WMC's diary pages, 2005.

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2005/02/01. Tuesday.

Take E to M'a, but she has chosen sandals and M'a wants to take her to the park and its quite wet, so would like E in boots. Let D cycle schoolwards (he must wait for someone to help him cross road) and cycle back to get boots. Find D at sch OK.

Work: busy again; vacs meeting takes up 11-12.

Leave just before 2; gentle rain. Had intended to dig on allotment, and vacillate, but end up doing so. Spend 1/2 hour of hard work turning over 2 sq m of grass at the back. Good.

Home, hmm, decide on a quick bit of Civ and a snatch of food.

Sch; E is happy to see me and runs into my arms, I can forgive her much for that. Chat with M'a about where they have been (Pats, Chesterton). D would like P to come round. Ask N: OK. N is off elsewhere but Nelson looks wistful and D wants him so invite him too - why not? Its not fair for just E to have a friend as D says (N slightly disapproving, because it should be beneath N to play with younger kids, but N knows we have some computer games he hasn't seen...). So home we go, D and Ne ahead on their bikes, I wheel E and P is on his bike, somewhat unsteadily.

I am expecting the gas people (wrongly, as it turns out: thats for the 2nd) so we get back by 4. And we end up having a good afternoon. At one point D Ne are playing stunt rally, and P is watching, and E feels left out. But mostly its harmonious. D Ne play with some of our puzzles; then they go up and play with capsela and build a "ship" for the bath, so EP get to play winnie the witch. So I get to sit quietly and mostly play Civ, getting a good emperor game going.

Start cooking 5:30: pasta; with "sauce" of sos/onion/aub. But the children will only eat the sos bit, so I force brocolli and peas down them too. Its a bit odd having Ne here too, because his comments are a bit more sensible and his attitude rather more mature. And he doesn't shout.

N and N turn up at 6:20 so I invite them in, since they are just ready for pudding (the trifle D chose but doesn't want to eat) and it would be a shame for them to miss. N is abit reluctant but allows N in anyway and hustles them along. M arrives about now and we chat to N, who complains of the weather (seems OK to me) but she has to cycle all the way into parkside for her course.

And so I leave the tidying to M and NNeNP leave.

Misc soir, much online, also some tidying. M spends a long time settling D and then pianos.

News at 10: longish piece on climate change focussed on Alaska.

2005/02/02. Wednesday.

A fairly std wednesday. D to sch; E and I home, quietly. To smoko, then pool, then arj/cb1, then lib, then about time to be home.

The same old round, but you know where you are with a wednesday, will this keep up till E is in school or will she decide she prefers to go to p/s on wed, as she could?

Sch: M is there. Vivian comes over for her planned visit, and all is harmonious.

The gas man does come, exactly on time, surprise, and an even bigger surprise: he is quite happy to work in the constricted space left by my workwork, could not be more obliging, fixes on the new meter with no trouble and in little time, leaves no mess and politely restarts the pilot light on the boiler. And there is no charge. Transco, I think. Well, that was *far* better than my expectations.

Soir: I forget exactly what, but given I'm writing this on Sunday evening I'm fairly sure most of the evening was lost to Civ.

2005/02/03. Thursday.

Work as ever; leave a bit late; dig for 1/2 hour on allotment then home. Intending to do various useful things but get a bit sucked into Civ, hey ho.

Pick up E from M'a who has shingles so would rather have tomorrow off: OK. Poor her. I'd rather look after E than have shingles... :-)

Stop off on way back at Jenni's to pick up D; Shrek 2 is just finishing and it *is* rather good; I usually get to see the dramatic finales. They have done interesting things with their extension (a quarry tiled exercise room and office somehow packed in) with some kids stuff in the basement. Take B too; they have some baking, "stained glass biscuits" involves melting some sweet in the middle I think.

Soir: finance ctte meeting, my first, though there are rumours that I've been on the cttee for a while. All a bit hush-hush so I won't write it down here.

2005/02/04. Friday. M'a sick.

Lie in bed and listen to E screaming at M, thats odd, she usually does it at me. Chivvy D up, and downstairs E is tearful but quietish. What is wrong with her this morning? Just ratty it seems. Anyway, D sch late (he has to go off to the office to register) and E p/s, by this time she has calmed down and we stroke molly-the-dog.

Work, but briefly, cos M'a is sick so I have to pick up E at 12. Restart runs: diskspace: archiving failed. Wah.

Go to see IMcG and finally find him in: Phil-t-B hasn't replied yet but should v soon; other considerations.

Take E to orchard. She is a teensy bit fragile but OK. We have cheese toasty, soup and chocolate cake: good. She plays outside while I read the paper, since they have all the play houses just outside. Maybe we should get one... would be a handy bikeshed too when we lose the shed.

Home. E should really get some sleep but doesn't want to. Agree that if she plays quietly it will be OK and it is. She does "cutting" and makes a sort of frilly pattern round the economists envelope. In turn the economist mildly annoys me by it cl ch article.

3:30: to sch to pick up P. They run around, I talk to N, and then to Mrs S (who asks, are there probs getting D to sch, because we've been late a bit recently. Oops. Ask her, could I try to look at the sandpit a bit? And try to fix the lids. OK, but its not clear what to do). EP run around, though not together. At 4 ish head home, P on my handlebars. Stop at BW to play for a while, and then its not worth going home so back to sch for DN. We're not taking A; it looks like the 3-way round is back to 2-way. M turns up at same time, but oddly no one else wants to go back in the car so DN cycle and P rides on my handlebars and E in the back and we wobble home.

The afternoon works quite well, in that I don't have to do very much :-)

Dinner is instant potato which D used to love but now like me he doesn't. No-one else keen on it either so we can write that off. N arrives 6:30 during pudding, a creme caramel 4-pack. Discuss 1/2 term: we can swap thurs/fri.

And so peace and quiet descends.

Time for Miranda's bed. She goes upstairs to the loo then comes down for me to put her pygamas on. But... she is wet. Did you go to the loo? Yes? And did you take you trousers off? No, I wee'd in them. Argh. This is not the first time. E, you are naughty. E: I think its funny. Hmmm. Pygamas on: bottoms fine, the new pink/grey ones, but then she doesn't want the same top, and this ends up with her screaming out "I don't want matching pygamas" as M carries her upstairs. Hey ho.

Soir: finally get rid of one weight on my back by writing up a draft of an Exeter conference report, intended for RC, or my blog. GS slightly surprises me by not objecting to it, so that means it will need a bit of polish. Also a quick stoat: on the economist, which is being its usual somewhat sketpical and not very knowledgeable self on GW.

The an extended Civ sesh, getting rid of the Germans and the Mongols (the poor old germans never got past Berlin) and (as always) being a bit premature about some other fights. Wiki stable.

All this takes me to nearly midnight.

2005/02/05. Saturday.

Not up till 10:30: feeling rather tired. M has decided to try the exciting expt of w/rose on Sunday, so she is around.

1:30 take DE and leave M to practice, pick up B (A is feeling sick) and end up with Dak too (and a ticket to the evenings show), who was playing at B's and there seems no reason not to take him. Clare offers me his entrance money but I don't see why *she* should be paying. Dak is a good child: wears a slightly dubious skull sweatshirt but is very polite and well behaved. This is either his true nature or because he likes being invited out. But either way it works.

