WMC's diary pages, 2002.

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See-also: http://www.wmc.care4free.net/diary/.

July 2002

Mon 1st

D fine in the morning. Take him to pgp. Work: fix 32-bit evp. Vacs meeting.

Pm: trapped in 'computing power users meeting': my own fault for going, really.

Tues 2nd

Back via cad to browse their skip. See a Fox! Does it see me? It walks closer, unconcerned, looks over its shoulder. I move: it runs. Allot: still beans, but thinning: but 2nd set will come in. Rasp to xs. Allot is low-maintenance at the moment: just needs harvesting. Good.

Home 3:30. Md play: E asleep.

4: md off to retrieve car.

5: with D to Pool (change r: D says: shag sheep (deliberately). Get D in & watch for a bit. Then go re-reg him - he is promo to beg-2 (not by us: they decide) - & try to move him to 4 with Billy: fail: but get to 5. Watch D. As at home, he is a bit naughty. Bouncy. One could wish for more obedience but I prefer bounce. Still no head-under. Fin with ring-a-r-of-roses.

Soir. Bath. Tired.

Wed 3rd

pm: home with de. D plays jump-aps, & wants e to watch, which we try for a bit, but fails. So now E ramps. Phone goes: some bozo from gnatwest, who manages to say it so badly (netvest?) that I don't recog.

Soir: to C+A.

Thurs 4th

Another thurs off. Brave: stay at home. D to pgp, then back for coffee & paper. And a book.

Do gp newsletter. Print. Labels. Envelope. Go out to mail them, & spend 1h allotting.

Back. More coffee. Upstairs: extensive tidy b'room. Cut/hack back vine.

Soir: wireless. Fail. Rebuild k.

Fri 5th

M up with E at 5.30. Oh dear. She is kind & lets me sleep to 8.

Work: yabla (tracers) is fun.

Pm. D plays in sandpit, then cleaning in sink. M ramps around happily. Later, take both out: to xxOctopus (for ballcock), then walk to Arj; then cb1 for a while: E allows us 15mins before getting restive.

Home just-before-7. M bathes E. I cook (*my onions, garlic*, courg, sos). Comes out well.

Soir. M does yoga. I put on 'american pie'. It gets to Vincent. M says: this could be about Van Gogh. Me: hahaha.

A bit later: get wireless to work completely! (well, no security as yet). Hurrah! Needs ppp *after* wlan. Add masq to k 2.4.13. I started named by hand. M takes her portege down the garden & upstairs: it still works!

Sat 6th

Lie-in till 9:30 - luxury. Up just as med head off to Grafton C. Coffee, paper, read (blue mars: junk). Tidy a bit, loft a bit (rearrange so I can get to the far side; measure up then bring down a floor board to fit irreg gap). Lunch. A restful time.

Med back after 2. D off to play in s/pit, E inside. Day clears to sun. Put on washing. Change E & put her to sleep outside.

Take cut plank up to loft with D. He decides to draw plan of loft & produces a triangle, with circles at each corner with where things are to go. I am baffled: eventually (after I draw several plans) realise D has drawn an abstracted version of how-it-looks. He says its really a rectangle: the triangle point is for the far end where we don't go.

Go out & tidy front. E+G arrive: D spends rest of pm with them, in their garden or house or ours, or in tree-house. While clearing opp big apple discover wasps nest - lucky not to get stung.

5:30: wake E & shower her. She really enjoys showers. At some point deg come along & e is wierdly panicked by the water.

Dinner: pots & spinach by M. Good.

Soir: our new network allows us both on-line at once!

Go out & knock down wasps nest with rake, feeling guilty.

Late: slug patrol. Few. Retrieve w/nest outer: inner still occupied!

Sun 7th

E stands up (after being held) for 5 secs. Also, she shows signs of being l-handed (its the hand she sticks in her mouth to play with food).

M takes D to 2 'open studios' while E sleeps. A rest for me. Cut down a leylandii at front, its easier with an axe. Loftify: rearrange pram; push back insul; wash beams. Lay other-half-of-cut-plank, & 2 others. Good. One more to do. Now its 4:20; md come back; E wakes; D visits loft. Make handle-thing for D's yellow spinner.

5:30: to rec with De. Nelson & Jojo & quite a few others there.

Play with yellow spinner a bit. It goes well, up to 20' perhaps. But after a bit D breaks it by trying to stick it into ground & is then sad. Shades of balsa-plane from my childhood.

