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September's Journal
November's Journal

[16:40] And it was all going so well. Or fairly well, anyway. I got up early this morning (after a slightly better, but still non-perfect, night's sleep) and was in work to do some patching. Pretty much all of it went well, even accounting for some firmware hiccups I now know how to navigate around. However, I did manage to reboot a server I hadn't been supposed to, which caused some knock-on effects later on in the day with processes unable to connect to databases that'd vanished without saying they were going. Then it was the main part of the working day and everything seemed to pretty much go according to plan. I had someone from Networks come in to do some troubleshooting on the network issues I've been having for the past few months. That took up some of the morning. Then I had a good run at lunch time. Then everything went wrong. A server I patched and rebooted this morning is having real difficulties with multipath. Another server I patched and rebooted this morning has lost a power supply. And I was just waylayed as I was writing this at 16:15 (in the hopes of an early departure) because of a Samba connectivity issue that was taking place. I've only just solved that. I wanted to be home before Rachel, but the odds are I'm certainly not going to be now. Still, here's hoping that I can leave soon. I've had no reply from my tame Dell engineer about the PSU I need tomorrow morning, so I may have to raise a call directly to see if that helps. He may not be in...

[17:00] Rachel came home last night, and there was much rejoicing. Getting to Croydon was fine, as was getting to Rachel's house. I spent some time getting things set up, and then about the same amount of time working out how to fire her combi boiler back up again. In the end she arrived, looking a bit tired, but very lovely. She pottered around the house for a bit getting herself settled back in again, and then we sat down for some dinner and catching up. Both of us were tired for very different reasons, so we went to bed quite early. Unfortunately I had a bit of a bad night's sleep, so wasn't feeling altogether happy about getting up earlyish in the morning, but we managed it. We cycled to the train station and headed to our respective workplaces. I got in to work only half an hour later than I'm usually expected, so that was pretty good. Over the course of the day I've mainly been preparing for tomorrow's early morning work, getting one of two hotel rooms booked for next month, and eating the delicious lunch Rachel prepared for me. I'm going to head home now and make sure that the house is ready for her arriving at it (potentially before me) tomorrow. That means hiding her two presents and generally making the place looks presentable. Tomorrow I'm in early, as I said, then I'll have a morning of work, a run at lunch time (hill reps), and then a semi-early departure to get home just before/at the same time as Rachel.

[13:15] Rachel comes home today. Rachel comes home today. That's about all I have to say about today. Other than getting up early to do some patching (which all went according to plan), and doing my sprintervals session at lunch time (and taking a toilet break and forgetting how many reps I'd done and doing one extra). Now I'm off to catch the train and have lunch on it as I don't have time now. Back at work tomorrow, but from Croydon, so I'll be a bit later than usual.

[17:10] A mixed bag of a weekend, if I'm honest. I decided to have delivery pizza on Friday night. A clear sign that I wasn't feeling at my strongest as I usually make something from the frisge/freezer/cupboards if I'm feeling good. That was day two of pizza for dinner. I headed to bed at a moderately sensible time, but still ended up waking in the night, possibly due to being thirsty. When I did get up on Saturday morning I didn't really do all that much. A second weekend without Rachel around was taking its toll on my ability to get excited about much. I did eventually head out (in the rain) to see some friends at a place in the south of the city they were renting for the weekend, and a group of us had a good time catching up after (in some cases) a few years of not seeing each other. The only moderate down side was that we ordered pizza for dinner. So that was day three of heavy carbs and meat-based evening meals. When I finally made it home I felt pretty leaden, despite the lightness of the pizza base, and went to bed. The clocks went back overnight, but I still managed to wake at around the same time on the clock, probably because I had another bad night's sleep. I think it's stress about something, but I can't really pin down what it might be. Maybe I'm worried about things to do with the house. It's more than likely that. Anyway, once I was up and about I decided to get my run done fairly quickly, so was out and doing so by 09:00 on the dot. That got me home again by around 10:45 and I was showered and back from Tesco before 12:00. After that I honestly just lazed around on the sofa, did some washing, and generally didn't really stir my stumps much at all. I did manage to have something other than pizza for dinner (hunter's chicken and broccoli), and went to bed at a semi-sensible time.

