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November's Journal
January's Journal

[16:55] So, this is it. My last working day of the year. Surprisingly, I've got a lot done, which is nice. Primarily I've cleared a long-standingly reported hardware fault by dint of doing some research, had a long meeting about servers that need replacing (which has resulted in me needing to do a bucketload of new work in the new year), cleared down my email, got a few servers sorted a bit more with regard to settings, been for a gentle 1 hour run, and almost got a delivery of something, by which I mean I thought it'd arrived, but it turned out to be something from a company that supplies work, which stuck my name on the package (again) even though it's nothing to do with me.

Oh, Rachel got notification from her insurance company that they're going to give her a cheque for an amount of money. It doesn't really cover the cost of the bike, let alone the bike plus the other bits and bobs, but it's better than nothing. We'll sort out a new bike in the new year, I think. I've heard nothing from anyone with regard to CCTV footage. I tried my best, but I don't think I'm going to get anywhere.

I'm off home now, and then will do a little work from home tomorrow morning before getting trains to Croydon around midday. From there Rachel and I will head south to run the South Downs Way 50 route over the course of Saturday and Sunday, then come back to Croydon and immediately head north to her parents' house for Christmas, popping over to my parents' house between Christmas and new year for a few days, including my mother's birthday. Then it's back to Rachel's parents, and then back home again in time to have a 30 minute turn around to go and run a New Year's Eve 10K. Then we get to collapse and stay in for the calendar restarting.

Then it'll be 2019, and noses back to the grindstone. Whatever you're doing for the festive period, I hope it's nice, and you and yours have a wonderful time. See you back here again in two weeks or so.

[17:20] I heard some more from the Police today. Turns out they're not going to do anything because apparently they don't have access to the CCTV footage (belongs to the train company) and the amount of time to look through is more than 14 hours (haven't they heard of binary searches?). They advised me to contact the train company again, so I did that and after fighting with the phone operative, got them to take another look at my case and contact me either way (whether they decide to do something (let me have the footage) or not). I've even told them I'd be happy to look through the footage for them, but apparently that's not acceptable for various reasons. It's digital footage, surely. That means there are plenty of easy ways to look through it for things changing, without having to sit there and eyeball the screen, even on super fast forward. But never mind, I'd much rather Rachel's insurance company called her (or she called them again and found out why they hadn't called her) and we got her bike replaced. It being Christmas shortly makes everything a lot more complicated, but I'd really like things to be under way before everything shuts down for the holiday.

Work has been quiet again today, thankfully. My old colleague, who's now my team leader, has been doing sterling things with regard to getting all manner of stuff sorted. As a result I've been doing one or two things to help him with that. However, I've had plenty of time to twiddle my thumbs. So I took it upon myself to do a bit of almost-useless preventative maintenance. It took up a few minutes and things are a bit better for the future, so that's good. Now I'm going to head home and have another quiet evening to myself, and speak to Rachel on the phone at some point, hopefully.

[16:25] I'm still waiting to hear from someone about the CCTV footage of the train station where Rachel's bike was stolen. I've mentioned it on a few places on Facebook and it seems the thievery is more common than previously thought. Not only that, but someone pointed out that the same style of stands at the main train station are similarly useless. I doubt I'll hear anything about getting access to the footage, but at this point (and honestly when I started the whole process) it's more about seeing how hard it is and how long it takes than actually getting any useful images/information from the whole episode.

Otherwise today was a mostly-useful day. I got up early and headed to work in time to patch and reboot half a dozen servers or so, including firmware updates. Everything seemed to go according to plan, which was nice. Over the course of the day I've done some more generic tidying, gone for a rather relaxed 1 hour run over lunch (despite it being a bit breezy), and gone around in circles with a DBA and a service manager about getting rid of a very old server which should have been binned years ago. Because a developer isn't going to be back before Christmas it's likely I'm going to have to follow up on it, again, in the new year.

For now though I'm going home because I was in early.

[16:55] Bit of a mixed weekend, if I'm honest. It started off pretty well with my Saturday morning run going by quite nicely. Then the remainder of Saturday (Tesco, relaxing, eating) passed by happily. Sunday was a bit of a different matter. I got my morning run done, but it was quite hard because of the distance, even though I had nutrition with me, and drink (although one of my bottles' straws came out which drenched half of my chest until I could get it back in again). After that though things went really downhill when I cycled to the nearby train station to collect Rachel's bike and cycle both mine and it into town to meet her. It'd been stolen. The Sheffield stand had been unscrewed from the tarmac and the bike (locks) just slipped off the bottom of it. Apparently four other stands had likewise been done. Rachel's bike was not that expensive, didn't look that expensive (although I did keep it in good nick), and there were far nicer bikes around. It put a real downer on the day. We still met in town, but Rachel had to walk into town from the other station. We had lunch and did some useful Christmas shopping (including collecting my new toaster that Rachel was lovely and bought for me). After a few other shops though I got really sick of people and the crowds and asked if we could go home. Rachel went back to the train station and met me at the one where the bike should have been just to check I hadn't missed it (I hadn't). We talked to the station staff (unhelpful) and then walked home together. Rachel logged the theft with the police, got a crime number, and logged a claim with her insurance company. I tried very hard for it not to bother me, but in some ways it did more than the theft of my own bike a few months beforehand. Maybe because it was her bike and I care about her having good, working transport, etc. We finished off the day with some logistics planning and parental phone calls before dinner and a bit of television.

