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[17:20] And that's August done. As I seem to be saying more and more frequently, the years a really beginning to tick by at an accelerated rate. I honestly don't know what it's going to be like when I'm in my 60s and 70s. Probably a case of blink and there goes three months. Frustrating if you've still things you want to do with life, as I most certainly do.

Another nice quiet day, thankfully. I still didn't get everything I needed to do done, and I probably messed some things up by sending some ill-advised emails, but in the grand scheme of things at least one of them really doesn't matter. Not both, but I think one was dead on arrival anyway. We'll see how things pan out.

Did another nice long erg last night and probably got a personal best for the distance Vs time. While I'm forcing myself to stay out of my trainers for running, cycling and rowing (erging) are what're keeping me on the good side of sane right now. I know I have to give my achilles time to rest... but it's so frustrating. I hung around for a bit afterwards coaching a few people on the ergs and then had a burger at the barbeque, but there wasn't enough food for me so I headed home where, oddly, my appetite had deserted me.

This weekend will consist of me coxing for the first time, some house cleaning (it's about time) dinner with a friend and then perhaps some cycling, or rowing or something else entirely. I really don't know.

[17:00] Yay for days when even less happens than yesterday. Given how busy Tuesday was its been pretty nice not to have that much to do today either. I mean, I did close two long-standing network calls, discover why a switch wasn't responding any more, cycle into town and collect it and bring it back in the rain, eat/drink a fizzy lemon Fanta slushie and probably eat too many Jelly Babies... But other than that, not so much has happened. I still haven't been able to figure out why a RAID battery won't go through its learn cycle though.

Oh, I also put my photos from Morocco online, but I'm still trying to find a decent place for my old collections, so until then it's sort of a work in progress. If you actually know me, you know how to get in contact and ask for the URL. Those of you who don't, sorry, it'll be a little while before I can share them with you without revealing who I am, which is still semi-important to me given how little privacy there is on the internet if you start sharing your personal details.

I went and did an erg last night as I can't run at the moment. 40 minutes of 85% effort seemed to be about right and left me feeling properly exhausted but with a fast enough recovery that I was ready to teach a full two hour erg session for the current learn to row lot. I took them through a front stops slide build and then a bit of a warm up before Meg and I divided each group into two teams for some 250m relay races. They went well, I think. There's definitely some power there (especially in some of the women), they just need to get the technique bedded in some more. Erging again tonight, then a barbeque. Even though it's going to rain. I should really start cleaning and tidying the house for the weekend. Even though it's beginning to feel like it isn't really worth it.

[16:45] Today has been a lot more relaxed than yesterday. Adding a pretty brutal erg session to the end of the day probably didn't help, but I needed to burn some energy after sitting in a chair all afternoon and working hard.

So yes, much less to do today. So much so that I got changed and went for a run, only to pull up after about 500m rather than cause my right achilles tendon more damage. I'm most displeased with it as it's probably down to the interrupted and restarted Vibram FiveFinger routine I was doing before I concentrated on rowing/went to Morocco in the last month. Now I have to wait a week or maybe more before I can start running again, which galls me utterly. As a result I'll be back down at the boat house this evening to do a long, tempo erg before I take the current new beginners in their final land training session. I really fancied a run today, dammit. Still, hopefully I'll be able to run on Saturday at the parkrun. Or maybe on Sunday, if Saturday night isn't as exciting as I hope it might be. If neither, then it'll be more land training on the erg and maybe some cycling. I'm so glad I do more than one sport.

[17:15] Hi there. I'm back. Wasn't away long, but a lot's happened in even that short amount of time. Herewith a potted account of what I've been up to (it'd've been longer, but I've been slammed with work stuff since I got back to work this morning)...

