Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Sunday 1st May 2005

Today we did more painting, doing most of the wood-work, and a large chunk of floor. Doing the floor involved sanding, hoovering, cleaning (with white spirit) and then painting with some industrial floor paint. Well, it smelt that way anyway. The precautions/warning text just went on and on and on.

Monday 2nd May 2005

So, today, trying to get away from all the paint fumes, we headed north along the A61, passing through Harrogate, then Ripon, then Thirsk, vrmmmmmmmm. Then . . . finally, or was it just the beginning? . . . we reached Venice, beautiful Venice. Beautiful city, fantastic sites to see. Actually, that's a lie, but hey . . . Venice, Sutton-Under-Whitestonecliffe . . . what's the difference? Eh? Hmmmmm. I've a feeling sea-level may come into it. And water in general.
So, yes . . . after a quick stop at the visitor centre at Sutton Bank, we headed on for Rievaulx Abbey. Erm . . . something about Cistercian, 11th century, north of England, first monastery . . . blah, blah, blah, with some verbs and a sentence or two constructed around it all. You get the idea. These pictures were taken at about five to four, when the weather was still okay. We walked up a grassy bank behind the abbey and settled down for lunch. Note the people ruining what would otherwise be half-decent pictures, damn them.
. . . and then the clouds started to roll in. It was still fairly warm, like, but it looked like something ominous was on the way. "Didn't you check the weather forecast, dear?" "No, I thought you had. I packed the bag, remember?" "Yes, but I made the lunch, and I just assumed . . . "
Still, when the rain started, we had well and truly finished lunch and were all set on exploring the abbey. Kirkstall Abbey could learn a lot from this place, were it not a pile of rocks without any kind of recognisable central nervous system. Erm . . . see, there was loads of exploring to do and when the rain got a bit too heavy, we just ran under one of the many arches or inside what would have once been some kind of fireplace, I guess. Some of these pictures are taken from such arches. We had a proper wander around, and the abbey had many weird little nooks and crannies. I think I'm kind of repeating myself here. And then we explored the abbey. There was lots of exploring to do. Nooks and crannies.

Thursday 5th May 2005

Hello. Jonath here. Today I have been . . . PAINTING! Yes, more of the paint fumes. Anyway, as I know you'll be wondering, "Well, Jonath, you've been redecorating your living room since, erm . . . November? Yes, it must be November, because that was when . . . anyway, since November. So, that's . . . let me think . . . six months?! Christ, SIX MONTHS!!! So what have you actually done in that time?" and to answer that I would say, "Well, perhaps best to say what hasn't been done, as that is a shorter list. What hasn't been done yet: three quarters of the floor sanded, cleaned and painted (two coats); hole (singular) in wall filled in and painted over; dodgy bit of ceiling (approximately 1.5 foot squared) painted over . . . erm. I think that's it," and outside of the double quotes . . . well, you know, the last thing you wanna think about after a hard days work is DIY, surely. That's why it takes so long.

Anyway, that's pretty much it for the moment . . . living room should be finished, finally, in a week or two. Maybe I should have a party to celebrate. Today I also did go to my local polling station, voting for my second choice, as given by I cannot help but wondering whether if it makes any difference, but better that than no vote cast at all. Christ! Check that out below. My political allegiance has changed during the last few weeks. Apparently, I voted for who I should have voted for anyway. YAY!

Your actual outcome:

(bar chart broken, but here's the results anyway)

Labour -24
Conservative 3
Liberal Democrat 20
Green 13

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For (but probably a bit late now)

Helped M****** make a special pizza tonight. Apparently, there's someone at M******'s workplace who made the foolish proclamation that he could take any spicy food. Ooooops. So . . . M****** and her work colleagues are having a 'fuddle' tomorrow, and this guy is gonna enjoy a slice of pizza that probably shouldn't be edible, as it contains six chilli peppers (Birds Eye?! I would have recommended habanero, of course, but these are only (I think) available from Kirkgate Market, in terms of Leeds), a couple of teaspoons of St. Kitts 'local hot sauce' (don't think this is available in the UK, perhaps with good reason . . . even half a teaspoon is too much) and far, far too many drops of Tabasco Habanero Sauce. Not good. I wanted to lend M****** my camera so that she could photograph the effects on a human on eating such a pizza, but she wouldn't. I'll let you know what happens. Incidentally, this last paragraph was done, I guess, on a thin client. How weird is that? I'm using a lap-top here, but most of the work is being done on the . . . fat-client, I guess you would call it. Crazy.

