WMC's diary pages, 2005.

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April 2005

2005/04/01. Friday. Sunny/hazy.

Today dawns the great day of the balloon flight. Initially a bit grey but with the promise of clearing, we hope. I leave M in charge of infants and head to work.

M phones before 12: its on. So I can stay at work a bit more. But: ITS take unix down around noon for lunch so I might as well go home, and I do.

Arrangement is to take DE to Sams for 4. In the meantime, I find D "playing" with Billy and others on the green. Sadly what is happening is that they are playing football but D dares not join in, for fear that he would spoil their game; even when Charlie says "of course you wouldn't" D is not encouraged and nothing I can do will move him. So he stays, miserable, on the side.

Start off with a quiet sit with coffee and lunch, as it gets sunnier; move on to more tidying/clearing of the sheds. Put up a shelf in the garden shed and move various pots of paint and boxes of misc plant pots onto it. We have rather a large number of plant pots that "might be useful one day".

Last minute panic as we realise we have no idea where the flight vouchers are. Fortunately they are where they should be: on the cork board. Off: dispose of DE; to Longstanton golf course in time, though about the last. Flight attendant girl takes our vouchers; who is the pilot? It becomes clear: tall large beefy chap is the manhandler; pilot is the small dapper chap; another chap is an assistant/training pilot who defers to Kenneth K, who turns out to be the chief pilot. M helps with the inflation, which I stand back to take pics: the basket is tipped over and shackled to the van; the balloon package (about a 4-5 foot cube) is unravelled and attached; two big fans are started to inflate the balloon while M and others hold up the canopy. After its somewhat full (and billowing around in the slight wind) the burners start up... I had wondered if they were going, quietly, before, because it seemed to be inflating quite well; but once they are on there is no doubt they weren't before, because they are very loud and bright with huge flames. Pretty soon its up and (following our previous instruction) we get on one-by-one and fairly quickly before it floats away... I am in the compartment touching M. The basket is bigger than my naive expectations: it could take 16. There are 4 passenger sections dividing the interior to the height of the basket walls, which are about 4 foot high, and a pilots/gas section in the middle. Instruments are a garmin GPS and an o/s map! We are instructed in the launch/landing posture (sit on the low seats; brace) and we're off... no we're not. More gas: now we're gently up and drifting... straight towards a hummock of earth. Just like all pilots (if BAS's are anything to go by) we shave the top with little to spare before heading up up into the sky! All slow and quiet, except when the burners are on, which isn't often. We are drifting NNE perhaps, a slight shame because its away from Cambrdige and away from Dry Drayton so DE won't see us. Also no mobile use in the air.

2005/04/02. Saturday.

Lie in late, though M is obliged to get up early-ish (around 8) by E.

Sit in sun outside for b'fast doing (finally) diff Sudoku.

J gardens: digging stones laid years ago out of patch at front. D helps.

4: run, std course, past crossroads to next village sign. Not fast, but not too tired either.

As it turns out, we all stay in or around the garden all day.

Soir: fiendish SD M found. She suceeds; I need a little help from her, since I made one mistake :-(

2005/04/03. Sunday. Grey then fine.

Up 10; DE seem quite happy, well, mostly, though there is some odd fighting going on in the bath and J has to intervene.

11:30: Out, with MfdDE to Didcot, both of the infants keen, Mfd unclear: he says he is only mildly interested but I think there is more than that...

Have a good day out: lots of trains to see, two steaming (3822 and a tank), etc etc as usual.

Back past 4: M still tinkling. Later she confesses that she has (gasp) actaully been playing for pleasure a bit too.

Leave past 5; back 7:30 say after an easy drive.

Soir: sweep loft then oil boards, in prep for putting stuff up there tomorrow.

Wiki: sane.

Look through photos: upload Hinderton Hall.

M plays.

2005/04/04. Monday.

Spend all day (apart from going in for smoko; and lunch; and tea; and wiki) cleaning out the bike shed and my workroom.

2005/04/05. Tuesday.

Builders arrive prompt at 8.

Interviews at work: face to face and by phone. With presentations.

Start building blog: http://blog-the-builder.blogspot.com/. If you are wondering why there isn't more about our building work here, its because its there.

2005/04/06. Wednesday. Rain then sun; windy.

To work late. Misc; more R-C model with Tom going (I think) nowhere and grey-atmos stuff is interesting too, trying to get a stratosphere to cool.

End 12 when bslcenc is taken down (and, talking to BJL, probably not for any useful reason). Spare time so to town: Heffers for lunch. Read Horticern, which is opaque but apparently not useful. Go to get money out and discover that Gnatwest branch is closing. Oops. Use Barclays instead. Oxfam. Home: now its sunny and pleasant but cool. Building stuff: see blog. Talk to Ian.

Drive to Camborn to put in 5 papers: all OK, after 25 min wait. Good. Onwards to Ma's (stopping for 10 min walk along the canal near J+J: lovely) and arrive 5:15. But Mfd+J are stuck in traffic so don't arrive till well past 6, so I could have had a longer walk. Discuss building and options with Ma while we wait and less with Mfd/J. DE pleased to see me, D bouncy, perhaps too much so. 1/2 hou swap over then we head home, disk 3 of hobbit starting at Beorn. E just about stays awake and its 8:20 before we're back. Tired. But not finished yet.

Briefly discuss M's talk with Ian to check nothing urgent (err...). M puts E to bed; D is reading a new lego mag. Simon arrives 9:30 to take a beehive so I'm down to 3 (one of which I suspect is weak; I give him New I think). Then we do some electoral stuff in case he is away.

2005/04/07. Thursday.

Take elec stuff to Cambourn, back 10. Thence in to work, leaving M with D - E is at M'a. Back 12:30, roof is now off outhouse. Pm with D: offered him option of going to town, but he prefers to stay in with friends. I do some digging, D's bed. M gets E. The rest of the day seems somewhat blank...

2005/04/08. Friday. Cold. Rain, hail, then sun.

Stay in with kids while M off to work: she will return 12:30 ish. Take E to M'a. Its windy! And cold too. E puts her gloves on, or rather I do. She is wearing her "new" pink dress, very fetching - one I bought from Sally Army sometime - poss indended as a cmas pres. Anyway she likes it.

Back: D at pooter. Just about to phone Andy when he phones me: could B come and get D to play: yes indeed, except I'll bring D over. Good: so I escort D to BW turning, then head off to work, arriving 5 mins late for smoko. Rather quiet today: just 4 (me; jds; aj; georgina)of us: Tom off with his kids; HKR CRED'ing. End up doing some work, reading through some journals, and a bit of wiki too, and don't leave till 2:30. Must remember to put monday into my leave form.

Home: builders out, but as a bonus we have B,C and Dak in. M took DB to lunch at the orchard. So: settle to my lunch. Whew. Read economist: article on Blair and GW: essentially, much talk and little action. But stoat this.