On the Tuesday night I had a smashing dinner with Kate. It probably went on a bit too late and I had a bit too much wine, especially as I hadn't actually packed at that point. Still, it all got done and I got to bed in plenty of time to feel reasonably awake at 05:30 on Wednesday morning. Ambled down to the coach stop and got on the coach in plenty of time. Dozed a bit on the ride to Heathrow, trying not to think about when I would have done it for the last time in a long time at the beginning of the year if life had gone in another direction. Breezed through Check-in and Security and wandered around Terminal 1 for a while before boarding was put back by 40 minutes. This rapidly oscillated between 30 minutes and 50 minutes depending on when you looked at the board. Eventually a gate came up and everyone flying wandered over there, only to be told after 15 minutes that it was the wrong gate. We headed to the right gate and then had to hang around for an hour waiting for half of the Brazilian para-olympic team to disembark from the plane, which had flown in from Manchester. The flight to Marrakech (seems to be spelt more with a 'c' than an 's') was completely uneventful and I arrived only an hour and a bit behind when I had been due to. Getting off the plane on the tarmac I was hit by the heat. 44degC. It's like a physical thing. My bag came off first on the carousel and I was out and looking for a taxi shortly after finding a cash point and suffering my £2 fee for daring to get money out somewhere other than England. I negotiated a fare to the hotel I was meeting the rest of my group at and after finding a taxi driver who actually knew the hotel, headed off into downtown Marrakech. The first thing I noticed was that the faster we drove (and we drove pretty fast, with no seatbelts) the hotter it got, which was strange. The second thing was that the place looks like every other middle-eastern city I've been to. At the hotel I met the tour leader (Mohammed, of course), checked in and then met a family who'd already arrived. We all went out for dinner just off the Place Jemaa El Fna (main square). The food was delicious and plentiful. Too plentiful, as I ended up feeling distinctly overfull as we wandered around in the lights of the market place afterwards. My room mate arrived just after midnight as I was beginning to drop off in bed. We decided to postpone introductions until morning.

Thursday morning everyone else had arrived, but not everyone's luggage. Even so, we headed south out of the city after breakfast in a minibus or two. The road was smooth, but as we got into the foothills there were steep passes to avoid cars, rockfalls and numerous badly-drive mopeds to steer around at high speed. Eventually we arrived at Imlil and began the first part of our ascent. This took us quickly out of the village and across a wide, dry riverbed which only sees usage after the snows melt. The path became a lot steeper and everyone began to puff a little bit. Oddly, it rained lightly for about 10 minutes before the temperature rose into the mid-40s again. Stopping regularly but not often we climbed above 2500m, pausing for lunch at a vendor's shack before really starting to climb the final 800m or so of vertical. Eventually, after about 7 hours we reached the Toubkal Refuge. Not that we were staying there. No, we were in tents for the next two nights. I and my room (now tent) mate explored the Refuge (a large dormitory/hotel affair, although with no staff and no kitchen, and very basic) and met some people on a stage weekend who offered us mint tea as we talked. After that it was back to the tents for dinner and an early night.

The reason for the early night was a 03:00 wakeup call the next morning to begin our ascent of Toubkal. After a breakfast of porridge we mounted head torches and began the steep, strenuous ascent in the pitch dark. Divided into three major sections it took us until 09:00 before we reached the top, in broad daylight. Everyone was shattered, but feeling triumphant. The AMS (acute mountain sickness) had affected everyone, but the major symptom was dizziness and a racing heartbeat, even when sitting still. Nothing more than that though. We took photos, I used the opportunity to get away on my own for half an hour and find some mental peace, and space from everyone and to gaze down on a significant chunk of Morocco for a while and think about things. Eventually it was time to go and we began the descent. The return to the Refuge and the tents was hard, but tolerable. After a lunch there we continued down the valley, in one continuous slog, which left my right knee aching in exactly the same way as it had when descending the mammoth steps of the Great Wall in China. Worrying, especially considering what I have to come in the near future. I think I'll be packing my parents' walking sticks, just in case. Anyway, every time we stopped, or walked on the level the knee was fine, but every thump down was extremely uncomfortable. At least my muscles and hips didn't suffer. Rather than go all the way back to Imlil, we detoured at the bottom to Armed where we stayed the night in a gite (pron: jite (j as in the "ge" at the end of "language", ite as in the "eet" "sweet"). It was at that point that the person who's luggage had been missing was informed that it had been found, so she headed back to Marrakech there and then to get a shower and some clean clothes on. We ate together and then, after 14 hours of walking headed to bed.

