Dear Diary... July 2019

Wednesday 31st July - Booking In Advance

So, the big news of the day. I've paid the deposit and effectively booked the holiday for myself and The Love In My Heart for next year, and so that'll all be sorted and we'll be looking forward to that. We had been looking at potential places to stay over the weekend and a couple of them really jumped out at us as different places to go and explore. What was also interesting was that one place we really liked had actually had a couple of weeks booked already for the Summer next year, so was clearly popular and in a good location. It was one that The Love really liked the look of too, so that was definitely one to consider.

In fact I checked out the scenario with the offroad parking (which was just about off road) and also the location and what was nearby - in fact a pub was close by which meant that there would be decent beer but also a nice place to go in the evening and have a meal out if we fancied it. That said, we could always just go to the pub for a drink anyway or just even take a walk to watch the sunset. With all that happy from The Love's side, I went to the website and did the honours to get it booked, and not a massive deposit to pay now either which was also good.

So yes, we're off to Cornwall next year, as it's somewhere we both love and adore, but we're actually going to a different part that we haven't necessarily explored that much of before. I'm looking forward to that already, especially as there's potential for coastal path walks along the South West Coast Path, and lots of little places to visit which we can enjoy too. I for one might even have to consider whether we take the picnic basket with us, get all the stuff for a picnic and just walk down to the beach with it and have a lunchtime picnic and day on the beach anyway. Naturally we'll be hoping for some warm lovely weather.

Which it certainly hasn't been in Manchester, at all! The Love In My Heart told me tonight it took her ages to get home from work and I could also see several roads that duck under railway bridges completely flooded with a deluge of rain such as Crossley Road near the McVities factory, and also the airport A555 link road. Clearly whoever built that didn't design the drainage at all well and really needs a bit of a sort out to be honest. It did look like a lot of rain had fallen heavily though especially after all the warm weather last week, a real contrast, and also shows that climate change is a) here and b) really happening.

I also decided to treat myself and get a ticket for the Johnny Marr gig at the Southbank Centre next Thursday - as part of the Meltdown festival there as curated by Nile Rodgers. It was at Meltdown last year (Robert Smith of The Cure was the main man) where I got to see Kristin Hersh too. It does mean that Royal Festival Hall will be in operation this time and that does also mean as a positive I can head to Wagamama close by for tea (chicken katsu and coconut reika has my name on it already.) In the meantime, the rather good "This Charming Man" by The Smiths, complete with iconic Marr guitar, is tune of the day.

Tuesday 30th July - E Is For Evaluation

It was a case of three boxes landing on my desk around the middle of the day today, and to be honest, a package I had been expecting via my manager for some time. In effect, before there's a mass order of any new equipment, I had recommend that where possible we get some evaluation units in, so I can road test the likes of an SCCM driver package for each model and having that work correctly, and on top of that check that the device PXE boots correctly, is able to bring down our current Windows 10 build task sequence, and get it all working nicely.

Interestingly, as well as the two models I was half expecting, there was a third model too, which looked pretty neat and tidy all round. The other good news on that score was that it actually had had a BIOS password set but told you what it was so that if you needed to check and amend anything, you could do. Naturally I set the physical presence for TPM reset off (because I can get SCCM to automate it), enable Secure Boot, and also on this device note that not only could you network boot via PXE, but you could also boot to what was called the Lenovo cloud (yes, it's a Lenovo device). Not quite sure why you'd want to do that unless they have some fancy cloud recovery thing going on...

Anyway, as I knew one of the laptops in question needed a specific Lenovo proprietary adapter in order for us to use Ethernet and PXE, I had requested we be shipped one the same time as the eval units, and sure enough, it was there. Excellent. It turned out that the same adapter worked on the third model and the one I was expecting, so that was good. For those of you looking at a new Lenovo, you may find you need the Ethernet Extension Adapter Gen 2 if you want to be able to utilise PXE properly. This plugs in close to the USB-C and power sockets on the left hand side.

So, onwards with the third model. PXE boot worked, the boot image loaded successfully, and I was able to deploy our Windows 10 task sequence successfully, including proper Bitlocker encryption using TPM and all escrowing as you'd like it to. Interestingly, I had updated the WinPE boot image the other day to take into account a new Intel NUC that had the Intel I219 6th version. This laptop had the exact same adapter, hence Windows PE worked spot on out of the box with it - so that was a time saver in itself. I do like it when things work properly!

I headed home later and managed to avoid most of the rain, although it was a little bit on and off as I left East Croydon station and walked it home. I had confirmation my replacement fuse had been posted for the subwoofer, and had a good chat with The Love In My Heart about her day back at work (she had had yesterday off which meant lots of fussing for Brian the cat) before then settling in with the new Chemical Brothers album that arrived today. I quite like it so far and really did enjoy the opener Eve of Destruction especially, so tune of the day that is - get down and get funky, kids!

Monday 29th July - Fuze and Fuse

A day of two halves and two words of almost identical lettering bar one today. Firstly, the work Fuze. This was down to one of the meeting rooms which is set up for the likes of video calls and voice calls using the Fuze software. All is good and all was working fine in one room, apart from the fact that when monitoring via SCCM for Windows updates, it failed installing them due to the component store being corrupted. I had tried last week when booking the room for a time to see if I could resolve the issue, but that wasn't forthcoming (boo) so didn't work.

Instead, having had a quick discussion with colleagues, the easiest solution would be to reimage the machine (which also meant that it would be an updated build anyway) plus make sure it was all set as it should be. I used our room booking system to book the room out, which did mean me hovering and politely asking some of the staff to be able to leave the room on time. The good thing was I was also able to kill two birds with one stone as my one to one with my manager could happen at the same time whilst I was commencing the rebuild off - not daft me you know!

So all was well, the machine rebuilt, we logged on as the specific user and policy kicked in correctly for automatic logon, so that was all good. In fact once we logged the specific Fuze account back in too, everything was spot on and I could tell that the build was rock stable this time (previously to that, the Windows 10 WIM image hadn't been of my making and I suspect had been badly kludged somewhat.) I did feel pretty pleased with getting that and other things sorted nicely before the end of the day.

I arrived home and decided to take another look inside the Mission MS-8 subwoofer just in case that there was indeed a fuse there which had needed to be replaced. I took the eight screws out to remove the backplate, being careful that I didn't pull it out too far due to some wires soldered to the circuit board behind the backplate housing. I checked where the hard wired power cable would go in, and there was a warning about using the right rated fuse, so there must be one somewhere, right?

And yes, there was, right near where the power cable goes. I took the fuse out and could clearly see that the fuse had blown, so using the warning signage and the actual ratings etc required, a quick search online led me to a reputable online retailer, and was able to source two of them for a reasonably inexpensive amount. They'll be in the post tomorrow and that means I can then place one in, connect it all back up and see if it works. No guarantees of course but if spending that small amount means that the subwoofer comes back to life and lasts another good few years, then I'm definitely in to be honest. In the meantime, tune of the day is the excellent "The Fuses Have Been Lit" by Pop Will Eat Itself, a highlight of their classic 1989 album "This Is The Day, This Is The Hour, This Is This!"

Sunday 28th July - Sunday Stroll

It was nice for The Love In My Heart to have a bit of a lie in whilst I got up and was getting a nice cooked breakfast sorted out for the two of us. In fact, I managed to get the sausages on earlier, and then was doing that with some mushrooms, bacon, scrambled egg and as an extra for The Love, some tinned tomatoes as well, so that resulted in something hearty, along with toast and breakfast juice (essentially orange and grapefruit). The Love really liked that, so all was good there, and I had also spent some time this morning doing some research.

Unfortunately, as we were all set to start watching Bohemian Rhapsody last night, I noted that the subwoofer should have kicked in and lit up and done its bass duty. However, a quick speaker test showed it wasn't functional, so I changed the AV receiver setting to not use a sub at all, so that it wouldn't attempt to send anything, and disconnected all the subwoofer side too. I suspect that either the circuit board has blown, or there's a fuse somewhere which needs replacing, so I might check things first before having to at some point order a replacement.

We later had a walk around Croydon town centre, mainly because The Love wanted to check out some of the shops for some presents. We did manage to get something that we needed in Debenhams, which was all good, and had a good look around House of Fraser. What really disappointed us were the so many shelves of so called discounted items but were still expensive, and the overall cheapening up of the look and feel, not as exclusively nice as it should be. We did also go in Tiger as well, always good to have a mooch, but also noted something else..

In that Chickidee, a homeware shop which The Love adored, has closed down! It's another place to make the Whitgift feel even less inviting than it currently is, and of course with the controversy around the shutting of the former Allders building, affecting the likes of Playnation Games and The House of Gaming, it's not really doing much to invite people to open a shop around these parts to be honest. There's apparently an ongoing dispute with the council and the owners of the building, as the council are claiming a compulsory purchase order with bailiffs, despire the fact that the owners had signed a five year lease. This could rumble on a bit...

Anyway later on we headed off to Warren Street and to the Crown and Anchor pub for a well earned Sunday lunch together - The Love had the roast lamb which looked very gorgeous indeed, and I had the steak and cheese pie, which was actually the cheese in the topping of the crust of the pie with all steak inside. It was very nice indeed and full of flavour as were the carrots that came with that and the chips too. I even had a nice thirstr quenching summery ale and later on we decamped outside and had a nice relaxing chatter together, and it was much quieter than normal too which is nice.

It was then off to Euston and to have some hugs to say farewell, and it had been such a lovely weekend together. I think for us both that we really do make the most of the quality time that we have, and it's certainly in a way made us appreciate each other a lot more. I know that The Love is really beautiful in whatever she has on, but the green Oliver Bonas top she had on today made her especially gorgeous. I am so lucky really. "Lucky You" by Lightning Seeds seems somewhat appropriate to be tune of the day.