M gets E 3:30, err, and is brought back by M'a, because I forgot that I had arranged with M'a that she would do this. Oops. Anyway she gets to look at our wreckage. The DCBDak ensembalge has an odd dynamic. Dak is driving the pooter. C is playing with lego, but nearby. D is offering driving advice. B is watching. Later DBC rush around and upstairs, while Dak tends to stay at the pooter, being a bit older. But eventually he too is tempted upstairs. I throw them out of the living room several times.

Send CBDak home a bit before 6; cook pasta and pizza. M reads E's story and I take her upstairs and read another: Skarloey, the not very interesting engine :-)

Soir: misc web stuff. Work filesys are v slow, which is tedious. Put up the SCGP site at new address. Add elec stuff. Add elec to egp. Simon brings nom papers over. And wiki: the GHE wars again. But Kowloonese is being reasonable, or at least talkative.

2005/04/09. Saturday. Still cold, but sunny.

Small noises in the morning, but we stay in bed till 9, soaking in the sunshine. I break first. Leave for town about 10:30, deliberately avoiding the various things to do. Arj for soy sauce and stuff, the cb1 for peace and quiet. End up doing a mild sudoku and finding it harder than it should have been. Quick browse round W/s then ox then back. Stop to chat with Nick re rotavator and talk about his new polystyrene beehive, of which he is proud. Could this be the future?

Home: MED are back from town, E proudly displays her new socks and hair ties. D has a new lunchbox, and a new drink container. This latter provokes a crisis, by mistake. I say "but D, why have you got a new drink container, when I bought you a nice blue one for c'mas?". To which D replies "Now I've totally stopped believing in father christmas, because *he* got me that one!". Oops, I don't keep track of stuff like that, and didn't think he did either. We try to finesse/obfusticate, but cannot of course bring ourselves to actually say yes he does exist (lie) or no he doesn't (less sure why not; perhaps because E is listening). The issues dies down.

Quick bite to eat then take DE out swimming: pick up Andy, BG: to Impington. But will it be open asks A? Ah... a moment of doubt, but fortunately it is. And (apart from infants taking forever to get changed; and the dodgy showers) all goes well. G is happy floating around, rather than clinging; and E is mcuh more aquatic than usual. D learns some diving and even somersaults. We stay in quite a long time: A leaves first. After, to pub, for a swift pint. After, A offers to host DE, so I accept, and head home, change, and go off to rotavate the allotment. This turns over quite a bit quite quickly but perhaps not terribly thoroughly: still it looks good. Tomorrow some planting. Only when I stop do I realise that my arms are v tired: holding down the clutch seems to be the hardest part. Home 6:30: E back, not D: A has kept him for tea, and to watch Dr Who! Well well. M cooks eggs for us and pasta for E (Simon brought some of his over). Now its E's bedtime but she just won't behave well, and ends up being forced up by M. I read Green Jade Stories to D, then he goes up, a bit early as he has been fined time.

Log on; mail; wiki: I have a 24h 3RR ban. How annoying. But, also, rather liberating, as I've free to compose my rant against Pielke. And so I do. Now its just past 11: M made herself a hot choc and headed for bed a while ago, so what is that noise of piano playing I hear...? I'm off.

2005/04/11. Lovely spring day.

I get up around 9, not because I have to but because its nice. B'fast with DE, E manages to spill hers, argh. Dak and C come round, and invite D to C's birthday lunch (it would seem that the poor child only gets a lunch not a full party and only 2 firends round :-(). Happily, D *doesn't* want to go to see Robots with Billy (he was very emphatic about this over the phone to A, less so at the pool, but didn't succumb), so he can go. Later, E gets invited too. They all play fairly happily and quietly; later I throw them outside.

I sit out with Proust and a coffee. When M gets up I decide to go to Orchard: we need some compost. E elects to come, D not. We get 2 bags, and some seeds. Then start some gardening: there are plants to plant (that should have been done some time ago...). Pot up about 20 sweetcorn, and 2 trays: one of foxgloves (E's choice), and some Pennyroyal and Pasque flower that we bought last time. Somehow I crowd these into the shed.

Stopped to talk to Ian on the way back: BTB has come back with a bald +3.8k for the moving-out option, but no detail: Ian needs to talk it through with him.

Somewhere around here DE disappear off to the party by bike, E therefore very slowly, but DC are looking out for her. D has drawn a card and has a jar of honey to take as a present, in lieu of a real one, since its late.

Then dig over D's bed and put compost on ready for the planting he wants to do, which is to be carrots and peas. And so it is, done rather quickly just before I take him to N. Also we plant a nice white star-daisy plant thing in the flower bed, which looks like a real flower bed at the moment, good grief.

So, DE back 3 ish, or perhaps later, and due at N's 4-5 ish. D poots; E misc on her bike and I sit in the sun for a bit, then get up and examine nnew hive: as I feared, it is an ex-hive, poor dears. Well they were rather weak, I didn't really expect them to survive the winter.

N phones! Where are you D? So off we go, 4:30, taking the tent in case they want it. Drop them off (EP follow me to play on the rec) and fix the last (I think) bit of PC stuff from the rospa report: putting a stopper into the skateboard ramp. 3 interested ?18? year old mountain bikers wonder what I'm up to so I tell them. EP then come into the garden and all are tramplining. Leave them to that, and Nick to mowing, and go off to plant pots onto the allot. Get in 3 rows, about 20 in all, where I rotavated. Well, lets hope they turn out well. More diggin required. Fin 6. Kids still trampolining: collect E; bye to N, who reminds me that she is coming round for a hive tonight. OK. Take E back. She tells me that they were playin a game and all had names. She was "jumpy grass frog" and indeed she is green with grass cuttings. The others had names too...

M is just cooking: eggs for me, fish for her and E. E objects to this and wants pasta, and sends herself up to her bedroom. When she comes down she is reasonable and eats with M. I bath. Its still lovely outside. Potter, tidying a little.

M beds E. I check mail and wiki: I'm still banned. Odd, I wonder why. Vsmith is doing good work though. And though a bit frustrating it is in some ways a relaxation. Work up a stoat: on TB and post. N comes 1/2 way through and we do the bees, a bit harder this time as the entrance is harder to tape up and I end up with a sting, but a mild one. Wheel-barrow is easier than carrying but more likely to bump. So, now I am a 1-hive beekeeper again. But I'm assuming I'll get some swarms.

Soir: M bath, misc for me. Mfd/J are off to Paris in a few days.

2005/04/11. Monday. Sunny.

Another rather mixed day. M heads off for work early (ish...) and I take E to M'a. Then I had into work, since D is still with N (stop by to check all is well: it is). Rather quick work till after smoko then head back. Its lovely and sunny, so (with DN and P out in the garden bouncing and playing games on the trampoline) I sit and drink tea and read Private Eye for an hour or so, while N works inside. 12:45: about time to go; N invites us for lunch so we stay for that, just bread and cheese. Then time to go home: we offer to take N, but she is off to Adams.