Hang around briefly at pool entrance cos its not quite two: the kids look at the sweetie machine and try to decide what they will have. Brief moment of unease when I say "1 adult 4 kids" and the man says "at least 2 over 8?", but I have read the sign saying "kids under 8 must be accompanied" and have guessed this is coming, so am able to instantly say yes. And D would pass for 8 anyway, at least he would if he wasn't being silly (the contrast between his behaviour and Daks is painful; but some is perhaps because he is attention seeking, from me or Dak I don't know).

Pool: OK; DBDak have great fun as always. By contrast, E is more clingy than ever and stays by the steps half in the water "doing my exercises", even though I've just bought her new duck armbands. She only half wanted to come. Maybe not bring her next time? Would she let M get her practice in if left at home?

Leave just after the floats at 3 - I'm a bit nervous about being in an emptier pool when my looking after 4 will be too obvious; and E is getting cold. All get sweeties - this is now firmly established in their minds as a right.

Stop on way back at the orchard - drinks and a cake apiece for the kids. Dak shows the right attitude - hunger - in contrast again to my mangy infacts who eat half their cakes and then stop: Dak wolfs his down and their remains too. Then they go play hide-and-seek amongst the huts and stuff - its an excellent place for it - while I find a compost bin and some reduced-to-50p growbags.

Back: drop off DBDak at B's and as half-hoped D can stay; not E though cos G is off at a party poor E. She is a bit sad at this but happy to see M.

Realise I forgot the "gate" to the bin so go back and get one; they make no problems. Drop off grow bags at allotment and arrange them to suppress grass while they are waiting.

Soir: out at 8 to the "Amazing spectacles" (the lineup is Justin, Polly, Gary and... one other, sorry I forget who). This is a PTA fundraiser that I am reluctantly attending as I am traditionally grumpy about this kind of thing. Shock number 1 is that its not rows-of-seats but tables-with-nibbles and so I have to find someone to sit with. Fortunately this is not hard as Dorthe is alone, though Rachel will be there, and Clare joins us. Format is a series of "games"... parlour games-ish I suppose. "Serial murder" etc. And all "improv". And... it was fun. I would go again, mildly. Gossip after with DRC - we've all had a few.

2005/02/06. Sunday.

Hear DE go downstairs for breaksfast. E wakes me up at 8:30 - can't remember what for, fairly trivial, but its a fair cop and I get up. She wants to play parties and I don't really want b'fast yet so we go lay out a dinner party in the living room. Later this turns into a slow tidy up of l'room and kitchen. M comes down about 11 and I finally have some food.

12: we *all* head off to w/rose: yes by popular request I am going to the Hell of Mammon, the kids want me to have lunch with them. And if I only have to sit in the cafe bit I suppose its OK. Its fairly crowded (good for Mr W, bad for parking) but we do get a seat and the curry for lunch is good. M heads off to shop; then D runs off to find her - why not, he can't get lost - and after a while I take E to them too. Then settle down with some orange juice and Socialist Worker, which I subversively leave behind when called away.

Home: time to put in the new compost bin. I've finally succumbed and got a plastic one, in the hope that it might be rat-proof (as it coyly says, "discourages unwelcome visitors"). The entire bottom bit needs a cleanout: the old bike, the push-mower, the hand-plough, the derelict wheel barrow that was the fire site. Push that to one side; demolish old compost head and sieve compost into barrow and put on garden. Level ground. Keep old gate as base and erect bin on that. Fill from old heap, with layers of leaves and newspaper to leaven it - the rat has mixed in soil which makes it a bit heavy. Bin ends up nearly full - I hope it will settle. Spread grass seed and hope this will be the begining of a new era. Ponder how long this all takes which leads to a stoat:.

In. Rest: a bit of Civ. Far endgame now, just tidying up, only the greeks left and they won't be there for long. D a bit bored - play scrabble with M; E joins in on M's team. I tidy, in fact we both do, and end up with the kids 1/2 in good order. Ours still has piles of papers lying around.

5:30: out for bonfire: my tidy has left quite a lot of wood to burn, so we have a good fire and when its got going and we're just watching, and E has gone in, S and I discuss carbon, diamond, hydrogen and oxygen, ancient forests and CO2. Then D goes in too (not because he's bored with the science - he likes that) and I watch the flames. In.

Soir: polish up RC post on Exeter; wiki; stoat; mail; news. Finish off the greeks and end with 271%, "cleopatra the magnificent" in 1933. I'm glad thats done. Buy a copy of the odd "physical geo" textbook with the cooling quote from abebooks; $24 all told is OK to make a complete collection.

Somehow I have ended up finishing this at midnight again, though I intended to go to bed much earlier. Bad William. M was bathing till 11:30.

2005/02/07. Monday. Frost and sun.

D to sch on time, E to pgp, then me to work. Start off by posting off the RC piece with a few corrections. Then a rather misc day. Yoga in the middle - first for ages, good to see Janet back. Because the the bios are back from their cruises.

Last thing I check the cluster and discover its down; reboot; but node12 still sad. So swap its disk with the defunct node4 and - ta da - 1/2 hour later its hap-hap-happy. Then go home.

Tomorrow is going-to-Exeter day and I get the 7:15 train, oh joy, so I shall go to bed early.

At home, dinner is in progress. Phone Clare to see about her having D tomorrow (M'a will do E) and yes, after home club. M has arranged D for b'fast club tomorrow so that will be exciting for him.

E to bed, a bit unhappily (probably because I'm putting her pygamas on not M; or maybe she is just tired) but only a bit. D stays up past 8:30 with M reading to him (Wind in the Willows except from the Big Blue Book) and is the worst for being late. Up to bed for him.

Wiki: fairly stable: Cortonin has learnt how to use ISI but not wisely (of course). Check RC: OK, but I'm getting q's about WAIS that I would rather not.

2005/02/08. Tuesday. Dark!

Yes, dark, because I have to get up at 6:25 to have a quick bath (I smell) then cycle off through dark to just-before-dawn to the station in the chill. Get my ticket, but the price! An astonishing 160 - can you believe that? I barely could. Still, with a long queue behind me and 2 mins to catch the train I had no time to argue, but I did just have time to buy Viz.

Doze on train down to KC and read Viz a bit. Worryingly, the train is going rather slowly, enough to make me worry about my connection, but it finally stumbles in not too late. U'gnd as unpleasant as ever; Padders; 9:05 is pretty empty (not surprising, given the price) and settle down. Watch the scenery (often surprisingly beautiful, especially with a thin ground fog and clear sky) and the flat plains of the west country before the hills begin; beautiful rivers; snooze; read HadGEM internal report. Arrive on time; taxi to UKMO, which stops outside the barriers cos its a pain for him to get out again. But thats OK, I'm far enough away that I can photo it for wiki: do so: need to take a panorama. And while I'm doing so nice young security guard says 'ello, may I ask your business. So I explain. He says, OK, but I'm afraid you're not allowed to take photos, this is MOD. !?!?!. So we go in, and I end up being allowed to keep the photos - exterior is OK, says his boss - but have to hand my camera in - apparently this is std policy, and the receipt book seems to confirm that. And while this goes on Alison comes down to collect me.