Saturday 27th July - Quant and Quaint

The Love In My Heart and I had a relatively light breakfast (just croissants and coffee) and got ourselves ready to head out. Unfortunately it was absolutely hammering it down which wasn't good at all, and that was potentially going to put a dampener down on our day. We'd booked tickets for an event at the V&A a few months back, and also got tickets for Kensington Palace later in the day as there was an exhibition on the very young Queen Victoria before she became queen, and as The Love is a big fan of the series Victoria on ITV1 for example, it made sense to try and get to that too.

The rain was still teaming down so The Love got her brolly out and I put on a jacket to keep the rain off and made our way to East Croydon station. In fact once we got there we were able to head off to Victoria station on the train, and then head to the District and Circle line tube and hop on for two stops to South Kensington, where we would get off and admire all the little shops within the station building and square, before following the road round past the restaurants at the end of Exhibition Road, and onwards to the V&A. It was nice to look in the little shop and then follow the signs to what we were going to see.

It was into the Mary Quant exhibition, and that was really good. It showcased plenty of Mary's designs and a significant number of them had been loaned from customers who had purchased her clothes from the likes of Bazaar in the 1960s, and also lots of original sketches, promotional posters for the likes of the Ginger range fro example, and a number of original press videos and cuttings also. We both also liked the fact that the whole Daisy doll range was on display including the doll and the clothes designs, effectively Quant in miniature to inspire little fashionistas, were there - and some not even opened in their original boxes, I bet they were worth a few quid!

We then headed back towards South Kensington station to get some lunch, and we were going to venture into the Hoop and Toy pub, but unfortunately there was a notice on the door stating that the kitchen was suffering electrical issues, so may not have been good. We did see another pub too but that was pretty busy and some people were hogging a table for four on their own. However, we did go back to Carluccio's opposite the station and that proved to be good. I had the Peroni Doppio Malto Gran Riserva beer, and The Love had normal Peroni Nastro Azzurro. She had a lasagne and I had this nice pasta with spicy pork sausage which was gorgeous, and very flavoursome indeed, all very nice actually.

We then walked uphill along Exhibition Road, and then past the Royal Albert Hall, which we could see was having some refurbishment done along the way. We then entered Hyde Park close the large Albert Memorial opposite, and then cut across one of the paths which took you diagonally past a set of trees with parakeets in, and then onwards towards the path where Kensington Palace was. We got there early so had a cold drink outside from the café and then admired the sunken garden with its lovely plants and flowers, and you could see this as a place to take things relaxed and easy if you were a royal.

We went into Kensington Palace and went around the whole palace, doing the state apartments first of all and then doing both the exhibitions on Queen Victoria that made the ticket well worthwhile for us both. One was a whole series about her being queen and this included some original outfits and artefacts, which had been donated by Queen Elizabeth II, our current monarch. A number of the black dresses worn by Queen Victoria as she was in constant mourning when Albert passed away were also on display too, which was intriguing to see. I also liked the fact that there were original letters and some documents which showed the history really well.

The exhibition about the young Victoria, prior to her being queen, was really interesting too, showing artefacts that detailed how much that there was an element of control over her which was not good, but also the various parts of the rooms that she grew up in, and indeed the drawing room where she was born too. One of the nice displays had a set of dancers twirling on little poles which represented the suitors she would dance with, including Albert. It proved to be really good and The Love was completely fascinated as well with all of it, and that for her was lovely.

We then walked from the park out to Kensington High Street, and looked in plenty of shops including HEMA, Uniqlo, Oliver Bonas and so on. It was nice just to have a general mooch, and was also really nice to see the likes of the Ivy close up (and as usual very busy too). We later went into one of the pubs close by, and they had the same Scorcher ale as per yesterday as well, so had that and The Love had the Camden Hells lager too. It was nice to get a refreshing drink anyway as even though it had proved to be drier throughout the day, it was also still pretty humid.

We got the train and tube back to my place later, and I set about sorting out the evening meal for us, and we had the Wiltshire ham gratin as well as some green vegetables for our main which was lovely,and I had the Velo ale from Black Sheep which was apt considering the Tour de France on earlier. We then settled in for the night and watched Bohemian Rhapsody on Blu-Ray, which of course we had both enjoyed at the cinema. It was nice just seeing it on our own though and it was a really good time had by us both. We loved of course the whole Live Aid show and having the likes of "Hammer To Fall" played with such intensity was fab, so that has to be tune of the day all round. Lovely end to a lovely day.

Friday 26th July - Pay Day Is The Best Day

It was nice to know that I was being paid today, as was The Love In My Heart too. She was heading down to London to see me later and it was going to be a lovely weekend ahead at my place. She in fact had the day off and was giving Brian the cat lots of love and attention. The weather had got cooler although it was raining a bit, and was raining near work too. I did manage to get to the office before the rain set in though, so that was good, and a busy day was planned ahead testing out a new application to ensure it was fit for purpose.

In fact later on it was going to be a little end of the months drink soiree for some of us, although in our team my manager decided we'd head over to a local pub we'd been in a few times, The Newman Arms, primarily because of the fact that the beer selection was decent and you could be outside too instead of inside in the heat. I did have some things to check around updates being installed at 5pm, so I hung back so I could finish at normal time and be sure all I needed to sort out was done correctly. That was good too because it meant that I knew I could leave being all good.

It was as nice as ever in the Newman Arms, and the Truman's brewery whose ales were on sale there did have a rather nice Summer based beer, called Scorcher, which was a grapefruit based pale ale, and really nice amd refreshing too. We had lots to chat about anyway and we continued a conversation from earlier about what is goth and what isn't - and of course anyone who thinks My Chemical Romance are really goth don't really understand what goth music actually is.

It was nice to spend some time out there and then have a leisurely walk to Euston, as The Love In My Heart was on her train from Manchester, and in first class too, so that meant a nice hot fish and chips meal and some prosecco (and wine) as well which was a good way to start. I waited at the top of the platforms for her and it came in on platform 13, so we could use the side exit and head out towards Drummond Street and of couse The Crown and Anchor, where of course a well earned drink was had by us both and a good chat and catch up too.

Once done, we walked to Warren Street station and headed on the tube and then train back to my place, where the windows were pen and some fresh air came into play as well. We did chill out and chatter for a bit but we also watched classic Top of the Pops from 1988, and there were some good tunes on that we both liked. I think for me it was "Little Lies" by Fleetwood Mac to be tune of the day as it was something we both were fans of, but lots of Stock Aitken Waterman influence including Hazell Dean as well. Oh, and the ace Heart by Pet Shop Boys at number 1 - that was also very decent!

Thursday 25th July - Super Scorchio

If earlier this week was hot, then today peaked as the hottest day of the year, and potentially if the temperature measurement somewhere in Cambridge was accurate, the hottest day ever in the UK. I knew it was going to be intensely warm and thankful that the office had air conditioning on, but getting to and from the office and avoiding all the heat was going to be key. Thankfully my alternative route paid off, which was to Farringdon first, and then the tube from there to Great Portland Street, and all aircon so far. In fact it was okay walking down Cleveland Street towards the office so all was good there.

During the day I spent some time writing a documentation about my proposals for how we could use the fallback for boundary groups so that it falls back to a software update point as needed, thus increasing the chance of successfully getting the update information. Then, as it works out well, it uses the local DPs to be able to get the content, thus keeping the large downloads local, and then does the job of installation. This way it appears to be a good way going forward.

And that is with especially good reason. There is a known issue in Windows 10 1809 where if you are using web based applications that are legacy, and/or use a proxy server over HTTP, normally these legacy apps sit in what's called app containerisation in Windows 10. However, there's an issue where the app container doesn't always play correctly and causes registry leakage, filling up the local service account registry with data and expanding it massively. So normally the local service account has a 256KB registry file, but this went up to as much as 1.4GB in some cases.

What this actually does in real terms is that because a lot of Windows based services actually utilise the local service account, then those services fail to start, hence a black screen on power on and waits an eternity for the Windows log on screen to appear. You can delete the registry key to clear this out which takes a while, or you set a registry key to cleanup the leaked container registrations and will do so on next boot. Any cumulative update for Windows 10 1809 released after June 18th also fixes this issue too, so the July one we're rolling out will do so, so sensibly put the two together and all should be well. This article proved pretty useful, and well worth a read for yourself.

So with that sorted, it was time to head home, but ended up due to the intense heat of the tube and with lines failing out of London due to overhead wire damage, I had to walk from work to Embankment, which was really hot as you headed towards Trafalgar Square, and then it was off on the tube then the train from Victoria home. It was pretty hot in the apartment too so managed to get the windows open, get some air in and generally try not to do much, apart from listening to the Richard Hawley album I got the other day, and having the very nice track "Midnight Train" play as the sun went down, almost seemed idyllic, so tune of the day.

Wednesday 24th July - Dawn Of The Doomed

It was a pretty warm night overnight and I was glad to at least be able to have had some relatively fresh air come in and keep me a little cooler as I managed to get some sleep. I knew though that realistically it was going to be a tough day ahead, not in work because the aircon was all good and working as we wanted, plus cold drinks in the fridge to keep us going such as mineral water, Diet Coke and so on, but just with other matters happening a couple of miles down the road from the office in Westminster.

So yes, Boris Johnson has finally managed the next stage of his grand master plan, which was pretty clear when he and others voted against the Theresa May brokered deal to exit the EU. It was all about him and about forcing a power struggle and breaking down May to the point of her eventually resigning. Naturally of course whilst the media has been full tilt about the leadership contest, no one has really stopped to think "Hang on, we had an extension till the end of October to get this exiting lark done, let's not waste two months on getting someone new in and faff around with all that" did they?

