Dear Diary... April 2019

Tuesday 30th April - To Infineon and Beyond

The last day of the month, already, and it really seems to have flown by to be perfectly honest. I for one was pretty pleased it had, a lot of good things have happened, and it won't be that long before The Love In My Heart and I head away - for a mini break at the end of May, and then our Summer break not long after that. I definitely think when you've got nice little things to look forward to, it gives you focus on the tasks ahead and what needs to be done, and certainly I felt that today.

I was working on a report to see what hardware was out there in terms of Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chips for encryption, not just in terms of what version of TPM - as 2.0 is better than 1.2 after all, but also what manufacturer they are too. If you're wondering just why that's important, Infineon made chips have a known issue with some of them based on certain firmware revisions, and normally there's a firmware upgrade you can apply which would resolve this for you.

As it transpired, for at least two of the Lenovo laptops in use, they have dual TPMs, the 1.2 version is the Infineon one, but there's also an Intel-based TPM 2.0 chip in there. Naturally of course that's the one to go for, and my recommendation is that for any of those being rebuilt or reimaged, it gets switched out to TPM 2.0 beforehand (if not done so already of course). One other model has an Infineon chip and TPM 2.0, but these are already at the correct firmware level, so all good there.

In fact it was also good to see that there was an online table published of the TPM manufacturer IDs and what actual manufacturer they were. When returned via WMI, it returns a ten digit number for the manufacturer. That has to be converted to hexadecimal (eight characters) and from there, each two hex bytes translates to an ASCII character for the letter. So, for example, 1229870147 translates to 494E5443, so taking each pair, $49 = 73 (I), $4E = 78 (N), $54 = 84 (T), $43 = 67 (C), which is INTC, and that's Intel, according to the official TPM vendor list. Needless to say, having a proper list online was handy to have as a lookup table without having to do all that work, even with an Excel formula.

All was well later too as I got home on time, trying out a different route via Blackfriars and getting on the train there, so Tottenham Court Road to Embankment, Embankment to Blackfrairs on tube, then train. This seemed to work okay so might become a preferred route - see what happens. I also spent some time tonight listening to the excellent "2112" by Rush - the whole twenty or so minutes of the title track, and all seven parts. It reminded me of playing Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and having to play through that during one of the levels, which was actually very cool indeed...

Monday 29th April - Getting On With It

It was a good night's sleep I had last night after watching the fifth episode of Line of Duty last night. I admit that it's all going to be set up nicely for the final 90 minute episode on Sunday (which myself and The Love In My Heart will watch together which will be great) - certainly all fingers are pointing at certain people, but knowing Jed Mercurio there's going to be a few plot twists I suspect. Look at the end of series three, everyone thought it was lined up for Steve Arnott to take the rap for being the Caddy, only Kate Fleming had sussed Cottan out and was able to very carefully look at it from a different perspective. Interesting to see what happens.

So I had noted for some reason one of the SCCM distribution points in New York had a small error, but this was primarily down to one package not liking its content anymore and also (incorrectly) showing in WMI. It was good to be able to clear that up and verify the content correctly, and all appears to be playing ball now. I must admit when I saw all 22 DPs showing not green when I started this job, it was my determination to get that correct and working properly - apparently in some cases for the first time since 2016. Win!

I think too that I've been able to work out a good way to get all the language side sorted so I can raise a change to get that effective later this week. It'll therefore keep the American side of the business happy whilst at the same time still keeping the UK as the default (most users - sensible decision, and backed by management too). I think on the whole that it's been a positive to show that there's something we can always do and look at, and as everyone's pretty fair and constructive, it allows for a bit of team work and testing to happen.

I headed home later on, although the delays at London Victoria were somewhat uncomfortable and dangerous too - lots of people heading to the small concourse waiting for platforms 15-19, and some having to go through the ticket barriers and wait at the other side next to the platforms simply to get some room to be able to move. Not the best ever, especially when trains were being delayed in due to issues with a broken down train, and took me around half an hour later than expected to get home. Ironically, Euston has had two more shops removed from the concourse and the open space is much better for flow.

I did watch the snooker too, and the second round final matches did wrap up pretty well - Judd Trump winning six on the bounce to overcome Ding Junhui, and that was pretty good, and John Higgins beating Stuart Bingham 13-11 in a titanic scrap worthy of any final to be honest, it had everything. The quarter finals start tomorrow, and the real business end too - and in the meantime the proper snooker theme Drag Racer is of course tune of the day - simply brilliant and sets the atmosphere up nicely fort another evening's play in Sheffield too.

Sunday 28th April - Marathon Munch

I left The Love In My Heart to have a well earned lie in, and I got myself up and had a coffee ready so I could watch the London Marathon on the telly. We were considering whether to get up early and head out to Cutty Sark to watch the runners, maybe even then heading to Tower Gateway later, but we knew we'd have to be up at a really early hour to get across on the DLR, so decided it'd be easier to stay at home all round. Andy Murray fired the starters gun and it was on with the race, and some decent racing at that.

In fact the men's race had three or four athletes going for it, but ultimately no one was going to deny Eliud Kipchoge, who blitzed the last few miles and gradually wore down the other athletes, and his time was the second fastest time in the marathon ever, only behind his own record at Berlin last year. Second and third were the fastst ever second and third place and Mo Farah had no answer, running not the best race (maybe considering events going on this week, not surprising really.)

I have to say though I was most pleased for some of the British women doing reasonably well, not going to win maybe but smashing a personal best by two minutes, finishing in the top 10 which would mean a very high chance of qualification automatically for the Worlds and the Olympics? Charlotte Purdue, take a bow, a proper paced run, exactly as was stated, and passing people near the end who went off too quick and earning that place from a well judged race. It was great to see and her interview afterwards with Gabby Logan was class - shame all the air time was given to Mo instead of Charlotte actually..

The Love and I left my place later and headed on to the train to London Bridge (hardly anything was running to Victoria due to engineering works) and then from there taking the paths down to the tube station, and then onwards to Euston via the Northern Line. From there it was a short walk over to the Crown and Anchor for Sunday lunch together, our usual haunt. In fact I had a voucher for £10 off food as a little treat, so that meant we were to have a nice lunch for a very nice price. I had the chicken and mushroom pie, and The Love had the burger, which looked gorgeous.

It was nice and chilled out as we had a drink and chatted, and some of the London Marathon finishers, medals around their necks, headed in for a well earned post-race drink, and we headed off to Euston. The concourse now has had the removal of The Body Shop and Paperchase from the main concourse, meaning one massive large area for waiting a bit more open plan station too. This is part of a longer term plan generally and not just down to HS2, so notable it feels like that. The Love headed home and I headed back homewards, watched the F1 and saw a boring Mercedes 1-2 with not much incident, and the snooker was much more exciting (cue Drag Racer by The Doug Wood Band, the proper snooker theme, as tune of the day)

Saturday 27th April - Fashionista Fest

It was nice to have a bit of a lie in this morning, and also to make a nice full breakfast to keep us going during the morning too. The Love had a bit more sleep and I had BBC2 on for some of the snooker whilst I was getting the likes of scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon and mushrooms on the go and have them all ready to have a nice morning set up. The Love was all good to enjoy breakfast, and we knew we were heading off later and towards Bermondsey for an exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum.

Later on it was off to East Croydon and to get the train to London Bridge, and from there it was out at the South exit and past the vintage market called Flea before then heading down Bermondsey Street, having a mooch around a few of the little shops before then heading into the Fashion and Textiles Museum. We had a good look around and noted the sixties exhibition featuring Terence Conran's furniture designs and also some of the clothes by Mary Quant. It was a nice well laid out exhbition, with archive designs of furniture being notable as well as some of the raincoats and the evolution of the daisy logo for Mary Quant too. The Love did think it was smaller than she thought, although well laid out.

We then walked towards London Bridge and to the Barrowboy and Banker pub for some well earned lunch and a nice pint of Oliver's Island for yours truly. We both had the fish and chips which was pretty good: a nice minted pea puree, some lovely tartare sauce and some well made chips, and the fish was good. In fact The Love had a helles type lager from the Dark Star brewery which was pretty good, and it was nice to be able to sit down and natter whilst we were able to watch the world go by too. We also had been to Flea along the way and had a good mooch at the stalls there.

It was then a case of heading on the Jubilee Line over to Baker Street and from there avoiding the masses queueing at Madame Tussaud's and onwards to Marylebone High Street, stopping off in the Cornran shop for a nice mooch around the furniture and decor, and also having a well earned coffee in there too, which was good to do - and very civilised too. We then walked down the High Street and The Love got herself a nice bargain in the Emma Bridgewater shop, and the likes of Daunt Books, Caroline Gardner, Anthropologe and other lovely shops were visited along our walk, ending at St Christopher's Place and towards Bond Street.