They go; N comes out; she & D disappear behind pav. Paul comes with Adam, o & v. A goes behind pav too, meanwhile I feed E.

At home, over din: me: '& what did you do behind the pav, D?'; D: 'not saying'; M: 'was it fun?'; D: 'yes, but naughty'.

D gets a quick shower/bath then 'projecting' ie slides as his bed-time story. It works well in his room from shelf. Poss put there perm? Look at: les2alpes, & last-lescun. D: I wish we could go there every year. Sounds great to me, but when pressed for reasons he says 'there are few toys so I get to play with your palm'!

Soir: M makes (starts) a Big Black Book of our finances. I garden a little, just to be out in the light. Its an odd summer so far: showery. Ponder the wasps nest: they are trying to rebuild it from the core. How to destroy it?

Inside: read news (I do every soir) & tidy gp site. Add agm. Write up wireless, as far as I can remember.

Mon 8th

D to pgp a little late. Day muggy.

Am: Hamilton paper: fig3 easily, fig9 harder - ghg3 & all-anthro differ crucially.

Pm: to NIEeS launch, for which I have low hopes. Meet Doug coming in, so things look up... First half hour passes in tedium. 4:15... still dull. All the talking suits confess they won't be here after tea or tomorrow. Leave before final talk. A total waste.

Back to work. Try masq on minifer but fail.


Soir: M to yoga. Me to be quiet; play on net.

Tues 9th

Rain. More rain. Med drive off to see F.

10: to niees day 2, which doesn't manage the stupendous depths of boredom of day 1, but is still cr*p.

Cb1. Arj. Time: but they are out of the 599 model. Home 2. Time to loft, & do about 3 1/2 h: put in uprights, hetero since out of wood. Would have done shelf supps but out of that too, so plaster then paint. Get in coffee at 5 & sit out on pond bench.

Rush about & get out by 7 for GP Agm. Forget pump. Then have to retrace since field-path muddy. Arrive hot & sit outside. Good meeting. Back 11: M is back: they had a good day chez F.

Wed 10th

At last: sun. Up with E. B'fast while she ramps. Have to drag D out of bed.

Work: fix fig 9 of hamilton. Set off evp with q diags in search of qt_pos. Etc etc: tiring.

Home: now rain. D & Billy are lego-ing. Lunch as M leaves, E good. We are feeding B; M has made s'eggs which they haven't eaten: I am supposed to make them eat cold. Ha. Db play happily; outside in s'pit as weather permits; in D's b'room. Change E & put her down 3:15, after screams.

Now I get a quiet time. N arrives 3:30 looking cute as ever & the 3 play happily upstairs after I cut up & peel (D joins B's affectation for the a'noon) apples for them. Several heavy rainstorms (empty w'butt to pond) then clears: kids to sandpit. Ella comes over but is recalled. I try to suppress nakedness in the apple tree.

Go look at wasps nest: now a sad soggy mess sans its outer cover: a few wasps cower: destroy remains. Feel guilty, again.

Wake E 5:20 just after B retrieved. DN now playing tweenies (N: 'b is our best friend, isn't he d?'). Feed E; hover; tidy; cook noodles, onions & 'fake bacon' (D chose it) that they dislike & eat only noodles. Hey ho.

[memory: about 2-4 weeks ago, D constructed a sort of shrine to ttte: his 6-pack of books as the base; surrounded by paper-tooter cones; surmounted by I-forget.]

M back 6:15. DN finish din & I take N back 6:30, but first she has to rush up to D's room to finish her 'b'fast' tea.

Soir: pub with A+S. Hook Norton Haymaker!

Thurs 11th

Awake, bleary, at 8:50 just in time to take D to pgp. Walk in the sun sets me up & I come back to coffee & paper outside. Go look at bees: new are good; old rather quiet.

To work to pick up vdb rev, which I read at cb1. BenH & MikesB both can't be bothered to fix my rear spoke. Arj. XxOct: shelf supports (nearly right size, a bit thin). So cycle back with 2.4m of wood, tricky. Sling it through loop of D's seat & hold other end; cycle back 1-handed, precariously.

Rest. Loft: cut & fit supports, fiddly because each is slightly diff len. Add 4 layers of t+g board. Round of edges & cut to length of 1/2 of them. Then time for dins. M does eggs.

Soir: sort out web site: care4free was over quota; get new lycos one, allowing 50mb.

