. I'm definitely going to go to bed early tonight to see if that helps. I'm already fed up of feeling like I'm unfit and looking in the mirror and seeing someone who's a little bit pudgier than he was a few years ago. I guess it's the difference between going to the gym two or three times a week and someone who rows. Different sets/amounts of muscles getting used. I miss the all over workout of the gym. I think in the coming months I'm going to have to either make some decisions or at least resign myself to paying a little more for my exercise if I want to get back into the shape I already know I'm happier being. Kicking this cold in the head completely will be an excellent start though as I really hate not being as able to run for long distances as I usually am.

Something else which is bugging me again is the house. It really does feel like it's just made up of cracks, crooked walls, floors and ceilings at the moment. The kitchen is clean but more than dowdy, the bedrooms and landing are patchy and unfinished (carpets, repainting, floorboards) and the whole place just feels... downmarket and like it's going to crack down the middle and leave me with a high number of large repair/fixit bills. I know that just because there's a floor-to-ceiling crack in the plasterwork of a known two-part wall there's no real way the wall's going to fall down and take the house with it but it's just so... messy and imperfect. And yes, I know no house is perfect, but I wish this one was more so. So I'll make lists, see what I can do myself and pay for someone else to do the rest and then maybe in a few years or less we'll move house to somewhere that feels a bit more modern and better built.

Anyway, angst out of the way I can tell you about today and the weekend to come. First off I didn't have to do any wedding venue telephoning today so that was a good thing. Secondly I got to patch a good few machines which was also excellent. Finding that one of the machines I patched wouldn't boot (getting stuck at the fsck stage) wasn't so great and after lunch with the team and the old networks engineer at a pub I was dropped off in town to work out what was going on. It turned out to be a mixture of having both controllers of a disk pack plugged into the back of the server and the linux multipather being greedy (and my team leader cocking up setting things up). Bottom line: not my fault and something that was useful to find out now rather that when we were under pressure to get the box back up and running again.

This weekend, rather than competing at the Peterborough Regatta I will be at home, doing the parkrun (but not timed, I'm definitely not well yet), clearing and tidying the garage and perhaps doing something else around the house so that I don't feel like I'm wasting these weekends when I'm waiting for Kris to be allowed to come home to me. I really want the place to be (modulo what I said about it above) looking great and ready for Kris to install all of her life and stuff into when she gets here. I'm fairly certain that this will necessitate a trip to Ikea fairly shortly after she arrives...

[18:45] I stayed up too late last night. As a result I really didn't feel terribly with it this morning. Getting into work in the perfectly wonderful weather helped a bit, even if I was still feeling pretty rough from the last dregs of this cold. As soon as I got in I started two machines rebuilding and moments after I'd got them up and running in their new configurations headed down into town in a taxi with one of them to swap it for another. After starting three machines rebuilding in town I came back and started the one I'd swapped going to and then went for a run. As well as it being really rather hot my lack of training over the last week or so coupled with my illness lead me to walk at least 500m of the normal 6km route. That's the first time I've ever had to stop. I'm very certain it was down to feeling really quite weak. I'm quite glad I'm not rowing this weekend. I don't think I'd do the crew justice, especially as it's competing at Peterborough. I'll live without getting a point or two. It means I can race more competitively for a little longer.

Anyway, after getting showered and having (in fact during) lunch Kris and I started working on more wedding venues to see. It all got a bit complicated and before long it was 18:30 and I'd only just finished booking places to see next Wednesday and Thursday with my parents. It's helpful that they're able to come down and be there with me and also that I'm not off in Plymouth with pretty much all of my local friends next week. I kind of wish I was, but I really don't have the time or the money right now. It's a shame but I guess this year the wedding has to come first. I can't wait to start doing Adventure Racing and stuff again on weekend. I saw a couple of my old team mates won a competition recently (mixed category at Questars). I'd love to have been with them.

I should head home now and try and find something healthy to eat. After last week in Boston I really do feel like there's a bit of middle-aged spread appearing. Definitely time to man up and start doing morning exercises fully again too I think.

[17:00] I appear to be able to breathe again, so this cold must be at least past the half way stage. Yup, I should have been back in work yesterday and telling you all about my trip to Boston to see Kris graduate her Ph.D from Harvard but instead I was lying on the sofa at home continually blowing my and trying not to swallow on account of making something between my tonsils and sinuses rub together like raw organis sandpaper.

I'm 'all better now' or at least betterer so here I am, in work and so pushed for time this is the first moment I've had to write things down. Herewith the semi-condensed version of my trip to the US...