Spend about 1h on the hadgem ice paper that she/ann are writing, and so am I apparently, excellent, an easy ref for me. They have the figs and we talk them over with Jeff too, and a draft exists. Various suggestions. This paper is needed, it seems, so it can be cited by IPCC AR4.

Lunch in "the street" cafe which is brand shiny new, quite nice, but distinctly noisy, a teensy bit like w/rose. The noise is because its all totally open plan, no barriers. Helene Joins us.

After, discussion with Ian S and Malcolm R about various HiGEM issues (coupled has run for 1 month but there is an overwriting problem in the ocean UV-grid fields, very odd it sounds), then further misc ideas for future progress and work, and how to end up meeting more often. I think I've discovered that getting down there for the day is not so bad, so would be prepared to do it more often; but meeting up in London (RMS or starbucks or sci mus) might be better.

Taxi back with Ian S: talk HiGem and odd overwriting and stuff. Get 4:03 no problem; smooth trip back and I an bored enough to read Hoskers, McI and Robertson on PV thinking. But it has lots of big equs in it. Leave Ian S at KC - he goes back via Liverpool St - and the 7:15 is not too crowded, I get a seat *with one next to me spare* good heavens. Re-open the rather long closed book of Penrose and read about Fibre Bundles. Hmm.

Home 8:45 as D's bedtime story finishes and kiss him goodnight. Eat a little. Sort out regular online things. I think I'll write a stoat: on my ticket price.

Bed 11:20.

2005/02/09. Wednesday. Gray.

Or is it grey? I've a bit of a spelling fiend for Vapour or Sulphur, but for gr(a|e)y I can't remember which is the British spelling.

E wakes up some time in the night - about 5 - and M has a hard time comforting her - a nightmare I think. Then she comes into bed with us and wants to get up at 7:30 but M is groggy and given y'day I'm not getting up. So we all 3 lie in bed awake... hmpf.

Finally up 8:25 which is rather late. Skip b'fast for now, chivvy D along, M is off, DE to sch, and by some miracle we are in time for D. Mrs S comments that D hasn't done his homework "extras" and I have to confess that we're a bit poor on that, but promise to do better. Bring E back home and play. We do a "stained glass window" together - butterflies. E decides she is one of them and D is the other and we colour them appropriately.

Decide not to swwim today - both of us. E v keen to go to work though so we do in fair time. Coffee for me and jaffa cakes for her. Discuss higem/hadgem with AJ and JCK and misc with others. AJ has brought E a new hair-tie and braids her hair for her which E loves. After: go look in the machine room to see whats up with minifer and the answer turns out to be "Kernel panic: Aiee!" which I consider most amusing and bring JCK in to see it. Reboot; OK; restart jobs; OK. See TLC in JCKs office! So he is back: we were wondering at smoko. Poor TLC: DAC falklands has sabotaged his season and the entire trip was a total waste of time. Meet Janet going in just as we're cycling off.

To town: library: take back the old books (mostly unread I think) and get new: its the being there and getting books that she likes. And I get to read Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, which is quite good.

Look round Dixons and Game - for no good reason. They are doing some digging outside and the noise upsets E. E has wee'd her panties (argh) so dry them at the handdryer in the toilets. Thence to German cafe where the woman enthuses over E in a very pleasant way and E behaves nicely. She gets a free chocolate :-) and they are kind enough to ask me for permission before offering it.

Quickly to oxfam and w/s, then cycle back, E complaining somewhat of cold (this from E who refused to wear a coat this morning saying "I like the cold").

Sch 3:30, catching up M just at the M11. Home. Put clothes into dryer, then settle down to mail and web. Morner! Argh. D (with some persuasion) does do his "extras" homework: finding things around the house in kg/lb.

I have made $0.82 from stoat!

Viv is brought round 5 - just when we were wondering if she was coming - though Cory is round too. She is quite quiet and shy at the moment, she and E are upstairs doing I-know-not-what in the bathroom.

Dinner: pancakes (we forgot y'day): good. D makes his own, and would have made everyones if we'd let him. After, he tries making carrot juice, sort-of mices with apple juice. I put it in the blender, and we agree that we don't much like just carrot juice.

I put E to bed with no real complaints (from either of us...). D wants to watch me playing Civ but I'm not.

Soir: put up 2005/01. Check RC: all OK. And the usual things. Install photoshop elements, I can't rememeber why, on this machine at least it can open files! Also panorama maker, which came with the camera, because I wanted to paste together the UKMO pics for wiki: do this.

Also: finally put up the NY Times pdf's re cooling that SR sent in Jan. Also mail him to apologise.

J/Mfd make multiple attempts to send pics of Ernie+Ruthie's wedding; we get all of them, but some have funny .dat file names; this all gets explained eventually.

And now its 11. M has been playing since 10, and is fortunately past the exercises onto music.

2005/02/10. Thursday. Rain. 80kg.

D sch well on time (perhaps mindful of my ire on earlier days he has got up early, finished his breakfast early, put on is socks and shoes and rucksac and is ready well ahead of time. I praise him) so we go into class for a bit. E p/s; work: misc; JT has been to Hades meeting poor him. The yadm? runs are starting to finish.

This afternoon is open a'noon at sch; also I have conceived a sudden desire for a USB drive; so to town and buy a 120G one from R/S (maxtor) for 149. Perhaps a bit more than I wanted to pay but I have it *now*. W/s for a bit of lunch and a read of... something... which turns out to be a sci-fi novel remaindered; and the disk manual (which amounts to little more than: plug it in and it will work).

Back just after 3:30 so go in and look through D's work. Lots of parents there. Nominally I am also (in my governor role) there to look at anyone who has no parent but that doesn't seem to be necessary. Look through D's books with him: work folder; project; pink book; etc. And the picture he made for the blind person and the braille alphabet. And talk about tree houses. Then he wants to show me around class so does a bit, especially the electrical circuits box. Then its time for him to be off to home club and me home: I haven't really had lunch. Stomach still a bit queasy... though this can be hard to distinguish from hunger! I am down to 80kg as of last night, which is good.

So, home through rain, read paper, check watchlist (not too bad: new good guy MK around), drink tea, eat toast. Plug in new drive, install software, and set it to backup our machine.

Get happy D 5:45 and let him go home; get happy E; home. Backup still going... probably took 2h in all, at what looked like about 200 Mb/min (instantaneously) or its summary was 450 Mb/min. That includes verify. Much better than tapes. Then copy all of D: onto it so I can swap photos. This is really useful and much faster and more convenient that the wireless networking, which is clumsy across windows.

Dinner is omlette by M with a cheese stick added, which is fun, but neither D or E are keen. Wash up while M puts E to bed.

Read D "the phoenix and the carpet" fragment from the Big Blue Book (thanks C+A); maybe I should get the whole story (maybe I should have today).

Soir: more online (M is also online most of evening...) and more photo xfer; its a bit of a pain to sync correctly... rsync? Maybe. M shifts to piano at 10:30.

2005/02/11. Friday. Damp.