Fri 12th

Up unaccustomedly early with E - somewhat before 7, ugh. But its sunny. E has speeded her stair climbing & can now whizz up to 1/2 way. D joins us, also early: before 8: he has dresed himself down to socks.

Pm: starts well enough but degenerates. Get home: D is playing with Ella in s'pit. M off; feed E a bit then milk. After a while put her to sleep, & she does. But Ella pricks herself by the tree & a little later goes home. We go inside: its getting grey. Read Percytse to D then sleep on his bed till E wakes at 4. D lets me assemble swim stuff then insists on playing Maisie.

Sat 13th

Up early - leave house at 8 - to catch Virata bus to Gt Yarmouth. Exactly why is rather hard to fathom. Trip ok - E ramps & entertains folk+kids behind us, & only screams last 15mins. Arrive: bleak coachpark. Picnics served out. Was sunny at home: here its grey & windy. To beach, to L of pier, which we instinctively head away from.

This is more Hunstanton than Old H. Sit in protection of marram-grass & have early food. Go buy a plastic spade (can't get metal) & a fishing net (mostly for pond!). Dig castle as you expect. D is afraid of the sea: takes persuasion to get him near. Why? Move down beach. Wind increases to nearly-blowing-sand. Sun threatens to come out. I go sit & watch waves - restful. A sailing boat, old: lugger, perhaps.

Later: walk under pier to amusements. E sleeps with me, & DM go into 'joyland' & I video them on the snail ride. Though I feel somewhat this-is-hell, in fact it all fits the fairground atmos, & loud music (sledgehammer) & D is clearly having such fun, that I feel left out, sitting here outside with E. So I'm happy to have a go with D on the snail ride, which derives much of its fun from the clicking & clanking as the carts go round the rails, past the careful hedges & the tacky gnomes. It is, as M said, a fast (15 mins?) way to blow 5.

Sun now hot; turn E into shade. D wants to go on giant slide; we want tea. So walk to end of pier, find shady bench, & M gets tea (the coffee looked manky). M changes E - oops, about time (3:30) we did.

Examine the prices of various options, and we go for the giant slide, except D wants to go for the tunnel, which somehow he has realised exists. This turns out to cost 2 tickets for 5 goes (1 ticket = 25p) which is a good deal. Get our sack from the attendant (a strange job, perhaps. Most of the day you are dealing with happy kids having fun. Then at random intervals you have to shout at the ones being naughty) and climb the long stairs. Everyone else is going for the slide at the top, but D wants the snake-twisty-tunnel, so we do. Put him into the sack and I have to lift him up and drop him in! Wheeeee! He loves it, and runs back for more, 4 times. [Structural note: the snake is not advertised there, and the entry method is awkward: perhaps H+S was catching up on them]. After than 5 goes on the slide (video) which was also fun. Then I enforce a rest on him, and a drink, and for me too.

Then a few other things: a go on the "roman camp" (he had decided that the wild-west tepee looked roman) which has a circular "river" down which you could paddle a platis-log-canoe. That got 2 goes. And some other stuff. Anyway, he enjoyed it, and time got on, and the 5:30 deadline, which once seemed like the infinite future preceeded by purgatory, now approached all to quickly.

So down onto the beach (on the wind-sheltered side of the pier) for a bit more digging. The sea now close to low tide, I'd guess, which unlike at OH is a horiz dist of only about 50 feet or less. Walk under the pier. Dig castle as a big "8", mostly me, D tends to stand back and supervise. Collect a last few stones for his sandpit, and time to go, back to M who was ready to drag us away.

Coach. Wee, wash, embark, off. Odd route out of town: we get a tour of GY and the old dock areas, it seems, interesting. And so back, a somewhat long 2 hours, E sleeps nearly all of it on me.

Home just past 8. DE to bed. Us to relax.

Sun 14th

A glorious beautiful morning, and it is my fate to get up with E and enjoy it. Which I do. Sun. Cool, but with the promise of later warmth. The garden-jungle is luxuriant, the clematis droops its flowers.

D comes down soon-ish. We wurble peacefully until about 9:30 when I go up to wake M, partly so she can share in the morning. Sit outside with coffee and paper, then on bench by pond. All is peaceful, and warming up. Suddenly the noise from the bees increases, I look round, and there appears a swirl of bees around the 2 "indoor" hives. So wots up? A swarm? Incoming or Outgoing? not sure. After a while it becomes clear that the hive affected is the old one (not clear initially since blue-top has many vigourous bees hanging out on it) and the aerial bees decline, but I can't tell if they are incoming or outgoing still, since the traffic is 2-way.

