Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Saturday 3rd December 2005

Blimey, December already. Erm . . . job interview next Monday (12th), over in Lancaster. Seems like I've spent most of the morning and afternoon cleaning and tidying. Dull, dull, dull. A****** is going through a bit of grab-frenzy at the moment. I put him down on the bed, to get some clothes for him this morning. I turn back, a few seconds later, and he has this Habitat picture in his hands.
Later on that day . . . at about half past three, Walter and Steve popped round, having not seen A****** as yet (or, indeed, having not seen M****** for long, long time). Walter had the week off (although it being Saturday, maybe I mean, "Walter had had the week off") and was catching up with friends and former work colleagues here and there.

Sunday 4th December 2005

Well, this is all very odd. I've still got this laptop thingy running Windows XP, so I thought I would listen to some of my music whilst playing Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. There wasn't really much music on the laptop (and the quality of the free online radio stations was just doing my head in), so I thought I might just transfer some of the stuff on the other machine over to the laptop. You would think that would be simple enough . . . but no. I installed some software to do the SSH/SFTP thing and, when it wasn't whinging about 'license keys', it just refused to connect to the other machine . . . authentication error or some rubbish. Uninstall Ipswitch WS_FTP and try out WinSCP, something written under the GNU license. That works fine, and I'm transferring files like a good 'un. Trouble is, quite a lot of my music files have been compressed using the Ogg Vorbis codec, and Windows XP ain't too sure what that means. And I still don't quite understand how to line my plane up with runways . . . I keep landing dozens of metres to the left or right thereof (and probably reducing the vertical speed of a Boeing 747 from several hundred feet per second to zero (my altimeter was set at zero when I left Heathrow, but I forgot about Leeds Bradford, EGNM, being several hundred feet above sea level. Oooops) can't have gone down too well with all my virtual passengers). I'm writing this on said laptop, via a SSH connection to the other machine (and therefore within a text-based text editor, hence possible profusion of spelling mistakes) on which this file is stored. Really need to sort out the remote desktop thing.
But yeah . . . not really much happened today. M****** dragged A****** and myself to that church again. After the service, M****** spoke to the vicar/priest guy about 'christening' (?!) A******, and after a bit of a chat, he fetched us a form for us to fill in. Hmmmmmm. Essentially the form verifies our Catholic-ness, it seems. "So are you both catholic then?" the priest asked, looking at us both, "Yes," said M****** . . . "Erm, no, I just look after A******," said I, trying to justify why I was there. But yeah . . . then we went into town later on, did a bit of Christmas shopping. La di da, la la la la la. Oh, I think it's bed time. BYE!

Thursday 8th December 2005

I was gonna write something here, but I must have got distracted or something. Anyway . . .

Friday 9th December 2005

So yeah . . . M****** and A****** have been over in Lancaster recently, which meant I had the run of the house. I only tend to publish these things after the event, for obvious reasons. Anyway . . . bought my first leather jacket this week. I think that was Monday . . . or maybe Tuesday . . . but probably Monday. Yes, so . . . leather jacket. It's one of those biker style leather jackets, with a zip that goes slightly off centre towards the top. It was second-hand, bought at this shop called Vintage, somewhere in Leeds. I'm still a bit unsure about it, so I keep wearing it around the house, trying to get used to it. It's a bit of a change from my usual standard green/brown jacket or the utilitarian waterproof/windproof thing that I have. Anyway . . . so then I've been trying to find a suitable top to go with the jeans and leather jacket. I think I'm trying to say nothing much has been going on this week. Went out for a quick drink at the Scarbrough Hotel last night. I would have gone out tonight as well, but there's still loads of stuff to do around the house (I think there always will be), and I would have been drinking on my own, had I gone out tonight (which I can do at home in far greater comfort). So yeah . . . that's about it.

Saturday 10th December 2005

So . . . this was a M****** birthday celebratory thing. The Saturday before the official birthday and we were free of A****** (he was being looked after by his grandmother). As ever, I'm writing this retrospectively, so there's not much chance of me remembering what happened all those weeks ago. Those first few pictures look like Baroque (or 'Bar Rock' if you're having problems pronouncing baroque), but I'm sure that wasn't the first place we went to. In fact, it would have been 'Baby Cream' on the Headrow. There was someone working there that a few in our party weren't too keen on, so we didn't linger there. Anyway, in that first picture (left to right), we have Simon, Nicola, Mouse and M******. The other Simon may have been at the bar and I was taking the picture, of course. Next bar was definitely Ha Ha. But maybe that should be Ha! Ha! I just don't know. Stupid name anyway. Oh, and then we would have went to the Revolution (the new one, near millennium square), for a couple of rounds of strange vodkas. I'm not sure what happened next . . . possibly the Lounge, where I stumbled into the back, conservatory-esque bit, completely oblivious to any signs warning against this. There were hardly any seats free, it was very quiet (there was a quiz going on) but all became clear when the female quiz master asked if I was here for the 'doctors and nurses medical quiz' (or some such). Anyway, after the Lounge, we ended up at the Thinktank, but I don't remember much about this place. I certainly don't remember falling asleep on the dance floor. I must have been really, really tired; hence M****** and I got a taxi back home.