Saturday was a much easier day. A quick 45 minute walk back to Imlil was made longer by one of the boys on the trip who we're all pretty sure had some level of Aspergers trying to barter more of his possessions (he'd already used his daysac, digital camera (no memory card, no battery charger, no case, no computer to connect it to in the mountains, no electricity anyway) and other things on the way up the mountain, for some marble (actually soapstone) knicknacks and a teapot. He swore he'd made out on the exchange), this time his socks, for things he thought were worthy of his loss, and this seriously slowed us down even as his father and Mohammed literally had to drag him away from hawkers more than happy to relieve him of his worldly goods. Eventually we made it to the minibus and drove back to Marrakech. Once back at the hotel and clean for the first time in three days my room mate and I wandered out and made an effort to get lost in the souks. This proved to be very easy, even if it was only mid-afternoon and the passageways were only lightly thronged with vendors and passers-by. After a while, having felt we'd experienced all it had to offer at that time of day we stopped for a cool drink and I resorted to taking a look at the sun to ascertain which way was out. My 'fabled' sense of direction didn't let me down and within five minutes of purposeful walking I had us back at the the Jemaa El Fna. I was most pleased. We ambled back to the hotel, noting that an outside thermometer was showing 46degC even at 17:00. The whole crew met up at 20:00 and Mohammed took us to a restaurant in the centre of the city where we ate tremendously tasty tagines out on the roof overlooking the city. Someone managed to get hold of some beers but even a small bottle for everyone proved to be as much as we could handle after the heat of the previous few days. We wandered the souks and market place for a short time afterwards before heading for bed.

Most of the group had early morning flights the next day so I popped down to see them off over breakfast. After a laze around in the hotel I swam in the pool for an hour to shake some tension and tiredness out of my legs and then, hydration bladder in my rucksack full, headed back into the Medina to see more of the city on my own before my flight. Taking turns at random for an hour eventually brought me to the tannery district where I learned how to tan leather and dye it different colours. I escaped a hard selling Moroccan who wanted to lure me into his shop and then wandered the souks again, enjoying the fact that I hadn't seen one tourist of any ilk for over two hours. Definitely the Marrakech I'd wanted to experience. As I headed back to the hotel for the last time I noticed that the thermometer was pegged at 49degC. No wonder lunch at a cafe patronised only by locals had been quiet. Even they had been looking a bit cowed by the heat. I shared a taxi to the airport with another westerner who'd been looking for a ride and then sat on cushions in a quiet, locally-styled part of the departure hall until my flight was called. Again, the flight back was uneventful and we landed a few minutes early. I wasn't able to remember when the earlier coaches back were, but I knew that if I had to wait until 01:10 I wouldn't get home until well into Monday. As it was my bag came out quickly again, I ran to the coach station and was able to get a much earlier coach. This got me home in time to get a decent night's sleep.

Which was helpful, as I could get up at 09:00, put a wash on, deal with some email, and get to Tesco in time to get home and packed to get to the boat house for midday. There was a planned row to a pub seeing as it was a bank holiday Monday. The row wasn't great as it was a mixed crew in which I was one of the more experienced rowers. But the company was nice, the food delicious and the weather perfectly fine (and a lot cooler than Morocco!). We got back to the boat house for about 18:15, so I was home before 19:00. I didn't feel hungry, so after Skyping with my parents I simply slid straight in to bed and didn't even hear the radio turn off after 15 minutes.

And that was my five days away. I hope you did something fun, or productive with the time. I've got a few photos to get off the camera at some point (I still haven't set up my PC which came back from the US (no desk, no room)), but when I do, and I've found somewhere online to put the photos, I'll let you know. I had an excellent time. Learned a lot about how I feel at altitude, what I need to pack, what I don't need to pack and how things go. I feel a lot more prepared for what's to come, in that regard.

This morning was like any other day. Got up, did some exercises, made lunch and after breakfast came to work... Where everything was broken and it felt like people had waited since last Wednesday to report it/get me to fix it. For most of the morning I was trying to fix a network link, by replacing everything but the fibre run itself. Eventually I managed it, but I don't really know how. The rest of the day has been small, but important things, and I'm still only about a fifth of the way through the things which're marked as "Important". I guess that's what the rest of the week is for. My team leader (Networks) is signed off sick still until a week on Thursday, so I've still a bit of time before I'll have some more support in that regard. I so can't wait for him to get back.

I'm going to go and do an erg now, just because I'm wanting to leave my achilles alone for another day or so, but I really need to Do Something and I don't have someone waiting for me at home. Feel free to ask about the holiday if you want to know anything specific. Probably best to do it on Live Journal, or otherwise email me at the usual address.

[17:20] I'm still getting bitten once or twice in the night and I haven't figured out what's doing it yet. It was also really hot and humid last night so that didn't help either. I was down at the boat club teaching people how to row again, which was fairly good. As before there's a few people who I think are beginning to 'get' it, and a few that, sadly, just don't seem to have the coordination. Or at least are very slow learners. Or perhaps I'm just not very good at teaching. Interestingly, we have more women than men, and for the most part they seem to be doing better.