Tom is back at work and seems happy enough after his disastrous season. Higem/Hadgem de-brief with AJ/JCK. Phil has pictures of his season: trip on dodgy Russian aircraft, and transfer across Ant on a fabric-winged biplane!

Stop off at the pub for a half and a read of Moberg et al in Nature that Martin Miller has kindly lent me. Interesting stuff.

Back at 3:10, just about worth going inside... but... where is my key? Argh. Left in D's bag from y'day. So... to shed, where I may have a spare. Yes? Well, I certainly have a rat tunnel, and, inside the box where the key might be I have 3 little mice. Hmpf. I need to come down here more often. Turf out the mice, well they turf out themselves really, find key, but its the dodgy one that doesn't really work, so I try it for 5 mins and resolve to throw it away but forget, then go collect E. M'a wants me to sign her passport appl but I need my passport # and ML still has it. Must mail him.

To sch; cake sale is on. E tells me she has made a biscuit - where is it E? - but she means, and they are on sale. So we buy one, maybe the very one she made. P turns up then N so I leave E with her. Back to Ians and he now has the quote and we talk it over. Phase 1 price is high - 18k - but phase 2 is low, and poss not to be trusted. So... Ian will ask go over it with him. Pick up D's bike and MS says JM would like computing help... which turns out to mean finding the camedia pictures... manage in the end, and get a cup of tea for it. Cycle home carrying D's bike in thin rain. So the garden is out (wimp) and go inside for tea. Phone up ins to pay car ins quote: 500 - M's speeding fines and losing no-claims. Argh.

DE not back till near 7 - Andy brings them back. They have had a good time of course.

I tidy; M beds E then goes for bath. I read to D then his bedtime.

Soir: stoat:Moberg quite satisfactorily; mail GS and MM 'cos I'm quite pleased with it and get replies. Bit o'wiki; misc.

Past news: M is playing. I've had that Mussorgsky on the CD again earlier. BeA.

2005/02/12. Saturday. Sun but very windy.

Shed: clean up. Also outside but: bees! Spade doesn't help. Extensive rat tunnels: must come down more.

M gets ratty when DE interrupt her piano.

4:30 leave, after long wait for E on loo!

5:35: to JJ. J's 2nd eye much better - she can read again. Must find time to settle family tree and stuff with Joan.

6: to ma.

Dinner is a slightly odd stir-fry with home made sweet and sour sauce - honey and vinegar. Or something. Whatever, I think she should have consulted 2000 years of chinese cuisine. Pudding is a group creme caramel - superb.

Soir: mostly reading Jaran, which is proving rather good. Penrose doesn't get a look in.

2005/02/13. Sunday. Cold and rather windy.

Up just before 9 when Ma goes off to church - I have to move the car. DE are by the TV, but D has the zapper. Watch T+J or the progs? Dispute. Have b'fast. Sadly d comes in as I am eating my over-sugared shreddies - my cover is blown and my good name dust. Fortunately he accepts my only-at-ma's explanation and even adds "of course you don't have your museli".

Settle down with the paper. Griddler. Sometime before lunch (1 pm) realise I've gone wrong fatally.

Lunch is "roast without the roast" but pots and yorkshire pudding are excellent - of course - ma does this stuff well.

After, out. For a walk? Well... D is not keen. And its greyed over and windy. Tring museum? yes. Other people think its a good idea too so its quite crowded. No entry fee any more. Its *still* interesting. Sometime I must go round by myself. D (and E, less) has an alphabet sheet to find animal names on. I help. Show D the weasels but he is not impressed.

After: to pitstone playground - nice, but its chill, so after 10 mins I'm agitating to go back while D runs around quite happy!

Start the fire, have the tea, watch the Aristocrats again, but its good. Unlike the snatch of star trek movie we saw, which was awful. Leave 6: bye bye D, E, have fun, be good, look after each other.

7:15: back home. Tea. Read a bit more Jaran. Finally succumb and read mail/news then wiki: surprisingly, its sane. later on, Ben throws in the towel: this is sad: he is a poor lad (I suppose he is a lad) who desperately wants to contribute but has twisted himself in the process. And done his best to damage me too, I suppose, so excess sympathy is out. Mails re RC post on Moberg - everyone seems to like my stoat: on him, and TL links to me, and Het puts me at #2 in his round-up. Oddly, Lubos is buying shares in me - but I don't understand that. Try to sort out SC GP website mess.

M pianos a good bit, rather well if I'm any judge.

2005/02/14. Valentines day. Cold.

Since we're not forced to get up, we don', and lie in till 9. M scoots off to work fairly quickly after that but I am a bit slow and sit over b'fast. We have vast quantities of juice, so take a bottle in with me. Brr... its cold and windy.

Work. Misc. Trying to clear the decks to get back to the sea ice stuff. GJM finds a flaw in metlog which turns out to be GD.pm being missing.

Home 6:30, meeting Danny along the way, and discuss the cold. Sign at pub implies food will be on soon. M is back, to my surprise: I expected her to be late. Piano is the explanation.

7:15: phone Ma. DE are watching the aristocats *again* lucky them. E really really likes "everybody wants to be a cat". And so do I. Say goodnight to them both. Ma says that they have been good; a brief trip out in Cheddington today and the park but otherwise at home.

Bath. Start LotR again: M was reading it in bed.

M plays most of evening.

I install retrospect on the r100 and back it up (M has been having resume failures on hers, but I haven't). Wiki is calm and peaceful, bar some somewhat odd stuff from SEW that I let pass for now. Load up Toms photos and create a sockpuppet account (I've always wnated a sockpuppet) Tom L-C for doing this, and upload a few Ant photos.

Then hack at the Moberg RC post... its so much easier on stoat:.

2005/02/15. Cold again.

Lazy lie in, till 8:30 this time, but M plays. Read paper over b'fast. Work. Lunch with TLC/JCK; bad news after: budget cuts (blamed on high fuel prices, but rumours of else) will lose us 1-2 posts for Q4, on top of the one we've lost due to the odd accounting. Start of yadii (hadgem SSTs).

Pass pub: definitely sign saying they are doing food, 12-3 at lunchtime during the week. Must try.

Home. Take kitchen waste to compost heap and check around for ratsign: none: good.

Sit by fire and read LotR. Get up at 3:30 and tidy kitchen and hall; just as I'm finishing washing up Ma arrives, alone. Err... she explains: a joke (D is fond of this): I must look surprised. So go out to the car and when they come round the corner hand in hand I say oh! and go to hug them.

They have made a fruit-cake with marzipan; E decides she likes m'pan; D doesn't, or cake. Have tea. They have been good, she says, and polite. They have watch The Arisocats 2 times. But D is pleased to be back and goes to his lego. E shows Ma her "sponge bob squarepants" game, which eventually we get to play - it is on a silly square cd. ma leaves before 5, D plays and E watches, I have a quick snooze by the fire.

Cook some chinese spinach noodles... poor D doesn't want them, but then he doesn't want anything he can think of, so I point out to him that means he gets little influence. M arrives just as we're starting.

I put E's pygamas on (no screams tonight) and M beds her. M has bought "the phoenix and the carpet" (folows 5 children and it; I never knew) and I read ch 1 to D. Some penetrating comments about fathers in there.

