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[15:50] No patching this morning owing to people not being here who needed to be. That's fine by me as it meant I didn't have to get up early and in to work. I went to see Deadpool 2 last night, which was good... but not as good as the first one for some reason. I think it just didn't have the joyous 'newness' of the original. Still a fun film though; had me laughing out loud in the cinema.

I'm off to see a thing this evening in Croydon. Cormac and Steph will be meeting me at the station and hopefully we'll be getting one of the uncancelled trains there.

Workwise today has been all about meetings about our new (not yet realised) VMWare vSphere setup which we're upgrading from 5.5 to 6.7. It's about time too as some of the newer servers we've bought to be ESXi hosts won't actually work with 5.5, so this upgrade has been somewhat forced upon us!

[16:00] Last night we used the oven to grill some hamburgers and found two sausages I must have left on the grill pan at least ten days beforehand, if not more. Not only that, but the glass cover over the bulb in the oven had also fractured leaving a circle of glass (the threaded bit) jammed in the oven and the rest of it sitting on the grill pan, too. Also, the bulb had died. Therefore this morning I called the people who make the oven to get an engineer out as I was completely unable to unscrew the remaining bit of glass without potentially causing the oven damage. The engineer will arrive (hopefully with the correct parts to replace bulb and cover) next Wednesday - between 07:00 and 17:00, which means I'm going to have to have them call me half an hour before so I can cycle home at top speed to meet them. Frustrating, and expensive, but better than having a broken oven due to my own ineptitude.

Workwise I had to Have a Word with a developer today who was using the workstation I had prepared for him to do display work as a development box, not to mention him reinventing the wheel at least half a dozen times. He also then wanted me to replicate all the work I'd done for him on the workstation on the VM I'd built for him specifically for the purpose. There's more, but basically it boils down to him doing the wrong things, quite persistently.

Rachel left for work this morning, aiming to get the newly timetabled direct train straight to work. Only the train companies really don't know what they're doing and the train was cancelled, and may be cancelled a lot more in the future, which is seriously annoying. Hopefully not tomorrow, when I and some friends will be heading to Croydon to see an event. I'll be staying the night with Rachel while everyone else goes home, which is nice, too. In other news Rachel has entered us for a 10 mile race this Sunday. Going on how slow I've been on the last few runs since the NDW50 (and before that, really, and ever since the Manchester Marathon, if I'm honest) I not sure I'm going to get anywhere near close to the time I got in 2016. Still, it's the taking part that's the fun bit.

I'm going to head off early as I was in earlyish this morning. I was going to be in early tomorrow for patching, but all of that got cancelled owing to the people who were going to be stopping and restarting the services after I'd patch the servers not being in.

[16:55] So I'm back from the Algarve, where I had a wonderful time, thank you. This followed doing the North Downs Way 50 ultramarathon. Let's say that I finished it, and in a moderately good time, but it was pretty bloody hard and for a while afterwards I felt sure I wouldn't enter another ultra again. Naturally, Rachel did quite a bit better than me, although we were both quite done in by the end of it. I think I got my nutrition and hydration about right compared to the last ultra we did, but by the end of it I was still struggling. However, with a week and a bit off, and the knowledge that Rachel wants to enter more, I'm feeling more like I might just be able to do some more. Especially if the scenery is as good or better than the North Downs Way. For the time being we're both doing a 10 mile race next weekend, which should prove to me just how much fitness I've lost since the Manchester Marathon. I've also put on a considerable amount of fat (and lost muscle mass) in the last few months, which is why I headed out to join a gym at lunchtime today. Membership doesn't start until Friday (to make billing a bit simpler), but I fully intend to go at least twice a week, if not three times. I'm fed up of feeling tubbier than I have in a long time, and nowhere near as strong as I was when I was rowing. Obviously runners don't need to be as strong as rowers, but I still miss feeling more capable.

In other news, I had someone from the EWI company around this morning to talk about start dates and contracts and things like that. We've settled on not doing the porch on the front of the house after all, as a way to make things look a little nicer, but there's still no firm start date at the moment. Hopefully it'll be some time around the start of July, if not before.

I'm going to head home now to be with Rachel, who worked from my house today. We're going to go for a run, then she's going to make me do some picture hanging. Something I've been putting off for no particular reason.