From there it was back on the (very busy!) Jubilee Line to London Bridge and exiting past Flea and under the arches to Hop King, where their very nice pale ale was had by me and The Love had a nice lager. The skateboarding was happening with children and their parents skating, which was good, and a bit of Rage Against The Machine's ace "Killing In The Name" was belting out too - so definitely tune of the day - especially as the staff even turned it up a bit, and sensibly cut to the next track before all the swearing, with kids present that made sense to me.

We then got the train back to East Croydon and to home, and we then had some nice ham gratin for tea before settling in to watch the Blu-ray version of the documentary film Being Frank - which, as someone who backed the film, got before the release date on Monday. It was of course great to watch that again and The Love did say to me she felt sorry for Chris Sievey, having to give all his fame down to a papier-maché headed version of himself, and not to the many songs which he wrote with pop sensibilities. So many great moments of course, but it was perhaps the fact that the family were all interviewed and gave different sides to Chris as a person was really intriguing to see, and credit to Steve Sullivan for this and seeing the more human side throughout. A must buy when it comes out.

Friday 26th April - Internationally Yours

I had a bit of an idea and a challenge on of sorts. When I first started at the new job, a number of the staff had mentioned that the language etc in Windows 10 was set to English (US) instead of English (UK) and having had conversations with my management and the service teams, it was more sensible to ensure that the languages were all set to English (UK) as that was to be the default for the majority of users. I was able though to ensure that when I did the new image build and new task sequence, all was good and was set to UK.

However, one of our American teams did ask me the question on whether it may be feasible to do something where they could set it to English (US) - although changing the language setting wasn't too bad in Windows 10, and that was something the service teams in the UK had to do previously, so a case of thinking it through. In the end, there were a couple of useful options to explore, a combination of both were to prove to be the right answer overall.

One was a little bit of scripting to be run just after the disk formatting in the task sequence where you would set a little Powershell thing running which would let you decide which language to use - which then sets a variable which you can use later on. You can then use that later on to set some dynamic variables for the Input Language, OS Display Language, and those dynamic variables are referenced by unattend.xml when you pass some unattended settings to the Windows image. That way, the file is populated with the language settings, and off you go.

One final thing to do (and it was important to do this before you apply the Setup Windows and Configuration Manager step) is to get the language pack applied correctly for the language selected, so I was able to get the full packs for English US and German, then ensure that they are applied as a package, and it was recommended to use the MDT step "Apply language packs offline". This worked well, and this meant that the language pack was added correctly, and on reboot, the first "please wait.." showed in the correct language. And indeed, when finished, it now showed on the correct settings for everything. So, I have a way forward, just now need a final test to confirm.

Later on I arrived home and had a nice Pizza Express pizza for tea, before making sure all the flat was clean and tidy as The Love In My Heart was coming down for the weekend. I went to meet her at East Croydon later on and she was all good, especially having gone in First Class on the way down and was able to enjoy the fish and chips, plus some prosecco too! It was lovely for us both just to snuggle up on the Friday night, watch Gogglebox together, and have a nice drink or two as well, a perfect way to start the weekend.

Thursday 25th April - Wombling Free

It was good to see how long it would take tonight to get from work to the hairdressers I normally go to, and that would give me an idea on whether I could go any day of the week or whether I'd need to do a Thursday, such as tonight, when I know that they're open til 8pm. I also knew realistically that it would take a little longer to get there because I needed to do a change of tube at some point. With Oxford Circus essentially being a write off for various reasons, I decided on a sensible course of action instead.

This involved me getting to Tottenham Court Road station from the office, not that far really, and then take the Northern Line down to Embankment, and change there for the District Line. This is often my route to Victoria if I need to take it primarily (again) to avoid the carnage at Oxford Circus and there's usually a chance of getting on in both instances, and so it proved. In fact at Victoria I managed to get a seat and was able to be comfortable as the tube glided towards Earls Court and then down past Fulham Broadway and Putney Bridge on the way to Wimbledon Park.

It was business as usual in the hairdressers, and there were some quality tunes being played in the background as I waited to have the hair cut, and as per usual, the staff in there did a really good job. I like to keep it relatively short these days and neat and tidy, and just means that the thickness of my hair can go without any issues, and that makes it a lot easier to manage too. It was around 7pm when I left, having arrived around 6.15pm. So in terms of time taken, the other days' 7pm closure could be doable, I guess.

It was then towards Wimbledon itself on the tube, and I had a quick walk around the centre. It was noticeable that although the Curzon cinema was still open, the ground and first floor where HMV used to be was all cordoned off, so no visits to there for music anymore. Certainly for me with the Oxford Street HMV gone, it's either a trip to Bromley when here, or to the Manchester one when up with The Love In My Heart, so something to think about for sure.

It was then home later and it was good to relax and chill out with some music too - I decided to play the DVD-Audio disc of Queen's seminal A Night At The Opera album, which included the opener Death On Two Legs (make that one tune of the day) and that was pretty good all round too - still impressive sounding in 5.1 surround with quality production values, and still a benchmark in so many ways in that department. I've also sung that particular track in Rock Band 3 as well..

Wednesday 24th April - Manchester Is Blue

It was the Manchester derby tonight, a game held back from March due to FA Cup commitments and a game which Manchester City had to win to keep a point ahead of Liverpool with the same number of games played. Naturally of course, as ever, I was nervous before kick off, primarily because United had been so abysmally poor against Everton on Sunday that they couldn't possibly be that bad again and of course when it's the derby, you would think that the players would actually be pumped up enough for it. No doubt on City's side on that one, I'm sure Vincent Kompany will have the whole squad well drilled and ready to rock.

The first half was tense, nervous and cagey. City attacked the Stretford End but didn't have many chances, the best one was a run from Raheem Sterling and he shot when maybe he should have let Ilkay Gundogan have a strike instead. Still the signs were there and some solid passing throughout was meaning that we were keeping possession nicely - if there was a break on then Ederson in the City goal was sussing it out and coming off his line as needed. Naturally it would have been nice to score before half time but it was 0-0 going into the interval, and that was at least half way there without conceding, so all good.

The second half got underway and City pressed forward, looking more in control. We had to make a change and brought on Leroy Sané for Fernandinho. This meant Gundogan went back to the Ferna role and actually changed the game in our favour - we looked more solid going forward too. The ball went to Bernardo Silva on the right hand side. He cut inside Luke Shaw, and hit the shot low, but not that hard. Needless to say there was a rather joyful face in the Towers when I saw the ball pass David de Gea and into the United goal, and Bernardo had done it! Get in.

City weren't content though and pressed onwards, knowing that 1-0 tonight might not be enough (but I'd have taken it if offered.) The ball broke forward and Raheem Sterling had options. Sergio Agüero cleverly drew the United defenders towards him, leaving space down the left for Sané - who received the ball and shot low and hard. De Gea got to it with his shin but the ferocity of the shot was too much and it sailed into the net. Oh yes. Get in. 2-0 City and that felt a massively lot better it has to be said. I noted too online that former City player Nigel de Jong was celebrating that wildly in the BeIN Sports Studio. Good lad. Once a blue, always a blue.

City pretty much cruised to the win with the last twenty minutes resembling something like a practice game all round. City just were professional, kept it tight and didn't give anything away, and at the end it was actually a pretty straightforward win all round. Most importantly, 11th win in the league on the trot, back to the top, and Manchester, is, as ever, blue. Tune of the day is the excellent version of Blue Moon by Supra, which really does get everyone fired up - and quite right too.

Tuesday 23rd April - Long Day Of Shocks

So it was a very early rise for me as I was off from The Love In My Heart's place to get an early train down to London. You see, Euston was closed all over Easter and that meant that it was a case of having to avoid heading down on the Easter Monday as I would have normally done. In a way it did mean we could snuggle up with some telly and indeed fuss over Brian the cat, who as ever was up in the morning wondering what all the fuss was about. The Love dropped me at Piccadilly station, and I got some coffee from Pret, and it was onto the 0610 departure to London Euston, getting in at 0820 and then a walk from there to the office, getting in around 0845, so didn't do too badly all told.

I had noted yesterday in the World Snooker Championship that Ronnie O'Sullivan was 5-4 down against James Cahill. I didn't expect James to go 8-5 up later on, and sort of expected Ronnie to come back to 8-8 (which he did of course) but then for James to hold his nerve in a tense 17th frame and get over the line in the next with a quality clearance - unbelieveable stuff, really was. I was mega pleased for him and although it did look like Ronnie may have not been 100%, let's not take anything away from the way James Cahill played, quality stuff - and sort of not unexpected as he did beat Mark Selby in the first round of the UK Championship too.

I was also spending some time getting to the bottom of seeing if a recent laptop would even take Windows 7, for a particular purpose. Of course I had suspected already that due to its newness that it wasn't going to be possible, and without applying any drivers it seemed to want to play ball, but adding drivers in resulted in immediate blue screens and not much else happening with a notable STOP error. I suspect that the hardware due to its 8th generation Intel processor isn't going to cut the proverbial mustard with that one, and know already it works perfectly well in Windows 10, so if the particular purpose is for these, it may not be what is wanted.