[Update from monday: well, the hive now appears much more vigorous than before. Either an incoming swarm (unlikely, since there definitely were bees in there before) or perhaps a re-queening flight? Who knows].

Now its 11:30. Go up into the loft for a bit-more-than-1-h, it ain't half hot in there mum, get the second row of horizontals in with curved ends nicely, and get the t+g boards up a bit higher.

Lunch. Or at least I have some, and D: M decides to start tidying in the middle of it, but I am having none of it just yet.

Mow lawn (after...) which takes about 1h to do the back, mostly. I haven't done it for some time. I rather envy the image of the on-top gardener who can go out, dead-head a rose or two, snip back a little overhanging plant, trim back a border, all in a relaxed controlled way. Rather than desperately try to hack things back. Perhaps i should try to do things more often...

Anyway, by about 3 its time for me to take DE out so M can tidy up and/or sleep. Drive (can't face heat/insects of cycling with 2x infants) to Lammas land, or rather! Intend to; as we drive in pass "minature train rides" sign neatly attached to lamp post, and after consulting with D (there is no predicting his tastes on any given day) go there instead. So we do, and its very good. Less crowded than before, perhaps because we're a bit late: its now 4. Have 2 rides with D, and me and E; look at the mini-minature track (which is not running just now; they seem to be on tea break). Persuade D to have a go by self (his is insecure about this; he mostly refuses, then when we get there and there is only one place and the people are nice he is OK). Video him going round, whilst holding E. Get tea etc from refresh kiosk and have picnic, E ramps around somewhat but its quite safe, and she gets her food too. Piccies of E, looking cute in her bonnet. D has one more go (on the "diesel") then time for off: watch trains loading into vans and having their steam let off.

To Lammas land for a swim, briefly. Arrive somewhat after 6. Sunlight is fading, its still warm, not too crowded (maybe nicer than earlier, says M), and D is persuaded to get in, after vacillation. E goes in too, and enjoys it, though I'm not sure she should be drinking the water. She falls over face-up and under at one point but survives.

And so home. M has dinner ready: cabbages, sos and potato, very nice, so D fails to eat any. M baths both of them, and I put D to bed with "A and the grand traverse".

Soir: finally order the souper-computer, for a tad under 400 in the end, economising madly in some areas. Hope it fits together!

Bed late.

Mon 15th

Lie in. Another nice day. D to pgp, late again, then work. Warm. Warm yoga - shower after helps. pm work OK, but end up tired, so home a touch early. Stop by allot to pick plentiful broad beans and harvest some splendid onions. Garlic getting bigger too.

Home. Try to enforce D eating some kipper he doesn't want (M says plaintively: he did say he wanted it) and end up putting him to bed with no story because he won't behave (in a non fish related matter). Which makes him sad.

M off to yoga. I eat my solitary reheated kedgeree (v nice with arrabiata) and the Grauniad, then take the economist down the garden to the bench. Somewhat later, realise that the faint shouts are coming from our house... they are... "daddy... i've... done... a... poo...". Ah, OK. Back I go.

Inside. Minor revisions to ice-age page. And write this.

Tues 16th

Up with E, but late: 7:45. Somewhat later, D crawls into bed with M with diff pygamas on... odd. Ah yes, its disguise - later he comes down with the bedsheets.

M takes D to pgp & I am with E, who is somewhat whiney, poss 'cos I'm not nice enough. Sun. Hammock. Thrips. Move bike to stop E trying to eat chain.

E has tooth #3, at the top.

12: off to fetch D. Then on to orch for lunch, ok, playground, look round plants, buy twine & impulse-loppers (yeoman, 20), pat horse & ponies, & head home, D complaining of tired. 2:30 - stop at school to watch grass cutting & building. Main work seems done: they are pathing. Thrips.

As we leave, M cyles up so we home together. Home. Ella appears & can stay but I go tell K. Now I'm 'off': sit by pond with coffee & economist. 4: med off for D's swim etc. D sweetly escorts Ella back. Hammock: shady: read sutton&pp on hf vs sst. Burble in garden. M's toffee is burnt (by me?) so start more (which never solidifies).