This morning (after another slightly broken night's sleep) I was up and about and in to work in good time for the day. Not a lot has happened at work thankfully, but I have prepared for tomorrow (early) morning's two bits of different work (patching some servers and working with the traffic managers to restrict access to something while it's worked on by someone else). I also cycled in with my running kit for tomorrow's lunchtime track session, as well as the bike tyres I got for Rachel's old station bike (in Croydon) before it was stolen (but then replaced with a similar bike that takes the same tyres). Rachel arrives back in the UK tomorrow afternoon, so I'll be leaving work soon after lunchtime (so after I've run and showered, basically) with the tyres so as to be (at her) home by the time she gets back from the airport. I've missed her very much, and I'm very glad she's coming home again.

[16:00] A sleep in this morning! After getting home after the course and feeling... just awful in a variety of ways, having a pizza, watching a film and getting an early night was just what I needed. Waking at 07:00 but then not getting out of bed until 07:30 was wonderful then, too. At work I was on the last day of my AWS course and it went as well as the other days, aside from being shorter (hence me doing this entry now). I'm off home for the weekend now, where I will see some friends, do some food shopping, run on Sunday, and try to stay out of the forecasted rain as much as possible on Saturday. Still no Rachel (back on Tuesday) so I have to amuse myself for the most part. Hopefully I'll be able to keep myself occupied.

[17:35] My night's sleep was a tale of two halves. Before 02:35 I had a wonderful uninterrupted block of sleep. After then, until 06:00 when my alarm went off I slept fitfully, and with many wakings and odd dreams. Probably because I knew I was going to be getting up early. Once I'd dragged myself out of bed I didn't shower after doing the morning routine, but headed into work (in the dark), passing what looked like quite a nasty car/cycle accident (which had a lot of people already dealing with it) on the way. At work I got my couple of dozen servers patched (firmware and OS), faffed for a little bit, and then headed out for my hill reps run, which I usually do at lunch time. It felt a bit odd to be doing it in the morning, and I think my body agreed on some deep physical level. Still, I had a reasonable stab at it, made it back, had a shower, and then headed into the training course for the day. Today's morning and afternoon sessions were long ones, with me only just emerging from it now. I've now been in work for close on eleven hours, and it's time I went home. Tomorrow's the last day of the course, and I also don't have to be in work before 09:30, so that should mean I get to sleep in, at least a little.

[16:55] Day one of my AWS course. Everything seems to be going OK. It's fairly interesting, but I'm not sure when I'll ever get to use it if we don't actually adopt/have access to it in my specific group. Still, it should mean I have the ability to help and/or troubleshoot anyone else here who's using it. And I can put it on my CV if nothing else.

I'm in earlier than I thought tomorrow morning as I'm going to get both the patching and (hopefully) my running session for the day out of the way before tomorrow's training session starts. We'll see how that goes...

[16:50] Odd night's sleep last night. I think it was a combination of slightly too much protein, and knowing I had to be up early this morning for patching and stuff. In any event it was a semi-broken night of sleep, and some really strange dreams which I couldn't remember any part of immediately upon waking. But anyway, I got up on time, did the morning routine, and cycled to work in what was still essentially night time. Once I was there I had a leisurely few minutes to get everything ready and then it was off to the races. I patched about nineteen servers, rebooted six for additional firmware updates, and then everything was back at precisely 07:30. They didn't need to be, but they were, so that was nice. After that the rest of the day was a bit of a come-down, which has been perfectly fine by me. I did go for a run at lunch time, although it was supposed to be a track session and wasn't because the track had been booked for some children's thing. I ended up doing my sprintervals on the foot/cycle path next to it which worked, mostly. I never really settled into the session though, which was disappointing. It wasn't wasted though, I don't think.