Monday 12th December 2005

Today seemed like a long day, partly (or largely) on account of travelling to Lancaster in the early afternoon. I was at work for a few hours, but then got a train at 12:44, I think it was. There were many trains available to get me to Lancaster that day, but this particular train entailed a single change at Manchester Picadilly, thereby avoiding any problems at Preston (save for the train derailing there or something). The interview at **** (insert name of Lancaster-based academic facility here) began with a half hour test (mainly SQL-related) followed by a three-person (do I say three-panel? Three person panel? Triptych? No, not triptych) interview. I think being interviewed by three people would have intimidated me once . . . now it's the questions they ask that I worry about. Yeah, so . . . after that, I walked along Barton Road, to my parents house for dinner. M****** and A****** turned up about half an hour after me. I feel like I'm missing out loads of stuff here. Maybe it's not of much consequence to anyone the minor observation I experienced whilst walking uphill, along the path to **** (ditto): the faint odour of the animal processing plant that is Nightingale Farm. The smell reminded me of being made to play rugby up at the Douthwaite (?!) Fields of the LRGS, perhaps about 18 years ago. There was hardly any wind in the air, no clouds, so I wondered how long the smell had settled at that altitude for. Ah well. So, erm . . . where was I? Something about minor consequences. Oh . . . and there's loads of pictures on my camera from the weekend. It was a kind of Leeds night out M****** birthday celebration thing, you see. Anyway, better go. I think my work here is done. The awful smell in the fridge was an old block of Stilton, in case you were wondering.

Tuesday 13th December 2005

So yeah . . . I'm there wandering through the Headrow Shopping Centre (maybe it's not called that . . . maybe I mean another centre . . . god knows), when this pretty foreign lay-deeeeeee comes up to me, "Can I show you something amazing? Do you have a moment?" so, me, like a fool, of course I respond, "Erm, yeah, I guess so." The amazing thing was some weird four-sided nail buffing block thing that made my left thumb nail incredibly smooth and shiny, but I wasn't really that amazed, certainly not amazed enough to spend £30 on the nail cleaning/polishing kit. No, I don't think so. So then Annabelle (or similar) asked to see my hand. I explained I have very dry skin, so she proceeded to demonstrate some remarkable salty, skin cleansing stuff, reiterating over and over again something about the Dead Sea and some minerals or another. God knows. She was from Israel, she told me. Anyway, the stuff seemed to make the skin on my right hand smoother and softer and I didn't have the heart to leave with nothing after all that time and effort she had invested in demonstrating these various products. So what the hell . . . I figure that at the moment the level of care that my hands receives is pretty non-existent, so why not give something a go? I was kind of amazed at the ease with which she got a sale from me. So yeah . . . Perhaps if the sales person had been a man, though . . . hmmmmmm.
Otherwise, various movements on the job front, but it wouldn't be appropriate to go into details at this point (largely because nothing has been finalised). Suffice to say that a move back to Lancaster is looking ever more certain, now largely dependent on the sale and purchase of houses, rather than the procurement of employment in that area. Something like that anyway.
Oh, and I managed to fix the computer. If ever the web-site has been down recently, say in the last couple of months, this was probably on account of the video card (or the central processor thereof) overheating (as web server also serves as desktop machine). The fan attached to the aluminium block that is the video card heat sink had stopped working, and so the video card must have been shutting itself down when it got too warm, in order to prevent damage occurring. Apparently Pentium chips (for the main CPU) also do this kind of thing automatically, but AMD don't have that kind of protection, and may simple explode if overheated. Nice. I guess that's why Pentium chips cost more. Anyway, doesn't matter. Video card CPU now has a large fan positioned directly below it, salvaged from a computer I had completely forgotten about, resting under the stairs, doing nothing. So, yeah, that's good.

Thursday 15th December 2005

So some, tonight, would have been at a work-related evening out at Bar Home. For me and M******, we went to Iguana's (some kind of Mexican/Latin themed restaurant) to celebrate M******'s birthday. Another M****** (and a Chris) looked after A****** whilst we were out. Iguana's was our fourth restaurant that night, after Bibi's told us there was a 45 minute wait and a restaurant on the Calls (something 'grill' . . . close to Reclaim) turned us down on account of our lack of reservation (although I thought he said, "Do you have an imagination?") and Pizza Express was heaving. But yeah . . . there was the usual Christmas work-related parties there, but several tables set aside for couples. I think previously this entry would have contained the phrase 'gluten free wedding cake', so I guess it ought to remain (otherwise the comments wouldn't really make sense). The birthday cake pictured has nothing to do with gluten-free. Anyway, after Iguana's . . . I'm not sure . . . maybe we went to the Hogshead and then, erm . . . the Packhorse. Something like that.