Amazingly, the flight to Boston from Heathrow was only a little over six and a half hours long. This was good considering the coach ride down to Heathrow took a good half an hour longer that it was supposed to due to road works on the M25. Having thought of that I was on a very early coach so still arrived with plenty of time to spare. So yes, nice flight which passed fairly quickly all things considered. By the time I'd walked to Terminal B from E Kris and her parents had arrived and we met up. A taxi into Boston later and we were at the hotel. The room was sparse but functional. We freshened up and then headed out for dinner. Pretty much every evening we met for dinner with her parents and went somewhere amazing for food. I have to had it to them, they know where to eat. The next day Kris and I went out to do some errands and then did some outdoor clothes shopping, saw some of Boston and I got to connect up some of my memories of the last time I was in town. The following day was Kris' Ph.D graduation. Up at the crack of dawn we headed out to Harvard Square where Kris went one way, her parents and I went another and then we too split up as I was destined for a closed-circuit linked auditorium with a few hundred other people to watch the graduation speeches and the Ph.D diploma award ceremony. Kris looked awesome in her 'Harvard crimson' robes. We all met up again afterwards and went to the Sackler Museum reception where I got to meet Kris' supervisor and a few of her cohort. The celebratory family meal in the evening was up to its usual high quality. Kris and I really did feel like we overate a bit too much on this trip. Still, so tasty! Kris' parents left the next day which gave us time to ourselves. Unfortunately by this point I'd managed to pick up a cold somewhere and it was beginning to take hold. We still made a trip out to REI to buy some bits and bobs, had some burritos and generally saw some more of the city. In the evening Kris' supervisor hosted a party at his house in Cambridge, Mass. so we headed out there where I ended up having a conversation about geopolitics with a German and two South Koreans. Which was nice.

Other than that we went to a lot of book stores and had cool drinks, walked hand in hand a lot and on the last full day went on a DUKW (pron. "duck") tour of Boston. Which was pretty good fun, actually. I took a few photos (fewer that I would have liked) but there didn't seem to be many things you'd have appreciated. Seeing Boston with Kris was a completely new and fun experience and gave me a completely new appreciation of the city.

Flying home with a monster head cold was actually far more pleasant that I thought it would be. Somehow (probably down to Kris' choice of medicines) I had almost no problems with the pressure changes and, coupled with the amazingly short flight time of six hours eighteen minutes was back in time to make my initially tight coach connection with over an hour to spare. This was helpful considering I was carting back a suitcase full of wedding stuff from Kris and her mother and it took ages to come off the plane and down to the carousel. I wimped out and got a taxi home from the coach stop in town despite it only being about 18:50 Boston time (23:50BST) and then went straight to bed when I slept terribly and had real trouble swallowing after all the recycled and airconditioned air I'd been breathing all day.

Tuesday morning was not a happy morning and I could barely speak as I called work to tell them I wouldn't be in. Other things which weren't in included food in the house. Dragging myself out of the house after having put a wash on I made it to Tesco and back despite being pretty dizzy and overhot. Getting back I managed to send some emails and get a few things sorted before collapsing on the sofa for the afternoon. I really think sitting there and doing nothing much at all was as helpful as all the medicines I took or decided not to buy (if I had bought and then taken them). I slept badly and overheated in the night again, which was annoying.

Luckily I didn't feel too tired when I woke at 04:30 and 06:30 this morning. Although I didn't feel too under the weather I had no idea if my voice was anything other than a croak until I got into work and said hello to my coworker. Mostly croak. This wasn't helpful when, over lunch, I spent about an hour trying to arrange wedding venue visits... something I perhaps needn't have been doing considering Kris' mother has put her foot down about where she'll be flying into and therefore where the venue of choice should be near. Kris and I are going to discuss that more this evening when we've both got a bit more time and hopefully Kris has managed to stop seething quite so much about it all.

I think I'm calm for a number of reasons. First and foremost it's because I know that Kris has been calm for me many times and this time it's my turn to make sure we have a stable base to rely upon. I'm not in the thick of it with her mother. I feel pretty detached from the whole thing because as much as I deeply, utterly, completely care for Kris to the exclusion of almost everything and everyone else in the world, I don't care about the wedding except that it's the first thing that happens to us as man and wife. All I really get worked up about is that we're going to spend the rest of our lives together and families, borders and visas (once issued) won't get in the way of that. If it means we have to have one part somewhere and another in the US with all the overblownedness that is 'reguired' to make people happy I couldn't care less just so long as Kris and I are holding hands during and after it.

So yes, once Kris has finished migrating her stuff to her new Mac Book Pro (graduation gift) we'll Skype and see if we can't sort some stuff out. I've been told to keep the two venue viewing bookings I did manage to make this lunch time (for Saturday, as I'm not rowing due to not having been here for the training and really not being fit for the race(s) that day anyway) just in case we do work something out that can include using a venue in that area.

Workwise, well, I've six machines to reinstall (starting tomorrow), I've dealt with all but two of the emails pending since I went away and caught up on a few things which happened while I was away. Tomorrow the real work starts again.