Head home: wonder if I should stop by Ian to see whats up but his car isn't there so assume he isn't either. Message from Ian on answerphone: he has new info: so I phone: he *is* in: car is not infallible. He will come over, and does. D is pooting, so Ian and I get to talk, mostly about the costs, which have diminished to less than +3k. So... probably OK. M comes back, a bit early: she thinks so too. OK, good. Go out to discuss soakaways; Ian takes down a "lintel" for us that was looking wobbly.

Then head in to work, returning to get Phils chainsaw. Work misc, this is going to be a broken day.

Home before 7: MED out at w'rose but soon back.

Soir: misc; useful wiki stuff since revert wars temporarily quiet. M to bed before 10, ie early. School tomorrow for D.

10:45: vomit-inducing Labour ad on the radio, trying to persuade us that Blur and Broon are friends.

2005/04/12. Tuesday. My birthday! Hurrah!

B'fast in bed: noises off, then DEM come in with a tray and presents: I have ordered toast and coffee and orange juice. They come in new tiny cups bought for the occaision. D cadges some of my toast. I get up and finish coffee downstairs: the cups are small so it takes a lot to finsih the pot. M has given me a book of Sudoku, ha ha. D has drawn me a rather nice pic of an owl; E has made me a rolled up paper thing that I shall nonetheless treasure. Also I have a watering can and gloves from Ma, and some ginger etc.

But as well as my b'day its the first day of sch: send D off and take E to M'a; catch up with D and take him across and into sch in good time.

Work: misc.

3:30: DE from sch, though we hang around till 4 just playing. N won't let N come over on some specious excuse about arms hurting, so N is sad but on my advice doesn't whinge, so she is learning. At home, there is an exciting hole, and Sam comes over to play clay games with D and make a mess. I cook; M is back a bit late; I grab my PC papers and prepare a minor spiel as gov.

Soir: to PC at 7. This is a PC, then an annual parish meeting, the ditto for the rec. This can be tedious so I have taken the precaution of copying out a diff and a fiendish to occupy me. The diff goes fairly easily and the F not much harder, so either I'm getting better or these were easy examples. Fin 9:15 ish. Both JR and Robin P are there and both put in strong speeches for the obvious electioneering reasons. RP speaks well, especially for the I'm-a-bluff-indep and dilution-of-democracy side, but lacks depth. JR does his best to bash the govt without being too obviously party-pol. He won't be our cllr: ward splits: and he is given some genuine warmth from the PC, who he has done a decent job for.

2005/04/13. Wednesday. Fine.

Quiet in bed, wondering if the builders will turn up, its not quite clear if they have stuff to continue with. But, they (or rather Mr Digger) does indeed arrive, at 8:15, and gets started. D is somewhere watching.

So: back to std wednesdays: D to sch; back home with E. Misc; unload dryer; wiki a bit (argh; the return of JG). Then off to smoko (stopping briefly at sch to give wild garden key copy to Mrs S; D begs me not to go so I watch him and N having a race; then another when the result of the first is disputed; sadly N wins by a few feet. Then we're off to work: coffee and biscuits; then town. First stop German cafe; I have borrowed M's bike but forgotten her bike lock key. Oops. Still it doesn't get nicked. Good early lunch for us - E as usual has a chevre sandwich and I remove the "yucky bits" - ie olives and tomatoes. Then library, then arj/cb1. Rob is puzzling over a "Diff"; his waitress has done it but had all morning; I get interested and to my pleasure do it in about 20 mins and find it easy. Meanwhile E is learning her letters: I draw out A-Z and she traces over (holding her pen badly but won't be helped) and can then name about 2/3 of them.

E on the bike back from town: "you know when we are in the pool, and I sit on the side, and I don't want to go in the water, because if I go in the water I'll get water in my mouth, unless I close my mouth, and if I do that I can't talk and I like to talk and...". She is a chatterbox, but a cute one.

Drop E with M at sch; D has an appointment with Matthew (of Mrs Robinson) that we had both forgotten but fortunately she hasn't. I leave M the bike and drive off to Cambourne to hand in Simons noms; hassle hassle! It all works out in the end but they take a lot of convincing that the agent can do it (it didn't occur to me that I couldn't; but the big 4" thick rule book (Parkers?) confirms it in the end. Whew! Drive back with should-I-stay-or-should-I-go blasting at full volume. Yah! Thats my last responsibility there for a while.

Home. D still away of course. Put on boots and go dig outside D's classroom - bed is a mess; we can put in pots or herbs.

M goes to get D with E at 6 ish. Compute.

M cooks pasta, and in the middle E runs in; floods of tears; she has hurt her finger cos D dropped a slab on it cos she put her finger under without telling him cos... well anyway she is very sad for a long time but eventually quietens and we have dinner: D has eaten already.

Soir: both at r100's all evening.

From http://www.manbottle.com/humor/How_to_know_whether_or_not_you_are_ready_to_have_children....htm, we find:


Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything that they eat or damage.

Not so much for me but for M, who does the shopping, mostly.

2005/04/14. Thursday. Not warm, but sunny.

Builders around: D watches from the top of the shorn pine; DE to sch; work misc; yoga: first for a long while. Feeling that I've been too busy recently, head to town: rest in Heffers and read more of Cheerful Ladies by AMcS: not demanding. Get new front door keys cut; ox. Back, stopping at allot to dig for 3/4h: by rhubarb mostly. Then... well... just past 5 so they are open: cider at the pub. Sit outside while I'm warm then inside. Good progress on an F but not enough time. Get D from homeclub, and send him off, then E from M'a. E proudly shows off her finger which has no bandage, but has been wiped with vaseline.

Home; E wants break-and-marmite so oblige. M comes back and cooks: eggs. After, I go up for bath, being a bit sweaty; come down in time to bed E. Then wiki: manage to get self another 3RR ban: oops. But perhaps as well: I've been at pooter most of evening anyway (wot with egp stuff, AJs poster, blog-t-b, gmail, etc). M is playing, time for me to stop this.

2005/04/15. Friday. A bit rainy.

Builders back, just before 8; wall today, if the rain holds off for them.

Lunch with Tom, DGV then Howard; back to office; misc, and end up at school at 2, as I'd said I might, to help with clearing the scum from the pond. Mrs S introduces me (Daniels Daddy) and says she will choose 4 people: D gets chosen cos its me; and 3 others, either for good work, or for listening well (Wm Macauley; Charlie C; Bethan). I have the key and the nets: off we go. There is a float of scum/weed on the sfc; really we need a much longer net to reach the center but we have fun, scooping off what we can and then pond-dipping once that is done. Charlie (I think) decides to try to cross the earth at the far side of the pond: a mistake: he sinks ankle deep in the mud but of course this is fun for all, not a source of annoyance. They are remarkably interested in even small things: a beetle; a pondskater. And then we find a newt: hurrah! 2 others creep in; then its break; I send some away and more replace them, through the break. After break, stop for a bit, go back in to report to Mrs S. All is well, so acquire another 4, and she will send out more in 5 mins, and I think most of the class get a go, and most get to catch something, though some are disappointed not too. Send them back, clean nets, and go off to get E: see builders heading off.