Anyway, today's been a fairly relaxed day in terms of work. Amusing that it all calms down a) as soon as my team leader comes back and, b) the day before I head off on my trip. This afternoon was mostly taken up with taking the few things we'd put in the new rack out, moving the support pillars and racking them all up again. This took about an hour. Otherwise I've been catching up on emails and getting things in order for my being away for the next week or so.

Yup, tomorrow morning I head to Heathrow and get on a plane to Morocco. Marrakesh, to be precise. I'll be landing there, wandering around the place for a little while, then heading south out of the city to climb and summit Mount Toubkal (4165m) before returning to see more of the Medina and possibly be convinced to buy something.

(Pretty much what I'll be doing for the next week, slightly less)

I figured it was time I got away from here, at least for a little while in the first instance and reminded myself of what I'm capable of doing. Not quite as big a trip as 2006 and sailing between Fiji and Vanuatu, but give me a chance to get back up to speed again, eh? I'll be taking lots of photos, but I don't currently know where I'm going to put them considering the gallery site I use is down at the moment. Suggestions are welcome. I'll see you all again on Tuesday morning after the bank holiday Monday. Be safe.

[18:00] Another busy weekend. Which is good. Even if I had to make some of the busy up myself. Saturday started with a parkrun. It was astonishingly hot for 09:00, but I still managed to put down my third fastest time ever at a parkrun (and my second fastest at my home run), even with what I think is the end (or beginning, I'm not sure) of some right leg achilles tendenitis. I haven't run again since considering what I'll be doing in the latter half of this week (more on that tomorrow). After that I went home and mowed the lawn (it really needed it) and then showered and lunched. By the time I got down to the boat house to see what was occuring there was only Keith and two scullers left, so I waited for Keith to finish and then we headed over to a friend's parents' house for a lovely relaxing garden party/barbeque thingy for the remainder of the day. I left once the clearing up was done and the insects began to bite. Speaking of which, I think I may be getting bitten by a lot of spiders (or midges) in my bed at home every night. I don't know which so I'm hoping that the insect repellant I bought at lunch time today for my trip (as I said, more on that tomorrow) might help. I'll try some tonight.

Sunday morning I popped down to the boat house for a quick 40 minute erg out on the balcony before it got too hot. It got too hot before I finished, but I toughed it out nevertheless. Went home, showered and then tried to find out if anyone was doing anything. They weren't so I pottered for a bit, caught up on emails and then met some people at the pub on the way to cycling out for a nice 25 mile round trip, taking in the closest reasonable hill to town and doing both sides of it four times before coming home a slightly different way. Definitely a way to get the legs and heart rates going a bit! Evening was all about relaxation and food with two films before I headed to bed. It was really very hot and humid last night, but with just a sheet on the bed it was almost tolerable.

Today's been a good day, work-wise. I spent the morning hand-building five RHEL6 KVM guests as testbeds for an ongoing service we adopted a while back which is currently running as Debian Xen guests on RHEL5 hosts (don't ask). At lunch I went into town to get some things for my trip, and this afternoon I kickstarted four Oracle Linux 6 servers and got them ready to had over to our HR service DBA. That and some networking stuff just now. Hopefully my team leader, who's due back tomorrow, won't be too displeased with what we've managed to get done in the last two weeks.

I'm off now to go and teach some novices how to row in a boat again. This time I'll be on the bank, so feeling a bit more safe.

[17:35] Today's been sort of a non-entity, really. After last night's 10K run I was shanghai'd into a boat of completely novice rowers to fill a seat. I really don't remember ever being that uncoordinated, but I must have been, once, I guess? Perhaps I was always just a bit more kinetically aware. Anyway, after that I went home and had a bit of a non-starter dinner too. I really should have tried harder with that. Bed followed soon after but the whole theme of not really getting started followed me through the to the morning when getting out of bed was a bit of a bind and I had the feeling (still do actually) that my right achilles tendon is playing up again. At work one important bit of re-racking we wanted to do wasn't able to be done as it would mean downtime on a server which is now in use. That put paid to the big task for the afternoon, so I went into town to set up some more of the new incident room I'm doing things for. It's good to know that I have a really good handle on at least a few aspects of networking now and it's something I can do even with my team leader (networks) away. I just hope I'm not dropping the ball on things I don't even know there's a ball I should be carrying. I guess when he comes back in another two weeks I'll find out. My other team leader (systems administration) comes back this Monday, so that'll be half a welcome relief and half a chance to be condescended and undelegated to again.