This morning took a few goes to get started as we really didn't want to get out of bed. When it did Rachel headed off (on foot) to the station and I cycled in to work to find very little to do, thankfully. I've prepared all the servers I'm patching tomorrow, and then reveled in our alerting system being very quiet because everyone was at the Christmas lunch and bar for the afternoon. Chances are things won't be as quiet tomorrow, but we can hope. I used my free time to attempt to get the CCTV footage of the station cycle racks. This has lead me to three different places, two branches of the police, three forms, two phone calls, and still nothing to show for it. Hopefully something will happen eventually. Not that I expect much even if I get the footage. At this point already it's more about seeing what I can get than actually getting a result. Also: with it being Christmas, it's unlikely the insurance company will get a new bike out this side of the new year, which is a bit frustrating, although I'm not sure where we could take delivery of it between now and then anyway.

[16:10] An early start to get into work in time to drop something off and then get some servers patched and rebooted. Everything went according to plan and I'm pleased to say that I feel a bit better about things now. I spent some time consolidating a few things, then headed over to a data center to power cycle one of our pieces of network kit that my group may or may not be responsible for. Off the back of that, and some user administration, I now have access to it and have been investigating who gets emails from it and many other pieces of kit doing similar or connected functions. I don't think anything will get sorted before Christmas though, given how slowly certain wheels turn here.

Honestly, this afternoon has been a write-off in terms of productivity. I don't think anything was worth starting, so I've mostly been helping someone connect to a server I set up a few days ago to do password syncing between various parts of the organisation. I'll head home in a few minutes given how early I arrived this morning.

This weekend I have an hour's run tomorrow (which might include parkrun if I can be bothered), and a 2 hour 45 minute run on Sunday, which I need to get done before meeting Rachel in town for lunch after she arrives from Croydon. In town we'll be going to Lakeland for some things for my parents, as well as collecting a new toaster from John Lewis after my other one decided to stop working and smelling of burnt insulation. Other than that we'll be doing some practice packing for heading away for Christmas to do active and family things. Hopefully I'll get Tesco over and done with on Saturday afternoon. Then it'll be Monday.

[17:20] A busy start to the day at least. I was up at 05:45 so I could be out of the door and running for an hour by 05:55 or so. It was cold, and clear, and with a head torch on everything was great. Unfortunately I didn't wear anything reflective so I was rightfully chastised by a cyclist on the tow path who came up behind me. He saw me with dozens of meters to spare because of his front light and seeing my head torch light on the ground in front of me, but wearing something reflective might have been a plan. I honestly thought there wouldn't be anyone else out at that time in the morning. Of course, there were some boats and bank parties, but for the most part I was always either overtaking them or coming at them head on. Anyway, the run done and dusted I had just enough time to get in the house, turn on my laptop, and shut down the application I was supposed to shut down before its database was updated. I showered, breakfasted, made lunch, and got to work with ten minutes to spare before I turned the application back on and tested workingness, which it had. So that was good. The remainder of the day has mostly been spent learning more about the new firewalls and the network topology we now have here, as well as some other stuff I can't remember now. Having run before work and fasted I didn't have a run at lunchtime and won't have one at all tomorrow, which'll be nice.

My parents are on their way to Edinburgh at the moment to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. I hope they have an amazing and wonderful time away. I'm going away now, but only as far as home, so I can relax for the evening and have steak and chips and beans for dinner. No Rachel tonight (or tomorrow night, or Saturday night) sadly. I'll try to survive.

[17:55] Today was one of those days when I didn't want to get out of bed, for no real reason at all. I did though, and went down to find that the radio wouldn't turn on. Was it broken? I couldn't think why. I turned on the kitchen lights... only for that not to work either. At that point it seemed obvious a breaker had tripped. I noticed that the smart meter was on battery power too, and nearly dead, so it'd been like that for a while. I flipped the breaker back on and the toaster started making a very odd buzzing sound and smelling of burning insulation. I quickly unplugged it, shook out everything I could, and then tried plugging it in again. More unsafe-sounding buzzing and a hint of smoke. One dead toaster. I hadn't even used it in a while (maybe three or four days), so I don't know why it chose the middle of last night to go wrong. The upshot was I cycled to work with it in a carrier bag this morning and dumped it in the work WEEE recycling trolley. Not impressed considering it probably wasn't more than three years old. Rachel's promised she'll get me one as an early Christmas present this weekend coming, which is lovely of her.