[11:45] And that's it. A morning of tidying things up, rebooting a server half a dozen times to work out how to do hugepages(z) settings correctly, redoing the ClamAV configuration on a dozen or so servers, and cleaning up my inbox as much as possible. I'm now done, heading home, thence to Croydon, and thence to Farncombe for the night before we get a lift from my 'aunt' to Farnham for the start of the North Downs Way 50 on Saturday morning. With luck and a lack of injuries, tiredness, or dehydration I hope to be finished within about ten hours (just under, I hope!) of the 08:00 start time in a place called Knockholt Pound. After that it's a shower, some hot foot, something to drink, and a taxi ride back to Croydon. Sunday morning we head down to Gatwick and away on a holiday with the rest of Rachel's family. We return a week after that, then it's a bank holiday Monday and I'm back to work on Tuesday morning after a visit from the people doing my EWI, although not to start, but to discuss things, take a floor plan for the ECO grant reasons, and give me a revised start date.

Until then, I'll see you later.

[17:05] I came in early this morning to do some patching. I even got in earlier than I would have normally as I thought it might be nice to get it out of the way sooner rather than later. Thank goodness I did as there were serious network issues about 20 minutes after I'd finished which would have caused me really problematic problems if I'd come in later, or things had taken longer. As it is all I had to do was tell the network admins that they'd screwed up and then clean up the mess afterwards. We also had a server which was misbehaving entirely independently of the network issues or patching, but eventually one of my co-workers got to the bottom of why it was needing reboots regularly. I think we have a handle on things now, so I'm happy to leave it alone and go home.

Over lunch today I went for what I hoped would be a nice gentle run. It was gentle, but I still felt pretty tired during and after it. Hopefully that's not another sign (along with sore throats in the morning and a sneezing fit earlier today) that I'm getting ill/a cold. We'll have to see. This afternoon has been mainly about working out why some Ansible stuff hadn't taken effect on some physical database servers. It turns out it had, it's just that what I'd asked Ansible to do was wrong in so many ways I'm surprised I didn't crash the servers. In any event I believe I've not only fixed the issue, I've made it far far simpler as to how the things I wanted Ansible to do are implemented, which is nice.

I'm off home now to pack for the race on Saturday and then the week off with Rachel's family the day after that. More tomorrow, then nothing for a week and a day (the following Monday's another bank holiday).

[17:45] There's something about days when I patch servers that feel both like I've achieved a lot, and nothing much at all. I suppose that getting some firmware updates done successfully too always sweetens things a little, too. Anyway, I got in this morning after a reasonable night's sleep (although I did end up waking up early due to the sun and getting up and out of the house well before 07:40), and was patching four or five servers by the middle of the morning, then I had five more to do over lunch time which took far longer than I would have liked owing to three of them being KVM guests on the same host (also being patched). That slowed things down a lot. To get some fresh air I went out for a moderately easy hour-long run, which resulted in a slightly higher heart rate over the course of the hour than I would have liked. Certainly higher than it would have been at the peak of my marathon training only seven weeks or so ago. Anyway, my feet were still mostly OK, which is what matters more than anything at the moment. This afternoon I've mostly been preparing for another early start tomorrow when I'll be patching a few more servers (eight in total) and then trying not to think too much about the race this weekend. I should really make a start on my packing for the race and my week-long holiday immediately afterwards, but I think I might only do a bit now and the rest tomorrow night. There's nothing that isn't in the house or already at Rachel's, so it's just a case of pulling it all together and working out what size of bag I'm going to need.

[17:20] Something of a scrambly day today. It started early as Rachel needed to leave for London in good time and I needed to get to work to patch some servers. In the end it turned out that as both of the people who were going to stop the services on the servers in question were working from home, and the remote access service was down. This meant that half of the servers didn't get done, and the other half (purportedly with service shutdown/startup scripts) were done but I probably broke a whole load of things because I ran whatever I could and then just rebooted, assuming that everything that should have been done had been. Then it was the working day proper and I was writing emails and chasing people to patch and reboot more servers. Then there were all the people who dropped by my desk to ask about issues and problems and things, most of which I was able to provide a solution to... or at least point to someone who could because I couldn't. Over lunch I caught up on some downloaded television, mostly to make room on my USB stick for fresh stuff as I haven't been able to watch anything in the evenings for a good few days now owing to company or activities of various sorts. Then a replacement hard drive arrived for a server, so I had to go out to a server room to replace that, then I got permission to patch four machines, which is why I'm still here after I should have gone home.

Speaking of home, Rachel and I went to Tesco on my way home from work yesterday, then went out for an hour long run ostensibly to do a "sweat test" to see how much water I lose in an hour (turns out, even on a coolish sunny evening, 1.1l), but also to see if my worrying right foot issue is OK to run on. The conclusion is that I can at least start the race on Saturday, then just hope for the best. It seems like so long as I keep running, everything is just about OK. If I walk/stop it seems to start hurting (more). Simple solution, I think!