DE then go off with N; I retire home and spend most of a'noon with coffee and City of Bones my new book, which is proving better than I hoped.

M back 6 ish just after I've got up to start washing up and tidying; we have a slight disagreement after she just sits down to play the piano when I thought she might help. Ah well. I get DE at 6:30; all was well, good: home.

D is scratching his head rather a lot and doesn't complain when I offer to nit-comb him. Find at least 5 big ones. Oh-err. Don't find any on me on a quick comb, or on E. Hmm.

Soir: misc: light wiki, blog-t-b of course.

2005/04/16. Saturday. Fine.

Slowly up - finish city of bones, which was unexpectedly good to the end. M is making a shopping list; D has run upstairs to dress cos C+Dak turned up. Wander down to shed to water seedlings, then leave for town, deciding to b'fast there. Go on my bike which means I remember the lock. Heffers: large coffee and a p-aux-c and finish "in the company of cheerful ladies". Time to go: take M's dry cleaning to Penguin, then to cb1. Settle down to do a mild, which proves a touch on the tough side, as I rather carelessly copy it across to let someone else do the full puzzle, and leave self little space. I concentrate: someone sits at my table: I don't notice who. Look up later: its Richard. Ah, hello. Intro him to the puzzle; he grasps it quickly. I finish mine, except for an awkward bit near the end where I made a mistake and had to swap numbers. Compare with his, unfinished. Realise that the number I swapped was a given one, so I've solved a different puzzle. Oops.

Home, 1:30, following MED in the car back from w'rose. The "olde" w'rose back says Waite, Rose and Taylor, so now I know where the name comes from, but don't know where Mr Taylor went to. Lunch. Decide it would be nice to stay home - and Andy is away - so don't mention swimming and let C+Dak drag DE outside. E finally remembers at about 5 but thats far too late... and she doesn't mind. With E, plant some sunflower seeds and she is keen to use her new watering can to water them. Also a tray of peas. Meanwhile DCDak play around, sawing things in a vaguely controlled fashion: D has a worrying tendency to call my shed "the workroom". Move the swing-seat to the other side of the apple in a belated attempt to preserve the bluebells: not that the various junk on the field side has been cut down there is room there. Beyond the shed, level off the ground where the two hives were and laid down 4 slabs from the patio, to form a possibly weed-proof hive stand, and reassemble the hive there. I need some more brood frames but seem to lack foundation. Oops.

Anyway, children are heading inside, now its past 4. I have promised D to make bread so we do: or at least the enliven yeast the mix then leave to rise, then! I drag them all off to the alloment: to my surprise, no groans of complaint. Dak phones home (his mobile) to check: yes, OK (since they roam everywhere I was surprised he checked). C lacks his bike so must run; I cycle slowly in sympathy: D Dak don't. At the church I ask D to swap with C; at the corner I let D ride on my pedals, and he can pedal the bike. At the allots they run on ahead and I labour behind: after a bit of play I send them off to amuse themselves at N's, cahrging D strictly to look after E along the way, then settle to digging up last years carrots gone split (such a waste!) at the front where I wish to put cabbages. As I expect, the digging is easyish. In an hour tis done, C Dak are seend heading off (home by 6) and N comes to see whats up: a sweet child. She has been off at someones party and only just got back: so I suppose D etc have been amusing themselves with P and Nelson. Talk with N, who is rather unkeen to let me have some spare brood frames, even though she owes me them, on the rather spurious grounds that hers are nice and new. Humpf. Nicholas is out back raking over his old veg plot, no longer needed, that he intends to grass he says. E is in a "car"; D on tramp. Take them both home...

C Dak are hanging about in hopes of a bonfire: send them away till 7:20; dinner. Put bread into tins to rise again. I phoned ahead so food is waiting: pizza for us and fish for them. E nearly has a screaming fit for pasta but then decides she rather wants some fish and is obliged, reluctantly, to give up the fit. She is tired.

After dinner head down for bonfire; D finds CDak. Have it in the "new" location at the back of the field in the middle; get a good blaze going and we have fun and get rid of some junk and clear most of the old location. M brings E out to see and say goodnight. The kids find bits of wood and are v keen to "carry" the fire to a new location over behing G+E; eventually I take pity on them and help; and soon we have a good balze going on some old stuff; Ella comes out, and later G, as it blazes up, then dies down: 8:20: enough: in we go, bye to C+Dak.

Put bread on to cook (oops, left rather late, the 3 "rolls" have merged in to one: this isn't going to be a good effort), D up to pygama, settle to washing up and (for some reason doing it now) to clearing the old honey-gunk mixture from the oven and sorting it out, while M reads D story. Off he goes, and I go for a bath with M. Proust, who waxes a bit too lyrical about hawthorns for my taste.

Later: IP down so peace; do a F and write this and friday up. M does her preschool accounts, once I've chased her off sudoku and patience.

2005/04/17. Sunday. Lovely and sunny. Rain after dark.

Up rather late - about 9 - because the kids become importunate, D even sets the buzzer to time my "five more minutes...". Hmmm. Anyway, its sunny, so sit outside with a coffee and breakfast and sudoku while D plays with a misc group and E is cycling happily around. D has already discovered that the net is still down, so he can't play lego site, and I can't waste this lovely morning on wiki. Plant some asparagus out (the ones I got from Gordon at the fete last year, the overwintered with little attention in their pots) with E's help.

Later: C, Taylor and Connor are going to the Orchard (why?) so DE want to go to, and there seems no reason not too, and a good reason to: to get B and Vivien their birthday presents for next week. D counts up his money with M: he has 18+. Others run on ahead; D cycles and E and I cycle together. By the school, we pass a very puffed C and Taylor coming back, which would appear to imply that they have run there and then straight back, which appears odd. Anyway, Connor is still there when we arrive, somewhat puzzled by where the others have got to... So: leave the kids in the kiddies toys section (yes I know its a mistake, but I want a coffee) and get self a coffee, a bottle of apple for us all, and (indulgence) a bakewell tart and a cream egg. I'm just finishing that when E arrives with what she has chosen for V: a care bears stationary set. Hmm. Its a bit cheap, so we'll have to aplogise for that, but otherwise unobjectionable, quite likely to be liked, and maybe even useful. So it'll do.