It effectively means that with the temperature possibly being an all time British record high tomorrow, which only proves beyond any doubt that climate change is a) real, b) happening and c) something that's the most important thing to act on right now, we've effectively as a country got around three months, or even less with Parlimamentary recesses, to sort something out before the end of October. Of course Boris is super confident at getting things done and will obviously leave if no deal is found anyway (which let's face it would be his preferred position) but the fact that a lot of EU leaders have declared his opening speech a rant is pretty much as a lot may have described it.

It does feel like the first day of doom for many, especially as a number of selections were those who were clearly ones who follow his same path. Ironically, the only bit of good news today is that Chris Grayling is gone as Secretary of State for Transport, to be replaced by Grant Shapps. A lot of commuters in both Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern territory will be celebrating Failing Grayling leaving, although it may have been better if he had to suffer the indignity of being sacked for being absolutely bobbins at his job to be honest. Grayling blocked a move by TfL to take over the metro Southeastern routes and make them London Overground, which would have meant air conditioned trains for a number of my colleagues who come in from Lee and Barnehurst.

With that all in mind, it was good to get a lot of stuff done today and indeed to head to the pub after work with a few of the team for a well earned drink outside - and indeed Plum Porter ale on cask too. Happy bunny with that one, and it was good just to natter for a bit and put the world to rights (sort of). It was a nice feeling that we can be spontaneous and all work well together, and it's such a marked difference and positive, let me tell you. In the meantime tune of the day is Def Con One by Pop Will Eat Itself, which apart from being a classic late 80s tune of course sums up the mood of doomsday pretty well, so no time to eat, get me Big Mac, fries to go...

Tuesday 23rd July - Deliveries

So the first thing to do today was to deliver, on time, the SCCM 1902 update rollup that was KB4500571. It didn't look massive but the number of fixes were considerable, and it did of course mean a new client was going to be rolled out later on as well, so well worthy of note that. In fact, I was able to do all the prep work, have our database guys back up the databases and snapshot the servers as needed, and that meant I had a sensible rollback plan. I did of course do the pre-requisite check because it's always sensible, that passed, and then did the update itself.

It went pretty well all round and we were soon on the updated version, the admin console updated and all appeared to be well too. However, I did note that some of the distribution points didn't deploy the client update packages for some reason (possibly a timing thing due to the DPs getting an update at the same time) - a quick redistribute sorted that of course, but well worth checking as a task for yourselves post update to make sure that all is well in order. With that done, I road tested the client in a development collection (to make sure it works properly) and then be ready for the live client deployment tomorrow.

I also had a nice surprise when I arrived home - it was a package from Zoom, with some CDs that I had ordered at the back end of last week. I have been trying where possible not to use Amazon, partly because of the way that they treat their staff, but also due to the lack of tax paying. As it turned out Zoom had the CDs I was after at the same price, and with free delivery (no minimum of £20 needed here), and they also had an offer where you could get a DVD or Blu-Ray for £1 with your order. I went for the Blu-Ray of Oblivion, the film with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, which I'll give to The Love In My Heart for her collection as it's a Tom film!

So the CDs I ordered were the new releases by Richard Hawley, "Further" and the Jenny Lewis album "On The Line". I've seen Richard live many years ago although The Love wasn't that impressed, perhaps only with Open Up Your Door which was being used in an advert at the time. The album here seems to have much shorter more accessible tracks but doesn't lose the songwriting trail for it either, with "Alone" being one of the singles and particularly good to listen to on a late evening as the sun sets - certainly one to listen to at length on a train journey I reckon also.

I've liked Jenny since she was in Rilo Kiley, and the album she did with the Watson Twins. Rabbit Fur Coat, has some absolute gems on there. The new album doesn't disappoint and the lovely Wasted Youth (make that tune of the day) has a nice chorus that flows majestically and a real sense of purpose lined with some Americana along the way. There's times when you just sit back and adore the songwriting and the vocal, and this is one of those times for definite. Well worth it, both purchases, and for me it's nice to find an outlet I can use which works well.

Monday 22nd July - The Heat Is On

It's on the street too - well almost, as the next few days down in London are predicted to be a bit of a heatwave with temperatures set to peak at 36 degrees centigrade (that's around 97 Farenheit) which is probably just as hot as it felt when The Love In My Heart and I did when we were in Nice suriving that heatwave, which was a tad too warm. The only positive is that the office I work in does have air conditioning, and that most of the journey to work is on air conditioned trains or tube - only one part of the Northern Line isn't, and believe me, that wasn't so nice today never mind later this week!

One other factor I take into consideration is that the flat is well insulated but that does mean in the Summer that the heat gets really bad, and the only way to attempt to cool the place is to have as many windows and doors open as possible so that when the sun sets and the temperature drops that cooler air is circulating around, which does help me sleep a little. I must admit that a good night's sleep does refresh the brain nicely and allows me to be able to get some focus on.

And focus I did today. In fact, deployment of the updated security software went really well. We're talking over 950 successful machines deployed first day, and only one error, and that was because the machine concerned was out of disk space (so couldn't download the installer to the CCM cache for obvious reasons). I've put a request in for someone to check that over, but really pleased that all the time I spend testing is for a very good reason - make it work, make it stable, get it all checked over. Easy when you know how really.

I had a good catch up with my friend tonight on the phone and it was very interesting what she said about the place I used to work at - certainly for me it's changed beyond recognition and in hindsight, as hard it was at the time, leaving was probably the best thing I did. Of course I know a fair number of people have moved on since, and that has to be something to take into consideration too. We did though also chatter about all sorts including how things were with our families and friends, and what we'd been up to, which was good really.

I also spoke to The Love In My Heart and she had Brian the cat being all cute of course: he tends to lie down anywhere that may be cooler due to the warm weather but still wants a fuss, his tuna and prawn Sheba and of course some Dreamies (understatement). Afterwards, I decided to put on some classic soundtracks including the excellent Enter The Dragon score by Lalo Schifrin. The Big Battle, the last track on Side 1 (for vinyl buffs) compliments that fight scene perfectly as Bruce Lee seeks Han, and at the end I always say the immortal Lee line: "You have offended my family, and you have offended the Shaolin Temple". Make that one tune of the day - still an iconic score.

Sunday 21st July - Deer in Dunham

It was so nice to have a long lie in this morning, more so for The Love In My Heart, as Brian the cat decided to head to the end of the bed and curl up there for a bit before then snuggling up around the curtain in the bedroom and resting there (as he often does, you can tell with all the cat hairs) - and eventually we got up, had some coffee and had some breakfast. Whilst The Love got herself showered and ready I was watching some of the Tour de France coverage on ITV4, which with an intriguing breakaway as definitely going to be a moving day for a lot of people I suspected.

We decided to go to Dunham Massey as we'd not been for a while and the weather was nice enough too. Having membership for National Trust has advantages, not least free parking (or else it's £7 a throw) and free admission to the house and gardens (which would otherwise be £14.50 each) so that's already £36 of the around £100 a year for us two catered for, so as you can see, it soon pays for itself. We decided to do both this time around as we'd not been in the house since they had the war hospital exhibition a couple of years ago.

It was also good as there was a photography exhibition on in one of the rooms on the ground floor, showing all the volunteers not just for there but for other local concerns in the Trafford area, and really nice work by Jan Chlebik on the pictures too, they really told a story just by their portraits and backgrounds. We enjoyed that and also of course the large silver collection and the restored four poster main bed in the house too. In fact, nicer was to come in the gardens.

Not least because the main lawn of the gardens, close to the millhouse by the pond, had a few food and drink tents, one was selling pizzas from a nice wood fired oven, another was the Dunham Bar selling all sorts including local ales from Dunham Massey and Stubborn Mule (I had the Cream Ale from them, rather good!) as well as pear cider and other loveliness, and a Snugburys ice cream stall, much quieter than the others too. We had a drink and sat by the millhouse, and later on I had the strawberry ice cream which was lovely, and that made the gardens nicer.

In fact close to the house and gardens, plenty of the young fallow deer were around, wandering quite happily and having lots of fuss and attention from everyone as they grazed. Most people kept a sensible distance and admired their cuteness as they grazed and walked together in little packs, and it was good to see families and children have an interaction with wildlife, and obeying the signs not to feed the deer anything. It was pleasant to see and that really did make my day having the deer close to hand.

We went to the Axe and Cleaver close by in the village and we had late lunch alfresco, because we could. They also had the Dunham Massey Big Tree bitter so that was me sorted, and we both had the Sunday Roast, me the gammon, The Love had the turkey. Both were plentiful with vegetables and gravy, really nicely cooked and presented, and not that dear either. Only downside was Greene King IPA being one of the ales, so naturally I avoided that pile of bobbins.

And talking of bobbins, we stopped off in Timperley on the way back (handy for The Love as she needed some milk in Sainsburys) and I saw the Frank Sidebottom statue - it was the first time I'd seen it since the unveiling which I went to years ago. It was good no one had vandalised it and that Frank was still looking pristine. I did tweet a picture which lots of people (including the official Twitter account run by Chris Sievey's family) liked and retweeted, which was nice. Naturally, tune of the day is Timperley Sunset by Frank Sidebottom, a reworking of a Kinks song but with plenty of Timperley references, as you do, and fab as ever for it.

Saturday 20th July - Keeping It In The Family

It was nice to have a reasonable lie in this morning with Brian the cat being all cuddly, but wanting to play out at the earliest opportunity. The Love In My Heart has to keep an eye on him even more now if he does, even with the harness on, as this little female black and white cat has started walking around the area close to The Love's flat, and often passes on the path by the flats. This of course puts Brian on territorial alert, and his hissing, not that the little female cat cares, with her big pink bow. She just strolls past and hides in the bushes nearby without a care in the world to be honest!