[17:20] Surprisingly, not all that much went wrong over Friday and the weekend, which was a pleasant surprise when I arrived at work this morning. In fact, other than the usual stuff that happens over a weekend everything seemed remarkably OK. So therefore I've been able to work on things I needed to work on, like helping someone with a cron job that wouldn't do what they wanted, solving someone's Docker issues (I think), getting a new HDD ordered for one which has been in predictive failure mode since the 26th of April, downgrading various packages because Oracle developers aren't very good at their jobs, and generally doing all the Monday stuff that I have to do every week. On top of that I've been dealing with patching schedules, discussions about networking upgrades and some other stuff I can't remember. Outside of work (whilest being at work) I've had to accept that the EWI fitting is going to start a few weeks later than I wanted it to (I thought it might, given how useless the guy at the company I've chosen is at communicating and giving any impression that he's on the ball about stuff), and worrying about whether or not my right foot is going to be OK for the ultra marathon I'm running this Saturday coming.

Actually outside of the office I headed to Croydon on Thursday night and met up with Rachel on the train from St. Pancras to East Croydon. On Friday morning we got trains and Tube to Northallerton where my father picked us up for the driver to Stokesley. The graveside part and the memorial were both lovely, and I was glad I was there, as well as being there for my mother. I was also glad Rachel was there to be a part of it for me, too. After all was said and done we drove back to Manchester with my parents and had a quiet evening together with drinks and memories. On Saturday we headed out to Dunham Massey to enjoy the sun and generally think happier thoughts and do more pleasant things before heading home again and out to the restaurant that we'd planned to go to for my birthday celebration the last time we were there around the time of the Manchester Marathon. That was extremely nice and we rolled home feeling completely satisfied but actually not over-full. Sunday was all about getting the trains home again.

Once we were back at my house Rachel went on a full-on house-tidy-and-clear-up thing and we ended up sending me into the loft for the first time, collapsing a whole load of empty cardboard boxes and storing them in the garden shed (which I had to rearrange, too), sorting out where some of the pictures I own are going to be put up on the walls, and making a start on lists for the things I need to pack for the race and the family holiday with Rachel's family which starts the day after. Then it was time for dinner, relaxing, and bed.

As soon as I get home this evening Rachel has promised that we'll go to Tesco for the few things I need for the remainder of the week, and then I need to get busy with the hammer to start putting picture hooks in the walls. I'm a little worried that I'm going to mess up the latter, but as she chose to work from home (mine) today, I feel I owe her some DIY work.

I think I'm most disappointed about the unknown-but-pushed-back start date of my EWI installation.

[16:50] Busy day today. Woke early again and decided to get a jump on the day by showering and getting to work well before 08:00. This meant my patching and rebooting was done in excellent time (and thankfully without issues). The rest of the morning was doing some unplanned patching (by agreement) on a few servers and generally getting things tidied up for my being away tomorrow. Half way through the afternoon a whole load of servers 'went away' and it turned out that a power distribution panel had gone in one of the server rooms. Happily, all of the servers attached had a second power supply which wasn't affected, but the switch that provided connectivity to the rack died for good. That meant I had to do some quick ascertaining of what ports the servers had been plugged in to in it because its configuration hadn't been stored elsewhere like all the other switches (no idea why), and then heading over there with a networks person to liven up ports on a new FEX and get them all the cables moved over. Amazingly everything went completely without a hitch, except for an unmanaged switch for the out-of-band management ports which could only do 100Mb/s when the new FEX can only go as low as 1Gb/sec. There's a bodge in place for the moment, but it's all that's necessary for now. I'm back in the office briefly to get everything buttoned down for the day, check if there's anything else I need to fix post-power issue, and then I'm off to Croydon for the night before we head up north for the funeral, and seeing my family for the weekend. See you Monday, when I discover how much went wrong tomorrow.

[17:00] I was too warm last night (a problem to do with the house not having enough insulation and therefore getting too warm when it's hot outside), as well as it being too light, and generally me feeling unsettled for no readily apparent reason. Maybe it was to do with worry about my right foot, which is sometimes really quite painful when I'm moving on it. In any event I got up early, had a shower and headed to work in the lovely weather. At work there were a few minor issues which I had to work a bit on to get solved, but the major one I think is now under control and someone else will be looking at it again tomorrow with me when I think we'll be able to solve it fully. There was a bit of time pressure to fix it today as I had a physio appointment (about my foot) to get to, but then we realised we had some time so that's why it'll be dealt with tomorrow instead. At the physio it was ascertained that I don't have a stress fracture (yet, and won't have one any time soon unless I'm really unlucky and don't give it some rest, either), but more a 'stress response' in the tendon. I've got it taped up, will be taking an ibuprofen with my bed-time coco (I don't have that) every night to help with inflammation, and changing my daytime shoes to my old pair which are stretched enough to have a bit more space in the toe box. At least until after the NDW50, at any rate.