I'm on a three day AWS course for the rest of the week, but still have a slightly early morning on Thursday to patch and reboot another big set of servers. Otherwise I'll be checking in with work email at the beginning and end of the day and probably writing something small and trivial here before I head home. That's probably it. Hopefully nothing will go too wrong while I'm learning something new for the first time in a while.

[17:20] I don't enjoy weekends without Rachel anywhere near as much as those with her. I probably spent far too much time indoors, and/or watching television. As it was I got up on Saturday morning quite late (as I didn't have to run and couldn't be bothered with a muddy parkrun after all the rain overnight) and did a bit of television-watching. Then I forced myself to do some house work, some cleaning and tidying, and even a little bit of weeding, all over the course of the day. This meant that it wasn't until much later in the day before I allowed myself to sit back down again and watch some more television. As a 'reward' for not being a couch potato all day I got myself a Chinese takeaway, as this also necessitated me leaving the house and getting some fresh air.

Sunday was somewhat similar in that I didn't do all that much. I did rise early enough to have some breakfast and go for a run such that I was home, showered and had done the weekly shop before lunch time had sensibly passed. So that was a positive. Rachel and I coordinated on a Skype time in the evening (her bed time) and the connection was even good enough that we could enable video as well as audio. It was wonderful to be able to connect and I went to bed feeling a lot happier.

Disappointingly, I woke feeling very groggy this morning, for no readily apparent reason. I dragged myself out of bed and, after morning exercises and all the usual stuff, got myself to work in the drizzle. Today has mostly been about preparing for tomorrow's mammoth firmware and OS patching session before 09:00 (starting some time around about 07:30). I'm pretty sure I've got all my ducks in a row, so it's just a case of pressing 'go' a lot and watching for problems (of which I hope there are none). I sent some good emails today, and got some lovely replies in return, so that was nice, too. I'm off home now to relax for the evening and get an early night. Although from the looks of things it's already getting dark outside. I can't wait for the clocks to go back this weekend.

[17:00] I stayed up a bit too late last night watching television, but I felt it was worth it considering how many early nights I'm going to have to have over the next few weeks to deal with the early starts I'm going to be doing. In any event it was a nice evening of writing a long email to Rachel (and getting a text reply just before she headed to bed), having a nice dinner, and generally relaxing.

This morning I was a bit groggy when I woke up, but morning exercises soon blew the cobwebs away... Although I have had very tight and sore hamstrings and lower glutes since after the hills session yesterday, which is both good (muscle workout) and bad (should I really be this sore?). Hopefully having today and tomorrow off running before Sunday's relatively easy long run should mean I'm ready to go.

Work today has been mostly a holding action against the entropic decay of silicon. I fixed stuff, maintained stuff, even patched a few servers. In the end though we've finished the day (and the week) with roughly the same number of red and yellow lights on the monitoring system. What has increased is the amount of work I've got over the next three weeks.

Before that though there's the weekend, where I intend to do very little, except run once, hopefully take a cycle trip to a friend's house to use some of his specialist cycle tools to replace a chain, rear cassette, and both sets of brake disc pads, go to Tesco, enter Rachel and I for our usual new year's eve 10K race, and generally not think about whether or not I still have a rodent problem. With luck I won't get to wet and or wind-blown at any point, too. See you on Monday.

[17:35] Another moderately quiet day, thank goodness. Although I have just been given another two early mornings in the next few weeks. One of them is even a 06:00 start. I don't think I'll be staying much past lunch time on that day.

I ran at lunch time, in what I can only imagine is the last nice weather of autumn unless something amazing happens. It was a short hills session, which I liked, even as I know they're going to get longer, and more difficult. I think I'm going to head home now and try not to think about the early mornings I've got myself into starting this time next week.