Med back just before 7. Dinner by me. Then espalier pear tree (breaking one branch) & associated trimming. DE to bed by M. I have bonfire to relax.

Soir: M off to (her last?) pgp ctte as I bon. I lie in hammock. A hedgehog scurries past. Upstairs: find D 'reading' ptse. Tut.

Late: sort some photos from gy.

Wed 17th

Up with E, D comes down looking dopey. D to pgp: its Ofsted day. Say 'im happy'. Should have said: this is silly.

Work: ebuyer email to say their driver tried to deliver at 9: obviously v quietly. Phone & rearrange for 'pm'.

At blood donoring with Tom, Sue & later Mario. Moves swiftly (bar getting initial insert wrong, oops) & leave at 12:45 after tea & biccies: 1h in all.

Home. M off. D at Billys, I am half-waiting for delivery - in vain. Go get D at 2:30. Put E to sleep. N arrives for him 3:30. While E sleeps, I laze, until 4:30. Then! Time to prepare tonight. M has done no discernable tidying :-(. I sweep patio etc. Then start inside. Wake E 5 so she'll sleep tonight. Do kitchen. M phones in late :-(. Start pizzas.

To rec 'skateboard park' pre-meeting 7-7:30. There are many words over little basic disagreement. More skillful management would have smoothed all.

Finish off pizzas. Put on 2x cardoon, arti. Rest. M puts E to bed (over D's protests: he wants her to met Niamh). A+S, then C+A+N arrive. N stays awake all evening - till 11 - by force of will. Tour garden (a+s are starting a 'wildlife garden' too). And so: a good night.

Thurs 18th

Lie-in. Bits arrive pre-8! Hurrah. Stay in bed. Up 8:20: check through bits: seems all there. Good. Rush b'fast. D to pgp, late.

Feels odd to work on thurs - I have appt with JP. Yoga.

Town. Hot. Over bridge to Gregs on jck's rec, but they cant do spoke today. Sat. Cb1.

Home. Sit in hammock with sotw. I'm a bit hot, & poss putting off evil moment of having to turn pile of bits into a pc! 6:10 - voices: but not M: its de with M'a, who has got bored awaiting M. Both cheerful; D goes upstairs. E smiles. 10mins later, M back.

So: 6:30: start pc. Open case. Put on anti-static wristband. Open b'board bag. Open cpu bag. Peel off tape over thermal stuff. Install cpu. Install heatsink+fan. Install memory. All fine so far. Attach board to case using 8 short brass mounts, after putting on 'ports housing' & poking out 3 pci slot covers. Put on various small cables (power led etc; one won't fit; leave it loose) & atx power. Put in disk + cable + power. Put in cdrom + power on 2nd ide as its default: slave. All the while D watches. So: done. 7:40.

Bedtime for DE.

Soir: add rh7.2 ok, just as a test: I'll want w'ze first.

Late: hedgehog video.

Fri 19th

H phones in sick: a sad tale of rampant bullocks & thorns & feet. Poor her. So W'fen some other day. D happy at home anyway. M looks after E (since I've 'paid' for that anyway ;-) which is easy enough as she is asleep. Ella comes round, which was naughty as she didn't ask her mom (and lied about same) & so gets retrieved. But is permitted back a little later.

Put up D's new p'pool & fill to 2 ins deep, which takes long enough. D & Ella have fun for a while but D is not a water-immersion baby & runs off when E'a splashes him too much. Explain patiently to her how she has made D sad.

5: to rec with DE. Stay till 7.

Soir: install windoze & then overlay rh7.2 with no probs other than graphics drivers. To get a floppy for w'ze, end up using the one in the old machine but cabled across.

Sat 20th

Up earlyish - lovely cool start to day - t get bike to bh by 9:15. Maplins: pci vid cards are 25-ish but I'm not sunk so low yet. Cb1: too much coffee man.

Stop at 2nd hand computers & get a pre-owned gr card that 'probably' works for 10. Mull this over on way back & decide I should have paid 5.

Go past 'fresh veg produce' stall at pub. Then think: ok, I'll have a look. So go back. Chat. On req, go get some b beans, which are then instantly sold to pub! Also some onions. On again next week...

2:45: take D to Sams Pirate Party. As we arrive, cloud burst. Leave him; with E to Histon to Bishops to buy a toilet valve that fits - dripping had started again. Realise I need a bottom-entry (fnar). Home: drain cistern (blue gunk stains hand: ugh) & fit new: good.