Friday 6th May 2005

Ooops. Awake into the early hours, watching BBC coverage of the election at the same time as checking on their web-site. They seem to have improved it this year so that updates happen automatically, rather than having to click on a box to 'download new data' or whatever it was. Blah, blah, blah.

Saturday 7th May 2005

Another decorating day or, at least, that was the plan . . . I had agreed to buy M****** one of those, erm, freaky inflatable ball things, so I had to go to town at some point today. However, with the floor immediately behind the front door to be painted, this required some thought. Paint takes about two hours to dry. Floor needs sanding and cleaning. Sanding and cleaning takes about an hour. M****** will be back at about 17:30. Hmmmmm. So, agree to take M****** to work, leaving the house at about 11:35. This would mean I could park somewhere in town, get the 'gym ball', then do the floor, with the paint being dry before M****** would get back. Or something like that. It was either that or wait until M****** gets back and then paint the floor. Is anyone still reading this? I think you should stop, think about what you're doing, pour yourself a glass of wine and watch television or read a book for an hour or so. Just anything. I think I'm writing this for my own sake, you see. Just for the record, as it were. So . . . where was I? Argos, yes. So, I'm leaving Argos, thinking, "Okay, so I might as well put the receipt in the box for this thing. Right. So now what? I'm in town, the minimum parking charge is £1, which lasts for something like two hours . . . but I'm not gonna be that long. Maybe go to Marks and Spencers, buy some food for tonight," and so head in that direction. Just as I'm doing this, there's a tap on my shoulder and a, "Oooo, hello?!" and it's . . . Dan and Phillipa. You know? Dan and Phillipa? From London? He of the dreadlocks. So that was good. After a bit of, "Wow, what the frig?! Why? What? Who? How? Where?" we decide upon a tea/coffee and head for Caffe Nero. That looked too busy, so we went to the Courtyard instead. The story was . . . Phillipa (is that the right amount of l's and p's?) had been to four gigs that week of this band, Silver Sun, the last one being in Leeds (the other three were in London, Southampton and Nottingham). Dan had been to the Leeds gig, but none of the others. They had come over to Leeds some time yesterday, stayed at the Travelodge, and now had until 15:00 (or thereabouts) until their train. So that was good. Saved from a dull afternoon of wood-dust and paint fumes. So, after tea/coffee at the Courtyard, we went for a bit of a wander, heading vaguely for that single-span suspension bridge not far from, erm . . . Reclaim or, indeed, the Palace. Whatever. We appreciated the bridge for a few minutes and after a bit more wandering, went to the Palace for lunch/beer. After showing Dan and Phillipa the station. Showing? Erm . . . yeah. We said our goodbyes and I retrieved my car (oooops - I left the doors unlocked. How did that happen?) from the bottom of the Light car park and went home. You can guess the rest.

Sunday 8th May 2005

Nothing much to report. Baby grand and piano stool now in place. Half a ton sure don't move easily, but no damage to my recently painted floorboards. More floor painted (second coat). Floor about 78% done. Miscellaneous hole in wall filled in. Dodgy bit of ceiling painted. Erm . . .

Monday 9th May 2005

Odd that. The lock on the front door has gone all stiff. Does that have something to do with the piano? That's the only thing that's changed.