I've got house chores to do tonight (mowing the lawn, washing up) that if they're not done, won't get done until Sunday afternoon/next week. Next week might be a bit crammed with things as it too will be a shorter one (although only by half of Friday). This week ends tomorrow for me as tomorrow evening I'm going to London to stay with Rachel for the night before we head north for my grandmother's funeral and then some time with my immediate family. So, with all that in mind, I'm off for the day. Especially as I'm in early tomorrow morning to patch two VMs and a physical host.

[17:35] Lots went on over the weekend. Primarily I was with Rachel in Croydon and then getting trains out every day to run the entire North Downs Way 50 course. We had intended to do it over two days, but after 26.2 miles on the first day we realised that I probably wasn't going to deal with the heat for another ten miles or so that day. We ended up splitting the whole thing into three days (thank goodness for the bank holiday) and had a lovely time (even if Rachel thinks I didn't). In between we had plenty of lovely food to eat, and lots of time in each other's company. There wasn't much time left for anything else other than resting and sleeping.

This morning I got trains back from Croydon, popped into work via an appointment at the doctor's surgery for a checkup on something, and then have spent the day being quite productive with regard to getting emails out to the EWI people, a physiotherapist, someone who did a sweat test on me and Rachel (I wanted the results with regard to how much I should rehydrate over the course of the 50 mile ultra, as well as replacing salts). We also had a useful team meeting about things that are Going On at work that we should be aware of or be taking part in. So that was useful too.

Right now I'm packing up ready to head off and get home to see if the house is still standing, and then go to Tesco for an abbreviated week's worth of food. I'm off on Thursday evening back to Rachel's for one night before we head north for my grandmother's funeral on Friday. We'll then be with my parents for the Saturday and then come back home on the Sunday morning. It should be an interesting period for a variety of reasons. But above all a chance to say goodbye to my grandmother for the last time.

[16:15] Packed for two runs this weekend down on the North Downs Way with Rachel as practice/course checking for the NDW50 in a few weekends from now. It's surprising how much stuff I have in my bag.

Nothing to report at work today. Other than the fact I got my hair cut. I need all the cooling I can get this weekend. I think it's going to be quite warm.

[17:20] Last night Rachel came to see me and helped make the evening just as lovely and normal as could be. It was great to just enjoy time together and forget about everything else that was happening. She's wonderful. She even made us get Indian take away, and then concocted a fabulous pudding for us afterwards. She's just the best person ever.

This morning we both got up semi-early so I could get to work in time to do some patching (which went perfectly, thankfully) and she could get to work in good time. The rest of the day I've been talking to my line-manager-but-one about my worries concerning a work colleague who isn't feeling like he has much to do, and getting concerned that I'm about to be asked to do a considerable number of things that I don't really have much experience of, but probably can gain experience of if I learn about a lot of very complicated things. We'll have to see how that goes.

Right now though, I'm going home. On my bike, which I collected from the bike shop yesterday. Thus far it feels (and sounds) like they've fixed it by replacing a few sets of bearings in and around the rear hub and freewheel. However, I still have a new freewheel coming (from Italy, of all places). Given they didn't charge me for any of the work they did yesterday, I'll be taking the bike back there again to get the freehub fitted properly, when it eventually arrives.

[16:30] My last (and best) grandparent died today. She was 103 and a force of nature, a Yorkshire (great) Grandmother, and one of the strongest-willed people I'll ever know. I was fortunate to get to see her yesterday and tell her how much I loved her, and some of the memories I had of her. She died at around 12:25 today. My mother and one of her sisters was with her (and had been for the last few days). It was, I believe, peaceful. And I'm glad that she's now at rest. I'm not going to say anything more about it, except to say that Rachel will be coming to see me this evening and I'll be very glad about that, too.

In other less important news I dropped off my bike at the bike shop on the way into work this morning (running in the rest of the way and worrying about the blade of my left foot, which still isn't quite right and was at times quite painful), and was told later on by phone that the part that is required is out of stock everywhere and they may not be able to get it before June/July. I was advised to try and get it elsewhere and they'll fit it for me. I've managed to order it from eBay, but from Italy, so it still won't arrive for a while. That's the way it goes, I guess. In the meantime they've done what they can and I'm about to get back into my running kit and run back there so I can cycle home and wait for Rachel. Tomorrow morning I'll be in early to patch and reboot some servers. Hopefully this should go well.

[09:10] A quick entry to say "happy May", and I managed to get in early enough to do everything I needed to before leaving for North Yorkshire. I'll be back tonight, after having seen my grandmother, probably for the last time. The weather looks nice though, which is nice, I guess.