Pack & off, pick up D at 5, then to M+J at 7. Slow dinner.

Sun 21st

Lie-in courtesy M+J: up 9.30.

E climbs the stairs. & again.

11:30 - take D to playground: helicopters mostly. He remembers the way.

Back for lunch: Ma is here.

Pm: to archaeo dig: 'amphitheatre' that is relabelled 'sacred pool' as we get there. Not a lot to see - some old walls; numerous shallow pits; spoil heaps. These last are best for D: we build a roman castle, & D collects Obelixs menhirs.

Back: M & E are in the garden: D enthusiatically takes up waterlogging again.

Dinner: D: you don't eat raspberries, you blow them.

Leave 8. Home 10. Lug lifeless corpses upstairs.

Mon 22nd.

Disaster! M'a is sick. M is hassled: E woke at 3:30 & 6. Agree: I'll do till 3. D to pgp - E happy to look around, in contrast to when cooped at home.

10:30: take E in to smoko where she charms all. Get floppy from Val & write 2.4.9 kernel to cd via Tom. Then time to pick up D. E's little head falls as we cycle: she is asleep.

Home: put E in car seat to sleep upstairs. But! She escapes. Horror. She could fall. So quickly put up stair gate. Then re-inst Wze, but fail on reboot, which makes D sad as he wants to play his Ast+Obl game.

Soir: re-re-install, using on board gr card: ok. Whew. Then upgrade using sis not agp. Works! Hurrah. Flushed with success, load sound drivers too. Also ok. At last: play D's asterix game: it works!

Tues 23rd

Up with E. When D wakes, show him new comp + game. Good. But its quite hard for him - a real game in fact, not what he was expecting, which was to click around the landscape.

M takes D to pgp & returns. I feed E then take her to bas (on way: notice RSS have started Bennys) to meet Stephane, to pick up the 'trailblazer' one-wheel behind bike for D. 100, though I have it on trial for the moment. Take E to smoko: again she is good.

E down to sleep. Pgp to pick up D but he goes to Billy's. Ok. Trial the bike: works: but D needs to learn to balance. Home: sleep on M's lap :-)

pm: to cb1. Read Kraus-Turner.

Wed 24 th

Home 1:33. E to sleep ok, M off, I settle to lunch. D makes a digger from his plan set.

Make cakes for tomorrows p'nic: cherry muffins (250g flour (plus 4 tsp baking powder since not s.raising) creamed with 50g butter & 75g sugar. Add 250ml milk & 2 eggs & 100g glace cherries. Oven 200 oC for 20-25 mins) works, rises, very well.

4: D plays 'oz the magical adventure' since it works on the new machine. Its quite good - or at least, elaborate.

I fix new tag-along attach to my bike a bit more securely, after indecision.

6:15: drag D away from comp to Bennys, where he says 'oh no, there are alway 10 & 12 year olds around' in a loud voice. & there are 5-6 of them, of indeterminate age. D keeps to periphery unless protected by me. Sometimes he shouts, but they ignore him.

The infants are unnerved when I take photos.

Thurs 25th

M's b'day! & dawns fine & bright.

By chance, D and E both lie-in till 8, then a scamble to get ready. I get up to get M b in bed, with D. I wrapped her presents last night (forgetting to formally get one for D to give - which he makes up for later by giving her some of his Neapolitans (though only the colours he doesn't want)). So take all that up, and we have a gathering on and by the bed. Then rush to get b'fast finished in time and get D ready.

But then its work/pgp/M'a time. Off. I get brief work in till 10:40 then back home; pick up muffins; presents for L+T; piccies for L+T+C; etc. To pgp for 11; walk with D and Billy (each adult can hold hands with 2 kids) to rec, where the final picnic of the pgp year will be. (on way pass N on her bike; warn her of loose rivets on Bennys Way and she goes back to remonstrate with them). The picnic is fun. Runs over time to 12:30 when I leave; could have started at 10 instead. Mostly milling around and playing; some races; some face painting (Alison); singing songs around the parachute; lots of food eating but even more food. Spiffy sunny weather and generally a great end to the year. I did wonder about cutting out at 12 to get to yoga but decide this is more fun, and less replaceable.

Claire kind enough to take D to M'a. I get to work past 1 so skip yoga in favour of work but do apologise to Janet. Stay till 5.

Home. Relax somewhat.