From work side, download GDL and install (some probs; need to turn off various e.g. hdf). It works, but missing some stuff that might seem important (z-buffer; randomn; .run).

Soir: wiki (JG back but seems to have been squashed, happily), and as TLC load up some more of his pics: Stanley etc.

Stoat: on traffic (easy) and GDL (easy).

And now its nearly midnight...

2005/02/16. Wednesday. Cold, mostly grey.

Easy morning. M to work, I am at home with DE. Drag them (well it wasn't hard) to smoko (on the way, somehow end up talking about schools with D, and he says he wouldn't want to leave the village, as he really likes his school), then catch P+R to town to library (stopping in Oxfam along the way - buy DE the books they pick), where I read "asterix and the flying carpet" - a new one to me - and D does the same; E finds some books that we really must try to read this time. Thence the german cafe, which is crowded, but we squeeze in with the help of Mrs G who is pleased to see us (E) as ever. Though no chocolate this time :-( but she is busy. D and I have sandwiches; E has a cake that she eats little of and crisps. But she has some of my roll that comes with the soup. D has iced tea, a peculiarity of his.

After that its really time to go back. I have to carry E (who has walked so far) but D is still perky, though cold - I tell him to take his coat next time, as advised. Drop E at Vivians as arranged; Adam is out though at B's. As we pass Ben+Sophies, D notices the for sale sign, discuss that they will prob leave, D considers how he will feel: a bit sad that Honor will be going but not much as he hasn't seen her for some time.

Hmm... phone up A: yes OK, so drop D off there and I'm home at 3 with nothing I need to do. Peace. Make coffee and log in/read LotR. Good news: JG has got himself 3RR banned, 24h this time, so there is peace on the climate front. But somehow I waste an hour or more on something, and M (who comes back around 3:30) wastes a while reading wiki-history. Also reading LotR. The curious Tom Bombadil episode.

D comes back around 6, and M goes off to get E for 6:30. Both have eaten, so all is easy, esp as D heads straight for the pooter as soon as home - poor deprived lad.

Soir: M off to the pub. I bed D with most of ch 2 of tPatC, and try to cure him of crotch-grabbing and nose-pinching (his own, in both cases).

After that: misc. Trim email a bit. Realise I should book hotel for EGU so do: Wandl, just off Domplatz I think, a bit expensive cos singles are gone so I get a double-for-one at E 124/n. BAS might complain, in which case I'll pay the difference. Now I need to do a flight: tomorrow perhaps.

Check rc,news,mail,wiki. I'm not going to mention doing that again: I do it every night, and usually more often.

M back from the pub around 11:30.

2005/02/17. Thurs.

Another evening, another failure to get to bed on time. Sigh. Now M is in bed and I am writing this at 23:45...

Up late (9) but this is OK cos I am taking DE to N's at 10. Do so, then on to work, for a rather late start (in fact I read Nature in the library till 10:30). Misc stuff. Realise I will miss Andy Brown tomorrow.

Back to N's for 2:45, but all is well there so no need to collect for another hour. Raise prospect of sleepover on fri night and get N's s/bag.

Home: wiki: JG again (sigh). Repair as well as able. Get DE at 4. They are watching the Pink Panther DVD and it entrances; its the dive-bombing crows in the sweetcorn episode; funny. E looks so cute in her dress. Realise that sleepover tonight would make more sense, so N has to do her "echo" practice on the piano, with DE and P I go into the garden and they bounce on the trampoline while I inspect (jealously) the state of N's allotment. There is a very very fine rain falling.

Collect N, apologise to P and promise next time, and home we cycle. NE then disappear to see if they can play with J/E (they can't: dinner: its now 5) while I read to E.

M comes back, but with headache so lies on sofa. DNE want to do chocolate moulds so find one and melt choc. Meanhile, N takes to playing with E's dolls and then reading E stories from her books: maybe she wants a younger sister not brothers... N might not approve though. We have some white choc too (melt one sq in the microwave): experiment with brushing some onto the moulds first to make a multi-colour effect: this works well.

Dinner is mini-pizzas, broccoli and eggs. Really.

After, bathtimes: NE first, then E out for bed and D gets in. DN stay in for ages apparently having lots of fun. I pygama E and M beds her. For DN's story, N reads to D from "asterix and the goths". I vould read it, says D, but I'm not good at reading aloud. Bedtime at 8:30 (they have previously arranged their sleeping bags on the floor) but to no-ones surprise they take a long long time to settle: past 10.

Meanwhile I stoat: James Annan's posting; wiki (JG banned, so peace returns; check out AMA page). Etc. Fix up some of the EGP pages too. Was that the whole evening? M is mostly reading LotR and is probably ahead of me by now.

2005/02/18. Friday. Science Museum!

So today is the great day. There was much wiggling around last night from D's room and in the morning N is in D's bed with him... they both found the floor too hard, which is a new thing.

So... up we get, breakfast we have, and off we go (leaving E with M; P is coming over) at 9:30 to catch the 10:15. To station in plenty of time feeling pleased, even find a parking space. Get tickets (longish q)... argh! I've forgotten to buy the parking ticket. Never mind, I have lots of change... but not 10 of change. Argh #2. So re-join q having wasted 5 mins. Somewhat tense, but get there in time, run to car (fortunately close) and back and get on train with 1 min to spare. Whew! No seats, but all happy on floor. DN read; I read economist.

KC OK; they talk incessantly to each other so I can hear that they are close behind me... its quite busy, I suspect that a fair part of the flow is towards South Ken, or is that unreasonable? We count off the stops (9) and then we're there. Usual longer-than-you-expect walk through the subway, and when we're there a slight oddness, as we're directed to a different entrance and then can't seem to get into the main hall. No matter, what we all need first is a wee. But then we have to go up and round a long odd way... and then discover this is because they are renovating the main hall-of-power, which is a shame, both because there is good stuff in there and because having it blocked means that we have to trudge somewhat down long corridors. Hey ho.

For much of the rest, see: http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/02/science-museum.html where I rant a bit about the quality of the "science" in the play bits. But, it was a good day, perhaps a bit tiring.

I time things fairly carefully, dragging them out of the Garden at 5:15, to the Modern World, thence towards the exit, so we leave at 5:30. Minor panic when the refurb means we exit in an unknown street, but find the subway and get to KC in good time, even time to buy food+drink. Train is absurdly crowded - its a problem finding a bit of floor to sit on even - but all is OK and we are good tempered. DN find a friend - Anastasia she turns out to be - and after a period of ignoring each other they get friendly and share Mr Weasel and some games. Train stops a few times and press thins and I get a seat. Back 7:15; drop N 7:30; home a few mins later as E is preparing for bed. Kiss her.

Take D up to bed and have a bath, relaxing my stresses with I, Robot. Which is really not that good, sort of a series of thinly wrapped up puzzles. But I'm reading it (well M has LotR...). Back down, JG comes out of his latest 3RR as ever, so finally file RFA, which takes me past midnight. And writing this...

2005/02/19. Saturday. Sun but cold.

Gosh what a succession of lie-ins we are getting. This time M should have been dragged up but no, DE are happy downstairs (though E has come in to see us) and the sun is pouring in through the windows and I can't bear it so I get up to see the world, or at least have breakfast with the children.