That said though, I did launch the new revised Windows 10 builds today, and they went really well all told. The good thing is that one of the Dell models was being a bit icky but this was because with TPM 2.0 enabled, it really wanted to be UEFI and not legacy boot. One thing often forgotten is that on a Dell model you have to enable UEFI Network stack (yes really!) or else you won't be able to PXE boot with it - enabling that saw it go through everything, first time, and without errors, and so much nicer overall. I'm really pleased with the outcome thus far and it goes to show just how useful feedback from the staff out there is.

I took the bus to Victoria later and the train home which was relatively quiet actually, and was nice to be home after a few days away. Of course I had plenty of post, but also notably, I was able to get a few things sorted, food shopping for one. I had noted a thread earlier from someone I know about TV themes and how hard it can be to get the proper originals. If you want a good compilation set, then definitely search out the TVT "Television's Greatest Themes" selection. I've got volumes 3, 6 and 7, and they're all the proper versions. Even the A-Team theme (make that one tune of the day) has the classic "In 1972 a crack commando unit.." spiel at the start. Utterly majestic.

Monday 22nd April – Belting Biddulph

It was nice not to think about getting the train back today, and The Love In My Heart and I had decided that we were going to head to Biddulph Grange Gardens as it was a National Trust property we’d been to before (and liked) and with the weather set all lovely, it was definitely well worth heading out to. We had a nice breakfast and Brian the cat was all good – and wanted to play put and have a chatter with the birds outside, then got ourselves ready to go out later, and the sun was still shining nicely as we left.

It was a good journey overall as we headed along Kingsway and then on the A34 bypasses past Wilmslow and Alderley Edge before passing Capesthorne Hall on the way to Congleton, turning past the town centre and then the train station before heading on the road to Biddulph and to the Grange Gardens – but there were no parking spaces unfortunately. We were though able to head up the road and into Bidduph Country Park instead, where there were plenty of spaces as it wasn’t far away from the gardens either.

In fact, we decided to go and have a walk along the country park as well, which proved pretty nice. It was a nice woodland walk along the path and a right turn takes you up the hill to the lake, which was very nice, especially with the old stone house dating back from 1904, and the fact that one of the paths is actually quite close to the gardens and takes you downhill through a lovely field as well. It was pretty nice and good to see that before we walked back along the road and to Biddulph Grange Gardens.

We showed our membership cards and were soon getting a bottle of water from the café and then headed down to the main small pond, and followed the path all the way around to the nice little pyramid that backs on to the Egyptian Garden, and then following the forest path along towards the very top end of the garden (and close to where we’d walked earlier) and then to the vase at the top, walking back down to the Dahlia walk with its pretty flowers and plants. We then followed the walkway around up and above the rockeries and through the rock tunnel to the beautiful China Garden.

That was all lovely, and we spent some time in there following the paths and heading over the little bridge over the stream, then back uphill towards the geological gallery, with its history of all sorts of fossils, one dating back a mere 300 million years or so and well preserved after all this time too. We then walked through the vegetable garden and spent some time seeing how the garden was maintained before then heading back to the shop and having a mooch in there. The garden was lovely and well worth us revisiting it again, so good to see.

Later on we then stopped off at The Gateway pub on the way back to The Love’s place, and we had a late lunch / early tea. I had the ham and mushroom pizza which looked and tasted gorgeous, and The Love had the fish and chips which looked nice and crispy as she likes it too. I also had a nice beer from the Beartown Brewery, the excellent Bear Ass, which was a porter with some fruit in, and absolutely stunning. Needless to say that I’ve had their ales before and they’re really good, so no complaints from me all round, and a good way to window down the Bank Holiday. Tune of the day is the ace “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, as that’s how we both felt, but also it should still be the walk on music for snooker player Joe Perry, but isn’t..

Sunday 21st April – Easter Sunday

It was Easter Sunday today and as is tradition, no shops were open on the day. This of course meant many people driving into the Asda car park not far from The Love In My Heart’s place, realising it’s closed, and then heading off tail between legs as they didn’t realise what was happening. For me it’s nice to not have anywhere open and to spend time with friends, family and loved ones instead. I definitely think that there should be more days without any shops open and are able to just have some quality time all round.

For today, it was a case of being relaxed in the warm sunshine, with the telly on with the snooker in the background, and the chairs on the decking outside all warm and cosy. Brian the cat didn’t like the heat too much and thought it was too hot, and so decided to stay inside and have a snuggle in the box he loves to sleep in, and we put the box in the shade so that he was able to relax and feel all chilled out. In fact most of the day Brian decided that he just wanted to have a cosy up in his box and not be too fussy overall.

Later on The Love went to collect her father and he came over to join us or the afternoon. In fact I had been keeping an eye on the football scores and Manchester United had been hammered 4-0 by Everton, which was a very heavy defeat. In fact we both watched the snooker together and were both impressed by the way that the debutants in the main had taken about their tasks overall. It was on with the cooker for The Love and the three of us later on had some gorgeous roast chicken together with some potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and all sorts. Lovely all round really.

It was nice to see him overall and he definitely seemed happier being in company, and we made sure he was safe and sound back home later before popping by the cemetery to tidy up some of the flowers there, then home for the evening together. Brian the cat wanted to play out once he had had his tea, and with the weather all cooler, he definitely wanted to enjoy the cooler weather, listen to the birds and then was able to sit there on the decking and be fairly relaxed and chilled out.

We then had a drink in hand ready for the telly in the evening, and after Escape to the Chateau it was on with Line of Duty on BBC1 (the theme tune of which by Carly Paradis is tune of the day). It was definitely dramatic tonight with three key scenes being crucial to the plot, and without giving too much away the last part was pretty shocking all round. Needless to say if you haven’t already watched it, you need to do so and to catch up as much as you can – still for me the best thing on telly for some time to be perfectly honest.

Saturday 20th April – Tottenham Tension

It was another crucial Premier League game for Manchester City today as they took on Tottenham at the Etihad, knowing that only a win would do and that would put us back on top of the league for at least 24 hours or so. It was also to be the last Saturday home game as it was announced our final home game against Leicester City was being moved to a Monday night 8pm kick off. So nice of Sky and the Premier League not to think about the fans of both clubs, especially the families who have a school day next day, and of course all of the fans who had already booked trains and made travel plans and will have to change them at short notice.

I met with my friend at the ground and we were both thinking that the game on Wednesday night at least set out a stall in that we had beaten them on the night (and lost on away goals) but that showed we had what it takes today. Of course we would need to be at our best still, but with them making a few changes, as we had done and put Phil Foden in for a Premier League debut, hopes were optimistic as the sun was coming down nicely and the weather was all set for a lovely day – I had my 1989 retro shirt on and all was good as the teams came out for another action packed game.

It didn’t take long for City to score, mirroring Wednesday night. Bernardo Silva got the ball on the right and his cross was met by the head of Sergio Aguero, who headed back across goal to where Phil Foden dived in and headed home for the opener. He celebrated and kissed the badge and every City fan was massively pleased for him, a proper fan playing for the team and showing what he could do. In fact he played really well, got stuck in, had an awareness of where his team mates were, and it was an accomplished performance all round. For me it was pleasing to see.

A lot of the game was pretty tense overall though as tackles were coming in from all angles and it was pretty tasty tackling too. Tottenham had some good chances especially from Son Heung-Min, but Ederson was equal to them in the City goal and he kept the clean sheet intact. Later on there was a possible penalty shout in the area as Aguero went forward and the ball appeared to be stopped by a Tottenham hand but it did look accidental to me, as was Dele Alli’s head on to Kyle Walker’s hand too. The game was still 1-0 and it was still tense throughout, so was massively relieved to hear the final whistle and have Oasis’ Wonderwall blasting out (make that tune of the day) and we had done it, back to the top of the league!

Later on I settled in for the afternoon with Brian the cat and watched the World Snooker Championship from the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. It’ll be the first time since 2006 that I’m not going there, but the expensive ticket prices are just too much, especially considering travel etc on top. And if you want to be close to the front row it’s the premium prices, starting off at £80 plus booking fee. Like I said, too much. Of course I’d be watching the game on telly anyway so did that this afternoon and had the red button coverage on, seeing Neil Robertson absolutely thrash Michael Georgiou, taking all nine frames for a 9-0 lead. I’m sure over the next two weeks BBC2 and the BBC Red Button apps will be getting a considerable amount of play time…

Friday 19th April – Good Friday in Salford

The Love In My Heart and I had a really nice lie in this morning, with Brian the cat being all cute and cuddly and wanting lots of fussing over, which was good. He also wanted to be stroked and touched and tummy tickled, because that’s what he’s used to. With the weather being very nice he had a play out early in the morning but wouldn’t do so again until much later primarily as if it’s too warm he doesn’t like it, and tends to hide in the shade in the flat. He’s so adorable when he just snuggles up though.