We then headed off to meet The Love's father, and we ended up heading back to The Love's place with her father and sister. It was nice to have a brew and a chat, and we later dropped her father back off at his place, complete with all the shopping that we had got from Asda earlier. In fact, we had taken advantage of some good offers in Asda, and he was pretty pleased all round that we managed to get all of what he needed, and soon had it in the cupboard and fridge sorted for him. In fact, he perked up a fair bit as the racing was on although one bet he'd had was for a win and his selection had come a close second - gutted.

From there it was off to see my Mum - we hadn't gone there last week as we knew she had friends round, and had been the first time I'd seen her since our holiday, so we had plenty to catch up on. Of course Mum was more than happy to talk the proverbial hind legs off the donkey, so we spent a fair bit of time there with some coffee and a little cake as well. It was good to see that she was at least feeling a bit better too although we did remind her that she was under doctor's orders not to do too much!

We needed a nice drink in the sunshine to be honest rather than be indoors, so we went to the Elizabethan in Heaton Moor. Of course we got an outside table (bonus) and they had this really nice Apricot American Pale Ale, where you could definitely taste the apricot in there, and was really lush. It was good just to relax and chatter for a while before heading back homewards to feed Brian the cat with his tea, and for us to have tea later on whilst watching the Who Dares Wins quiz (and a bit of Pointless Celebrities at the same time)

There didn't look to be much on telly, so having updated the Blu-Ray player firmware to get all the updated stuff for The Love, we launched Netflix and found the film England Is Mine (which I do have on DVD but hadn't watched as yet). It basically chronicled the younger years of Morrissey before The Smiths, and certainly was good that a lot of it was filmed in Stretford itself, you could tell. It was intriguing to spot Jodie Comer (aka Villanelle from Killing Eve!) as one of the office workers where Morrissey worked, but also I thought that Jessica Brown Findlay was superb as Linder Sterling (who would have recognised her compared to Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey?)

Lots of good performances all round (Jack Lowden as Moz himself was also good) and good that the actors who played the band The Nosebleeds actually performed, live, did their cover of Give Him a Great Big Kiss (make that tune of the day). In fact, they got the actor who played Billy Duffy (Adam Lawrence) to have a joint interview with the actual legend that is Billy Duffy for an interview a while ago, well worth a read in my view, especially for me as of course Billy is still a diehard Man City fan!

Friday 19th July - Renewal

It was time for me to set about renewing my SSL certificate for this very website, and thankfully my hosting provider had sent me a reminder that it was due to run out at the end of this month. Thankfully, when I logged on to the web portal, there was a reminder for me there too to do so. It was all relatively easy, fill out the form with the information needed for contact purposes etc, and then have the subject declared properly and so on. Once done, a request was then generated for the certificate to be generated and be issued by DigiCert, which then the hosting provider did the rest with.

It did cost me this time (the first year was free as part of the renewed hosting package) but it wasn't too expensive all told - £25 plus VAT, so £30. I think that's reasonable to be honest and did mean it was all easily sorted without any hassle either, which of course has to be a bit of an epic win all round. Sure enough, an hour or so later I got a confirmation email that all was done, and when I checked the website, the certificate was correctly presented, with a new expiry date, and all easily sorted.

I also had a busy day of planning at work for next week, as I was planning to roll out the updated version of one of our pieces of security software. The good news was that we didn't have to uninstall the old version first (win) and that we didn't need to restart either, as we'd also be pushing out Windows updates and seeing them install and get a restart done anyway, so double win there. It was just sensible all round and I think it's been noticeable that we've been able to correctly liaise with our security team and get things done, properly.

It was off later on to Euston and to board the 1920 departure to Manchester Piccadilly. Unfortunately, some posh idiots got on who had no idea a) how seat reservations actually work, b) what a quiet coach is (I was in the coach next door, but some of them walked into the quiet coach and wondered why everyone was silent) and c) which part of "reserved by law" for a wheelchair space they shouldn't be taking up. I just ignored them in the end and put my headphones on, with Dub War's "Over Now" from their Pain album blasting out on the iPod (make that tune of the day)

Of course, as is Virgin's wont these days on a Friday evening, the train was delayed, ironically by a late running 1857 train that I might have been on (!) and so got into Piccadilly ten minutes late. The Love In My Heart was waiting for me but I had kept her posted so she had set off later anyway, and we headed back to her place where Brian the cat was his usual soft cuddly self and loved having a fuss. We then watched Celebrity Gogglebox on Channel 4 +1 and had a giggle at how mad Shaun Ryder and Bez still are after all these years. Must have been the Madchester thing...

Thursday 18th July - Planning Properly Performs Well

I had of course been doing a shed load of testing over the last couple of days, and a deployment was set for 1pm today (to give some of our test users advance warning) so that the proof of concept antivirus solution was removed, and the current main one put back on, with suitable warning before a restart. I had of course spent time with multiple scenarios to ensure all was well, and it seemed to be doing the business nicely thus far. I took lunch a little earlier than I normally would, just to be sure I would be around for the time of deployment to keep an eye on things.

And it went very well indeed. In fact the first 20-30 machines were all at the restart prompt relatively quickly once the current antivirus was back on, and a number of them had restarted straight away at the prompt rather than let the full hour expire. I could also in our antivirus console see the fact that the machines had shown as re-registering and being all up to date and protected, so good not only from a SCCM perspective but also an AV perspective that all was doing what it should. I was pleased and kept an eye during the afternoon but definitely a big plus from my perspective.

In fact later on further planning was needed to avoid some of the delays on the tube and head towards my barbers on Wimbledon Park to get my haircut, as it needed doing. The good news was that my now normal route (Northern to Embankment, District from there to Wimbledon) was working fine, and I was soon able to be on a relatively packed District line tube - in fact I didn't manage to get a seat until Fulham Broadway, but was good to rest up before then heading off at the station, where the folks in James Barbers did their usual wizardry leaving my hair feeling a lot better afterwards.

I headed home on the tram (because it's fun fun fun on the Croydon tram tram tram, sing Eccentronic - make that tune of the day) and headed to Lidl on Church Street to have a quick look round. In fact I did pick up some shower gel (Original Source at that) cheap, and also an intriguing Dr. Oetker pizza, with Quorn bacon and mushrooms, and a more garlic tomato base. I thought as it was on offer I'd give it a go and see how that tastes, and how viable it might be as a meat-free alternative for a change.

I then watched the first round highlights of The Open golf, and my, it was a day of contrasts. Rory McIlroy had a disaster at the first hole, taking a quad bogey 8, three putted at the 16th for a double bogey and then took a triple bogey 7 at the difficult final hole, ending up with a round of 79 and +8 overall. Not the worst round on the day, but it really did feel like he just didn't handle the pressure of playing at home. It was good to see consistency from the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka et al, showing that you can play links golf properly. It's very very tight at the top and any under par round has to be a positive with the weather today...

Wednesday 17th July - Detection Zone

It was good to be undertaking some testing today with a view to effectively rolling back the trial of a new antivirus product, and then reverting to our current one. I had to a degree tested this already, but wanted to make sure that the validation rules for each step were sound, so in effect this meant that if for example the new product had been removed, I didn't want to run the step to remove it, and similarly when installing the old product back again, it was always good to do a compliance check before installing it. As it transpired, the validation rule that checks the application for being installed was sound, so even if it attempted an install, it would use the app detection rule then move on. Excellent.

And on top of that, a plan was formulated, as we need to update one of the security products to a new version, but also aware of the fact we'd be pushing out some Windows updates next week, so where possible it'll mean we can roll both out on the same day, resulting in only one reboot needed for when we will need to enforce the updates being installed. On the whole that should work nicely and again testing was crucial for that to make sure it happened properly. One of our team is joining our Information Security folks too, so I've been keeping them in the loop also which makes a lot of sense to me.

I got home later and chatted with The Love In My Heart, who mentioned to me that today was the start of the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park. Normally of course the wonderful Dianne Oxberry would do her reports from there for Northwest Tonight on BBC1 North West, but as she sadly is no longer with us, instead it was a case of having a memorial garden being her sunshine garden being there, with the likes of sunflowers which can be replanted and re-grown, and it looked bright, vibrant and sunny, just like Dianne was of course.

For me also The Love mentioned that Annabel Tiffin was there doing the presenting (as she normally does for Northwest Tonight) and she was a little bit choked in parts because it was all in memory of Dianne. Indeed she was, but it was nice to see her chat to all the guests of the garden party (even in the rain) and indeed to a hospice on the Wirral who will be taking the garden there when the flower show closes, and so that the people there can enjoy it and reflect in its peaceful calm. It's a lovely thing, and I for one was appreciative of the fact that so many will love to see that ray of sunshine too.

Certainly for me though it's good too that it has felt a little cooler today - it's massively good to have aircon at work of course, and part of the journey home is with aircon on the train. It's just nice to get fresh air into the flat and be able to chill out somewhat too so was very pleased that it all worked out nicely. I also played some good music as well including the excellent Dream Theater album Distance Over Time - granted it's shorter than other albums they've made, but some good tracks on there including Paralyzed (make that tune of the day) - as it's the closest thing you could call to a single but has their trademark riffs, powerful drums and some excellent vocals too.

Tuesday 16th July - Vietnam Veteran

My youngest brother, who lives in Japan these days, contacted me over the weekend and asked me if I still had any of the original source files or the disks that made up my middle brother and I concocting an old game, which we called Vietnam Veteran. It was made on the Commodore 64 using the utility Shoot 'em Up Construction Kit (SEUCK for short folks) and although not the best thing ever, with it being a pretty bog standard lookalike of various other games such as Commando, Ikari Warriors, that sort of thing, it gave us both when we were younger the chance to explore game design and seee what we could come up with.