E sits with me and we eat tart together. Get her a hot choc. D knows what B wants: spider slammer or somesuch, a hotwheels thing, looks like trash but its what is wanted it seems. D himself is torn between a huge water pistol (or rather water rifle), and a ninja turtles pencil/pen/crayon box, rather like E's maisy one but less cute. I dissuade him, and he settles on: some haribo sweets, a whoopee cushion, and something else. Total 4+. OK. Then they play outside for a bit, I buy a bit more food and an apple juice bottle for them to take out; home.

"Do" hive: poke through the top 3 supers: activity, little honey. Swap one super with some honey onto empty hive, with thought of encouraging them to visit and swarm there.

So... sit out a bit more. 2:30 and its time to head off for tennis (anyone for Stennis?) so throw out his friends and off. Stop off to pick up N and we cycle off, N noticeably faster than D, probably because of a bigger bike with gears and more practice. Its lovely and sunny and I notice the hawthorns along the way cos Proust has been rabbiting on about them endlessly. Anyway mine are blackthorns.

Tennis "open day" thing is indeed on (I always wonder just before we get to such if I've got the wrong day), the odd flag/balloon, and lots of people, lots of kids. Mrs Robinson is there with Matthew so thats a good start. Find out the score, get rackets, into the court, then realise that the session start every now and again, so play amongst ourselves to start. E is by no means the youngest here. A session starts: I leave them to it and go get some tea, only to be pulled back cos E is sad cos I've gone. But she only wants to know where I am: once satisfied, she is happy. So I settle down with tea to watch them practice. Lots of things that i wouldn't have thought of: starting with holding ball on the raquet (see, I can spell), then rolling it round, then in pairs hitting the ball along the floor to each other, builing up confidence I suppose. Then finally trying to hit a thrown ball, which E is comically bad at (failing to even move until the ball is past her) but this doesn't worry her one jot. So when that session ends she is keen to do another, whereas D and N have had their egos bruised a little by not hitting the ball well (I think) and aren't keen to try more. Hey ho. Let them run around, sit a bit, then follow E to her session and watch her being cute again: she is just so happy in what she is doing, skipping like a little lamb. Talk with Alices dad, whose name I've forgotten, about NZ, where he lives.

Fin about 5, a fine haze is oncoming, and its a bit chilly, though you wouldn't guess that from E, who has a teashirt on and is lifting that up to show her belly. Cycle back; stop at N's. N rather grudgingly gives me 3 made up brood frames (grudging because they are new; though 2 are slight seconds), which seems off to me cos I've just given her a hive and she owes me a whole hive structure (minus bees) back. Drag DE off the trampoline and home. M has cooked spanish omlette (I prewarned her) and this is nice. A proper dinner for once! Kids baths; I crack and use the phone line for the net. Promising progress on the RFA.

Put 3 new frames into hive 2, now complete and awaiting a swarm. Find old baby swing, the front-handlebar child seat, and the buggy board in the shed, and bring them back to wash to give to the sale next week.

Bath: finish du-cote-de-chez-swann, though in English, of course. The end came rather suddenly.

D plays jenga with M,

Soir: M doing her preschool stuff.

On the CD: british sea power.

2005/04/18. Monday.

Work: mostly to hack the poster into order, or at least get it started, which proves easier and yet more frustrating than expected. I suppose a proper page layout prog would be better, as would adding the background bitmap *after* all else rather than before. And I bet its some huge stupid BMP not a sensible JPG.

Soir: PC (planning) then PP (new sec, Stuart-as-in-Fizz; questionnaires now printed: I have Sadlers + Brookfield to do.

2005/04/19. Tuesday.

E to M'a; D sch; then slowly towards town cos we have an access grid meeting at 10 so I am in no hurry and the weather is pleasant. Manage to get into the new bits via the back way, err, and over a precipice, and have time to get a coffee before AJ/JCK arrive. Meeting goes flawlessly - no connection or sound problems. And its useful too.

After, to Heffers for lunch, then back to work: talk to TLC re poster text and try to find his figures.

After, to school. The new thing today is the tennis lessons. N talk NP back to her house, I chivvy DB along and have E on the back. We pick up NP at their house, and DNB head off into the distance while I cycle along after P, who squeaks along on his small bike in a most determined way for someone who isn't 5 yet (I think). Nonetheless he is slow and we only just get there by 4. So: push them in the right direction and hope for the best; they end up assigned to various classes, DB together. Honor is there but not in: she is not keen because... she doesn't know folk. Thea is playing though. Later H's friend turns up and H is suddenly OK. E is keen to do something, fair enough, but seems to have accepted that she is too small to be in a class. So we play together for a bit, then I leave her to watch the others. They don't obviously shine, I'm sorry to say, but nor do they disgrace themselves. DB would do better if they concentrated on what they should be doing rather than showing off and playing around. More playing with E and talking to Heather and other mums around - of course it is mums almost all.

After 1/2 h N comes out v nearly in tears. Eventually (with Heathers help) it seems that she can't cope with being in a small kids group: probably a consequence of us arriving a fraction late. So I ask if she can go in with DB; this is OK; then she is fine. Whew.

Fin 4:45. They run around a bit and we have choc bix and drink prepared by N. By miscounting, P doesn't get a bix, oops, his lip wobbles but he stays OK: well done P: I promise him one when he gets home. Off we go: DNB on ahead, stopping at the woods at the dogleg to play. When EP and I get there we stop too, and EP somewhat diffidently go in, while I walk off to view the world. Its hazed a bit and colder. Bram comes past and stops; we talk about the tennis sessions. Its getting on, so I hustle them out of the woods: they would stay longer if they could (in the obvious groups: DNB; and EP). On a bit, and P finally gets tired: so sit him just in front of E, and carry his bike. On. In the distance is... Nikola, who has got worried we were late (she wasn't sure P would make it; she has forgotten I have my mobile). So P swaps to her. Chez N, they head off to trampoline and N makes me tea. Another 20 mins or so, and now its 6, we really must get back. Drop B off at start of BW and finally home.

Soir: more poster hacking; mail what may be a complete version to various; BAS email system is crawling.

Leave M downstairs on sudoku when I go to bed: she comes up v late.

2005/04/20. Wednesday.

Oh dear, its been busy. Its now 23:15 on wednesday and I've got since monday to write up...

Today was a nearly typical wednesday. D sch (plus drop bag of clothes at community room for sale); E and I back home; find lib books, E's swimsuit (hidden), plus various (old swing seat; buggy board; front bike seat; bag of toys) for sale. Off to smoko, then Germ, then pool, then arj/cb1. At this point we've run out of time so no time for library...