M's b'day will be at Michels: M's babysits at 8 and we cycle in. A lovely cool evening. Much talk over dinner of finances: Virata (or GV as we must learn to call it) is shedding people somewhat and M would like to avoid being a somewhat. We are also shedding money and would like to know where: time for a month of recorded expenses, sadly. Though the last one told us that all made sense.

Fri 26th

Up 7:15 with E, then D comes down. E is happy. D wants to make the smartie machine (his lego now being on the kitchen table this can be done happily while E ramps below). By the time I leave for work D hasn't had breakfast, which is OK as pgp has finished.

Work. Seaice analysis (yabeo looks OK). Get closer to UM cd. I'm going to call it the Bootable Unified Model if I can make it do so.

Home, just a little late. Now its hot. Whew. Sit inside where its cooler, E is somewhere asleep. Coffee and lunch.

4: take de to bennys. Well populated: good. Write defects-list.

The afternoon proceeds fairly smoothly until I listen to a message from Nicola; she has the bee inspector round; so he comes to me at 5pm. M kindly takes E off my hands (she is working at home this pm). Err, I haven't looked in the hives for a little while. Well... he is there to look for Foul Brood, but ends up acting as hive-doctor for me. Which is very kind of him. He says: I've seen worse.

So: start off with blue-top. Which is quite strong, but in a bit of a mess because of my not clearing out the super-box I put them in initially. So, with him there we bite the bullet and put the brood at the bottom, the super on top and agree to call it a brood-and-a-half until next spring. I'm beginning to wonder if having the roof over the hives weakens them by keeping the sun off too much.

Old hive turns out to be weakish, and suffering from the Fell Wax Moth, but not too badly. They have not moved up into the upper brood as desired, but he helps me by swapping out most of the worst overburdened frames from the lower brood, which I will junk (possibly saving their wax. They are so old the wax is dark brown/black. I am instructed to feed it, and later that enevening I do (tip: solid honey can be melted in the microwave).

Rust-top is the star of the show: strong into the second super. Again I am chided for leaving an empty super on top in which they have built comb: never never leave them space without foundation. Probably I should extract the top super.

All this takes until 6. I get stung once; he gets stung a couple of times but then he has no gloves, only latex surgeon-type things. A nice chap, very helpful and friendly and patient.

Dinner time for D. I washup. D plays Oz, and finishes the Silver level with a little help for me - gold tomorrow. E to bed a little early with M. While she puts D to bed I go off to allot to get bbeans, onions and garlic for the stall tomorrow, which I drop off at Annaliese since we're off.

Home. Tidy up near the hives. Left with about 6 frames that need to be cleared of gunk so they can be re-used. Do one. Rest tomorrow. D pokes his head out of his window: go to bed! But no. Tie up the tomatoes in the drive. They are big, but tomato free :-(

Read email. Xfer yabkb on cluster to keep diskspace down. M inititates discussion on poss extension of her working hours :-(

Late: past 11. Go pick up stuff down garden & see bees. They seem to be settling ok.

A long day! Full moon rising yellow. Plough. Bed.

Sat 27th

I laze luxuriously until 9:30, while M deals with DE & packs. For we are to visit datew, who now live in Teddington: looking at the map, this is about the hardest point of london to reach. How thoughtless of them.

Off 10:45. M11 fine; M25 clogs about J27 & we head off through London having followed A's phoned advice. This works, & is interesting esp for D as we pass t'london eye (which M still wants to go on), but is slow. Arrive just before 2: could have been hell, but D was good & E slept.

Datew have a nice house with large kitchen-cum-extension with oak floor. Schools, parks, river nearby. Small garden but space for table, arbour & pond. Collapse gratefully & lunch. D plays happily with T & toys; Emily tags along.

About 4:30 its time to see n'b'hood. Getting 5 kids together is... fun. 5 mins gets us to r'side pub with pgd. Drinkies, play. Then over f'bridge, island, main stream. Paddle steamer! Closer: its a fake but DT don't realise. Pleasant walk. Get to lock that may well be the tidal boundary. And so back. Leave 6:45.

To Ma via M3 in good time: all the traffic is gone. 7:30. Now M puts E to bed; Ma is bedding D & I sit peacefully on the steps as the sun sets & ma's bold blackbird steals bread.

Mon 29th

D: is that a man or a lion? Of Che.