After than, and a coffee, I head out into the garden, intending to tidy up the shed and environs, and succeed! Cut off the excess roof, and excess rafters, that have been annoying me for a year or more, which I really should have done a year or more ago. And pull off a load of the plastic sheeting, ditto. Then set to tidying outside: the piles of stuff I took out of the old shed "for a week or two" which turned into more than a year and the grass and weeds grew up. Also near the old bonfire site and sow with grass. D and Cory come halloing down the garden to do some "wordwork" inside, and I let them. Later little E comes down too and joins in happily, carrying puppy.

Lunch then turns out to be at about 2, after this.

Then to town, by P+R, because D wants to buy a new lego game. So we all go. Borders. E suddenly gets hungry, and Borders q is enormous as usual, so take her out to Oxfam for some choc: this does indeed keep her happy. Meanwhile D has chosen lego digital designer, but this is like Knights kingdom, which he didn't much like, but he seems attached to his choice. Eventually he settles on lego island, and we hope that will be fun. Unsurprisingly, E wants something too, so buy "scoubidous" which is a weaving/plaiting set that M remembers from her childhood playtimes; and some more haba beads. Then to w/s for the cafe, which too has a q but not so big. Plus its nicer. Its cold outside. Tea; then D goes downstairs to kids books; then ME; I sit reading "The command of the sea" by NAM Rodger, starting with the Protectorate.

Home. Install D's new game (on I:, to save space on C:) and he's away. I get to rest with a book for 1/2 hour.

M cooks supper: cabbage and tofu which is, sorry, not terribly nice (to me; though she likes it). Sadly D doesn't like it either and I find myself obliged to make him eat something I don't much care for myself. Hey ho.

M beds E while I tidy. M shows D how to scoubidou, then he has the Hobbit CD for story.

Thermo: 0 oC. Feels like snow.

M bath; I upload a couple of sci mus pics to wiki. RFA is 5/1 for acceptance, good.

2005/02/20. Sunday. Sun then snow then cold then rain.

In bed till 9:30... quiet sounds from downstairs, and E comes in occaisionally to hand us a teddy bear or so. About 9 she comes in excited: its snowing! So it is. But does D rush out? No, he is playing lego island. But E goes out, briefly: its cold, and the snow is thin. Up; drag D to b'fast and E. Wrap Adam and Milans presents; D writes a card for each.

Then pick up Billy and to Comberton VC for the party, just a little late. Fortunately Paul is by the front to direct latecomers. Leave E in with Helen and Viv; see D off to the football grounds with B. Its chill out. Snow gone. See how E is. She and Viv are playing inside the sports hall (where the food will be later) with Tara, Milans elder sister. H is happy if I leave her (and so is E) so I do, but first a check on D, who really really didn't want to play football. And... oh dear. Others play; he stands, back turned, off to one side, unmoving, the picture of misery. Go round to him and try to talk some sense into him. D, you must *try*. But I don't kn ow how to play. Just chase after the ball. Misery. Tears. Persuade him back on. Head down, misery, tears. The ball even bounces off his legs but he doesn't move. Go back to him. Keep your head up (Janets advice, at least in part: your physiology affects your psychology: head up helps). Back on, and this time he does try, a little, and may even be having fun. Just then it switches to penalty-taking, the two teams at each end. And this time he can be persuaded to try, somewhat, but still still still the great problem is there: he won't try hard, because he is afraid of failure. Hmm, well, OK, I know the feeling. But this is only kids football (to me; perhaps its more to him). Others have bouts of sadness too: N's hands are cold; Hannah snuffles (but plays) because the football-enthusiasts shouted something (probably "come on Hannah" to encourage her, but misinterpreted). Hey ho. The good bit is that all this is on astro-turf, so at least there is no mud!

After 1h, in we go, to the echoing sports hall, to run and play less organised games, and here D does join in and has fun. We even do throw-the-tennis-ball-through-the-basketball-hoop, an improvised game with no rules. Food. E happy through all this. And so it comes to an end (I've been reading LotR). H McR comes to get Charlie and we chat about Stuff and GP a little.

Back (light sleet): bringing NB with us. And a little later Cory knocks on the door. They are now playing some rather sweet make-believe game in shifting groups. M takes E off to w/rose, I start off the bread then drink coffee by the fire and misc. Now its 4pm.

Decide to go out and have a bonfire - there is a fair bit of junk wood from my tidying. DBNCE come too, and they end up with their own fire. The wind eddies and gusts - smoke is unpredicatable. They collect extra bits of wood and have fun. Send B back at 5:15; at 5:30 declare it time for N to go back so send C off too and drive N back. Nick is in a cloud of dust having done some sweeping and deconstructing around the tiny twisty staircase in the corner of the l'room.

DE to bed at sensible times since its school tomorrow. D gets floppy though - should have been earlier. M reads him Asterix translated from french; she took over from me when my word-rate was too slow. Translating, on the fly, is odd; because there are lots of sentences that transliterate comprehensibly, but have the words the wrong way round, and then its hard to think just how do I turn that into real English.

Soir: lots of wiki damage repair. Sigh.

Bed: late. Finish LotR in bed. Good.

2005/02/21. Monday. Snow that melts.

Up at the unheard of hour of 8:15, good heavens. D is outside playing in the snow, very sensibly taking advantage of it while its there. E is inside (yesterday it was the other way round), sitting up in bed, quietly playing a little game a bit like tiddlywinks with some counters on a book of D's. She is very intent on this and doesn't want to be disturbed.

Work: OK. Snow flurries at various points through the day.

Leave 1h early since bslcenc is falling over. Sigh. So I get to go back while its still light. D is at home, at the computer, but M is off collecting E. Its 10 to 6. ME come back, E v proud of her new name badge that she made.

Tomorrow is PC so long delayed time for: cut out plywood and cut battens to make signboard for dogs notice for school. Takes about 15 mins. Could have been done a month ago.

Sit down and start LotR II. Dinner by M: tortillas and re-fried beans. Good.

7:25: out to the PP meeting. Hmmm. Takes 2h to decide things... we are v poor at settling things and keeping them settled. Needs a better chair? But today I was temp chair. Its like herding chickens.

9:30. Back. Just freezing outside. Settle down to an evening of wiki (RFA evidence) but after a while it goes down. Peace? M has a box of pre-school files next to her but isn't working on them...

11: another snow flurry.

2005/02/22. Tuesday. Thin snow that stays a bit.

Another odd days weather... mostly cold, early snow, but quite a bit of sun and odd snow flurries. England: 4 seasons on one day.

E to M'a; d to sch. Then up the back and put up the dogs-under-control sign that I did yesterday up onto the footpath post at the top of the school field. To work.