I didn't run at lunch time and I'm not doing any exercise this evening, I don't think. I might even do some cleaning when I get home, it depends. This weekend is mainly about getting ready for my trip in the middle of next week (more on that next week), doing parkrun tomorrow with as many people from my rowing club as possible, Tesco, having dinner with Kate on Sunday evening and... probably some other stuff I haven't figured out yet. I guess I should probably cut the lawn again, too.

OK, I think I'm done for today, and this week. I hope you're OK, doing whatever it is you're doing which isn't what I'm doing, here. Be safe.

[17:35] Last night's erg coaching went reasonbly well, I think. Or at least I hope so. Chances are someone didn't understand me or what I was getting at, but for the most part I think everyone improved a bit by the end of each of the one hour sessions. Dinner was nice too. I had some salmon and chips and even prepared some kale. I know, right?! Kale. Seriously. I haven't had that since, well, since Kris used to prepare it. No raspberry balsamic any more, of course. We finished that just before she left for the US, so I had to make do with normal stuff. Just another little bit of my previous life which I'm having to do over again, this time on my own. Not brilliant, even if the food was.

Got up early this morning. Did my morning exercises and got into town to move a switch stack over on to a different power source. Then I went and did some stuff with the wireless access point I installed yesterday on the way home from work. Just some things to do with power-over-ethernet that you won't care about. Came into work and worked out why the server I'd been trying to kickstart yesterday wouldn't. Then kickstarted it. Did some email and generally caught up on support tickets before having lunch. After lunch it was back over to the other server room to rack up the machine I'd just built this morning and move a while pile of servers, storage and tape robots (not as cool as they sound) into the new rack. Only as we were putting the tape robots into the rack did we realise that it needed (the rack) further (major) adjustments which'll mean we need to take the whole thing apart and put it back together again. That's our job for tomorrow afternoon if we can get downtime on everything that we've just put in there. In the morning I'll head into town and wire up a few things. That should be a nice way to fill up the top half of the day. Especially if the weather's nice.

Right now though it's time I went off and did some exercise. I completely forgot to go for a run a lunch time so I'll do that this evening from the boat house and then shower there before heading home. Just 10K this evening I think, rather than anything strenuous. I keep thinking it's Friday, no idea why.

[16:05] Huge amounts of work again. Mostly kickstarting servers successfully and then getting stymied by one tiny little box which is refusing to work. I don't really mind though as I've done bucketloads otherwise today, and I'm going to do some more on my way home too. Just plugging in and configuring a wireless access point. Only it seems like I might have left it a little too late and may have to call the custodian directly to get the combination for the door behind which is the switch I need to get to.

Did a 1 hour erg last night and broke 15K comfortably. Am coaching ergs tonight for the new Learn2Row group, so that should be interesting. Food and cinema last night was good. Nice company.

[17:20] Another day at the coalface doing coalfacey things. Lots of work on, not a lot of time to do it in. Mostly this morning its been configuring servers and getting network stuff done (including configuring switches for the new rack we just had delivered). Lunchtime was when I went for a run. I'm not sure if my right achilles is 100% happy, but I had to get out and moving for a bit. I think things went well. Then I had lunch. My stomach seems to be mostly better now, which is a bit of a relief. I'll try to make sure I eat more properly for a little while, where I can.

After lunch a colleague and I moved a server, two switches and a bundle of cables and fibre over to the new server room and unpacked the rack which was delivered a few days ago. Obviously it'd been screwed together incorrectly so we had to spend an extra hour rebuilding it before we could put all the things we'd brought over into it. Once things were in there was a minor issue with connectivity (fixed by swapping some cables round, oops!) and an RADIUS thing, which I fixed by reentering the RADIUS key in the switch's configuration. Since then we've been back here trying to get the multipath daemon to work with the SAN. Hopefully this'll be done before to long so I can get to the boat house, erg, and then to the cinema with everyone.

[17:45] Wurgle. It has been something of a rammed last three days. Actually four if we start on Friday night when, after I'd managed to escape work, I headed over to help decorate a church hall for two friends' wedding reception. After getting suitably sweaty I dashed home, showered and put on some actual smart clothes before heading back to eat, drink, make merry and even dance a bit at the ceilidh. I don't normally dance, but someone asked. After helping with the teardown a bit too I went home to try and get a bit of sleep.