Tues 30th

The big day arrives. am with D and E. About 10 Ella comes over, about 10:15 Billy arrives. All gets a bit hassled - there is thunder outside, and they get carried away with pretending to be frightened, and perhaps really being F too. Meanwhile I have to rush out to bring in the washing. When Ella leaves 11-ish, it gets better, as D and B play quietly and self-sufficiently. Hoover somewhat, it being urgent. Tidy kitchen: ditto. About 12 E stops being happy and starts shouting; I put her down to sleep and she does so nearly instantaneously; now I can sit quietly. Whew. Read paper, with (you guessed) some coffee.

E sleeps peacefully; D and B play happily; all is well. They get somewhat dirty with lichen in the apple tree in a break in the weather. M arrives 2:30. I go upstairs for a break. But not for long: H's triathlon is "4:15 for 4:30" which means leaving here somewhat before 4. Check over bike; find bits. Off I go, saying g'night to D.

To H's. O'taken by Ray Freshwater as I turn off to Barton. Present: H; Russ; Debbie Fish; Stephane Baguitte; RF; Piers; later Anu. All get ready; as we head off for the swim it starts to rain. As we cycle through Grantchester it is so hard I can hardly see where I'm going. Eases off as we go for the swim (is that ironic?) somewhere near Grantchester meadows - I don't know the area. Course is upstream then down, perhaps 300m each way, a bit easier than last year, except for the weed in places. Surprisingly warm, and definitely a pleasant swim. Its Piers first time: 1/2 way down (he being a triathlete and thus in the lead) he stops and says "this is fun". I get back 2nd (to P). Cycle back to H's; I go the "back way" with H and Debs; we get back slightly before the others so I start off early on the run, since I will be slow.

Back up the road towards Comberton; stile on the L opposite the church on the hill; straight run through corn on a ridge towards Toft golf club; I'm surprised not to have been o'taken yet. Over golf; just past Toft church I'm stopped wondering whether to take the wrong way when the others catch up. Follow them for a bit, keeping them at least in sight, while RF slowly catches me up. As they go out of sight he gets to me and we run together - he damaged his ankle then knee about 2 years ago and hasn't run since. We keep on OK, but then get lost (probably at the cricket pitches) and end up running 3 sides of a square on roads instead of 1 on a path, and end up at a junction (leading to L.Eversden dead-end high st) so lost it takes us some time to see the obvious. But we lumber on, talking childcare: Ray has a 3-year-old. and really its fun, as long as its not too long: and its not: the telescopes appear ahead and we're back.

The others cycled off, Anne says, about 7 mins ago. We get a quick drink and decide to cut off the Hardwick-Caldecote loop and wait for them before Kingston. And so we do. After we've been there a few mins, wondering if we've missed them, the head of the Peleton zooms by: Piers, Anu, Steph. We quickly catch up: I stay in touch for about 1 km up to the top off the Kingston hill, then they lose me; Ray stays with them. Aaahhhh good: now I can slow down... and so on peacefully. later Russ o'takes me as I bumble eating a banana (a good source of immediate energy, says Rob), but I realise I can catch/slipstream him. So we finish together.

Back, Anne has the barbecue going and some of H's music friends are there - the only one I really remember is Jim, we talk mountains a bit, since Steph is going to Ailefroide in a few weeks. Ah the good old BdesE. Shower: thats nice. Debs comes back: where is Howard? Ans: he buckled a wheel. Oops. Debs has a bike carrier so drives off to find him.

Later: all back. Its o'cast but warm, all sit outside with barbecue and H's homebrew (and other stuff too; I brought some cider). Later: about 10: move inside for coffee; chat to H re buildings and firms (Coulsons; Websters of Histon) since he needs his extension glass roof re-proofing; which is proved a little later when it starts raining again and it leaks somewhat on my leg.

I'm not too tired, which (despite my missing loop) is proof enough that the course is somewhat shorter overall this year. Perhaps not so beautiful as the old one could be in good weather - clouds of dragonflies.

Rain continues. H brings out the Glenfiddich. So I stay o'night (warning M), partly because I'm unkeen on 20mins through the rain at 11:30 and partly because it would be more interesting.

Wed 31st

Up a touch late; strip bed & hurry home; back 8. B'fast in progress. Put out recyc. Humid a.m.; shower. M sleepy & affectionate. Put out rubbish; return Ella's toy camera; take the 486 from their rubbish. De to M'a.

Work: nothing too pressing so write copy_stash.pl.

Cb1(2.50 + 1). Arj 27.

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