It also meant that you could try your hand at various parts of game design too - whether designing animated sprites to be the main character or enemies, the backgrounds which you could make look as realistic as you liked, the sound effects, all that sort of thing. In fact later on coders understood which parts of memory were free so you could add your own enhancements outside of that code, such as title screen and/or in game music (I composed for a few of those too incidentally) and on the whole, it was a nice thing to do.

I think my brother wants to take the original game, enhance it and run with it for a special edition new version which might be nice, but he needed to get the source as much as it was. I checked back through the disks I'd transferred from the Commodore 64 to the PC, and noted that one of my first set of transfers included the original disk with the game as saved on it. My brother was happy, as he could use some tools to effectively get out all of the parts he needed, and view the original animations of the characters, the level maps, that sort of thing too, which was pretty good.

I dug further into the archives and found the original saved copy of the other game I'd made on SEUCK, alone this time, which was called Weeurred. It was basically weird really, your main character was a Commodore 64 firing Action Replay cartridges at all sorts of enemies: pens flipping their tops, barber's poles sending out scissors at you, end of level ghettoblasters spitting out cassettes, a top loading video spewing out VHS tapes and all that. I did push the number of screens and had to be pretty clever to time the enemy animation and firing, but worked pretty nicely on the whole.

Of course if you have said cartridge, you can disable the sprite collision, so you can actually see how the whole game looked and played all the way through. I did that to see what sort of fiendish design I had made later, and the word frenetic came to mind - certainly had to be crafty so I used the idea of cattle grid type squares that you couldn't touch or you lost a life, so meaning you had to steer around them too. Hard work that but it meant that you then had the placement working too. Nice all round.

Going back to Vietnam Veteran, my brother sent me a dump of the sprites from the game, using a GIF to display all the characters as they would be in the sprite editor. It worked pretty well, and meant that I could see all the things for that, such as red caped ninjas (er.. I know!) along with trip wires and mines which would appear if you went too quickly and tried to scroll the screen fast, so quite crafty back then. It reminded me of blasting out Paul Hardcastle's seminal "19" (make that tune of the day) as I would work on parts. Nice to go old school I think!

Monday 15th July - Progression

It was good to be able to sort out and test a few things today including being able to get the latest batch of July updates for Windows out to our test group of PCs. Overall all seemed well so far and I've been keeping an eye on how they progress in order to see how fit for purpose it all is before then looking at getting a live deployment out and getting as many machines as possible up to date too. The good thing was that it was nice to see some monitoring reporting back.

I also did a test today where we'd uninstall the current antivirus solution on test and revert back to our normal provider. As it turned out, our information security officer was able to do something at the server end to allow an uninstall, and sent me the necessary uninstaller file so I could then get that packaged up. So now it's a case of uninstalling the previous product, using that file, and then carrying out the reinstall of the normal solution, and prompting for a restart. It worked as intended which was good to see.

I had a good chat with my manager this afternoon and it outlined what might be happening in the next few months including some courses that I may need to do as well. The good thing was that feedback has been positive and it's a case of being able to build on that and progress with the same standards I've set myself. I think the environment really does help me flourish and it's been a case of being able to use that environment to push myself properly, nice to see.

I made my way homeward later and headed to Iceland, as they had an offer on Dr Oetker pizzas for £1 each. Unfortunately you could only get two for that price but I did pick up a few other items and then headed home - and now my freezer does seem pretty full all round. I shouldn't need too much for the next few weeks or so, which helps to cut down nicely on the food bills especially. That's after all why Mums go to Iceland (or sing the Bennet classic Mum's Gone To Iceland, make that track tune of the day - still really great after all these years..)

In fact it was good tonight to go back and remember some other 90s classic indie singles from the likes of Northside, Dub War, Senser, Pullover, Echobelly and many more. I know some may see either the Madchester era or indeed the so-called Britpop era of selling out indie, but a lot of bands remained steadfastly on independent labels, primarily because it was better in the long term for credibility but also because there were still plenty of decent record shops to stock your stuff too..

Sunday 14th July - You've Got A World Cup Win In Me

The Love In My Heart and I had a nice breakfast and chilled out morning, and Brian the cat was preening himself on the pouffle and then sleeping in the little box he has. We don't know why he loves that box so much but he just loves curling up inside it and having a little nap. He does look adorable when doing that. For us both it was going to be a nice day out and so we got ourselves ready and headed towards the tram stop - although it was to be the bus stop close to the tram stop due to the fact that til 2pm the line was closed and a replacement bus service was running.

The bus took some time to come but did at least rush into the city and dropped us off at Piccadilly Gardens, which was a positive. We then had a mooch in Uniqlo for a bit before then heading towards the Printworks and the Vue cinema. It was surprisingly empty, so we got our tickets and headed up towards Screen 10. I'd wanted to see Toy Story 4 but it had come out the day before the holiday so we didn't get a chance to see it together till this weekend. Being a Pixar fan and loving the first three, I of course wanted to see what is (apparently) to be the final instalment.

It was very good, and up to usual Pixar standards. I did feel that the ending was a little surprising, not in a bad way, but it may not be what you expect if you've been good like me and avoided all the plots and spoilers online. I definitely was pleased to see some old characters back as well as some nice new ones such as the stunt cyclist Duke Caboom (excellently voiced by Keanu Reeves) and the classic iconic song by Randy Newman, You've Got A Friend In Me (make that tune of the day) being played at the start, and just set the tone perfectly. If you've not seen the film yet, I can recommend it highly.

We then headed over to the Abel Heywood pub for a late lunch, The Love having the Sunday roast beef which was plentiful, lots of beef, roasties, gravy, carrots, parsnip, green beans and all sorts, really good actually. I had the fish and chips which was good even if the fish was a little on the smaller side. They had decent ale on and a TV screen showing the F1 aftermath, with Hamilton winning and Vettel crashing again, he really isn't doing so well these days especially when Charles Leclerc keeps getting good finishes and being more consistent at the moment, that's for sure.

We got the tram back to The Love's place later and the men's singles final at Wimbledon was still on! It had gone to a fifth set and we were both glued to the telly. The Love wanted Djokovic to win, I was with Federer. Whoever would win it would be a classic and I said to The Love that it might end up going 12-12 and into a tiebreak, and I said that at 4-4. I didn't expect to be right, and Djokovic was better in that and deservedly won an absolute classic, which of course pleased The Love a heck of a lot. She likes him and sometimes the Wimbledon crowd are a bit too biased towards Federer, which they definitely were today.

In between games I was flicking to the cricket, and I did not expect the scores to be tied in the World Cup final between England and New Zealand! In fact I had to head off so The Love quickly droppped me off at Piccadilly, and I spotted a bar with the cricket on, so I went into there to see the super over. England got 15 which was good, but New Zealand hit a 6 and needed 2 off the last ball. They got 1, were run out.. and England won because they scored more fours during the main innings and super over. To me, that's a bit of a faff, and I'd have been happy for the spoils to be shared, but nonetheless well done England! Good that the final was at least on proper telly, but it makes me wonder if not having the Ashes on proper telly is a spectacular own goal.

Saturday 13th July - Festival Square

It was nice to have a relaxed morning with The Love In My Heart, and Brian the cat wanting plenty of fussing over, as he does. In fact he was able to play outside for a bit despite hissing at Mummy for wearing the harness, and he was looking around the sniffing the fence - maybe the local tabby cat had paid a visit and he could sense that? In any case, he was able to have a good play in the fresh air, and we got ourselves sorted and ready to head out for the afternoon, first of all seeing The Love's father and I went to the bookies to put his bet on for him - he wasn't 100% so appreciated me going over.

Once back from there, it was then on the tram - and as we knew we'd be out tomorrow as well, we got ourselves a weekend ticket for all zones and headed towards St Peter's Square. First stop was Festival Square in Albert Square for the Manchester International Festival. Lots of food and drink stalls around, although more space given to being sat outside and we spotted the only bar without a long queue, so the Manchester Pale Ale was mine and not long after, everyone else cottoned on to the bar and then a queue formed like the rest, so go us. We even saw a telly on showing the end of the women's singles final at Wimbledon, and Simona Halep thrashed Serena Williams, and she was so happy to win it, which was nice to see.

We also then walked down towards Spinningfields, with The Love having a good look in the John Rylands Library shop along the way too, and then onwards past the little outside bar with TV screens, and The Ivy Manchester before then going down the Left Bank and towards The Dockyard, which is a similar look and feel to its Salford Quays brother. That said, some of the beer wasn't on but I did have their lager which was fine, and indeed we had a late lunch there too. I had the chicken and mushroom pie, and The Love had the club sandwich which was pretty good, a lot of bread though!

It was nice then to walk back through Spinningfields, head to St Peter's Square and head back on the tram, this time towards Didsbury. We stopped at West Didsbury and crossed over the road to Wine and Wallop, one of our favourite South Manchester bars. They now only take card payments, which I do find annoying when I've got cash to pay with to be honest, but they did have this really nice dark mild which was spot on, and The Love had the Camden Hells lager with a custom nice Camden glass. We sat by the window and noted on the other table this gorgeously cute large dog (think the one on the Flash ad!) who had clearly been groomed and was loving everyone fussing over him, he was called Alfie if I remember.

We then made our way back on the tram via Cornbrook to The Love's place, and when we were in The Dockyard the men's doubles final had started. It was still on when we got back and watched that for a bit, and it went all the way to five sets. I did feel sorry for Nicolas Mahut who had been hit accidentally close to the eye by a ball in the first set but he had battled on to the end. We had watched that all the way through and the final set was played under the roof due to darkness impending. It was good to see though and that was definitely a good day all round. Tune of the day in the meantime is the ace "Here Comes The Summer" by The Undertones, it definitely felt Summery and nice being out with The Love!