At work today I've mainly been fighting with Ubuntu 18.04 and VMWare. There are various issues with their interaction when it comes to customisation of various things after cloning from a template. After I got back from my lunch time hill reps run (mildly disappointing graph of my speed decreasing on each repetition of the hill climb) I found some useful information which basically boils down to the fact that I'm going to have to do manual configuration until we get on a more recent version of vCenter. I did fix the other issue I was having with regard to SSH host keys though, so it wasn't all bad news.

Tomorrow morning I'm getting up stupidly early to run fasted for an hour before breakfast, and then do 30 seconds of work from home at 07:00 before showering, breakfasting, making my lunch, and cycling to work to do the followup task. I still might leave work early tomorrow evening given when I'm actually starting work tomorrow.

In other news, my hand/knuckle still hurts when I use it. I really do wonder what's wrong with it.

[17:35] My hand still aches. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but some time last week I appear to have banged, knocked, or otherwise done something to it in such a way that I've either broken a bone or bruised or strained something in or around the first knuckle of my left hand. We're getting on for a week now and it seems to be getting somewhat worse rather than better. There doesn't seem to be much I can do about it so I'm going to just wait for a little while and see if it gets better on its own.

In other news I've had a day of work where I didn't actually achieve all that much, but probably still made progress theoretically such that things can happen in the future. Planning progress, I guess you could call it. Plenty of meetings (by which I mean two, which is more than I usually have) and things decided in them, but not much in the way of things typed into keyboards and results visible. Maybe tomorrow. No run today either, which I'm thankful for, but one tomorrow.

I think I'll go home and be glad I don't have to go out again to Tesco tonight.

[17:25] Back again. Wotcha. It has been something of a long weekend, again. I'll get right into it as I want to go home, get the Tesco shop done, and relax. Rachel arrived on Thursday night, which was nice. We got to bed in good time for her to get up at 05:30 to do some work, and me at 06:00, so I could have a little breakfast and we could get on our way doing a 2 hour 30 minute run. Rather than look for trails and stuff we stuck to roads and pavement and did an out and back route. It drizzled a bit, and I (in the depths of a bit of a depressive patch) snapped at Rachel a bit. I also didn't really hydrate or eat properly (not that Rachel did either) so I faded quite a bit towards the end. All my own fault, really. Rachel on the other hand did well and only faded in the last mile or so. She's training really well at the moment. Once we were back and showered and fed a little more we headed back out in the rain with our bikes and decided to take an extra train from the nearer station to get us on our way to Matlock. Trains happened, everything went to plan, and then we were in Matlock. We cycled via cycle routes to Rowsley, and then after finding that the route I wanted us to take just wasn't going to be feasible, via the A6 to Bakewell and our Air BnB place for the night. It was more than good enough, and after a quick walk around Bakewell (it's not huge), a visit from our host at exactly the wrong moment, and a delivery Indian which was very tasty, we headed to bed. In the morning we jogged to Bakewell parkrun where Rachel absolutely demolished me, finishing a good 45+ seconds ahead of me on a very straight, almost perfectly flat out and back course. As I said, she's streets ahead of me on speed and fitness at the moment. At least, I think so. We jogged home again straight afterwards so we could shower and have breakfast at a local cafe that we'd been given a 10% off voucher for. Then it was basically time to head home for the last time, pack, and cycle back to Rowsley to meet and have lunch with Rachel's family. We did so, then checked into the hotel and went for a short walk. After some alone time for me to get my head in a bit more order we all got into our glad rags and headed down to the hotel dining room to have a really lovely and very delicious dinner together to celebrater Rachel's mother's birthday. Before we knew it it was gone 22:00 and bed time for almost everyone. Definitely me, though. In the morning Rachel and I had our first lie-in in possibly two weeks or more, which was lovely. My mood was beginning to lift a little by then, which was a relief. After breakfast together everyone went their separate ways and Rachel and I cycled back to the train station and got the succession of trains home again, two hours before we'd been due to. Luckily there were no issues with bike place bookings and we were home just before it got properly dark, which was nice. Sadly, my front light decided to stop working, which was disappointing, but I have plenty of spare ones. We had a quiet night in, dealing with the fact that the heating hadn't been on, so our (mostly my) kit from Friday morning hadn't really dried and had therefore stunk up the lounge/dining room/kitchen. I don't think I'll make that mistake again.