Saturday 17th December 2005

So we seem to be back over on the other side of the Pennines. We probably drove over on the Friday night. Probably. Anyway, some time in the afternoon me, M******, Liz and A****** went for a walk (well, A****** obviously didn't do much walking) around Clougha (pronounced Cluff-er, I believe). These are pictures thereof. M****** took some of these. Haven't really had time to sort through them all.

Sunday 18th December 2005

These pictures were taken at about 01:35 that morning. I've no idea why A****** was awake at that time. I suspect that on my way to bed, I stumbled into his room, to check he was okay, and might have accidentally woken him. Ah well. I've left it as an exercise for the reader to adjust the colour levels, brightness, contrast, whatever, as appropriate. These were obviously taken without the flash and need lightening up a bit.
Oh, I get it. Looks like we went to this pub in Glasson Dock some time in the afternoon. Hmmmmmmm. I see.

Wednesday 21st December 2005

I was gonna write that I'm leaving out the words for today, as the pictures should make it all obvious, but then I figured I probably usually do this anyway, or write something that has no bearing on the images. Yes. So, then Clive dismantled the ferris wheel (second picture, top left) and we said goodbye to the samurai warriors (third from left) and Trappist monks and got the hell out of there . . . that's the view from the helicopter . . . and you might be able to make out our island/volcano thing in the background . . . our current home.

Friday 23rd December 2005

With A****** being looked after by Helen and Stu, me and M****** went out that night, along with my various siblings and a couple of friends (Lucy and Gen). We started off at the Dukes (now non-smoking), then popped into the Bobbin and ended up at the, er . . . Sun inn or hotel . . . pub, bar, whatever. I think most (if not all) of these pictures were taken at the Sun.
Oh . . . I've just found a load more pictures. Cool. Some of these were taken on the walk from our last pub back to the house of James/Hilary. There was a castle and a strange, old car. I'm not sure why I'm looking so perturbed in a lot of these pictures. Erm . . . can I go now?

Sunday 25th December 2005

Yeah. So Christmas Day started off at M******'s mum's place, but then we migrated to my parents' house. Looks like all but the last two photographs were taken there. A****** received so many presents that, in the end, we had to save a load of them for Boxing Day and beyond, as A****** was just getting completely overwhelmed. A veritable mountain of presents.

Monday 26th December 2005

Bit of a family tradition here: the Boxing Day lunch over at my parents' house. Of course, this year things were slightly different: we had an A****** in tow. Oh, and Robert appeared, which was a pleasant surprise, especially as I hadn't seen Rob for a while. Yeah. So that's me, festooned in the entrails from party poppers. T'other picture is Rob, holding A******, but you probably all know that (very assumptious/presumptious of me).
. . . and this will be later on that evening, over at M******'s dad's place. That's Maria holding A******, and Liz sat on the sofa with Mark. I can't remember too much about the latter parts of the evening. Odd that. Mark walked me, M****** and A****** back to my parents' house, where we were staying that night. Although I do remember the shock when I got inside and realised what time it what. It really hadn't seemed that late.

Wednesday 28th December 2005

Some time in the afternoon, we went for a walk around High Dam, I believe it's called. I had the A****** unit strapped to my front, and he appeared to sleep throughout most of the walk. There was ice and frost underfoot, and general frozen-ness. Erm . . . what else? Oh, those are a couple of pictures of Archie.
M****** said Archie had gained weight over Christmas (now there's something), and maybe it's obvious from these pictures. Poor thing can't have got much exercise, you see (we had to confine Archie to sheds and/or a single room), plus we were feeding him a fair amount of turkey. Ah well. It's only once a year and all that.

Thursday 29th December 2005

New job starts next Tuesday. Have been back and forth between here and Lancaster recently. This continues, along with the frantic decorating and minor house repairs (I wouldn't envy the people moving into this house - we've just painted over all the dodgy, rotten bits of wall/ceiling/floor)

Friday 30th December 2005

So there's James, who kind of appeared out of the blue . . . well, almost. James had been visiting grandparents somewhere near Ilkley (Ben Ridding?!). I always get Glen and Ben mixed up. So that was good. Maybe we did decorating in the evening. I dunno. Maybe we went to B and Q, for various house improvements supplies. I think we did, because the following day I would have taken the bath panel back (it was too big) and replaced it with a custom-sized bit of white hardboard stuff.

Saturday 31st December 2005

Arrrr. poor A******, he had only just woken up. Yes. it's New Year's Eve, and we had friends over to celebrate. There were seven of us, which caused havoc (in my head) with the dining table placements. We started off with some soup, then the veges had salmon and perhaps some vegetable things for main, whilst meat eaters had the beef bur-gin(hard 'g')-yon (I can't be bothered to spell that word) and there was potato dauphinoise (sp.?!) all round. Pudding was Key Lime Pie (a kind of deathly rich (but gorgeous) lime cheesecake). The cheeses never made it out.