Friday 12th July - 18:57 Still Delayed

It was good to try out a different train up to Manchester tonight, as for some reason the cheaper trains in the early evening now appear to be either the 18:57 or the 19:20 from Euston to Manchester Piccadilly. This still gives me more than enough time to head out from work towards Euston, even with the bus station closed due to work at Eversholt Street, as I can walk it there in a reasonable amount of time too which is a bonus. I for one really appreciate the fact it's walkable especially on a nice day.

In fact, I was able to walk towards the McDonalds near Warren Street and get myself the chicken wrap of the day for £1.99 and customise it as I wanted, so no lettuce or pickles, or any other bobbins stuff, but the real chicken, with the necessary sauces and wrap and so on. It was good to have that and even better that there was space in the Crown and Anchor pub later where a pint of a dark beer was mine, as was some quality tunes including The Jam's "A Town Called Malice" (so make that one tune of the day - The Love In My Heart would no doubt approve).

Before long it was time to head to the concourse at Euston, and the departure was texted to the phone, so walked down to Platform 14 and made it on the train easy. There was no one sat next to me which was good so it was on with the headphones and iPod, thankfully working again after an issue I experienced when on holiday. I also noted that the train before was slightly delayed, and this might affect things. Actually that didn't, but what did do was a broken down train just before Milton Keynes Central meaning waiting at a signal for some time.

In fact the train decided then to do a go slow as it was heading to Crewe, and I reckoned it would be about ten minutes delayed in all. It's about the fourth Friday on the trot when I've headed up North that there's been a delay on the train - in fact the last one before my holiday resulted in a Delay Repay payment of half of the fare I paid - and it was first class at that so not a small amount either. It is just frustrating especially when The Love In My Heart is waiting for me to give me a hug!

In fact it was lovely to see her when I arrived, and we snuggled up back at hers later with Brian the cat being all cute and cuddly on his preferred watch point of his pouffle when he can see what is outside. We watched Celebrity Gogglebox and noted the state of Shaun Ryder especially - he looked an absolute mess. It was interesting to see some of the others note their observations on the telly, Martin Kemp and his son Ronan, and of course the excellent Sheila Hancock and Giles Brandreth too. It was a nice way to wind down after a long week, and I was just so happy to be cuddled up with the woman I love to bits. Happy me.

Thursday 11th July - Corazon and Crouch

It was a shorter than usual day at work today, but for a good reason (more on that later). First off, it was good to get to the bottom of discovering what had happened with one or two failed deployments, and it transpired that the users concerned still hadn't restarted (after we asked them to) so that the current antivirus software was able to know that it had updated and therefore could be modified if need be. It's proven my deployment method itself to be sound and it's interesting info that we can feed back to the vendor accordingly (it's all proof of concept at the moment so we need to be accurate and state facts.)

Another plus side today was the fact that I was also able to clean up the old updates from the software update point along with the relevant packs for each month that had been long superseded and no longer needed. In fact I was able to claim back a chunk of space on the DPs because of this which should in turn also make verification quicker and stuff like that. I also did have the July updates ready to compile for both Win7 and Win10 and have them ready for user acceptance testing in phase one early next week. I like bringing structure into the job I do, helps a lot!

Later on it was all of the IT and CIO office to head off to Corazon on Poland Street, not far off Oxford Street, for a bit of a get together, most likely the quarterly one. The place is normally closed between 2.30pm and 5pm, so having it from 3pm meant it was effectively ours, and with a bar tab on the go so we could have drinks too (and food later as it turned out). They did have the Brooklyn Brewery Special Effects which is a 0.4% low alcohol lager, so gave that a go - it was actually very nice and drinkable too, a little hoppy as I'd expect but pretty good all round. I'd have one later and alternate between that and the Pacifico Clara beer, which they seemed to have plenty of, and that was okay too.

What we didn't expect was some nice little tapas style bites of food along the way, so not just some nachos with dips (no sour cream sadly) but also the likes of the baja fish taco complete with a nice chunk of battered haddock, and the oxtail barbacoa which was stunnningly nice. One other favourite I also had was the grilled hanger steak on a taco which was very meaty and plentiful. I wouldn't necessarily dine out a lot here but the food was decent and the staff were lovely.

After a good few drinks I did say my goodbyes and popped into the new Microsoft store on Oxford Street on the way to Oxford Circus tube. They had a booth where people were playing FIFA on the XBox, and in four player mode one of them happened to be Peter Crouch! Microsoft must have paid a few quid there as there was also a ticketed event to play against Raheem Sterling too. Crouchy was being very funny to be fair and I think it was a nice take on how to socially game too. Tune of the day is the old Fatboy Slim track Rockerfeller Skank, one which I used to sing along to when it appeared on an older FIFA game and go "I am king of, king of FIFA, I am king of, king of FIFA yeah" - you know, cos you can when playing against the computer and all..

Wednesday 10th July - Culture Change

It was a bit of a mixed day with a lengthy meeting in the afternoon as a general catch up to stuff that's been going on in work over the last quarter, and what's to come over the next year or so. To be honest, that's all been useful for me anyway as it gives me an idea of what priorities happen when and what I will most likely be getting involved in, so it meant that I could see how the focus I'm working on also includes other work too, and that was good to be aware of. In fact it makes more sense now in terms of what the goal is.

I think for me too, and something I touched on in my one to one today, was that how much of a change of culture and atmosphere has brought out the best in me in terms of being able to get on with things. I know that the team I work with are a good bunch and that's helped considerably that everyone's been friendly and nice, and that fosters a spirit within the team. But also on top of that I think that although there is still a lot to do and a lot to get done, because there's a real sense of everyone being one team, it's not the case of "it's not my job" or anything like that either, which is a definite plus.

I am always mindful of the fact that I want to lead by example and share useful info but also be the one to raise any questions. I did raise one this afternoon about some forthcoming changes and it was nice also that I was able to do so and feel like it was a valid question to ask. It's too easy sometimes to take a backward route but actually being the one to be brave and ask things is the right way forward, well in my view anyway. And it was good that it became a very valid point and one to take note of too. See, things like that make the work worthwhile for me.

I headed home later and saw the final part of Rafael Nadal doing the business at Wimbledon, with the likes of Djokovic and Federer already through. Of course that does mean a Nadal - Federer semi final which will be pretty epic all round of course, whilst the Murena combo of Serena Williams and Andy Murray lost in the third round of the mixed doubles over 3 sets to the number 1 seeded pair. It was a bit of fun for them maybe but it was good to see Andy back playing and I think the British crowd will now be willing Serena to win the women's singles title and get through her semi final tomorrow.

The other good news is that the British Grand Prix has managed to get a five year extension until the end of 2024 and was able to renegotiate the contract. This is all good news because Silverstone is a classic track and a lot of the teams have factories not far from the track either, so keeping this one on the calendar was important for me. Of course Channel 4 will also be happy as this is now their one live race a year of course, so hopefully Fleetwood Mac's classic The Chain (make that tune of the day) will be blasting out over the speakers big time, as it deserves to.

Tuesday 9th July - Contrasting Fortunes

It was definitely a day of contrasts. The transport situation was not very good at all, with the Northern line a write off between Kennington and Camden Town due to the signalling failures for the second day on the trot, and to make matters worse, an engineering train had broken some rails close to Victoria station and so for Southern Railway that meant not being able to run a fair amount of trains either, which just added to the sense of leaving early and attempting to get to work on time, which I did, and then taking more time to get home, which definitely did happen.

On the plus side though I got to the bottom of a couple of deployment based issues that I had seen yesterday. One of the error codes being reported back by the antivirus uninstaller was a code 8, but from the command line that had reported error 1618, which effectively was that another installation was taking place. What it actually was is that the antivirus had had an update installed and was pending a restart, so until that happened, you couldn't actually remove it, which was a real case of annoyance, but at least after some testing yesterday we did have this as a definitive answer.

I also managed to liaise with one of our Asian sites with regards to testing out a piece of software that they would need in order to be able to work with some of our other communication systems. I did a fair bit of testing here and then we liaised and got some stuff tested at their end (they having a SCCM distribution point was proving invaluable). It all worked as intended and it was good to be able to see that my testing resulted in a fully working product we can roll out later in the week.

I had got home later and had the added bonus of Serena Williams and Andy Murray doing their mixed doubles thing at Wimbledon again. Serena had got through a women's quarter final earlier on and was superior in every way here too, smashing back returns with aplomb and really showing the case of winning and playing well, and enjoying it all together. For me, it was a case of seeing how much they both respected each other and were getting the job done.

Unlike Johanna Konta, who had no answer for the crafty game that Barbora Strycova played. The Czech player mixed it up, sliced balls, had different pace, and clearly the plan to upset the rhythm of Konta was working. From 4-1 down to a tiebreak that was won, Strycova was excellent, and the second set was just a demolition job of all the weak points of Konta's game. Konta snapped at a journalist post interview, didn't stop to sign any autographs for the fans post game, and clearly she was rattled and disappointed. But.. there's a part of me that thinks that she assumed that Styrcova was going to be easy (a la Marketa Vondrousova in the French Open semi finals) and paid the price. Tune of the day in the meantime is the ace "Light and Tuneful" by Keith Mansfield, aka the proper Wimbledon theme.

Monday 8th July - Determining

It was a bit of a mixed bag today, primarily as I was setting off the first batch of User Acceptance Testing deployments for an Anti virus solution we're trying out to see how usable it is. Of course this does mean having to remove the current AV solution first, and then add the new one, invoke a restart, all should be well. In real terms when I did the extensive testing it played ball, and I did have a gotcha that if the current AV product still has its tamper protection turned on, it wouldn't allow uninstall with an exit code of 5.

