Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Friday 1st September 2006

So here's the deal: I believe today is the 50th wedding anniversary for M****'s grandparents, Peter and Therese. The first and second e should have an acute and a grave respectively, I believe. I've no idea what the HTML is for those things though. We arrived at our holiday home (not far from Troutbeck Bridge - about three quarters of a mile up Bridge Lane) some time in the early-ish part of the evening. The long celebrations began tonight with dinner at the grandparents' place in Ambleside.
. . . and then pictures of various things: David leaning out of the window (I thought he looked a bit disembodied in this picture), some bluriness, windows, Mario moving about in front of a window (Peter in the background), M**** talking to Peter, Leo and Renata (with blurry Grace and Olivia in the foreground, I think), M**** looking at some photos/pictures and some stars (it was very clear that night).

Saturday 2nd September 2006

So today was the main celebration: lunch at the Langdale Hotel and Country Club or perhaps Purdey's. Yes. Anyway . . . apart from the many, many relatives and partners of various relatives, there were also many friends of Peter and Therese and their respective partners, so it was quite a crowd. The pictures probably speak for themselves. I've no idea what that expression means. So, anyway . . . after a fantastic meal, there were speeches and then an opportunity to leave messages of thanks/congratulations/whatever (that's the fourth to last picture). Then there was a bit of a break, and then a church service in Ambleside, followed by another gathering at the grandparents'.

Sunday 3rd September 2006

I think it was Mark's idea to invite his sisters, parents and all the various nephews, nieces, cousins . . . erm . . . pretty much everyone, really . . . invite over for lunch that day. M**** and I were left in charge of making the chilli. One could point out that I should never, ever be left to make chilli-con-carne if other people hope to eat said foodstuff ("Oh, I'm sure three habaneros won't be too spicey") so, for that reason, M**** was the one adding chilli powder. Oh. There's a few pictures there from the previous day (table football) - that must have been after midnight then. We were missing a Simon and a Beccy today, as they had to get their plane back to Bournemouth. So, anyway, after eating, there was lots of stuff going on outside. This started off with a frisbee, then there were two frisbees, then Maria started explaining a strange game involving a napkin. The fifth and sixth pictures along on the middle row were taken during Maria addressing the frisbee-throwing crowd with proposal for strange napkin game. As is often the case, once we got on playing Maria's game, it all made perfect sense - it was easier playing/executing than explaining how to play. In the bottom row, are attempts to capture all of us in a single picture. That person running away is Mario. Erm . . . and I think that's everything. It was a really good day, though, as I love to have a bit of run around after eating in order to put all the new acquired energy to good use.

Monday 4th September 2006

erm . . . ferry to Hawkshead and then wander around Grizedale Forest . . . I think that's what happened today. In the evening, M**** and I went out for a meal in Bowness and then a few drinks.

Wednesday 6th September 2006

I'm not too sure what happened to Tuesday. Up until Wednesday morning, M**** and I were without a suitable A****** carrier, so were limited to carrying A****** in our arms (only suitable for about ten/fifteen minutes at a time) and having him in the pushchair, which obviously has its limitations. I think we had a bit of a lazy day on Tuesday, but did go for a walk along Bridge Lane, towards Troutbeck itself. But anyway, today I think we went up Gummer's How, having first stopped for lunch . . . at the Mason's Arms . . . somewhere. I remember they had two types of Hawkshead bitter, red and something else. Yes.
and this is strange, very strange. Were it not for the moon (nearing full), it would have been pretty dark outside, so I set my camera to a fifteen second exposure and were somewhat surprised by the results. Of course, moonlight is just reflected sunlight so none of this should be all that surprising, but hey . . . I like the way stars are visible in a blue sky. It's good that.