Early troubles booting xterm, then learn from helpdesk that bslcenc has been rebooted: thanks, but why didn't you tell me? Sigh. Anyway, to work: and expecting Glen Richardson later on. Discuss yadii (tropial hadgem ssts) with Tom: mixed results: don't reproduce hadgem mslp errs; so waht is causing them? Start yadij, which is global (but without sea ice changes). Glen arrives: go to lunch with him and Tom and later JCK. Misc talk and science talk. Have a talk in my office re ancils (ocean) and offer to do one for him since he lacks IDL, poor chap. His talk (freshwater pulse to southern ocean; both MP and ASR there) is interesting and mostly repeats the GRL paper. His sst responses are about 2-3 oC max; Velligas and Wood got 8 ish, but with a pulse 3-4 times as large. So that scales. As he notices, the mechanism of shutdown is a bit different to the north: the freshwater caps the ocean, preventing warm deep water from rising; it does *not* (he says) appear to do much to suppress bottom water formation. Partly because hadcm3's BW is largely formed in the drake passage, where it shouldn't be. Talk afterwards, then leave him with Mike M, since its about time I went to collect E. And so I do. Snow is gone now, and in the sun its warm enough. E runs to my open arms in a darling way. M'a has a tooth abcess but has been emergency dentist'ed. D is slow out: go in and find him: he wants to show me two "mirror" books. One has pictures, on which you can lay a mirror to select the sad/happy halves, say, to make an entire picture. The other is slightly cleverer - Mrs S prefers it - and has pictures with "hidden" items revealed by the mirror: e.g. a man by a piano becomes an astronomer when the side of the piano becomes his telescope. Mrs S comments that D has been better since half term - speculates due to rested?

Home. D scoots off to J+E to get his lego island extreme disk back, and is keen to be back here because he is expecting Cory+Dak. Maybe. In fact he goes off to fetch them, and returns with C. E says hurray! They spen the a'noon quietly at the computer. E watches them then burbles around, and gets me to sew up her "PE" bag which is unravelling. Since wiki is down I get a nice peaceful pm... hmmm... is there a lesson there?

5:30: time for C to be off. "Come back some other time and I will be your friend!" calls E. What more could you ask?

Cook dinner: cartwheel pasta, E's favourite, D will tolerate it. And cut up cucumber, carrots and red pepper. OK, its not inspired.

7: off to PC meeting. Cold. Only 1:30, and fairly sensible.

Back just as D's bedtime story is finishing. Bed for him. Wiki still down so still peace, but unfinished business. Much of evening on long stoat: analysing an FOE climate change document. M has found a decent map in "unfinished tales" for the LotR.

2005/02/23. Wednesday. Cold, grim.

D sch; back with E. She wants to play Bananas in Pygamas (one of M's colleagues was giving it away...).

To work smoko a bit late. Thence to town: german cafe (a hard life...). We couldn't find my s'trunks so no pool; an I wasn't keen anyway. Not on a chill day like today. I think we leave E's "scarf" (actually M's crocheted recorder cover) there. Then to w/stones (E doesn't want to go to the library... not sure why not) for quite a while. And then home, taking us to about 2:30, since all of that was done rather slowly.

Rest until M back with D. Then its really time to start doing some tidying as ASCAnk are due this evening for pancakes! at 7. So we tidy: kitchen; hall; l'room; upstairs. OK. K is to sleep in our bedroom; Niamh in the spare room (though in the event she shares E's room and D sleeps in the spare room).

5: I go off to school to do the parent-teacher consultation with Mrs S. All is OK, mostly. Still probs with: 1. concentration/writing: he can write, but needs lots of prompting to get down to doing it 2. pushing self forward too much when he knows the answer (which is usually) and 3. maths: can be a bit slow; not very receptive to learning new strategies (too sure of himself).

Back: more tidy till 6. AS arrive about 7;15 and we start pancakes and drink. CAnk not much later, K is shuffled upstairs asleep and N comes in, quiet but not shy, and plays with DN - she is between them. NE to bed quite early, together; D up later. Talk: civil liberties, serious stuff, Clive surprises me by being fairly close to the "conspiracy theory" side - politicians want to control us; I'm on the "they are a bunch of idiots trying to cover their backs" side, and A+S are on the "good people trying to do a difficult job" side. And M and Andrea? Well.

9: all bar Clive and I off to hear M play at Mrs B's: must be a different piano, to get the not-at-home feel. Give Andrea the video, which has 3 mins left, so she can tape some. And she does. And its OK, though M is rather hard on herself, and says she has played it better.

And so onto the evening...

2005/02/24. Thursday. Snow then rain.

An interrupted night: E coughs so much she wakes herself up and comes in with us and needs cough medecine. And so on :-( With that, and too much beer, I'm up a bit late. E is having a breakfast tantrum and refusing to eat, then decides she *must* eat, so we're running late. Meanwhile D is quite ready... we leave before M.

Work. Mostly, getting the GRL paper ready for re-sub, which turns out to be fairly easy. M mails: a meeting is cancelled, she will work from home today (tomorrow Mr BigWig is coming with what is suspected is Bad News).

Yoga. After, its raining, so don't go to town but home instead, as my head is still a bit thick.

Do some wiki and do rather more sitting by the fire reading quietly and sleeping a bit. M is too! She also plays 4-5.

5:45: off to get D; then E (sign M'as passport then am ambushed with Marcus's shotgun license; hmmmpf); then home.

DE bath happily together with a tubtint: D chooses purple, E agrees. E is a Dr: she washes D's head with special potion. Or something.

D chooses The Hobbit CD for his bedtime story, poss because M is upstairs bedding E.

Soir: mostly upgrade the school prospectus to 2004/5 on the web.

M plays.

2005/02/25. Friday.

Work: resize figs for GRL. Argh. Leave a bit later than I intended and stop at pub, as I intended, to same food. A "doorstep" cheese sandwich is expensive (4.99) but I give it a go. It is value: a real doorstep, well done, and comes with home-made chips and a salad. But... I wanted something smaller! Play with a "fiendish" sudoku but don't get far. Record it for later use...

So, all this means I'm a bit late getting to school for choosing time, as I had mostly-promised D I would. In fact I get there at break time, 2:50, which is essentially the end of CT. D is a bit sad about this but "the gang" - D,N,B - are pleased to see me. I'm a bit unsure about whether I should be there really but Mrs S doesn't seem to mind on a friday - I must find a moment to ask her better. Thought its break time (outside) D wants me in and this is also OK, so he shows me stuff, and BN get to stay in too - and so does Catherine F (when Hannah comes back in she complains bitterly about not being allowed to stay...). They have been playing (working) with shape-blocks, and we do these. After break we tidy them away, and other stuff. Last is "story time" but I can't stay for that (Mrs S selfconcious?) so I sit in the corridor and M'a finds me with E. She isn't too happy with E, who has clearly been naughty, because she looks guilty and won't speak.

3:30: D etc to multi-sports. E and I get P, who is expecting us and (says Mrs L) has been excited about it all day. Take them home. P wants to play lego racers, and E doesn't mind, so let them. Sit by fire. M back: site will close. She is OK with that: an end to uncertainty. And a quiet summer.

4:30: get DN from m/s. Andy offers swimming or film tomorrow but no, since Mfd/J coming. Take DN home, and get a relaxing pm from then on. N phones and offers to take D to a concert with N: D somewhat unkeen, but (fairly sure he will like it when he is there) I lean on him and he succumbs (partly because I get him jsut as he is feeling guilty for having wasted a load of cocoa and yoghurt). N collects PND at 7 and it goes quiet...

Mfd/J arrive about 8ish, and we have dinner: M's lentil soup and not much else cos our larder is quite bare. Left-over pasta a sos from childrens dinner: well I eat till full.