I had got things started on time and that very same scenario happened. As it transpired a number of them weren't turned off according to our security officer, so that was at least correct and intended behaviour. Once that had been sorted I did a re-run and all was happy there, invoking the restart and then showing back that all was well and that everything had completed as it should. On the whole then a good thing, and one troubleshoot I knew what to do. But there was also another and it looked like this was due to a number of factors.

In fact I did actually have the answer to this - it was that in fact that there had been an update to the AV product which was pending a restart - but if not restarted for some time, those flags would still be present, preventing any form of removal. I had a colleague restart their machine, we did the re-run of the task sequence, and it all worked. Hallelujah! So it proved that my hunch was correct and I suspect that we'll need some of those users to restart first then we can call all the necessary and get things working as it should.

Later on I arrived home and it looked like Roger Federer was making some light work of his Italian opponent in the fourth round, and he, Nadal and Djokovic all won in straight sets at a canter. It was interesting to see how that all panned out with the women as Ashleigh Barty lost early on, and it was a titanic struggle but Johanna Konta just got over the line against Petra Kvitova. Problem is that Konta is starting too slowly in matches and I suspect if she faced Simona Halep or Serena Williams the result would be very different..

Anyway, it was all good despite the bad light and certainly the Manic Monday lived up to its title, hence the likes of the classic Bangles single being tune of the day - still a great song even now, and back then I should have seen them play live, and more so now, for sure. I did have a thing for Susanna Hoffs back in the day, primarily because of the dark hair and moody look, but the fact that they're still out there says a lot about longevity and all. If only I could go back in time..

Sunday 7th July - Abbey Acoustics

After breakfast and a well earned coffee, it was off on the train from East Croydon to London Bridge, and although the first train should have been on the platform next to where I got off (4, next to 5) that train was delayed, and so it was down and back up again to Platform 6, where the train to Dartford was heading off shortly. In fact it was going via Lewisham and Blackheath to Woolwich Arsenal, and then down towards Abbey Wood, where I'd be getting off and having an afternoon of nice acoustic music close to Lesnes Abbey ruins and the little café that is there.

In fact, I walked out of Abbey Wood station, headed along the road and up the hill, and along the park to the café where next to it a number of street food stalls were doing their thing, useful for lunch later, and I spotted Mark (MJ) Hibbett, so had a chat with him to see how it was all going for later, and saw the little main stage along with some gazebo tents up just in case (it had been raining earlier in the day so useful to have some form of cover, as well as shade) and all seemed well, and was nice to chat with Emma of the band as well, all was happy in her world too which was good to see.

The first of the four bands were Mississippi Macdonald and Band, and they were pretty good, playing a range of blues songs that really did hit home with a classic laid black blues feel. Definitely for me there were shades of the likes of John Mayall in there, with some good drums and bass to back up the lead guitar and vocals. I liked what I heard and was not surprised one bit that he had played with the likes of Steve Harley either, said a lot. All was good there despite some audio issues with some of the setup and the engineers having to pause and fix it.

By this time Mark's friends Steve and Meg, his partner Charlotte, and the musician Matt Tiller had all turned up, and so it was going to be time for a good singalong with MJ Hibbett and the Validators. It was nice to hear old stuff such as Billy Jones Is Dead and Easily Impressed (we even got the crowd participation bit) as well as some more recent stuff, one of which Mark renamed People Are Alright When They Are Given Half A Chance (which I've known as Two Blokes, One Pub for some time). It did go a little bit awry half way through with a couple of false starts of songs in the set, but they got back into the groove soon enough.

It was good to hear It Only Works Because You're Here as well of course (I do get embarrassed when I get name checked for being in the video though!) and also (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock too. However, what was lovely to hear and sounded really good was the excellent Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid (make that tune of the day) complete with crowd singalong of "Hey There, Emo Boy, Give Us All A Smile" so that was all nice and along with We Did It Anyway, a pretty good set all round in the end.

Later on Jess Morgan came on and did her thing, and she was very good. I liked the song that she wrote about the French friend they had on holiday on a tiny little hamlet in France, Natalie I think it was. She also did a really good song called Whitby based on the place of course, and that was wonderfully wistful. She had a lovely voice and I'm definitely going to have to check out more of her stuff, that's for sure. In Brooklyn was also very good too and really did have that slight country / Americana edge to it as well.

Finally, it was Grace Petrie, and she had warned the audience beforehand that some of the songs might be a tad political. She did however do the marvellous Ivy, about a dash home from Glastonbury to make sure they got back before the birth of a relation of hers, which was really nice. Farewell To Welfare was full on anger mode, really giving it two barrels to the folks who decide welfare payments, and Northbound describes the life of always being on the M1 heading back North after gigs. A solid set all round and a good way to close the day all round - and good to sing along to a couple!

Later on once it was all time to pack up, Mark, Charlotte, Steve, Meg and I and Tim the promoter ended up in the Abbey Arms close to Abbey Wood station - a decent pub with outside beer garden, good selection of beers and indeed a lovely set of staff too. In fact they had the Women's World Cup final and USA had gone 2-0 up when we arrived, which was the final score. We stayed in the garden for a bit and chatted over beer which was lovely before we headed back on the train towards central London and for me later back home to Croydon. All was well and that made the weekend even lovelier.

Saturday 6th July - Crazy in Beckenham

I had a couple of things I needed to get sorted today, and one was to make sure that I had registered with the GP surgery nearest the flat. It was actually not that far really, up to the main road, cross over and do a left right and then up the hill the other side not far from me. In fact it was fairly quiet and this meant I could pick up one of the forms and get it all filled in whilst I was there and then, rather than take it home and then have to bring it back. The good thing was that it was open on a Saturday morning, so at least I could do that with the free weekend that I had.

Once done, I headed back home for a while before heading out on the tram, this time to Beckenham Junction. I'd heard good things about a crazy golf course and wanted to check it out, and do a small walk. With me on the road to tummy recovery I didn't want to go for a long walk incase I felt icky, and knew that a crazy golf course with a park and café would also mean toilets. In fact, at Beckenham Junction, across the road on the town centre green, they had deckchairs out, a big screen showing Wimbledon, and a couple of stalls selling beer, Pimms and even strawberries and cream to get you into the mood - a rather nice feel all round actually.

I was soon to be on the 162 bus and headed off at the Chinese Garage stop (did my research!) and this took me to the very nice Kelsey Park. There was a café with playground, and even a nice lake too. The lake had paths to walk around, and one side of the lake was where you could walk your dog, but all the bridges or paths to the other side had a fence to pass through with warnings not to take your dogs there, which made sense. In fact on one of the lawns there was an event on with music, food and drink stalls, which looked pretty nice all round.

I did a circular walk of the lake and then to the crazy golf course close to the café. The woman who ran the little kiosk was lovely, asking me if I wanted a scorecard, and allowed me to pick club and ball. In fact, it was a mere £3.50. For 18 holes. That's good value that. And so it proved too. Some of the holes, being what's called an Eternit course, and there were some very difficult holes where the maximum of 7 shots was going to be an option, especially on the volcano hole 2 with the killer ramp to get up!

Some of the later holes were all good, and I managed to hit a nice shot forwards, it'd land in its little target and then come out the other side, and roll in the hole! In fact I got two holes in one on the bounce on the back nine, and two more holes in one on the front nine too. I did however take three sevens too, so there's a bit of a variance into how well you can hit some of the shots, and it's not that easy. It was though, importantly, very good fun and the course was quiet too, so that really helped the flow of my play somewhat too. Excellent all round and I'll definitely have to come back and play this one sometime.

I had a lovely cup of ice cream from the café and after this made my way back to Beckenham on the 162 bus followed by the tram home, and settled in for the afternoon to watch the Women's World Cup third place play off between England and Sweden. Unfortunately, England were awful defensively in the first twenty minutes, gave the ball away far too often and first Asllani and then Jacobsen scored for Sweden. England pulled one back via Fran Kirby and minute later Ellen White looked to have scored again, but the VAR decision was that she handled the ball before scoring. Boo. Unfortunately, try as they might, England couldn't get an equaliser and so finished fourth. Tune of the day in the meantime is the pretty good "Disappointed" by Morrissey, sums up the whole mode of feeling for the Lionesses, gutted for them really.

Friday 5th July - Fixing Friday

I was attempting to get to the bottom of why a plugin we use for the single sign on service Okta wasn't playing ball in Firefox, and I wanted to get it working myself so I could use some of the stuff from our portal at work. In fact, I noted a couple of things, first of all the extension XPI looked old and out of date and so one of our security officers who I work well with sorted me out with that, so all good, and then from there I could road test that. All the instructions were fine from Okta's end, however..

Not much good when you have a badly written batch script to contend with. Dear me. So you want to detect Firefox being installed on 32-bit or 64-bit, fine. However, detecting the directory itself shouldn't really be the only thing to check, you'd want to locate the executable there to be sure. The logic also didn't work. On top of that the XPI file has to be copied to an extensions folder within the browser folder that doesn't exist by default - so no point copying a file to a folder which doesn't exist, as it'd fail with error 1.. aaargh.

I dissected the file and made all the necessary changes, then did a run as admin on my machine. It worked correctly, the plugin copied where it should do and I could see it in Firefox and all was well. I also ensured the content was copied to all the DPs with the revised XPI and batch file, and did a force rerun of the failed program on two test machines. Both of them worked properly now and showed as they should. Excellent - so I sent an email to the team and then set about doing a re-run where failed on a number of machines to sort them, and anyone else who receives this now as new will get it working. Hurrah me!