Saturday I was up plenty early to get over to someone's house for a lift to Peterborough for the first day of regatta racing. The weather was fine, the winds were light and while we didn't feel totally confident, we knew we had a good chance of doing well. After a bit of a paddle on the river next to the rowing lake we moved up to the start for what we thought was a heat in which we would have to come in the top three (of four) to qualify for the final... only to be told that it was now a straight final! Minds suitably reset we lined up... and were off! By 500m (of 1000m) it was clear the race was ours to lose as we were well in front. Unfortunately we didn't capitalise on our lead and came very close to actually losing. In the end we won by 0.2 of a second! So that was another point and another pewter tankard for my collection. After cheering on other people, drinking freshly-made smoothie and generally sunning myself a lot I got a lift home and ordered myself a pizza in celebration.

Sunday morning saw me getting the train to Peterborough as most other people had either camped there or weren't able to collect me. It was a nice journey and gave me time to read a book and relax. The cycle from the station wasn't too long, which was good. We did the same preparation as the previous day, this time for a 500m sprint and lined up, again for a straight final. This time, against different opponents we didn't manage to get into the swing of things in time and were beaten into second place by half a length. A shame, but we knew exactly what the problem had been, so still a good learning experience. Unfortunately, almost immediately after the race I developed what I can only describe as a huge gas retention/indigestion problem. Basically it felt like my stomach had inflated. No problems lower down. Just a painful tum. It might have been something to do with having a smoothie before the race rather than after, I don't know. Suffice it to say it remained painful and distended all the way through racking all of the boats on the trailer, the drive home, re-rigging all of the boats, me going home, and then watching the beginning of the Olympic closing ceremony. In the end it was so painful I just switched off iPlayer and went to bed without any food. About two hours later I had to get up and spend some time kneeling before the porcelain god. A bit of stomach evacuating later (it's odd when you really miss having someone by your side) I felt a bit better and was able to get to sleep.

This morning I didn't feel 100% better, but definitely a lot more so. And I didn't look like a beach ball either, which was a good thing. I cycled into town to collect two wireless access points for work, then headed into the office. Throughout today I've been extremely busy writing emails, doing network and sysadmin things, and hoping that I'm not letting anything important slip through the cracks. It feels like I am, or I've just not got enough experience/seniority to know what I'm missing. Hopefully nothing will go too wrong while I'm doing my best to operate with no safety net. My stomach still isn't completely happy about something, but I'm damned if I can work out what the problem was, or is.

Because I've been away all weekend tonight is Tesco night. Joy. I really miss having another set of hands and panniers to do things like that. Oh, some (all?) of the things that didn't make it back in my shipment of worldly goods from the States arrived today. Just another little bit of my life boxed and unboxed in ways I never, ever thought would come to pass.

And still yet life goes on.

[17:25] I should have left work about an hour ago. Only sometimes things take time. Not that there's anyone waiting for me to come home, but it's Friday and I've a wedding reception thingy to attend. And help set up. Although all of that has probably been done by now.

Anyway, this morning should have been me plumbing in servers and installing operating systems on them. Instead I was in the ceiling void of a room somewhere other than my desk trying to get wireless access points to work. It was a good thing I was given a lift there and back or I'd be a complete mess by now. Lunch was had on the hoof as I worked and then all of this afternoon I've been racking and cabling up servers. I even managed to set one up with regard to BIOS/UEFI and RAID hardware. That means I should be able to install it on Monday, first thing, if nothing else happens. I'm sure it will.

Right, off to help set up the wedding reception, then home to shower and change, then the reception. Over the weekend I'm racing in my 4+ both days at Peterborough Regatta. I'm not quite sure when I'll get time to go to Tesco and do the other things I usually do on a weekend. Oh well, there's always Monday evening, probably. I'll fit it all in somehow. There's nothing else to do in the evenings right now. I wish there was.

[17:40] You'll never guess. Yup, busy again. It seems to be the way of things for the moment what with us being short-handed and a load of new stuff needing to be done. For the most part it's all straight-forward things, bit a few of them take a lot of time, or are finicky, and a few are network-related confusions that I'm not so hot on. Still, I live and learn. Both parts of that are important, but mainly the former, I think.

So there's barely time for things like lunch, and reading and replying to non-work email and the like, which is really what work should be about when you're getting paid. Still, it'll be nice when there's someone else here to take some of the tasks I have. Especially when they know more than me and they can do in a few minutes what it takes me a lot longer to puzzle through. In the meantime, as I said, it's all a huge learning experience which will stand me in great stead from here on.