Head back, stopping at the sale, as E is v keen to: get E a new pink skirt and an orange top; also a little bag, and a kangaroo (better than a teletubby). There is lots more decent stuff there, but not enough buyers. Sch: swap E with M; head home, a few drops of rain. This afternoons plan was the allotment, but... stay in and wiki a bit. MED come back, with Matthew. Rain is now clearly holding off, so allot: rotavate and plant more pots. Lots of weed roots in the soil but I'll just have to weed later: no time now. Manage to lose the split pin for one of the wheels, but not the wheel itself, and some loose wire does instead. Home, tired, 6:45. Matthew is collected; apparently all went well. I've missed dinner but some spare is out; somehow I end up doing this-and-that, and eat after 9, and I'm still doing this-and-that: a rather busy wiki night. Sigh. Meanwhile, M is still bust with spreadsheet formula trying to do clever things.

2005/04/21. Thursday. Sun.

Fin work and decide to come home to see how the building is getting on: the two carpenters are busy routing grooves into the rafters, which is noisy, so I sit inside. Do they mind being watched? I don't know: and anyway mostly I don't. They leave 3:30 ish; I decide to go for a walk! Well why not. Over the back and up the field (up, just about) and all is peace and quiet except for the M11. Fewer people than if I was walking on a high lakeland fell... Also, a brief "van gogh" moment as I walk up a path between cornfields, except they were rape fields. Good for the bees. Stop at the "top" and read EWWs GISP document: early indications of D-O events, but not emphasised. And so back.

2005/04/22. Friday. Sun.

Its half ten and M has gone to bed: early for once. I am waiting for a pre-vienna backup to finish so am still here tapping away.

DE watch Pete in the morning, then school, E cycling happily on her tricycle, on which she is now quite fast - walking pace. D is on ahead (later, he chafes at being forced to wait opposite the school to cross, but when pressed he isn't 100% sure he could cross safely. Even later, it turns out that N *is* allowed to cross and he feels this is an injustice, since she is younger. Probably we'll fix this over the next few weeks). D in; E and I stop to read a bit of wind in the willows; then p/school.

To work. Spend day in various tidying ups before vienna/egu, and in printing out the poster. JCK lends me his poster tube, though I worry a bit if it will get onto the plane, ryanair not being noted for kindness. Its Marios farewell smoko, he having got a slightly raw deal out of the post-reduction into Q4. Also GS suggests an RC on a recent DGV science paper, and this gets done in double quick time by DGV. Super!

Home by 2: sunny but a bit windy: sit out and drink coffee and read the economist. Which manages to write a sci article about valuing the env whilst barely mentioing GW. Hey ho.

Sch 3:30. Hustle D into multi sports, and watch while E zooms around the playground on her trike. She is still in the pink skirt and orange top we bought in the sale: she is so happy with them, she sleeps in them. I'm in charge of P too: he is around somewhere. Others sit out in the sun too and watch their kids: I'm next to Helen F. Take EP home about 4, P runs ahead. Home and they want to compute (or P does: I think he rarely gets the chance at home) and E watches with him. Quickly get DN at 4:30 (M back late...) and they all end up having a tea party for all the cuddlies, and it is decided that the party is in honour of Mr Weasels birthday, he and Ermine are the guests of honour. They have made various playdo cups, plates and cakes, Mr W was 5 I guess since there were 5 candles, and D has 5 little red bobbles he puts on top of the toothpicks in the cakes to be the flames on the candles and he "lights" them with a match then helps Mr W to blow them out, as we sing happy birthday to mr w. N arrives soon after dinner - in fact before dinners end, since we're late, so we talk about extensions, we of course extolling the speed of our builders, but possibly we (I) overdo this as it may be slightly sensitive for her. I must stop being silly.

I tidy; M beds E (slowly) while D plays RR I think (he hasn't done much pooting recently). Then M reads D beowulf (the mighty cluster) which he ends up quite liking, then A+O: le domaine des dieux.

Soir: misc computing type stuff, but *not* all evening for once. Put honey I recovered (*finally* clearing the pan in the oven, its been there for months) into jars: 3 more. Thickly runny, and doesn't seem to have suffered in taste from its long heating.

2005/04/23. Saturday. More sun!

Today is the great day of Vivien and Billy's b'day parties. I get up with them at 9 (M gets today in bed in lieu of tomorrow) and misc; then hurry rush hurry to wrap the presents (E helps M...) and write a card (D has conceived the idea of translating B's into french, having lain in bed with M talking about Fr). To rec, for 11, taking DE. Leave D there (B's starts 11:30) and take E to V's (which starts 11). All the little girls are in pink pricess or fairy costumes; Ollie and one other boy are green-faced goblins (I thought they were frogs... it seemed to go with the princesses). E has her best party frock on so is in place, despite being not an explicit princess. And they go into the garden for a pre-party photo before all their finery is disarrayed.

Still before 11:30; Clare is arranging the treasure hunt, B is there; Cory et al are running up; so leave D. Home: M is practising, I decide to sit in the sun at the bottom of the garden with the bees and read the economist. A pleasant interlude: two ?bluetits? display in a tree, chittering. A blackbird. Bees. Ah... coffee finished I water the seedlings (peas coming on; leeks of course; sunflowers, sweetcord and some flowers yet to emerge) then plant the last of Gordon Kinseys asparagus seedlings that I got at last years fete and that have overwintered rather well. As a chairman of the PC I don't care for him (far too abrupt, thought very well up on village matters) but as a gardener he is first class.

Time to get E: all is well, she is delighted with her party bag, she has a "wand" (a pencil, glittery silver, with silver fluff on the end: a perfect wand) and misc otehr stuff. I have arranged to with M to stop at the rec with E and meet her there at the end of B's party to all cycle into town. But. B's party isn't there any more. Err... its back at their house: OK. So go there. I'm a bit early (1:20) but thats fine (actually I turn out to be a lot early: the fin is 2 not 1:30: but that is fine too). E is of course at home; I get some tea nd watch the games: there are 4 signs up (football teams). The kids run to their chosen sign; A blows a whistle and they stop; Clare calls out a team; anyone on that sign is "out"; and they choose again. Lots of running and fun, and a certain amount of cheating by dodging from one sign to another (S) but most are content just to have fun. Then fish-in-the-sea: run around, A calls a number (2; 5; 3; 7) and they have to clump into groups of that #; anyone not clumped is out. That was good. Etc etc. All boys, except for the traditional exception of N. M comes at half past; more tea. Clares mum (I don't know her name! I can't spend all time calling her CM) is helping out. She is a little like mother, but older (I think) and rather more domestic, in that she irons and washes up whenever she is around. We chat about the new house opp st cats; agreeing that it is architectuarally interesting but needs bigger grounds.