We decided after breakfast it’d be nice to take advantage of the decent weather and so we would head out to Salford Quays, and that meant we could just get a Zones 1 and 2 tram ticket and have all day travel for not much dosh – always good to get that sorted. As it turned out the next tram was direct to MediaCityUK, so that worked out well and we were soon travelling towards the city centre, back through it, and then on past Pomona, noticing the new tram construction for the Trafford Park line, and through Salford Quays and on to Media City, where all the BBC generally now is for the likes of breakfast and sport.

We had a good walk inside the Lowry and noted what was coming up new on, and outside the Lowry Outlet Mall there was a market on which had lots of good stuff, some of it Mancunian themed including some really good greetings cards, and lots of the likes of pies, doughnuts, and lots of cake. And I mean lots of cake. It was sorely tempting but it was definitely good to see how many people were making their wares being so proud of it all. We then had a walk around the Mall itself and there was some temptation in both Gap and Next outlets but it was good sometimes to resist that and be good.

I was back over towards Media City and we noted near where there was a bus for the Marie Curie cancer charity, a number of food stalls were close to the BBC square. One of them actually was a Portugese themed little van which had some wraps but also the Sagres beer which The Love and I had a fair bit of when in Lisbon, so definitely was good to have that and enjoy the warm weather outside, facing the water and the Lowry as well. We chatted for a while, all was relatively calm and chilled out, and that set us up nicely to have a late lunch / early tea later and to head across to The Dockyard.

Outside was busy with the weather being warm, but inside was pretty quiet and calm and cool, so we decided to eat in there and I had to then get into the queue for the bar (it was sizeable). I did have a rather nice beer from the Rooster brewing, which was good, and went for their chicken and chorizo pie, which I’ve had before and is rather lovely. The Love had the gammon which looked gorgeous to be fair, and I could have easily had that as well. It was a nice vibe with some chilled out background music being played and that certainly was rather good – and we were able to relax quite a bit in there.

Later on we headed back on the tram (cue Eccentronic’s “Croydon Tram” song being tune of the day) and thinking it was fun, fun, fun on the Metrolink tram, tram, tram. Thankfully it was another direct tram back so that was all good as we headed through the city centre with most of the pubs with outdoor bars looking absolutely packed, and the sun setting nicely later in Manchester as we snuggled up with Brian the cat to watch some telly including Gogglebox which had some hilarious moments as the telly watchers were seeing all sorts including Line of Duty and Britain’s Got Talent.

Thursday 18th April – Busy In Euston

Today was a pretty busy day all round, but at the same time it was a way to wind down nicely for the Easter break. I had been working on some revisions for the registration desk builds with a colleague, and so managed to add the commands to disable any form of OneDrive launch and install (because they were not needed) and also preventing an initial install of any of the likes of Candy Crush Saga etc by populating the default user registry and so they never download and never install, keeping things very clean across the start menu for example.

It’s been good to work on this sort of thing and develop the builds nicely and to be able to use the same Windows 10 WIM for consistency as we use for everything else – keeping it relatively vanilla and adding the likes of Visual C++ and Net Framework only means that it’s tidy but has all the basics needed, and all the updates included. It just happened to be a lot more up to date and professional and also meant we were able to have it minimal in terms of file size too – which works nicely. It’s also useful for a purpose where we may not want to have Office installed (as in this case) which is pretty good.

It was good to head away from work on time and as the road works were happening on Tottenham Court Road to make it two way, it was actually easier to walk up the road, passing Goodge Street station and then heading up to Warren Street station as well, then heading across to the Crown and Anchor pub for a well earned drink at least, and as I was able to bagsy a table, some food as well. I managed to get a very nice chicken and ham pie as well as the Anchor Brewing’s rather strong but nice Old Foghorn.

I headed to Euston and it was understandably busier than usual, primarily because of the fact that the station would be closed all over Easter with no trains, so it was a case of waiting around until the platform was announced. I did pop into Hotel Chocolat and get a nice selection of chocolates and little treats for The Love In My Heart for an Easter present, which was good to do. Everyone was particularly waiting at one platform but it turned out they had the Euston Platforms app and were all going the wrong way. Thankfully mine was announced and I was able to walk past them all and get to my train. Bye bye, people!

The train though was absolutely choc full, so glad to have got my reserved seat and a sit down. I didn’t have the headphones with me so was just looking out of the window and ignoring an annoying family taking all the seats beyond, playing stuff from their tablets loudly, and generally being annoying. The train arrived in Manchester a few minutes late and The Love In My Heart picked me up, all was good, and that was lovely. She was so pleased with the surprise chocolate gift for Easter so that made me pleased, and we settled in to watch a bit of telly before bed. Tune of the day in the meantime is “London” by The Smiths, primarily due to the mention of Euston in its lyrics but also the question of if you think you’ve made the right decision this time…

Wednesday 17th April - Going Out

It was a tense nervous evening all round on two fronts. Naturally I was watching the World Snooker Championship qualifiers on Youtube again, and the afternoon had seen some epic comebacks, most notably Anthony McGill from 7-2 down winning seven on the trot and eventually coming through 10-8 against Robert Milkins to turn it around and get through. Most of the other games from the morning and afternoon had been settled by mid afternoon with relative calm - a couple of 10-8 matches maybe but they were played pretty quickly all round.

It was then homwards for me and the evening session was seeing some players through comfortably: Graeme Dott winning 10-2, Joe Perry winning 10-3 and Ali Carter 10-4. Ali joked he wanted Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round draw, a rematch of their second round game from last year which had all the barging going on and a bit of tense needle. It did make me wonder whether it was a case of just being up for another battle or to wind Ronnie up, but even so, all in relatively good humour.

I had the TV with Youtube on and the computer with the Manchester City v Tottenham Champions League game. And what a game that proved to be. Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for City with a well crafted strike, so 1-1 on aggregate, only then for the City defence to switch off not only once but twice, both times letting in Son-Heung Min for two well taken goals. All of a sudden 3-1 down on aggregate and we would need to score three to get through - two would mean away goals rule still applying and Tottenham winning.

What I didn't expect was that Bernardo Silva would go up the other end and score almost straight away for 2-2 on the night, and then Raheem Sterling to get on the end of a perfect Kevin de Bruyne cross and make it 3-2 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate. That stayed that way in a breathless rest of the first half and up to half time that was that. I have to say that it was going to be anyone's game from this point in time, and the second half was going to be tense. With a capital T.

And so it proved too. City surged forward, Hugo Lloris producing a couple of excellent saves all round, and then City made the breakthrough. The ball was played through by de Bruyne and Sergio Agüero scored a majestic finish. So 4-2 on the night, 4-3 on aggregate, but still not safe. We needed another. It didn't come, and Tottenham got a corner and the ball was bundled in by Hugo Llorente. 4-3 to City, 4-4 on aggregate, Tottenham through on away goals as it stood.

Then, absolute drama in the final moments. City regained the ball and was played through via the head of Agüer to Raheem Sterling whose shot went over the line. Everyone initially thought it was in, but the referee went to VAR and it was chalked off for offside. In the end, ultimately, it was just off, and sadly for us that also meant that we were out on away goals. We didn't do enough in the first leg and defensively we were shocking to let two goals in that quickly - we need to learn something in that side. Tune of the day is the rather true "Disappointed" by Morrissey. Gutted, but we need to move on and keep going, still plenty to play for.

Tuesday 16th April - Rebuild

It was more to do with testing today in order to get a number of things sorted in terms of creating a brand new properly sorted Windows 7 WIM image for one of the events things we needed to do. In fact, it was a case of that I noted the existing WIM wasn't really made in a standard way, so did some research, found a solid way of it being sorted, and set to work on a nice and nifty task sequence in MDT which would do the job, create a nice clean WIM and be able to be used extensively as needed for a vanilla base image accordingly.

So first off, set things up. I needed some of the update rollups that were a sort of unofficial SP2, and then the recent monthly cumulative on top of that to keep it tidy, but the March one due to the April having issues all over the place. It was then a case of including some of the pre-requisites for both IE11 and the update rollups to be included in the Apply Patches section, and then the cumulatives added mainly as applications (primarily because the servicing stacks need to go on first.)

I also needed to reacquaint myself with the IE11 IEAK kit due to the fact that of course Win7 doesn't have IE11 and therefore you need to get it added in. It was good to work through that and get that done, as well as then being able to put together .NET Framework up to 4.7.2 and use some of the steps from the Windows 10 WIM creation to clean things up nicely. It was pretty good all round and that meant once I put things together, I could then get a run going and see what happened.

I had to make some minor tweaks after the first run in order to get the restarts right, so each of the rollups and each of the .NET Frameworks needed a restart and then of course it was another run to see what happened. And the WIM created cleanly, and indeed because I put some good cleanup steps in, it also meant that in fact it reduced the size nicely overall to around 4GB or so, even with all updates in. Neato. And I could set that off tonight to see what would happen with the rest of the task sequence we needed.

I set that off, headed off home and spent most of the evening watching the snooker on Youtube, with the first day of the final round of qualifying for the World Snooker Championship. Even during this first session some of the frames were tense and nervous affairs, and the pressure to be able to qualify for the Crucible is pretty intense to say the least. It meant I needed to play the likes of Drag Racer by the Doug Wood Band (the proper snooker theme and therefore tune of the day) to set the mood.