Had an outing last night and another one tonight. Last night's was... OK, I think. Not amazing, but not terrible either. I am a bit concerned that I'm not experienced enough to be calling the shots for the crew from the bow seat (I'm used to either a more experienced cox or the cox being at the other end of the boat and talking to the stroke person). Still, more learning happening here. It's all Change and things like that, so I should simply accept the usual feeling of discomfort I feel when faced with said Change and work through the situation(s), learning and adapting and all that malarky. It's not like I'm incapable of dealing with things, it just takes me a little more time than it does for some other people.

Weather's nicer today than yesterday. Probably be warm out on the river. I just hope I can stop thinking about the list/pile of things I have to do tomorrow. I'll be very glad when this week is over. Dinner at the pub with the crew this evening. And the Novice women. I'm not sure how hungry I'll be given I didn't actually have lunch until 15:00.

[17:30] A morning of sorting out various network things, going to see our new incident room (not created yet), sorting out purchase orders and fixing DNS issues. Then, while I ate lunch, kickstarting a server into a new operating system (first time this marque of server has had RHEL6 on it, so there were teething troubles), and trying to write some emails. This afternoon has mainly been creating virtual disk images for the KVM instances I'm going to be creating tomorrow, although the chances are I'll have to lower the disk size somewhat so that there's some overhead left on the host server's actual disk.

Did some good erg work last night at the boat house. I'm not as powerful as the early 20s person who's on the same size as me in the boat, but then again I'm also not 6'4". I'm holding my own though. Speaking of which I should get down there and get ready for this evening's outing on the water. For once it looks like we won't get rained on, so perhaps we'll get a good session. Not that we actually have been rained on much recently, but it always feels like we're about to. And it pours before and after the outing. So, I guess we've actually been really lucky, when I think about it.

How am I? I'm doing OK, I guess. Just ticking over; moving right along (the Muppets sang it best), that kind of thing. Nothing to report, really. I wish there was, but life isn't what it used to be; it's something else now. When I figure out what it is, I'll give you a shout.

[17:00] Another busy day. But this time I'm going to leave on time. The morning was spent cloning servers and discovering that I'd made exactly the right configuration decisions with regard to other networks. The afternoon was all about getting the Drupal servers kickstarted correctly. It appears they're my first IBM/RHEL6 kickstarted boxes, so I had a few more hoops to jump through than normal. But all seems well now, which is good. At the moment it appears I only have three more physical servers to build, and maybe four virtual ones, which is nice.

Last night's rowing outing went reasonbly well. Although it may be that I'm a bit fitter than some of the others in the crew and they complained about being tired even as I felt full of energy. I guess not having time to run at lunch means I've got a lot more left over for the evenings. I'm at the boat house this evening for ergs, so that should eat up some of the get-up-and-go I have from sitting in front of screens all day today.

[17:40] As per usual a very busy weekend. Even without the rowing in the mornings I was up both days bright and early. Saturday I did the parkrun here but took the pressure off somewhat by pacing for a friend of mine who's trying to break a certain time. Tesco followed, then I headed home to get showered and changed in time to get into town to meet someone for that casual job interview thing for some volunteer work. It turned out to be with someone I'd met before through mutual friends, so that was quite amusing. I think the interview went pretty well all things considered, so we'll see what happens next. If everything works out I'll tell you more about it in time. After that I headed into town to do a bit of shopping and happened upon something which was very helpful, even as it wasn't something I really should have taken advantage of given the circumstances. Still, them's the breaks. After that I headed back out of town to meet a friend for a drink and a chat at a nice cafe. By the time we were done it was pretty much time for me to head home, so I did. I think I spent the remainder of the evening watching Olympic endeavours on iPlayer before going to bed.

Sunday morning found my calves extremely stiff and sore. In an effort to stretch them out a bit I went for a gentle run to the lock and back. Only 4.4 miles and definitely what was needed as far as I can tell. I finally bit the bullet after getting showered and made a reasonable stab at tidying the spare room up a bit with regard to all of my things which came back from America. I haven't repacked everything that I unpacked, but at least I now have room to do so having consolidated things a little and even thrown a few more things out. I also made a list of everything that Kris didn't manage to extricate from the shipment and emailed it to her so she can decide what it is that I'll be packaging up and sending back to her. Rather than rowing in the morning when one of us couldn't make it we had an outing in the evening, so between torrential downpours I headed over to the boat house for around 18:00 and watched a bit of the Olympics before everyone else arrived. The outing wasn't too bad all things considered and I felt pretty fresh and moderately positive about it by the end. Bookended around the outing was a sort of barbeque at the friend who I'd paced parkrun for's house. Not that I got to eat anything other than a cold sausage or two, but the thought (and the company) was there. A group of us also got to watch the Olympic 100M Final together, which was nice.