Friday 13th May 2005

Went for lunch at about 12:05, meeting M****** and Rachel at Tiger Tiger. Rachel lives in Sydney with Mark, but had come back to the UK for her brother's wedding. Later on that day, after work, M****** and I made our way over to Durham. There was a bit of confusion getting to our Premier Travel Inn thingy, as the directions seemed to assume we could drive through a lot of trees and vegetation, round the back of Sainsbury's, or something like that. Still, the people at this out-of-town Allied Carpets type place were able to point us in the right direction. Anyway, we got there not long after Helen and Stu. After checking-in, M****** drove us all to Simon's place, just down the road, and thence a taxi to town. Our first choice Indian restaurant was all booked up, so instead we went to The Capital, getting there not long before 9pm.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, these are more pictures from the restaurant. We were six. I occasionally thought four for some odd reason. Me and M******, Beccy and Simon, Helen and Stu. That's how it worked. Yup. Our dinner lasted quite a while, beyond the crucial 11pm point, so we had our last round of drinks there and then got two taxis back to Simon's place. Those

Saturday 14th May 2005

So, it's 00:20. A few dodgy, blurry pictures and then back to our, erm, Travel Inn thing. This is a six second exposure, in case you were wondering.
This is some kind of tram thing (outside and in). There were two of these, this one pictured here and an open-top one. Oh, in case you were wondering, we're in Beamish now. Beamish is this freaky open-air museum, based around life in the area around 1913 (as we were later to find out, this date was picked as it was the year when coal production around here was at its peak . . . something like that)
. . . now the memory is all but gone now, but the previous night there were several very distinctive dreams. Now, all I can remember is staring up at the sky with another person. We were watching several layers of dark brown clouds shift around, the nearest of which would form shapes, glide in one direction, stop, change direction, move along, move along . . . all very strange. I think I was watching this from the upper deck of a large ship. Other dreams involved the typical unaided flying around thing . . . nothing special, but no power lines this time (thank god). M****** was also on a ship that night. Not sure if it was the same one.
Erm . . . where was I? Beamish . . . Beamish. Something about Beamish. My dad says I've been here before, when I was two or three years old. I don't remember this. Beamish might have changed since then. I might have changed. Or both. Hmmmmm. Yeah, so this is the colliery. The last picture, with us in our hard hats, was taken not long before we crawled our way into the coal mine there. That was the best bit.
You seen this before? Yes, of course you have. Flick back to April 1st. That building, now I know what it is. It's a horse gin, of course. Or a gin gan. Whatever. Horses attached to wooden spokes, turning some kind of spindle thing. God knows why. Who cares? Horse feels like it's doing something. Horse happy.

Sunday 15th May 2005

Hello. This is my living room. I've been decorating this for the last five/six months (really?! No. I had no idea). As you can see, it's nearly finished. We were about to leave the house for a barbecue at Mouse/Simon's place (Harrogate), but M****** had to take a few pictures of the living room, as requested by Mouse.
This is a guinea pig. This one's called Ruby. M******'s trying to tempt it with cucumber. It wasn't really that bothered, as you can probably tell. It took a few nibbles, nothing more.
. . . and this is the other guinea pig, Cilla. Cilla was much more interested in the cucumber than Ruby. And that looks like a picture of me. I think I was trying to check whether there was still grease on the lens. I couldn't see any. No grease. That last picture there, that's for Anna. At time of writing, Anna is somewhere in Laos (I think) and had requested a picture of M******'s bump, so here it is.

Monday 16th May 2005

So, I'm trying to do my university assignment and I think, "Hmmmm, maybe I'll just test that wireless network card I received some time last week." However, not only does it clearly work, but it also picks up some local wireless network, asks for (and receives) an IP address (cheers, thanks, thanks, yeah, cheers) and then merrily goes about providing internet access as if nothing was up. How crazy's that? I wander around the house, and the connection seems to work fine everywhere (except the basement kitchen), so someone is clearly beaming radiation well into my house. Not only that, but after a bit of packet analysis it seems quite a lot of this data is unencrypted. Crazy again. Ah well. Having just ordered a wireless access point, I make a mental note to ensure all wireless data is encrypted and to only allow a very specific list of network cards (as specified by myself) to communicate with the WAP.