I hope Rachel's OK, too. She's very busy these next few days and we haven't been able to email each other. I'll send her one tonight, so she has something to read before bed.

[17:10] Last night I definitely heard noises in the wall/under the floor in a place there should absolutely not be any noise coming from. I'm 100% certain. What I'm not certain of is what is making the noises, or how it happens to be coming from the place it is. There is (as far as I can see) literally no way an animal could be in that location unless it was walled in when I had my work done. And if it was, surely it should be dead by now given I had the work done in late August? It's distressing, and not a little confusing. The smell I associate with the rats is back a bit, too. Definitely not dead/decomposing rat. More 'dirty rat presence'. I'm not going to pull the washer out again to check for droppings for another week and a bit, to allow them to feel comfortable about using whatever teleportation method they might have to get there again. Alternatively, as I said yesterday, they could be old droppings I didn't clean up properly. I still care about the noises under the floor/in the wall, though.

In other news, in the space of about five minutes I was assigned five days of coming in for 07:30 in the morning to do various kinds of sysadmin work. It's not for a week or so, but then one day in one week, and then twice a week for two weeks. Some days are going to be pretty full-on as I'll be doing lots of work in a very short amount of time across a variety of platforms and services. I'll just have to take it as it comes and see what shakes out.

Otherwise I think all is going reasonably well. I miss Rachel a lot, but keeping busy 'helps'. I think, though, it's time to go home and to try not to think about what's happening under my tiled floor. I really hope the foundations are as the pest control people said, and aren't going to allow whatever's under my floor access to the rest of the house... I spent such a lot of money getting this issue 'fixed'.

[17:35] Another doubly-extended weekend, and another Tuesday when I come back to work feeling like it has been a lot longer than four days away. This is probably because weekends with Rachel always tend to be packed from beginning to end with Stuff and Things. This one was no different. I headed to London on Thursday evening and made my way to the GBK near Clapham Junction. Rachel arrived a little later and we had a lovely dinner there (I've been craving meat for a while now). After that we took a train back to Croydon, and then the tram home, getting there in time to watch two episodes of Person of Interest, which we're rewatching. On Friday morning we had a semi-lazy morning and then took trains to Par, and then caught a lift to the Eden Project. Rachel's in with the CEO of the Eden Project, so we had a meeting with him before heading over to the YHA just outside the grounds to welcome some other people (supporters of Rachel's charity) who were coming to run the Eden Project Marathon. On Saturday a number of us, including Martin Yelling from Marathon Talk and Benard Rotich from Kenya did the local parkrun, with Benard gracefully setting a new course record and giving the second place person a nasty shock as he was expecting an easy first place. There was lots of other stuff during the day, some nice stuff in the afternoon (including a tour of the biomes after closing time from the CEO, and a 'pasta and ugali party'), and then we were off to bed again. On the Sunday Rachel and everyone else did a rather wet and muddy full or half marathon (Benard set a new course record for the half marathon) while I minded the fort and handed out room keys for people to shower post-run. Once most people had finished and headed home Rachel and I caught trains back to Croydon, collected pizzas each on the way home, watched another episode or two and then headed to bed. On Monday we managed to sleep in quite wonderfully, before having a fry-up breakfast in the house (more television), and then preparing to head out. Rachel to Heathrow for a two week visit to Kenya, Uganda, and DRC, and me back home for work this morning. We went our separate ways at Victoria and I was home again within a few hours. Disappointingly, when I got home the house was incredibly hot. It seems the batteries had failed in my central heating controller over the weekend and the heating had failed 'on'. Rather a lot of gas got used. I'm not terribly happy about that. Still, you live and learn. I headed to Tesco, and then settled in for the evening. There was a slight smell I used to associate with rats when I walked past where they used to be, so I pulled out the washer to find one or two rat poos on the floor. It's entirely possible they were ones I didn't sweep up properly last time, or ones displaced when I had the builders concrete up the hole the rats were coming in via. I really don't want to think that they're new since the work was done. There's honestly no place for the rats to get in, and after the work was done and I could hear at least two of them trapped in the foundations you would have thought they'd have tried to escape via that area. So, I've set a reminder to check for fresh droppings in two weeks and tried to put it out of my mind... other than remembering it again to write this entry.