Come 2, other parents arrive, and the party unwinds. I remember how it is at this stage: although all has gone well, there has been enough stress keeping everyone happy and busy and suppressing the more vigourous (S) that you are happy to see everyone gone; except perhaps for a few closer (quieter) friends. And so it is this time: D spurns Ms offer of town (M had deliberately designed into the day a quiet time for her to take D to town and shop with him a bit for stuff he wants/needs: new pygamas, a watch, etc), preferring to have C and Dak over; should we take B too? No, lets just all stay here and AC are happy so we do. M heads off townwards anyway; I make myself another tea; the children go to play with the nintendo; misc after-party tidyings take place. I don't help: C has some "technical" probs (I am known to be able to fix things): the video (no help there) and the patio doors, since Stanley has cunningly stuck bits of a tellytubbies puzzle behind them, they won't close. Taking the door off its runners makes space to remove the bits; putting the door back on its runners needs a gentle hammer tap and a number of knives as levers: all is well and my status is enhanced. Now, for the living room shelves... they are having trouble finding a carpenter.

They offer D for tea and watch Dr Who at 7; OK; I leave M there for an hour and follow C to the allotment where some vigorous digging gets another row of pots in: I have a few more that I could put in but doubt I'll have time: switch to keep-it-clean mode from now. Ben is out on his, since they are having trouble finding a house; chat with Sophie. Back (via house, since C wanted some honey), pick up E (a bit sad at not getting to stay, but so used by now to you're-not-old-enough that she says it herself.

M back from her shop 5:30 (poor M: didn't stop for a moment in a cafe...) with new pygamas for D etc, but couldn't find a childrens watch). I bath. D back: Dr Who was fun, clearly not too scary, not terribly well understood (aliens taking over the earth I think).

Soir: wiki (war continues, bitter) pack (lose my flight-conf number, print another (but the piece of paper has useful train times on it...; find them again on the web and save webpage on r100) find it upstairs... etc. Fit all into my std rucksac. Decide against taking poster tube, in case they refuse it as cabin baggage; just roll poster up tightly. Fin just past midnight. Set alarm. What have I forgotten?

2005/04/24. Sunday. Sun.

Wake with a start: its sunny outside. What time is it? Did the alarm fail to go off and the taxi fail to beep? No... its 6:44, 1 min till the alarm. Kiss M, kiss D, leave E asleep and go downstairs. Little b'fast (nervous; always am before trip starts: what if taxi fails to arrive; what if... oh stop it), taxi arrives on time, brief chit chat then quiet quick drive to Stanstead. BAS has pre-payed so just hop out and off: check in quickly (no probs with poster, and they don't even weight my bag), then what? Its now 8:10. So get a quick coffee, croissant and a fresh jouce from one of those delightful machines that crushes a sequence of oranges visbly for you. However, I'm still vaguely and pointlessly nervous about missing my flight, so finish up and head through passports then to the gate. #50 is on "this side" and just for once I don't get the little train thingy. Get out the r100 and see if there is a connection: yes: t-mobile offers me access at 5/hour. But I don't need that now, so tap at this until they call us to Q.

Onboard (and a bit of turbulence, so forgive any misstypes). Its a bit crowded because they have roped off the first and last 8 rows of seats, presumably to save cleaning costs, the b*st*rds: well thats what you get for flying bargain basement. Take off: no sitting around: indeed we had barely cleared the last curve before the engines went full and off we go: can planes do wheelies? Up in clear air; south a cloud deck of the usual beautiful type. In what does its beauty consist? As Proust, who I'm reading, might well ask. And give you about 10 pages with one sentence in answer. Principally in the lack of visible human presence. Partly in unusuallness (I don't fly enough for it to be commonplace). In smoothness and uniformity but broken up on the large and small scales (differing in that from many anthro things). Cloud streets. Over water: but which? I thought it was Holland/France but that is now: so it must have been the Thames estuary. Smokestacks of ?the Ruhr?.

Clouds clear as we approach Salzburg: first views down to a pattern of roads and houses very distinctly not-english (too even spacing of small clumps of houses that are probbaly farms, implying I think that the farms themselves are small and worked by people living on them...); then the mountains! I don't know their names but they are lovely, as ever, snow streaked at the heights. About 5 mins from landing to out-of-airport. On the tarmac I stop to take a picture of the more distant glacier peaks and am hustled along for "safety reasons" of course; the std catch-all for behave-like-everyone-else. Wander out; find trolley-bus line and ticket machine: just as I finish buying one appears: such efficiency, I didn't even phone ahead. And into town: not too quickly, since we keep stop-starting for traffic; but everything around me is of interest. Foreign ciies are, obviously, superior to english ones: but why: probably for differences; because when I go to them its a hol or trip; or perhaps they really are better. Having a view of the mountains at the end of your road is one clear superiority over Cambridge. Trip to hauptbahnhoff is about 30 mins; ticket OK; nearly forget poster till ticket-chap calls me back; 40 mins till 13:10 train, or after that the 13:34, so wander around looking for view of the hills. Circle station and find view: ah... But, not time to get there: rather a shame EGU isn't here instead. So rather than torture myself with the inaccessible, and having checked that the town centre is quite a trip away, I get the 13:10, which is -gasp- late leaving. And doesn't have a wireless network on board. But it is clean and uncrowded with a nice large space at the end for bikes.

Into Wien but 15 mins late; decide to go straight to conf via ubahn. Quick trip, but then a loooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnggggggggggggggggg sloooooooooooooooowwww Q to register (since I have foolishly forgotten to pre-reg). In fact the Q is not so much long as slow (1:30 h about) partly (we suspect: I end up talking to an American Geo called Tim) because of a group of pushing-in Russians at the front. Moral: join the Q far away from the writing-on tables.

After that its 7: walk back some of the way, over the big bridge, and get far enough to realise that the whole walk will be really quite long, but happily its || to the ubahn so hop on. To stephansplatz; the cathedral is as big as ever but blacker than my memory of it. Hotel just nearby OK. Rest. Shower. About 9 head out for food (all alone :-( or :-)?) and find nearly Italian. Should I fail to speak to them in I or in G? Anyway the food is good and I sit outside reading P. Martin W arrives with party at another table; I say hello to him as I leave.

2005/04/25. Monday.

Wake by self in time, which is lucky, cos the alarm I set on my palm was on English time. Reset it. Meet TJ and his wife as I finish b'fast: take my half finished roll with me, which is fortunate as the lunch Qs are unsupportable. Meet Amna in a session and then later at the poster, where I stand in with her for a bit before wandering around. There are hassles with the wireless which get solved with the help of the magic man in the brown jacket who helpfully provides the IP address to set. Mail home. I have realised that the phone I brought out does not have dual band so is useless: so I'm reduced to mailing home.

And so the day passes in session hopping. Write D (err, and E) and email to say what I'm up to.

Fin by walking back some of the way along the Reichsbrucke over the Neu Danube.

Bath; rest. Then out to meet Mike R at 8 for dinner: go to same resto as last night, since it seemed quite good and I have by no means exhausted its menu. Inside, since its now quite rainy. Have a good long chat over dinner: mostly politics: only get on to BAS right at the end.

Back; bit of TV; bit of Civ. Bed.

2005/04/26. Tuesday. Rain then sun then...