This morning we both got up early. Rachel so she could get to work on time, and me so I could get into work to do some patching before 09:00. Both things went according to plan, and I've spent the rest of the day getting ducks in a row for various things I still have to do this week. Hopefully they won't be too hard. I also asked my coach to set me up with some speed work between now and the 10K race Rachel and I are doing on New Year's Eve, but he thinks it's a bit too late to get much out of it, especially with the 28/23 mile back to back runs we're doing the weekend after next. Still, I have to hope that I can still get sub-40 minutes, at at least keep Rachel in sight. At the moment I don't hold out much hope!

Time to go home now, do the Tesco thing, and collapse on the sofa for the evening, I think.

[17:40] I can't quite work out of today was a day when I got stuff done or not, really. I mean, I did create a new VM template for a new operating system, and I did do lots of dashing around when we had some new-firewall issues. But at the end of the day, did I get anything done? I think so. My old team leader dumped a pile of annoyance in my lap which I'm going to have to pick up and sort through next week, but I'm choosing to ignore that for now.

In any event, it's now home time, and I'm not back until Monday (when I'll be in semi-early to patch and reboot some servers). Rachel arrives this evening, thankfully, then tomorrow morning we get up early and run for 2 hours and 30 minutes before coming back, showering, having breakfast, and then heading out to take our bikes with us to her mother's birthday party weekend. There'll be some cycling, some running at a new parkrun, and plenty of food and relaxing otherwise. With luck the weather shouldn't be too bad, but we're going to have to pack for the worst. I'll tell you something about it on Monday.

[17:35] Today was a good day. I got up and did morning exercises, showered, made lunch, and got to work in one piece. The morning was semi-productive in that I created and provisioned three VMs without any major issues other than a brief finger fumble over RAM allocation in vCenter, as well as helping set up someone's office in the hopes they'll get to move in to it before anyone notices that they're not a 'manager' per se. They do deserve to be in it, though. Over lunch time I did an excellent hill reps run where the graphs (after uploading) show that all of my ascents of the hill were progressive in speed. And this afternoon I've helped somewhat with a colleague's issue, helped pin down what was generating so much switch error email traffic, and even got my inboxes up to date.

I'm going to try and go home safely now and count myself lucky that sometimes I have a good day.

[18:10] I didn't intend to be here this late, but something weird came up on the firewall and I and one of the firewall admins spent too long trying to work out what it was. We still haven't worked it out, but we've decided to go home anyway.

Before that the day consisted of doing useful things to help other people in my group, again. The one thing I wanted to do myself I started doing and then got side tracked, such that I'm going to have to pick it up again tomorrow morning instead. It isn't urgent, so that'll be OK. Before that I had lunch. Before that I headed over to a server room to replace a hard drive. And before all of that I went for a short run before work and watched the sun rise, which was nice.

Last night I went to Tesco and came back with a large pizza for dinner, which I shouldn't have had as I'm trying (not very hard or well) to lose a smidgen of fat from around my middle.

I think that's everything. It doesn't seem like all that much, now I read it back to myself. I must try and do a bit more tomorrow.

[17:10] I arrived late into work this morning as trains from Croydon weren't running quite to time. It didn't seem to matter as most everything had either gone OK, or had been fixed by the Networks people before I got in. There were still one or two things I found, pointed out, and ended up fixing myself though. The remainder of the day has therefore mainly been about tidying up after the trauma of moving from one kind of firewall to another, and dealing with the usual things that happen to my servers over a weekend.

The weekend away from work was fairly interesting. I made it to Croydon in good time on Friday, only to find that Max and Stacey weren't coming, but we might meet them on Sunday lunch time after our run instead. Saturday started with parkrun (me running, Rachel marshalling) and then me using most of the remainder of the day to keep warm while Rachel dashed about doing Amnesty things, going to play hockey, and doing the shopping (even though I asked her if we could do it together). We got up on Sunday morning and took a train to Coulsden South and then ran south to the North Downs Way and west to Box Hill. It was muddy, but for the most part didn't rain to heavily. I got to try out my new ultra pack, and neither of us got too cold or anything, so that was good. When we arrived at the Box Hill visitor center we discovered that Max and Stacey weren't coming after all, so we had a nice hot lunch and then semi-hastily made our way to Dorking train station to get home again. Disappointingly, I felt into a bit of a depressive mood after we got back, having felt the beginnings of it on Saturday, and maybe even Friday evening. That put a distinct downer on the remainder of the weekend. I wish it hadn't. As people says "depression lies", so I'm trying hard not to believe anything I thought or felt during that time. I don't think I'm quite out of said dip at the moment, but work isn't about emotion, so I've been able to effectively forget about it. We'll see how things go over the next few days.

I'm heading home now where I'll hope the house has survived the weekend, head to Tesco for the week's shop, and then relax for a bit before bed. It's only the end of Monday and I already wish the week were over.