I got into work at a sensible time this morning, having triaged my email last night so I could get to work on useful stuff a little faster. Nothing terrible has gone wrong today, but there are plenty of things coming up which might. Mostly I've been preparing two physical servers and four virtual ones for patching (OS (and firmware too for the physical ones)) tomorrow morning. It won't be a horribly early start, but I'd like to get them done as soon as possible. I ran at lunch time. The first of the new training block's track sessions. I think it went OK, and there's room for improvement (I hope!). For now though I'm heading home to try to relax and not miss Rachel too much. Only two weeks to go.

[15:55] I'm off to Cornwall via Clapham Junction and Croydon (tonight) this weekend. I'll be helping Rachel with some stuff she's doing for her charity, as well as dog-sitting, running a parkrun, and generally being with Rachel for as much time as possible before she heads off to Kenya and the DRC for two weeks or so. I was in early this morning for a very easy software update, so I'll be heading off in just a few minutes to catch the train to Clapham Junction where I'll be meeting Rachel for an actual dinner date, which'll be smashing.

Nothing particularly interesting has gone on today at work. I did go for a nice run at lunchtime which was somewhat faster towards the end than I was expecting, but it was nice to know I'm recovering quite well, finally.

Anyway, back on Tuesday for more of the same!

[16:40] I'm feeling much better today in terms of leg ache. Not 100% yet, which is disappointing, but certainly improved on yesterday. I also managed to restrain myself from running at lunch time. There's absolutely no reason why I needed to run today, and especially not given I ran yesterday. I can go without running, and I did. I will be going tomorrow lunch time, although it'll be at the same relaxed pace as yesterday. Train most definitely hasn't started for Manchester yet.

Work-wise the day hasn't been all that interesting. I've done a few things, got a few bits and bob sorted, generally kept the place ticking over, and prepared a script of commands to run tomorrow morning to do a software update on a service we host for a group. Coming in early should mean that I get to leave early for the train to London so I can meet Rachel. We're going for a well-deserved GBK dinner before heading back to Croydon (which'll necessitate a detour from my usual journey). More on what I'll be up to for another double-extended weekend in tomorrow's entry. For now I'm off to collect Rachel's order from Sweaty Betty (if they'll let me) and then head home.

[17:20] Well, I didn't die doing the marathon. Owing to some determination on my part I even managed a reasonable time given the training I'd been doing. Rachel, on the other hand, did amazingly and got a new PB as well as beating me. I'm very proud of her for how well she did, and I even think she's capable of more when she does London next year (a week after I attempt a sub-3 hour marathon in Manchester). I headed to Manchester on Friday and arrived just after Rachel, who went from London. We got the tram to Sale and were collected and driven home. A quiet evening followed. On Saturday we drove to Chester and found our AirBnB place, which was really lovely. We walked through town and had a free tour of the cathedral from one of Rachel's charity's donors, then went back to the accommodation for a bite of dinner, to watch the athletics, and then head to bed. On Sunday, contrary to the weather forecast all week, it wasn't raining. We had breakfast, sorted ourselves out and walked the few hundred meters to the start area. Disappointingly, I needed the loo as we waited for the gun, so after about 2.5 miles I ducked into a portaloo and dealt with the issue. I managed to catch Rachel up again within a mile or so and we stayed roughly together until around half way, at which point I fell off the pace somewhat. In the end she finished about four minutes and forty seconds ahead of me (about a kilometre). We were both pretty shattered afterwards, but able to walk back to the accommodation (still very close), have a shower, and then head out with my parents for lunch. After that, back to the car (also parked close by) and back to Manchester again. We had dinner out at a lovely vegetarian restaurant, and then a very early night as all four of us were pretty pooped. On Monday morning we got a lift to the train station, then began our journey home together before separating at Peterborough to get different trains. When I got home I made an effort to get out to Tesco for the short week's food (more on that later in the week), and then collapsed on the sofa for the evening. All in all it was a lovely (to see my parents) successful (PB for Rachel, about what I expected for me) weekend.