10:30: D back (we had been saying "its about time he was back" for an hour or more). He is v bouncy: is there any 2 extra people here he says. Anyway, he had fun, and even seems somewhat enthused by the idae of practising again.

2005/02/26. Saturday. Grey, some rain.

Up about 10 long after all else. Dak is here. Trouble with the awful sticky-keys: reboots. B'fast. M is off a w/rose but comes back about 11 and fairly soon after we head off for a free day in town. In fact we have nothing much we need to do expect mooch around so we do: M has had no b'fast so to Nero in Heffers which is nice. I read Joe Strummer biog by Needsy, M a JRRT biog. Day grey but then raining when we come out. To Outside to looks for maps of NZ (no) then across road to Borders to just browse vaguely. Look at "The algebraist" - I think it might like it, will read in paperback when it is. Then (about 2:30) we part: M home to play, me to cb1/arj where I haven't been for an age. Read a bit of Madouc. Thence arj, thence xxOcto, for a saw blade. Stop at Germ to inquire after E's "scarf" but no. Try next wed when the real people are there. Home. Discover that I wanted a 22" balde not a 24" one...

Now its about 5. DEDak and J are making blancmange, for some reason. Well, mine is not to wonder why, and they seem to be happy to. Settle to LotR etc. E is naughty and gets send (well, taken) up to room to be good but soon comes down OK.

M cooks supper: aub omlette and mushrooms in sauce and pots. D has left his lego boxes out and E has tipped them over so I'm rather miffed by the mess, esp as I spent ages last night sorting. But the food is good. Sadly my stomach is playing up a bit so I feel a bit over-ful. Neither DE keen. A bit more semi-tantrum from E over eating her food/pudding.

J beds E. D settles down to listening to Hobbit and (at my insistence) sorting lego.

Soir: Salaries committee is suddenly a hurry, emails; light snowfall; talk over the civil liberties stuff with Mfd/J for their perspective. Nothing too new, though as expected they don't believe the "conspiracy" stuff. M plays. Also talk re proxy records, and as it happens I have several relevant books :-)

2005/02/27. Sunday. Sun and snow.

Wake to see the sun shining off a thin layer of snow and rapidly melting it. Lazy am. Dak round for D. Chase them out around 11 - its lovely out, though chill - and follow them a bit later to hack at the blackthorn (terrible stuff to work on) a bit with lopers, awaiting a proper saw blade. Then with E raise the swingset - it had rather sunk into the ground because I didn't put the giant-tent-pegs in, so do two now (it wouldn't do to do all 4...).

In at 12:30: about time to get ready to go out to the pub. M is ducking out so she can tinkle. D cycles, E proudly but slowly tricycles and often objects when we help push her. D is soon far ahead. Its chill. To pub, our table, good. Food: very good quality, moderately expensive (50 for 3 adults 2 kids inc a few drinks). On balance, they have increased both price and quality but they have inc'd the quality more. Service a touch slow though. But the waitress *did* keep bending over to show us her cleavage... :-)

Fin 3, and its a snowstorm, or at least its quite thick in the air. E doesn't like it getting in her eyes. But by the time we're home the sun is back, and D gets to make cycle tracks in the snow. Rick and Ewan have just turned up but have to go soon; still we talk a bit.

Mfd+J also want to go soon in case the snow gets worse, though it doesn't at this end at least.

Quiet pm. Baths for DE later. A bit more salaries stuff: meeting tuesday.

Soir: not too much. Send off NERC fellowship review that I was in danger of forgetting. M finishes LotR III and I have nearly finished II. Stoat: on coolerheads, but my heat isn't in it.

2005/02/28. Sun then grey. Light snow.

Slightly odd but interesting day. M'a is off, and M is trading me wed, so I get to pick up E at 12 from preschool. I rarely do this (usually its M'a) and its quite fun to see her amongst her folk and happy. After this, I want to talk to JM/MG if poss, but they are still in class, so hang around the lunch bit and D shows up. Talk to him (he is delighted to see me in school, he always is, partly because he does like me really and partly because that makes him special), and to Billy who is next to him. He has potato and cheese pie, and raw carrot, and some meringue-y stuff for pudding. He isn't keen on the pie and I can't blame him: I never liked it. But he eats the carrot. How are lunch times D? I ask. And he says, the seating system (you must sit in the same place always) is still annoying. And I agree. When he finishes he must ask to leave, and Tracy says yes once you've swept, so he gets the dustpan and brush out and does a quick sweep where he's been eating (I don't point out that if he ate more tidily this wouldn 't be needed...). Then he takes his tray and separates cutlery, then he's off. Meanwhile 2 older kids (one is Nelson) are serving behind the "counter" (a table) - presumably they take turns with this. Good. Find MG and JM looking at the heater for MG's classroom with the Rogan maintenance man: it is broken. Oops. Anyway, brief talk to MG re salaries and what I will do: OK by her.

Then... what next for us? E wants to go to BAS. But, I say, smoko isn't till 3:30. But she is keen and doesn't understand this... and I realise we could as well go to lunch. So we do. Sit at crowded table with KM and other glacios, and TLC. E eats a lot of my pasta and a little of her sandwich. Thence to orchard (I want a saw blade: get a 21" one; E wants to look at toys; I am mean and won't buy her any). After a long browse by her (while I read about battleships) we have a hot choc for her. I do an easy Sudoku (it really was trivial) and doodle on a fiendish one. V light snow starts. Thats about a week now of temperatures consistently dipping cold enough to let snow. Which is unusual. Leave, designed to get to sch at 3:30, and we do, but D slips out the back way to home club so I don't see him. E plays though. And we end up taking P home - why not? Keeps them both happy. Home, and they end up playing separately (P pooter; E cutting) but happily and are probably reassured by the knowledge that they *could* play if they wanted too.

I have a present waiting in the shed: from abebooks: the 1976 not-Mitacek textbook. Goody. Check it out - find the bit eventually - fair enough: its in context. Stoat: it soir. Read: LotR. Cook E's fave: cartwheel pasta, sos and brocolli (well she likes part I), and am unwise enough to retire to l'room rather than supervise: a lot of soya sauce gets used up and not much brocollii gets eaten. Return to supervise. N arrives just after 6 (having taken N to brownies: no male equiv in village) and MD at about the same time.

E has an eppy just before bedtime and starts screaming to M about something hurting in her eye. Is this just a bedtime put-on? But she is rather screamy. Is it just because she has rubbed her eyes too hard? Dunno, and she calms down.

D has Hobbit for story again, nearly at the end now, Thorin is dead.

Soir: 8: M out to p/sch ctte meeting, back about 10. Then she plays. I wiki very happily: Ed has unprotected GW which lifts my mood enormously, since (after the JG nonsense apparently settled) I was rather depressed by the apparent admin bias of GW getting protected. In fact the protect itself was quite trivial but it was just the stupidity and apparent ignorance of it, coupled with the beating-heads-against-wall feeling when 172 stonewalled unprotecting and no other admin was prepared to act. So hurrah for Ed! At least for the moment...

Stoat: on civil libs having read the link to Liberty that Clive sent.

M plays on; I go to bed past midnight and she rather later. Naughty.

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