Monday 15th April - Resolutions

So I managed to get to the bottom of something pretty useful for one of our forthcoming things we needed to do. There's a need, because of a particular application and the scenario it's used in, to be able to deploy Windows 7 (not 10) to a HP All In One PC. Now the model concerned does have Windows 7 x64 drivers, primarily because there's a version of that used in medical care where they need a more stable operating system or one that works with more legacy stuff that the equipment might use, despite the fact it has a procesor which Microsoft don't allow updates for (major own goal there.)

Anyway, I noted that the machine had a Samsung NvME solid state drive, which I know can sometimes not always be supported in earlier OSes. My boot image for PXE saw it all fine, but applying the OS and the driver package from HP didn't have that NvME driver, hence the boot error 0x7E appearing as I'd expect. Now, Samsung do have the drivers downloadable, but do they make them as .inf files to apply during an operating system setup? No. You normally have to install on an existing OS, which is daft if you can't run the OS in the first place, right?

I however found a way (I do not give up easily). In effect the Samsung installer executable was WIX packaged, so you get the WIX tools and run the Dark tool to then get an extraction out. That effectively has a number of MSI packages within, each containing the driver for each SSD model. I had checked and knew it was one of the 960 series, so located the MSI, which you couldn't extract via msiexec /a to get the installer files out. Instead, I had to use another nice tool, LessMSI, where I could then extract the contents, which had all the driver files needed. Woohoo!

So, it was then a case of getting that driver added into the driver package for said hardware, and next time I tried to do a build, it allowed all the drivers and actually worked the way that we wanted it, which was good. At least I can get an OS on there now, but in all cases the existing WIMs are either too old (and aren't service packed) or they don't have what is needed, so made the call to effectively create a proper one, fully service packed, and similar in nature to the Windows 10 one - and we can then use that as a base accordingly going forward.

I had to divert on the way home due to protestors effectively blocking a possible route homeward, so instead went from Tottenham Court Road to Embankment and then from there to Victoria. It was a bit longer but at least I was able to get on in both instances, and then arrive safe and sound at Victoria for the train home. I got home and then put on some music including some classic Prodigy, so therefore make the excellent "Their Law" that they did with Pop Will Eat Itself tune of the day.

Sunday 14th April - (I Am Hartley) Hare Hill

The Love In My Heart and I had a well earned lie in, although for The Love having been up with Brian the cat he decided to have a play out and ping himself off over the fence, doing his usual stand off in the bushes and hissing and snarling to stop his Mummy getting him out. I can always tell as The Love gets her big coat out for the morning if he happens to be playing out and it's a bit on the cold side. Still, with him all settled down it was time for the two of us to have a nice breakfast together with some chilled out telly on in the background.

We then headed out early afternoon via East Didsbury and Wilmslow to Alderley Edge, where we took the left turn up the hill, past the car park for the edge itself and onwards to Over Alderley and the signs for Hare Hill. It's a nice little place and you can do a circular walk all round the gardens and beyond to the far pond as well. It was busy with families out on a mission to spot all the information about the animals which live in the gardens and the surrounding farmland, and then a prize is theirs at the end.

For me the walled garden here is always lovely, and nice to see it so well kept. The ponds at one end are being dredged at the moment so the paths across the bridges there are out of action, but there's a walkway right around the outside of them all including the bird watching hut, and then you can follow the path round to the hill itself and see the pond where you can imagine the hares hanging out at night. Lots of wooden hare statues were also present too which was good to see. It made me think back to being a kid and watching Pipkins, with of course Nigel Plaskitt doing the voice of the ever present Hartley Hare. It was one of the things I liked when I was little, and of course the hare was pretty much the main character in there.

Later on we headed via Aldereley Edge and Mobberley into Knutsford and had a good mooch around the shopsd before then heading to the Angel pub for a well earned Sunday lunch. The Love had the gammon and that had a shed load of vegetables with it and looked fab, and I had the chicken and ham pie, which was a proper pie, lots of mash and nice thick gravy and some peas too, totally spot on and filled the gap nicely for the rest of the day. All was good and Manchester City had won at Crystal Palace too, so The Dave Clark Five's anthem "Glad All Over" is tune of the day.

Later on it was a sad farewell as I gave The Love and Brian the cat hugs before going, and at the station I did feel very sad. It was a very busy train indeed and the only upshot was I got into Euston ten minutes early, giving me time to head to London Bridge to get the train home (as no services from Victoria tonight) and that worked out nicely, allowing me time to watch Line of Duty before bed. I have to say it's all looking alarming at the moment for some of the characters but I also suspect plenty of twists and turns before the series is out...

Saturday 13th April - Manchester Burgers

The Love In My Heart and I got up relatively early and both had some nice croissants and coffee for breakfast, and Brian the cat is loving his new little blanket (he prefers the tweed side to the soft side, that's what he does!) and then wanted a bit of a tummy tickle and cuddle too from Mummy, as is his wont. I did give him some anti-hairball treats later which he does like a bit, and that was him nicely sorted. The Love put on her new green top from Oliver Bonas and her new necklace I got her for her birthday and looked gorgeous.

You know when they say there's no such thing as a free lunch? Well, let me revoke that one straight away. One of The Love's relations is working at the new branch of Honest Burgers in Manchester, which opens officially on Monday night, and today they're having a friends and family afternoon where they do a full service with full tables, a sort of "dry run" to ensure all is good before the opening. The Love had managed to get a table for herself, me, her sister and niece (whom I get on well with anyway!) and that meant, along with some sides and a drink, a nice afternoon and free lunch.

Before that The Love and I arrived in the city centre earlier, had a coffee in Mackie Mayor at Atkinsons Coffee Roasters and had a mooch around the shops including a look in HMV as well as also seeing some possible Easter presents in Hotel Chocolat too. It was good also to go in Waterstones and see the many travel books I could have bought, and also some nice shops for gift ideas too. I definitely felt the benefit of having a nice walk together, and soon it was around 12.30pm, and we were getting a nice table for four upstairs in Honest Burgers.

I started off with a nice pint of one of the local ales brewed by Runway Brewery, who incidentally will have a tap room opened at weekends on the second floor - and we had a look, going to be ace in there! We also had some sides of onion rings and chicken wings (pretty spicy and messy all round, but delicious) and we all ordered our burgers - The Love and sister went for the classic beef burger, the niece went for the Mother Clucker chicken burger, and I went for the Manchester burger - a nice beef burger with little mini potatoes, black pudding, and a gorgeous gravy type sauce. It was absolutely gorgeous!

It was a good chilled out vibe in there and definitely the food was spot on, as was the service, and having a tap room upstairs might mean I just pop in there for a drink over the weekend too at some point. The Love and I later went to see both her father and then my mother, followed by a quick soujourn into John Lewis, and then back to The Love's place where Brian the cat wanted a fuss and a love as well as his tea before then settling in to watch the likes of Ninja Warrior UK and Britain's Got Talent to have a chilled out evening.

Friday 12th April - Not Just Beer, M and S Beer

It was a busy day of testing for me today, and it was good to be able to get on with a fair bit of that. In fact, it was a case of being able to effectively work out just why an available update for Office 365 I was road testing via SCCM didn't show up - and once I got that sorted, it showed as an available update with a suitable deadline, I chose for it to install in the background and carried on working. Office prompted you to ensure you closed applications prior to the update, it did its background work and then restarted the applications afterwards, which was pretty good all round. It is a bit less intrusive for those users, so definitely working well.

I headed out at lunchtime to M&S as we were having a little post-work celebration of some drinks to celebrate the first week settling in to the new office (the place does this for any new building or moving in so not just us). As it's normally some sort of lager I said to my manager I'd put a round in proverbially and get some ales, and so headed into M&S. I noted the Wimbledon Ale was still £1 or 4 for 3, so did that along with some of their other ones. The till rang it through at £2 each but I checked with the assistant, showed him the price ticket, price was honoured. Needless to say it got changed quickly..

It was good therefore to be up on the fifth floor, all chilled out and relaxed, and being able to have a good natter with a few people, including to some about the forthcoming World Snooker Championship. Especially, of course, as the qualifiers are on at the moment and it's always a tense affair to try and make it to the hallowed tables of the Crucible Theatre. I did have to attend to an emergency issue around 6.30pm but got that all sorted out, and sure enough had plenty of time to head to Euston and get the 7.40pm train up to Manchester Piccadilly.

The train was pretty busy, primarily because of people who cannot work out the simple facts of seat reservations. It says reserved from Euston on it, so to the idiots who sit there and think "they don't work really.." oh how I laugh when they have to move all their bags and cases elsewhere instead of heading to the unreserved coach C instead (or U if it's an 11 car also) and just get in there ASAP. In fact one mother and daughter did that after my advice and was pleased to stop looking. Maybe to be fair the train manager should announce that more often.