Up 7:30, b'fast (with TJ and ?Svetla?), to conf through rain. I have still to wait more than 2 mins for a ubahn, and usually only 1. Most of morning in EPICA session (how nice to be fixed for once) with a brief diversion to hear about Global Dimming (or not) from satellites. Blog all this... Coffee breaks once again coffeeless, but in an innovation they have now made them waterless too. Lunch Qs as ever so wander out (on MRs advice) to backerei Mann by the ubahn where they manage to serve fast and furiously and the queue is short and I even get a seat. So I can write this...

Get a few "customers" for the poster, and AJ stops to say hello. I offer to intro her to TJ but she already knows him. Meet Lars K again and conduct him round the poster.

Dinner with Nicole and various BAS folk: AJ, Liz, and even Yan, err, who half way through dinner points out to me that he has worked for BAS for the past 2 years. How was I to know? A german with an NZ accent in the company on NvL... In a bierkellar type place: an old vault: old stone arches and food to match, ie there was one veggie option, but that was enough.

After, to the Lord Nelson for a bier with Nicole, who is faced with a dilemma over moving to L or not. And we discuss static vs mobile sort of people.

2005/04/27. Wednesday. Fine.

Conf am.

pm: town. Stephansplatz. Dom deep interior is shut for mass, tourists can only go as far as a barrier. Thats new. But, a good idea: its a cathedral and should be. To Kunstmuseum for a long session. Spend ages in the egyptian section taking many many pics of the sarcophogi and stuff, all on 1/4 due to no flash. Cafe upstairs: sachertorte and cafe. And then photo cafe - to do a panorama - since the inside of the museum is as decorated as its contents. They have a Canaletto special so I go to look, though I don't esp care for them: the ripples on an early one are awful. Then Ruebens; then misc. 3+ hours is enough for me!

Out via Heldenplatz, which has a "peace" sort of monument: the two big statues are bricked up, as they were at the end of WWII. Except... looking closer, they are actually plastic-imitation-bricks'ed up, which is cheating. And a big banner on the balcony on which Hitler announced the annexation of Austria saying "to the victims of national socialism". I think.

Then to Hotel Sacher to try *their* sachertorte. They won't let me in the posh bit - I'm not properly dressed - and quite right too. So I go next door to their cafe bit and am served a very nice coffee+torte (the best of the 3 I've tried here).

2005/04/28. Thursday. Fine.

Conf all day really. I'm being good, and its interesting.

Dinner: meet Hadley folk, and Eric and some others, outside Dom at 7:30. We end up about 16, but fortunately break up into groups, I go with TJ, Sv and Ruth. We're all a bit tired and quiet. Sv had been on a tour to a monastery off towards Bratislava, so I mention UKlG and (not by name) Malafrena.

Bed early for once.

2005/04/29. Friday. Fine again!

Weather seems to have settled into the fine pattern. But I'm getting tired: too much conf and too little time off, a problem when there is too much of interest. Still a good problem to have. Looking forward to a rest on the train and plane.

Up (7:10) and in early (8) to set up poster. I can't be here for the official poster display time (3:30) which worries me a bit so I resolve to be here for morning coffee and lunch instead. And indeed it turns out that lots of people won't be here this pm so I get a few good interests this morning instead.

Various talks - see blog - nothing of great interest and I'm really not inspired to be interested. Gavin sits next to me and snorts through a few talks.

Early lunch: walk towards the rive and find a cafe/backerei at the base of a tower: sit inside in sun; read Proust: on Swanns xfer to lower soc and Odettes attempts to rise. M has mailed me: poss probs re building re the party walls not being close enough, may well cause trubble.

Back: posters briefly, meet Nerylls at mine. Email, last. Talks: last: one climate sensitivity (swapping SW radiation modules between models, needs more work). Fin. Walk out into brilliant sun. Its now a bit past 2: ubahn to town, and find that the cathedral deep interior is open, good. So look around. Its full of bl**dy tourists, of course. But we are enjoined to hush and most obey. Some remembered stuff is there: the pulpit. The man beneath. The rows of toads crawling up the pulpit rail (open when I first visited; encased in plastic last time (the go congress?), and rather dusty now. The symbolism seems obvious: how did the priests permit it?

3:30: train out of Wien, ah the old days. Crowded though: sit in end until first stop then crush eases and I get a seat. Switch from P to Sudoku diff, the ones M wrote out for me. A man and his son play Uno, the son delighted when he wins.

Salzburg: now its gently raining. "stadtbus" (ie, electric-overhead) to airport (half hour). Photo of the mountains with cloud behind. Into terminal: it about 7:30 so I'm in time: check-in, then upstairs to resto, since plane is 20 mins late. Have a pizza and fresh orange (another of those nice machines, only I get to run it and watch closely). Play civ while looking out. Few planes. Board, off, maybe 15 mins late.

fail to find taxi back immeadiately; get a bit annoyed with him for not being where he should be but when I do find hime he's a nice bloke and turns out to have a plush jag so OK then. Back a bit before 11. Hello to M; shift bleary-eyed kids out of our bed; bed.

2005/04/30. Saturday. Warm, becomming fine.

Up rather late, being tired. some kind of infant mayhem downstairs with D's friends, D and E annoying one another, D being sent up to his room, well I don't know. M takes them to W'rose; I sit outside with coffee and toast, not really wanting to go to town. Slowly down garden: an awful lot of bees looking at hive 2: have they swarmed in? Inside: washing up: payment for being away for a week.

DEM back 1:50: quick pack swim stuff, phone to invite N, pick her up (poor P looks sad...) and to pool. Where they all have fun; E is "princess snow white", N is "princess cinderella" and D is, apparently, Dominic. They build E a house out of floats. E deigns to ride on my back, as does N. N and D have a swimming race: D wins: N complains he always does: but he only won by about 1 foot over the width of the pool. Diving.

Back to N's at about 4. N is out (I wanted to ask her about a hive back) but Nick is gardening (Nelson is watering the new grass patch, when not spraying more interesting things). Talk for a while re plantings etc; then leave kids and get some more bags of compost from the orchard, mistakenly buying some with peat in, oops. Dump them on allot and come back for kids; N is there (sounding somewhat unwell) and we negotiate which bits of hives I'm allowed back. My (now her) hive seems to be doing well. Follow kids out onto rec; Paul and A and V are there so chat to him while kids play mysterious kids games. Paul has been to Vienna a week before: on Air Nikki or somesuch.

Now its 6: time to go home. D and N ask me to ask N is N can come over for a sleepover. I think I know the answer but ask anyway: answer is no, but next week OK, so we agree next friday. Home, pizza, E and I plant some pansies I bought today (blue, goes with the theme of the bed), M beds her, D is quietly lego-ing (building 3 grades of robot, whose properties he explains to me).

Soir: quiet: small wiki-ing; mail MK; RC commenting on the Ant piece; Civ.

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