This morning it was a bit strange to be getting up to head to work, even after only four days away, but I managed it. Legs still stiff the cycle in wasn't too bad, but I'm glad I didn't have further to go. Work has been OK, with a few servers, firewall objects, and traffic manager settings removed, and I even got a new NIC installed in my PC so I'm not using a USB3 dongle any more. I've even managed to fix a network time protocol issue that I hadn't realised was one until someone pointed out some issues. I'm off for dinner out this evening, then home to catch up on some television and generally not do much. I ran (very gently) at lunch time, which I think has helped my aching legs somewhat. We'll see what happens when I get out of this chain in a few minutes from now, as well as how I feel when I get out of bed tomorrow morning.

[13:50] Right, a reasonable night's sleep had. A good morning's work of little bits and bobs done. A nice short-but-punchy session on the track. A shower. Lunch. Time to go home and not be back in the office until Tuesday. Between now and then I'll be relaxing, packing, and taking the train to Manchester on my own (Rachel's travelling separately and we're meeting at Piccadilly), then Saturday with parents and travelling to Chester. Sunday is marathon day. My 'A race' for this half of the year... although I have no real idea how well I'm going to do given my slightly 'off' training since the ultras in the first half of the year. We'll see. After the race we'll go back to Manchester and then get the train home again on Monday. Monday afternoon/evening should definitely have a lot more relaxing in it. We might even make a start on a rewatch of the last season of Person of Interest.

See you Tuesday for a brief debrief on the marathon and stuff.

[17:35] I fell asleep on the sofa at around 21:20 last night, so headed off to bed early. Consequently I woke feeling pretty refreshed this morning, which was a delightful change. Seeing the completely blue sky outside (but wearing gloves to cycle to work for the first time since spring) was a good way to start the day, too.

The most annoying thing about today is that I appear to have broken the built-in network port on my work PC by being a bit to aggressive unplugging the cable from it yesterday when doing network testing. As a result I'm using a USB3 dongle at the moment instead, have tracked down an add-in card to replace that, but may potentially be getting Dell to come out and replace the motherboard/NIC if at all possible after I've done some tests. We'll have to see. Otherwise work was all about more of the little things, documenting stuff, and generally keeping the place running. Nothing really to write home about.

I had a nice gentle 6km run at lunch time, and I've got one more semi-difficult session tomorrow lunch time before I go home for the day. I won't be in on Friday either, or Monday next. So, short entry tomorrow, then nothing until Tuesday. Hopefully tomorrow morning will be quiet.

[17:55] Busy day. It started sleepily, with Rachel and I really not wanting to get out of bed, but there being not enough good reasons to stay in it. Rachel headed off to work and got myself in gear and left the house a little later. At work I had a morning of getting things in order, with very little in the way of stress and concern. Over lunch I had a really good run down to and then around the track doing fast miles and slow half miles for about fifty minutes. The afternoon was then one of mini-meetings, doing some useful volume expansion practice involving the SAN, VMWare, and RHEL7, and being handed work to do which has to be up and running before the end of the week. Given I'm not in on Thursday afternoon, all of Friday, and the following Monday, this was a bit of an issue until I had a meeting with the people who were involved and got a better handle on expectations. Everything's pretty much in hand now, but it was somewhat stressful for an hour or so.

I managed to just about avoid the rain at lunch time, but I think I'm going to get pretty wet cycling home in a few minutes. Still, that's what waterproofs and towels are for.