It was on with the iPod and on with the new albums I'd purchased recently as part of that, so the rather trippy but ace "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish is tune of the day. I quite like the album as a whole and is selling well in the charts too, so I guess I'm down with the kids a bit, but if a good bit of pop electronica is good, why not? I made it in good time to have hugs from The Love In My Heart and have Brian the cat stare out of the window into the night as we watched the likes of Gogglebox together to finish the day off.

Thursday 11th April - Forever Delayed

I woke up this morning to the news that after some lengthy negotiations and a summit, there emerged news in the early hours that once again there would be a delay to the first part of Brexit, this time the UK having until 31st October 2019 to get their house (of Parliament) in order and get things sorted out so that there's either a deal in place which works well for everyone, or the better option, just call the whole thing off, wake up and state like it was when you wrote a story as a child that it was all a dream. We've all seen that happen, right?

Also yesterday was the first day of the World Snooker Championship qualifiers to make it to the Crucible, and I have to admit that there were some one-sided whitewashes in a couple of 10-0 wins, but intriguingly one match between Peter Lines and very late replacement Michael Judge wasn't going to be finishing any time soon - in fact they easily outdid the time of the Brexit delay announcement and had managed to finally result in a 10-9 win for Judge at around 3am this morning. That's marathon stuff and shows some endurance that.

Anyway, after a hard day's work sorting out some potential issues, I headed off via Marks and Spencer and then to Oxford Circus station. Only two of the four main entrances were open and I soon found out why when I got down the escalators and to the platforms, in that there was a broken down train at Stockwell and that all tubes weren't moving on that line. I waited a few minutes just in case but nothing was doing, so I decided instead that it would be better going on a diversionary route.

With tube knowledge in hand, it was across to the Southbound Bakerloo platforms (woo, I got a seat!) and it was then to Embankment, heading upstairs there and to the District line to head three stops to Victoria that way. Granted it took a fair bit longer but at least I was moving and that meant I was at least there in good time to get the train homeward bound. Delayed, I grant you, but at least moving and that was better than the usual furnace that is the Victoria Line at that time of day.

It was nice to relax in the evening, speak with The Love In My Heart and then get everything sorted for the weekend. This included transferring some new albums to the iPod, including the one I purchased earlier this week by Billie Eilish, the album titled When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? - and the proper opening track (after the 14 second !!!!!) is Bad Guy, the most recent single and tune of the day. Such a mature album from someone not so mature, and the bassline in this one is particularly killer.

Wednesday 10th April - And It's Go Go Go Go!

It was a good and productive busy day for me today, as I was able to check over and see that in fact the changes I'd proposed and made to the current Windows 7 task sequence worked as intended for those that needed it, and all the software that they needed on there, plus the current drivers that were missing, were all in place and all good to go. Certainly for me it's been a case of discovering what's out there and what also needs to be done, so good to have that all sorted.

I'd also finalised a document detailing how to package Adobe Reader DC properly using the Adobe Customization Wizard, and indeed to add all the options if needed to stop the updater ARM service from even installing and launching, plus the key thing when packaging - use the setup.exe provided which calls the .inf file, and the MST transform, and ensures a nice clean healthy package at all times. Amazing how many just add the MSI without realising the magic that the wizard does..

I had a very enjoyable evening later on after tea, listening to the podcast recorded by Tom Clarkson for the official Formula 1 website and Youtube channel. They did the latest "Beyond The Grid" podcast and no less than the legend himself Murray Walker was being interviewed. It was absolutely fascinating stuff all round, not least because so many of Murray's memories were those we all shared watching the F1 back in the day, with him and James Hunt being a formidable pairing, and even better later as it was Murray and Martin Brundle, which was superb stuff.

I think too that for me Murray, at age 95 don't forget, was able to recall so many moments, vividly recalling details of the 1976 season that saw James Hunt win the title, and the rather memorable 1982 season where eleven different drivers won a race, Keke Rosberg took the championship and the unfortunate death of Gilles Villeneuve were just parts of an intriguing season, and naturally the classic Monaco race from that year got a deserved mention, as did parts of his former career in advertising (PAL dog food and Trill budgie food for example) which was great to hear.

It also shows that Murray is still the master of all F1 commentary, and to hear his evocative voice over so many classic races when I was growing up became part of the reason I loved F1 back then. It was must watch television to see the cars going round with supreme driver skill and each and every lap Murray bringing about his unique style of commentary and going like 100mph every single time. It'll be a very very sad day when he passes away, and to be around for all 1,000 F1 races when this Sunday's race takes place is testament to the great man. Needless also to say, the proper F1 tune, The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, is tune of the day.

Tuesday 9th April - White Hart Pain

It was a busy and productive day at work today, and I was able to look at the Windows 7 build task sequence, still being used for some older laptops that are being used by some of the temporary staff for one of the large scale events that are taking place later in the year. One of the service team had spotted that there were some issues with some of the drivers missing for the older models, and so I set to task to see what the state of play was. Of course, there was a case that you could get all the drivers from the manufacturers' website, so I checked that out.

And naturally comparing those with the driver packages, I spotted a fair few missing. That included at least two of the ones that had been reported back by the colleague, so I was able to determine what was going on: there was a lack of categorisation but also a lack of the actual correct driver being present and correct in the driver package, so that wasn't too good either. I managed to get the revised and corrected package uploaded, I got the colleague to run through a test build, and all appeared to be much much better. Happy days.

Later on it was off home and to try to get a channel showing the Tottenham v Manchester City Champions League quarter final first leg game. I had tried to get a ticket for the new stadium but not a cat in hell's chance of getting one of those, so was able instead to locate somewhere to watch, and so was watching the game with a sense of nervousness and excitement all at the same time. I have to admit though I suspected that bearing in mind our starting line up, I wasn't so sure how it would turn out.

City did get a penalty which to be honest wasn't a penalty, no matter what interpretation of VAR was used. Sergio Agüero wasn't as lucky as he was in the League Cup final penalty shoot out and the penalty was saved by Hugo Lloris. It was a turning point of sorts, and the team didn't seem to perform as well as they could do either. It was a frustrating watch but at 0-0 I suspected that we would have taken that if we were able to hold on to that scoreline.

Unfortunately that wasn't to be the case as Tottenham pressed forward later on and Son Heung-Min scored from a narrow angle to make it the only goal of the game, and they would take a 1-0 lead into the second leg at the Etihad next week. Of course for me it was a case of being able to see what we could do then, but it was also a case that we needed to be better this weekend at Crystal Palace too. In the meantime, tune of the day is the rather good "Fade Away" by Susanne Sundfør, which kind of sums up how City were performing at the game tonight..

Monday 8th April - New Office

So today was the first day we had in our new office. I'd had an idea where it was as I'd walked up to it from the previous office a little while back to get used to the surroundings. I did like the fact that it meant we'd be right in the heart of central London, but that does have a minus side in terms of the commute in and out, especially as the nearest train station is a fair bit away - in fact it was easier to get off the train at City Thameslink and get the number 8 bus along to its terminus near Tottenham Court Road station.

The new office is all nice, and plenty of niceties this morning too - a welcome breakfast of some bacon and sausage mini ciabattas, some nice yoghurt, and plenty of other bits such as pastries, porridge and some coffee, and that was a nice way to start the morning to be honest. It was good to settle in and to get on with a few things, including testing out the PXE boot functionality at the new site, which didn't quite play ball for some reason. I was on it quickly though and realised that actually the boot image files didn't fully populate in the DP properly, and redistributing those sorted it, and all was well with that. This meant I could test away.

In fact I was also able to fully test out an image build, and a colleague from another site confirmed that all appeared to be not only a lot better but in fact most of their wishlist had been resolved, including the default language being English UK. This helped twofold by having the English UK ISO of Windows 10 Pro, but also the fact that the settings in the MDT image creation did the business to set it all up to be working as intended, so was pretty pleased with how that all turned out actually. Here's to more of the same!

I had caught up on Race Across The World this morning too and although I was gutted Darron and Alex didn't win, what they gained in experience and being together was probably more invaluable. I suspected that the two retired teachers Tony and Elaine would have won, as they despite a back problem had worked out their cheapest route and got the last two direct tickets to Singapore by coach - and even though it had an issue, it still was enough. The three hour coach delays at one place that Darron and Alex was behind was the only difference in time overall, so definitely close after all that time.

I then saw Line of Duty, and there's a whole conspiracy theory you could do on the whole of the episode, never mind the series. Is there in fact an alterior motive to attempting to get Steve onside with John? And is there a lead up the garden path to make us think that H is Hastings, misleading all and sundry under him to keep his activtity under wraps, and it ends up being someone else? That's the thing with Jed Mercurio, who knows what will happen exactly? The theme tune by Carly Paradis is epic and for me that is tune of the day without question.