It was good to get that sorted, and with the toilet visits being more regular and feeling much more as they should thanks to the Pepto-Bismol, I did feel at least as if I was making some progress, so nice to be able to end the week on a bit of a high to be honest. The good thing too is that I know that I'm getting the important stuff done, so I know that I am making progress too. One more week done, and it doesn't feel like I've been in the new job four months, not at all.

I watched Top of the Pops from 1988 on BBC Four tonight, and it was intriguing to see what was making it into the charts back then. Granted the rise of house music was prevalent, but also the likes of The Mission making some of their epic stuff and charting, not least with Tower of Strength, so that has to be tune of the day - vastly under-rated in my view. It was also good to see early Debbie Gibson for the hell of it, and also the likes of Tiffany and Kylie battling it out for number one. Definitely a good year to be a female singer!

Thursday 4th July - Mr. Pharmacist - uh

I decided after work to pop round to the local NHS Walk in Centre, as I had still been feeling a bit icky with the stomach and felt like needing some medical advice. Of course what I forgot was that the walk in centre close to the office closes early on the first Thursday of the month for a staff meeting (which to be fair they do mention on their website) - however, all was not necessarily lost. Because of the location, there was a pharmacy next door and seeking the advice of the pharmacist was probably not a bad move either.

In fact I felt like Mark E. Smith of The Fall singing the band's cover of "Mr. Pharmacist" (make that tune of the day) as I walked round to the pharmacy: "Can you help me out today, in your usual lovely way?" - the original is by a band in the 1960s called The Other Half, which at some point I need to track down for posterity. So indeed the pharmacist was available for a chat, and he was actually really friendly and helpful. I explained what had happened and said what I'd been using, and asked what the way forward was.

He said very calmly that I needed to stop taking the Immodium, as you really want the bug to leave the body and get out of there, but to help that the stomach needs to settle to be more regular. He said the best thing to do was to take Pepto-Bismol, which is effectively Bismuth subsalicylate, and in a pink liquid. This causes a chemical reaction for the stomach but settles it down, and is quite thick stuff too, effectively coating it and keeping it all under control. You'll then find, he said, that you should be able to go to the toilet and not be diarrhoea as that'll stop it too.

Sound advice, and as the Pepto-Bismol is over the counter stuff only, I made sure I got some and took it home, and had the first dose when I got back. Sure enough after about an hour when I let it have time, the stomach did feel more settled, no cramps and no pains now either. It was really good, and I managed to make myself a light meal and digest that down too, so a bonus really. I'm going to take more of the dosage tomorrow and then some of Saturday if any left and see how it goes (apparently Boots stock it if you need it) but already feeling on the slow road to recovery.

In other news, I also sorted out a fair chunk of some of the pictures from last week's Nice visit, so if Menton and Alassio are your thing, I have a set just for you (cos I'm like that). What's nice to see looking back is despite the really warm weather, the sun and blue sky really helped for some lovely pictures of the sun and warmth and the overall loveliness of a lot of the cities and towns we visited when away. To be honest, if it wasn't that hot, we may have done more but it was just rather warm!!

Wednesday 3rd July - Cramping

For some odd reason, and despite taking plenty of water and indeed tablets on board, I still am getting some stomach cramping from time to time, as a side effect of me feeling unwell before I headed back from Nice. Now I read online that sometimes if it's a form of gastric flu it can take 7-10 days to actually disappear from the system naturally and you can do what you can to relieve that, but it does get a little bit annoying when you're attempting to concentrate on something at work and all you can feel is a bit of a pull around the tummy area.

One good thing though is that it's not diarrhoea now at least, I am going to the toilet and it feels regular, although the cramping makes me sometimes want to to more to see just in case if something does come out. On the whole it's not been pretty and I think I know most likely how I might have picked it up, so lesson definitely learned for next time methinks. It's also to be honest the first time I've felt unwell in ages and so it would be wrong of me to cry off work to be perfectly honest.

I spent a chunk of time today testing out a plan that we may be looking at to replace the antivirus system we have with something else, so it was a case of being able to see if we were able to do an uninstall of the old version, and then add the new one on, and do a restart. The initial test appeared to go well and a restart prompt appeared as it should do. In fact I tested on two different laptops and in both cases they worked really well, and all was clean afterwards. Nice I guess.

I also worked on another item too which was to be able to see if newer versions of some of the software installations for some of the communications programs would work - and they did, along with a new version of the OneDrive setup executables. It worked nicely. In fact, it was good to be able to verify all the testing before of course then looking at a way of getting them included in the Windows 10 build and keep things nicely up to date too which is good.

I spent the evening mainly resting, drinking some more water, and then when needed, heading off to the loo. In a good way I feel like the cramps are reducing once I have been to the loo though, so it was a case of taking it slowly one step at a time, and then seeing how I get better through the week. Here's hoping anyway. In the meantime, the rather excellent album from She Makes War has kept me going a lot this week, especially the track "Then The Quiet Came" and so that is tune of the day.

Tuesday 2nd July - It's Not Coming Home

It was a pretty big game in the Women's World Cup tonight as England were up against the USA in the first semi final in Lyon. In fact, this was for me going to be game of the tournament: the two sides had battled to a 2-2 draw in the SheBelieves Cup a few months back, and England came off a very good win in the last round over Norway, and USA had to battle to beat the French on a humid Friday night in Paris. It was still looking very warm in Lyon though and as both sides were preparing, on came the telly and I tuned in.

Part of me was tempted to head to Battersea Park where the local council and Mayor of London had teamed up to do an outside screening which was nice, and to be honest if my stomach still wasn't feeling icky I'd have been tempted. At least at home I could have my water and medication as needed and then be able to go to the loo whenever I had to as well, but I was cautious. More so because I know how good the USA women have been for ages now and for England to face them was going to be difficult, but you never know. I sang the anthem, they were ready for kick off, and the sun started to set in the South of France.

England kicked off, but straight away the USA looked the better team and defensively we seemed a bit out of sorts, maybe because Karen Bardsley was injured and not commanding the area as she does - Carly Telford's a good goalie, but doesn't have that same presence. A cross came in from the right, Lucy Bronze looked like she'd stepped in Lyon's ground for the first time rather than it being her home stadium, and Christen Press came in from behind with an excellent header. 1-0 USA. Ten minutes gone.

However, England rolled up their sleeves and started to get back into it. A gorgeous diagonal pass from Keira Walsh found Beth Mead on the left, and her run resulted in a cross met by Ellen White, and as she's been so white hot, there was only one place that was going - off the far corner and in for 1-1! Ellen did her trademark celebration and I celebrated too - was mega pleased for her as this would also mean a Golden Boot chance (6th goal for her) and more importantly, England were starting to play.

The USA though showed why they were so good, and a cross from Tobin Heath on the left hand side meant the England defence were caught out, and Alex Morgan headed in well to score her 6th of the tournament and put the USA 2-1 back up. It was hard to learn, but good to see that they were taking us seriously and actually putting some strong tackles in - when Jill Scott gets a black eye, you know you're in for a hard game as she's normally hard as nails for England.

In the second half I thought for a moment we'd scored an equaliser when Scott found Ellen White and she finished in the corner, but the VAR folks spotted it was just offside - no arguments there really, we all saw the replay, easy decision. However, White was bundled over in the area late on and the referee agonised over it for ages before being called to VAR. And.. it was a penalty! A lifeline to go 2-2 with minutes to go and possibly force extra time in this one.

Err... no. Nikita Parris had missed her last two pens for England, so Steph Houghton did her captain's thing and take it, very brave of her to do so. The shot was scuffed, the USA goalie saved, and that was that. England had Millie Bright sent off near the end (in my view a straight red and all) and it fizzled out really, a shame. We had at least given it a darned good go and we should be proud of the Lionesses, and I bet the TV figures were decent too! In the meantime, tune of the day is the rather fierce theme tune from BBC's World Cup coverage - it's a good version of an old Fort Minor track isn't it?

Monday 1st July - Back To It

Back to work it was for me today, and despite me not feeling 100%, I made the effort to get up, be shaved and showered, and then have myself all ready to go and off to the train station to get onto the train and towards work. In fact it felt quieter than normal, maybe because people were going to be heading back from Glastonbury as well which had been on this weekend and seen some teenager in a PSG shirt called Alex join in the rapper Dave and do the track "Thiago Silva" with suitable aplomb (the video's online if you look, definitely tune of the day).

I was still feeling not to good in the stomach department though and felt like I might need to go to the toilet a lot, so handily dosed myself up as needed and battled through the day. What did make my day was that my manager called me in for a chat and effectively he said that the work I'd done over the last few months has been noticed by a lot of people, and in his words he saw no reason why not to end the probation period early and say to HR that effectively I've more than proven my worth. This was a right confidence booster and really did pep me up nicely actually.

I got through catching up on things what had happened and worked with colleagues on a number of projects and things, and was also working on some documentation too, so nothing too heavy or intense, probably a good thing really. I also did have a walk out at lunch time just to mainly get some lunch from Sainsburys but that meant I was close to the office if I needed the loo, and I did at least perk up and feel less tired as the day went on and that my concentration was back, so that was good.

I did spend some time at home mainly relaxed to be honest, and looked at some of the pictures from the trip away. It had been lovely, and The Love had taken one of the little bears from her work place so that she could do a little photo album of the bear on holiday (it makes sense in her job) - and so having one on the promenade, with two large bears in Menton having lunch (seriously) and on the pier and beach in Alassio just was a good thing to do, and so located those pictures first and sent them over for her.

It was good too to see so many nice memories and ones which will last with me for some time, I think - and each time I get to spend some quality time with The Love In My Heart I just think how lucky I am really to be with such a lovely woman, that is for sure. I know too that she will have rested today and have been watching Wimbledon on the telly with Brian the cat often watching the ball go back and forward, as he tends to do. No doubt she will have been happy to see Novak Djokovic and Kyle Edmund win!