Wednesday 18th May 2005

People occasionally ask, "So what happened to that guy and the spicy pizza you referred to on 5th May?" Well, the freak managed to eat it. The slice represented about a sixth to an eighth of the pizza, and it took him twenty minutes to eat that tiny little slice. During this twenty minutes there were many requests for water (wrong - you want milk, yoghurt or similar), much sweating and the apparent endurance of what can't have been a small amount of pain. But, yeah . . . as I say, the freak ate it. M****** was most annoyed. Still, the journey from mouth, through the digestive system, and out again . . . well, that can't have been pretty, for anyone. Unfortunately, the guy just wasn't saying.

Thursday 19th May 2005

Sounds interesting - The Power of Nightmares, if not particularly surprising.

Tuesday 24th May 2005

I thought this was a pretty good piece of spam e-mail (to create a single sun is surely impressive enough):

address on site along with the ability to say no more
Nor can I spare the money at present for so expensive a trip.
Oh, it won't cost anything, replied Rob, with a smile.

Mr. Your Highness, said he, I will now proceed to prove my magic by
creating two suns that you have never seen before; also I will exhibit a
Destroyer much more dreadful that your Clinging Vines.

Wednesday 25th May 2005

Erm . . . nope. Nothing much going on. University work . . . blah, blah, blah.

Friday 27th May 2005

Not sure what this image is about. That looks like M******. I think this was the night that I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could polish off that bottle of absinthe that's been lying around for a while. Not that I don't like it, Rob, but there's a time and a place, and tonight seemed kind of right, you know? Anyway . . . this is all I have to show for it . . . that and a pretty vicious hangover the following day.

Saturday 28th May 2005

So who was driving that morning (afternoon?)? Oh, I remember - it was me. Yes. Some time in the early afternoon . . . I dunno when . . . we headed towards Blackpool. Our actually destination was Cleveleys. So, it was a case of M621, M62, M61, M55 and then, erm . . . A585? Something like that. It was this place called Nursery World (I think) and they sold hundreds of prams. We met Helen and Stu there. Erm . . . yeah . . . so . . . prams? Prams. What about prams? Something to do with prams. God knows. Prams, car seats, mattresses. So, we drive through the town centre of Cleveleys, and on to the promenade thingy. Stopped, parked and wandered around for a while. There was this strange foam on the coast. Nice. These pictures were taken at about 16:25.
More pictures from the sea-front. In that first picture (above and left) . . . not sure what was going on there. I took that with the digital zoom at full (6x magnification) and you can kind of make of two helicopters hovering. It was very windy out there, so they can't have been doing that for fun. Dunno what that was about. Otherwise . . . waves and more strange North Sea foam. Later on that day, we popped in on M******'s auntie's place (or, indeed, M******'s mum's sister's place . . . or Helen's sister's place or just Sue's place, I guess) in Inskip and had dinner at the Waterwitch later on that night.

Sunday 29th May 2005

Today M****** and I (along with M******'s dad and girlfriend, Maria) went up to Ambleside to see the grandparents. These pictures were taken from the . . . well, from the balcony (kind of) of the flat that used to belong to some other people but was actually part of Peter's and Therese's property, you see? YOU SEE??? But now they own it all. And, as a result, we can play table-tennis up in the 'holiday flat', as they now call it, and take pictures like this.

Monday 30th May 2005

So, it's 12:41, we've been wandering around this weird G.B.Antiques (or whatever) for ages now. It's some kind of huge warehouse (or maybe several interconnected warehouses) full of . . . well . . . just stuff, really: furniture, records, books, comics, crockery, pianos, fabrics, sinks, garden tools, a rabbit foot (hmmmm, with a nice embedded purple gem) . . . just so much stuff. But nothing really of interest. Except for the Sinclair C5, of course. M****** had no idea what this thing was. I had to explain. Oh, and the cat? Yes, that's Tiger. After G.B.Antiques, we went to Sainsbury's (we're in Lancaster, here) and then to Halton for a barbecue at Helen and Stu's house. Later, popped in to see my elder sister, picking up (borrowing) more baby items.