Sunday 7th April - Mancunians In Marple

The Love In My Heart and I got up, fussed over Brian the cat, but after he had decided to jump over the fence at the front and attempt to run off, having The Love chase him everywhere, he wasn't playing out first thing - we waited a bit and then let him have a play. He certainly was keeping an eye on all the birds, chattering away to his little self as the birds tweeted (as he tends to do.) What made it interesting for me was that he always seems to sit in the same spot and just listen out - must be a cat thing!

We were heading out for lunch later with two of our friends, but they had to cancel due to illness. It was a shame, but I thought that seeing as we'd booked and that we were getting ourselves ready to look nice, why wouldn't we head out anyway? So that's exactly what we did. We got the tram to Manchester Piccadilly and then from there I got the tickets sorted (Two Together Railcard came in handy for that) and it was then off to Platform 2 to get the departure to Marple, via Reddish North, Brinnington, Bredbury and Romiley.

As the train came into Marple we noted the signage at the station with a very much old school railway like feel, which was nice, and we soon headed down Brabyns Brow and to The Midland at Marple Bridge. We love it there and the staff were lovely as ever, and we had a nice table with a good view and it was quiet where we were sat so we could chat, have nice drinks (the ale I had, the Town Crier, was spot on!) and order some food. I'm so glad we still went, because I'm very pleased to say that the food was completely brilliant, and we definitely need to back soon.

The Love had the paté for starters, which looked really nice and with some nice bread too, and for me, the salt and pepper schezuan squid with aioli. It was absolutely gorgeous and to be honest I could have had that with some chips for the main course. As it was The Love had the Sunday Roast pork, with a massive Yorkshire pudding and lots of nice veg, roasties and gravy, and I had the pie - ooh yes, a proper pie, a chicken leek and ham hock crumb on top pie, with mash and gravy, and that was gorgeous. Adorably nice, and the afternoon sped by really nicely.

We went back up the hill to Marple station later and for us both it was nice to not wait long for the train. In fact one of my former IT colleagues in a previous job spotted me and he was with his wife on his way to a gig at Victoria Warehouse - it was nice still to be recognised and indeed good to see him too. That was all good and the train headed back to Manchester before the tram back to The Love's place, and we chilled out for bit before I got the tram back and then the train homewards, with the rather nice "Moonage Daydream" by David Bowie blasting out of the iPod as the sun set over Manchester - tune of the day for that reason. A lovely day all told really, and more of that is always appreciated.

Saturday 6th April - A Star Tiger Is Born

It was good to be up with The Love In My Heart, and Brian the cat was playing out and then decided to run inside pretty quickly as a bit of wind caught his eye. He can be really sensitive in that way and it's just the nature of how he can be sometimes. Give him some Dreamies and some tuna and prawn Sheba though and it's a completely different territory, and he was all cute and cuddly as we had breakfast. I went over to the local bookmakers later and put our bets on the Grand National later on, and as I'd backed Tiger Roll last year (primarily because of Brian's tigger face!) I thought, even as favourite, he could do it, so did the same.

We went later on to see The Love's father, and he all seemed well. We'd been over to Asda beforehand to get him some shopping and everything we managed to get he was pleased with - and we also cleaned up the kitchen and spoke to The Love's sister and niece and who they had backed, as well as having a good catch up. It was nice actually and it was a good start to the afternoon before then we headed over to Station Hop in Levenshulme for a well earned drink - was nice in there too.

It was then off to see my Mum for a bit and have a bit of a catch up. What I didn't expect was that she had got me a little something as a thank you for me sorting out the trains for her and her friend's holiday in a few months' time, and so had got me two of the Hobgoblin Gold and two Goliath ales - decent enough and much appreciated. I wasn't meithered but I think it was a case of because I'd been able to save them a shed load on the walk on fare, they were all good on that score which was sensible.

It was back to The Love's place later and we both watched The Grand National together. I must admit that 37 getting round the first circuit was many more than expected, and gradually Tiger Roll came into it, and with two left that and LiveLoveLaugh (I had backed that too) were doing well. The class of the Tiger came to tea though, and he romped home better than last year, and with more weight. Granted, I only got 9/2 for the price, but that was enough to collect the winnings and get a bottle of prosecco for The Love later to have after tea.

I did watch the Manchester City v Brighton FA Cup semi final, and to be honest, after Gabriel Jesús took the lead after four minutes, it was a bit boring after that to be honest. City couldn't score a second, and Brighton didn't have their shooting boots on - although Anthony Knockaert was doing his best to create for them, got their crowd going and for me was man of the match, attempting what he could to try and get them level. We scraped through and to be honest we'll need to play much better on Tuesday against Tottenham in the Champions League.

Later on we settled in with the prosecco and watched the 2018 film version of A Star Is Born (the fourth version of said film) with Bradley Cooper directing and starring in it (write the theme tune, sing the theme tune etc) and Lady Gaga. Actually, I have to say I much preferred her stripped back and looking normal in the first half of the film, a real sense of actually "this is who I am". The song "Shallow" which they both sing really does capture their free spirit, and tune of the day for me - I liked it better than I thought I would, and I think The Love thought the same to be perfectly honest.

Friday 5th April - Coming Up For Air

I spent the day at the office in Air Street, close to Piccadilly Circus, today, primarily as I was able to utilise the live network connection and not be behind a VPN for some extensive testing I wanted to do, to make sure that the new proposed Windows 10 task sequence was going to do all I wanted it to do, and then some. In fact it meant I could spend time with a couple of the people from HR who are generally lovely, and just get on with things and be nice to everyone around.

In fact, I'd made good progress to be honest - I was able to get almost all of it working first go, apart from a couple of minor niggles to do with the TPM and Bitlocker. The way it had been done before wasn't quite right, so what I did instead was to effectively make sure that there was a TPM present before utilising a step to reset the TPM (and thus clear ownership) which then meant the pre-provision step worked as intended, and that Bitlocker would do its thing correctly, every single time. And that worked flawlessly once I got that sorted - past experience here counts for a lot it has to be said.

I also was able to evaluate if all the drivers, including the hotkey drivers, had installed correctly, and they had, which means way less hassle. I also worked out that Mozilla's provided MSI for Firefox is just effectively a wrapper for their setup executable (bad!) but I noted that rather than use the MSI product code for the application detection method, there was instead a registry key which could also be checked and validated, so did some amendments to the detection rule, and badabaing, sorted. Always good when that happens.

I went home, picked up my case for the weekend and had some chicken and mushroom stir fry in black bean sauce, and headed on the train via London Bridge and to Euston, primarily as there were no trains to Victoria for a while. I got to Euston fine, although the packed concourse indicated that there were delays (and there were too, boo!) and so I waited to see what would happen with my 8.40pm train and if I was going to be affected. As it turned out it was around 5 minutes late leaving and kept at that all the way back to Manchester, which wasn't too bad I guess.

I relaxed on the train and listened to She Makes War on the way up (make Dear Heart tune of the day) and that was all good as the train sped through the night, and I had a bottle of water to keep me nicely hydrated. It was then on the tram and off to The Love In My Heart's place, where she and Brian the cat (already settled on the bed and snuggled up!) were ready and waiting for me. It was nice to see them both and for me it was good to be up for the weekend and to look forward to a lovely one together.

Thursday 4th April - Day By Day

Day by day, things at work are taking shape nicely and it's been good to be able to put some input into some of the processes and get them much more streamlined as to how we'd want them to be. In fact I had raised a change which I was implementing today which would start a cleanup process of content and applications no longer needed with a view to removing them permanently. There were a number of good reasons for this: primarily so that we were able to sort things out neater, and also to document the whole process nicely.

One thing to hand that I've really wanted to hammer home (and our other new starter in our team is the same mindset as me) is that we really want to be able to ensure documentation is done at all times. For me it's important that I ensure everything is done for people to follow and an example set so that it's all neat, tidy and well structured in terms of the systems that I look after. After all, anything from my perspective that makes life a lot easier but also means that I know it's well documented is the job done I think.

Interestingly too, I've been able to get a few things sorted for the next week when we'll be heading to a new office and I want to be sure that the infrastructure there is right. I want to for example have my hands on some suitable test kit so that I'm able to road test a lot of stuff without having to visit other offices and use the network there (as good as that can be to be honest). I also really know that from that perspective it's nice to be more foolproof in the approach I take too, and that has to work nicely.

Later on I headed home and it was nice to see that I was able to get home at a good time, and make some tea. In fact I remembered I had some chicken and mushrooms to use, and had all the ingredients there for a chicken korma, so set to work on sorting that out - it was all good in the end as that meant some nice naan bread to go with it, and plenty of sauce as well for that bread. I think for me it was definitely good to get cooking again and actually to use up the stuff whilst still fresh also.

In the meantime I've been also working on a few things at home, but one thing that kept me going today was revisiting the first CD of the set of four that makes up the Matt Gray Reformation box set, which are effectively his Commodore 64 tunes redone with modern stuff by himself. It's always good to see the direction they'd take with such instrumentation, but for me the village theme from the game Tusker was given such a good rework, lots of punch in that and sounds awesome, so tune of the day for me.