Today I've mainly been cloning servers and getting to grips with the IBM servers I'll be installing RHEL6/Drupal/Varnish on shortly. I'm so glad that RHEL6.3 appears to be happy with 5TB disks or things would be extremely problematic. As it is all I have to deal with instead is the slightly odd serial console setup and getting them to kickstart reliably. Once that's done I can concentrate on the 1001 other things I have to do in the next two weeks. I really hope there isn't any kind of emergency.

Outing tonight, probably in the rain, so I better get going.

[17:50] Well, all I can really say is that I'm so glad this week is over. I really am utterly shattered and not really able to put much together in terms of an entry today. Let's see what I can remember... I guess I went to the boat house last night and did a half hour erg, that was pretty tough. Then home. Still no movement on doing all of the stuff in the spare room. Maybe I can get a bit of it done tomorrow or Sunday. Work today has mostly consisted of Oracle VM stuff, then a massive amount of racking more new machines which I have to have built as soon as possible (i.e. by last week). It'll all happen as and when it can. I've no team leader for the other half of my role for the next two weeks, so things are going to be really interesting for a while. A lot of operating without a safety net and hoping that someone can help if a Big Problem comes up. That or needing to order network kit or similar. I guess this is why they pay me the big bucks... No, wait.

The weekend is a bit upside down for rowing this time. No rowing in the morning (so I'll be doing parkrun) but rowing on Sunday evening instead. Not sure how that's going to go, but never mind. Tesco after parkrun, then a sort of job interview in a cafe at lunch time and then possibly meeting someone for a drink in the evening if things work out.

For now though, I think it's time I left work for the week and forgot about computers and networks and everything like that for just a little while. I hope you have a nice weekend, whoever and wherever you are.

[17:50] Another monstrously busy day. In well before 08:30 and working solidly until gone 17:30. I did have a break to not only see some of the Olympic rowing, but go for a 4K run as well. Nice to break the day into two chunks at least.

For the most part I've been eyebrow-deep in getting Oracle VM Manager and stuff working. It hasn't been easy, but I've made some real progress today. I'm really very pleased with what I've achieved in the space of a few hours and there's a good chance that everything I need to do before the end of tomorrow I'll actually get done. At least on this project. There's about nine other ones which have been pending while I've been getting this one up and running.

In other news I've been training a lot for the Peterborough Regatta the weekend after this. We're probably going to enter the IM2 division over 1000 and 500 metres (Saturday and Sunday respectively). I have no idea how we'll do considering how our last outing went but we've a few more before then so I guess we might get back on form again. I've done nothing in the house for weeks no with regard to unpacking, sorting and repacking. The spare room is a complete bomb site and has been since the weekend after all my things arrived. I still haven't emailed Kris with a list of her stuff which came back in the shipment, but then she's still to reply to my last email sent about four weeks ago, so I guess she's just as busy as me, if not more so. I hope she got her manuscript/draft in on time for her book.

It looks like it's about to tip it down again outside, so I'm going to go to the boat house again, have a nice, long, gentle erg and then go home and eat something huge. I ache, but it's a good - body being used for fun - ache. My heart aches too, but there's not really anything I can do/to be done about that.

[17:50] I just had a rather excellent telephone job interview for a really quite cool volunteer opportunity. I think there's a chance I might be able to do something quite wonderful if everything goes as everyone would like. It would be not only utilising skills which I have (which until recently were quite underused) but there could be the potential for travel and developing a few new and quite awesome skills as well. In the long term future, though.

That's been a lovely end to a working day which has been a practically vertical learning curve with regard to Oracle VM Manager. So many new concepts to learn in such a short amount of time. Apparently I'm supposed to have six to eight Oracle VMs up and running by Friday, using this new framework. At the same time I've spent some time getting some networking in place (a new fibre link), fiddling with VLAN trunks and generally Getting Stuff Done.

When I write it like that it doesn't seem like much, but believe me, its been something of a Day. And there'll be another one tomorrow, and probably Friday too. For now though I'm going to finish this phone call and then go to the boat house for an erg similar to the one I did last night. I probably won't do a weights session again afterwards as that ended up with me not being able to lift the barbell off my chest while doing bench presses. But anyway, that I think is that for today.

Hopefully the big deadline that was today was dealt with on time and relaxation is now the order of the day. At least for a day or two. You deserve it. Well done.