Wednesday 3rd April - Lovely Birthday

It was The Love In My Heart's birthday today, so was really nice to wake up in Manchester with The Love and with Brian the cat having lots of cuddles as well. He so wanted to be there for his Mummy, and he was. It was good to wake up and The Love opened up plenty of cards - some from relations, some from work colleagues and one from my Mum with a gift in as well - which is much appreciated. It was then a case of opening the presents I'd got for her, one she knew about (the Joules lunch box that we got when in Masham which has a cat face on the front of it and is so cute) and one she didn't, which was a Joules gift set of bath stuff which also included a nice scarf as well. That was rather nice to do actually.

We got ourselves up and ready as we were heading out around Manchester for the day, and the first stop after we had got the tram to St Peter's Square was to head off to Dishoom, which is an Indian themed restaurant in the city centre. I've been to the one in Kings Cross in London and the breakfasts are pretty good - and we met some of her relations there too. It was actually very chilled out, had a nice coffee and a sausage naan, which was gorgeous, especially with the sauce inside and the way that the sausages were also nice and herby. The Love had the bacon version which was also stunning. She got some nice presents too - some posh candle holders from Next and a gift card for Gusto so we can use that for eating out sometime, very nice.

We later then headed off over to Central Library to see the exhibition Bobbins on the ground floor which was all about Chris Sievey and of course his alter ego Frank Sidebottom. It was great seeing the actual Frank head that was used, and also very rare old video tapes of the Freshies era, and some of the singles from that time, and lots of original stuff such as the Little Frank cardboard cutouts including Little Mark E Smith, and even Little Denise along the way too. For any fan, the memorabilia alone which is going to be hosted by the archives in the library and preserved is well worth a visit alone, but there's more.

Oh yes, if you want to watch Chris' creative work all day, you can, there's two "eye pods" with a picture of the Frank eye where you can actually see lots of video of both The Freshies, Chris on his own and Frank too. It was great to see the original video for The Freshies' classic single "I'm In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk" - which later got changed to avoid trouble with Virgin, and tune of the day - and plenty of Frank stuff along the way such as Radio Timperley, the Magical Timperley Tour, live shows, all day. You can even get a capuccino with sprinkles of chocolate done as Frank's head (ask for it!) - and that was utterly fantastic. You know it was, it really was.

It was also to the Manchester Art Gallery then to see the Martin Parr photography exhibition, as he had returned to Manchester last year over the space of a few months to take some new shots along the way. It was good to see the old stuff too from the 1970s including a terraced street where the inside front rooms had been taken with the families inside, and the cubes where nine couples were taken separately, and individually, and you had to match the couples together. It was quite intriguing that one of the couples he had tracked down years later and got them to pose together on their front drive too. Really enjoyed that a lot actually.

We had a drink in The Bank and then it was off to do some shopping, and The Love had some gift cards so managed to not spend hardly anything yet treat herself to some stuff. She did get herself a lovely top in Oasis, a nice dark blue but with a nice pattern too and it fitted really nicely - and it was notable that the store was having celebrity endorsement with the likes of Kara Tointon, Katie Piper and Nadiya Begum too - a different mix of people advertising for them. We also went into Oliver Bonas and as her sister and father had given her money for her birthday she saw this lovely teal top - and it was hers. She tried it on and looked gorgeous, so how could you resist really?

It was then over to Mackie Mayor in the Northern Quarter for some well earned late lunch / early tea, and a nice drink in there too. We both ordered our food from many of the lovely stalls and had it brought to the table nicely and it was all fresh and gorgeous. I had the haddock and chips with minted peas, which was stunningly nice and spot on, and The Love's pork belly with seasoned new potatoes (very well done as she likes it) and some garlic was just the thing - really nice. I'd have happily had that myself too. It was a little busy on the tram back but we managed okay.

We had a nice relaxed little time with Brian the cat, who wanted his tea and his Dreamies, and he was all being nice and snuggly with his Mummy, before I set off to head for Manchester Piccadilly and get the train back home. Sod's law was that I'd booked the trains before the Man City fixture got rearranged, but I wouldn't have been able to get back the next morning anyway without paying £180 upwards on the train, so no good really - missing the midweek games are one thing I always have to bear in mind when I moved down. It was nice to head home and I did have Radio 5 Live on the phone, so I could hear City doing the business 2-0 against Cardiff City.

Most importantly though was that The Love had had a lovely birthday and the two of us had had a lovely day, just being us, being relaxed and doing things as a couple together. I must admit that when we're not together it does feel rather sad sometimes but being together on days like this makes the whole thing massively worthwhile and I know that for me it's about having those special times. I love her, I love Brian the cat and having both in my life is just rather special.

Tuesday 2nd April - Up North And A Final

It was another good and productive day at work, with me putting forward some change proposals together for implementation later this week, after a good think and discussion with colleagues about some of the security groups that they add machines to post-build. It turns out that one group which is added effectively doesn't need to be, primarily because of the fact that the group that a piece of software is deployed to isn't needed, and hasn't been for some time. It was good to get confirmation on that which will prove to be useful going forward.

As one of the presents that was supposed to arrive for The Love In My Heart didn't arrive in time, I hatched a plan to head out in my lunch break and get another present - and indeed it would be something nice anyway. The good thing was that I was able to locate a really nice card shop at the same time and so get an additional birthday card (from the cat!) as well as one I had already got earlier. I thought that it would be somewhat nice if Brian the cat was able to wish her well on her birthday too - obviously no chance of a paw print or anything like that, but saw something adorably lovely.

It was a little bit of a rush of sorts home from work, but the few minutes I gained in the faster than normal walk meant I was able to get a train a little earlier at 1744, and this then meant a nice trip back to the flat, get my stuff together and drop off my work things, and then later on head out on the train and then the tube to Euston station, arriving in plenty of time for the 2000 departure to Manchester Piccadilly. I had taken the iPod charger with me so I could listen to some tunes and charge at the same time.

It wasn't quite dark when I left so was nice to be able to see some daylight before darkness fell, and the train was nice and quiet. I had the headphones on and was listening to the likes of Beth Rowley's ace "So Sublime" - make that one tune of the day - and that certainly sped me onwards as I wanted to get into Manchester Piccadilly on time (and it did) and even better was that as I came down the escalator to the car park in Piccadilly, I could see The Love In My Heart arriving. Hurrah for timing!

We headed back home, fussed over Brian the cat (who was being so delightfully cute as ever) and settled in to watch the final of The Great British Sewing Bee on iPlayer. We were both glad as we watched it that all three were striving for great things, and although The Love isn't a fan of Leah and her panicking, we did both love the waistcoat Juliet made - if Patrick Grant says he'd wear it, that's an endorsement. Leah did win the transformation challenge, but the final outfit for the dress was definitely different - Riccardo's environmentally friendly jellyfish dress was a different one, but Juliet's was stunningly classy. In the end, she deserved to win and we both wanted her to do so, so was nice to see that the judges agreed with us massively. We'll both have to keep our eyes open over Summer when they film it!

Monday 1st April - We're All Fools

My, it was another day or arguments, decisions or lack of decisions in Parliament wasn't it? It definitely for me is getting to the point where everyone is sick to the back teeth of this vote, that vote, whether it'll be indicative or not, what can be the way forward, and it's a case of nothing working. In fact that only goes to prove why so many people are completely disillusioned with politics as a whole - it doesn't work the way it should, and the whole system also doesn't really give way to some inevitable co-operation needed, and who will actually blink first.

It was perhaps then somewhat of a surprise when the MP Nick Boles, who had tried to put forward a sensible motion of Common Market 2.0 as some analysts called it, keeping the customs union but being more like Norway, had decided after his motion was defeated that he would quit. He wasn't pulling any punches either in the fact that he had seen members of his own party refuse to try and compromise and that frustrated him way too much in order to get some movement.

I definitely felt a sense that nothing was going to move and move fast, and that the 12th April new deadline clearly isn't going to be met whatsoever for any new form of negotiation. It makes me wonder why there wasn't debate about what would be acceptable first way before going to the EU, saying "here's what we agree on for the divorce bill" and thrashing it out, then getting that ratified having already gone through all the requirements in the House first. It's somewhat backwards to me, but then maybe common sense is sort of going out of the window at the moment.

Thankfully common sense at work is the way forward - and so I was able to set up a new SCCM distribution point for the new site which is also going to be the new office from next week. All the other bits had been sorted out, but seeing as I was going to be setting this up as a new thing, I thought it was also the perfect opportunity to document the whole procedure so we had some documentation to hand - excellent idea, I thought, and so it proved too.

I finished the day by watching the 300th episode (wow!) of Only Connect, and it was the last quarter final which meant that the questions were pretty difficult all round. The Love In My Heart would have got one of them spot on though in an earlier round, and it made me think of her when I saw that. The missing vowels round is normally my strong point and so it proved tonight with me getting loads right. The theme tune in the meantime is definitely tune of the day - makes me immediately pay attention to the rather lovely Victoria Coren-Mitchell who does a superb job of hosting the show with her wit.