Thursday 7th September 2006

Friday 8th September 2006

So what happened today then? Well, it was our last day at the holiday home, so there was a frenzied morning of packing and tidying, stuff like that. We drove over to Peter and Therese's place again in Ambleside, and dumped any large or valuable looking items there. Borrowing Peter, we then headed over Kirkstone Pass (I assume), and parked the car (cars, really, there being six of us) at Glenridding. So, the first two pictures in the top row are two pictures M**** took from the holiday home. I had already taken a few similar pictures like this, but M**** wanted her own, or something. Next two were taken whilst waiting for the ferry to Howtown, whilst the fifth along was my delayed attempt to capture one of the many fighter jets we saw fly over us (as I realised/learnt too late, they always go in pairs, and sometimes in threes). We got to the only pub at Howtown (part of a hotel), and already A****** was fast asleep. I think he awoke during attempts to re-attach the carrier to my back, and wouldn't go back to sleep after - there was too much going on. So yeah . . . after lunch, we began a seven mile walk back to Glenridding, and the rest of the pictures are just various views taken during that time. About halfway through the walk, M**** and I began to worry about A****** and the total duration of walk and therefore time until his dinner/bath/bed/etc. With this in mind, we sped of in a separate group, but Mark/Maria/Peter were never actually that far behind. I suspect they increased their speed after we separated. And, erm . . . I think that's it, really. We got back to Lancaster at a reasonable hour and wolfed down portions of fish and chips (or sausage and chips in the case of M****).

Sunday 10th September 2006

Today we have been for a
walk, up near Silverdale.

Saturday 16th September 2006

Urgh. I've got a head full of varnish fumes. White spirit and varnish fumes. Is not good. In the late part of the morning, we drove over to HSS and picked up a floor sander and an orbital sander (?!). We then popped into Wickes (and some weird furniture shops) for a few bits and pieces: varnish, a nail punch, a 4 inch paint brush . . . oh, what the hell . . . let's go crazy . . . a few of your masonary drill bits as well - a couple of 6mm ones and an 8mm. M**** and A****** made themselves scarce, and I got on with the noisy business (having first warned my neighbours) of hammering down all protruding nails (and ones that weren't so protruding). That done, I began lawning/sanding the floorboards with this scary floor sanding machine. Very noisy, very heavy and very messy. It had a bag attached to capture most of the sawdust, but that came off a number of times. So yeah . . . sawdust everywhere. When I got down to using the orbital sander to do the edges, I figured I might as well go over the whole floor with this thing using a fine grade disc. So yeah . . . a pretty dull afternoon, all in all. Had to be done, though. All the sanding (oh, it's the back, ground floor room I'm doing here - the 'living' room) was finally complete at about half past six. Then I did a couple of rounds of hoovering and then wiped white spirit over the whole lot. The first coat of varnish was finally applied by about 11pm. But then I realised I had left the white spirit on the window sill, unreachable without walking over a load of wet varnish. Grrrrrr. Very annoyed at myself for making such a school boy error.

Sunday 17th September 2006

and then today the bathroom floor was sanded with the orbital sander, bringing up nice stains around the toilet. Hmmmmmmm. And the smell . . . well, that's something else. We're just hoping the Ronseal varnish is going to do a lot of very effective sealing. Another coat of varnish was applied in the living room, and I would have started varnishing the bathroom, but it all took far, far too long. The day was broken up slightly by a trip to town for some miscellaneous supplies (blinds, curtain hooks . . . baby stuff) and lunch at the Whaletail cafe. So yeah . . . dull house stuff, really.

Tuesday 19th September 2006

and then I walked past someone on my way out of work for my lunchbreak . . . it was strange . . . it must have been the way he was walking, or something, because I didn't look at his face but felt, "I think I know this person," and it was only when we were virtually level with each other that we caught eyes (what a strange expression) and I realised, "YES! HIM! He used to run computer club!" this being only twenty years ago. A mere yesterday. I've seen him occasionally, perhaps working behind the bar at the John O'Gaunt, or maybe having dinner with a lady friend at Etna's . . . here and around. I did a few checks on our systems and it turns out he's currently enrolled on our PGCE maths course, or one of them . . . so how weird's that? Well, not very. It's Lancaster. It's a small place. I probably know his lecturer, Doreen.
Hello? New paragraph. Bathroom was varnished this morning, just prior to leaving the house, thereby guaranteeing it an uninterrupted eight hours, or maybe longer . . . I'm not sure. A few more coats of that and it should be sorted. I didn't sleep much last night, having slathered on the varnish downstairs and the fumes, they did creep around the house during the night, despite all the closed doors. Those pho-teeeees there are probably of A****** enjoying nearly varnished living room floor (and M**** wondering why we didn't use Ronseal). I'm kinda wondering if I need yet another coat. Four coats?!

Sunday 24th September 2006

Oooops - /dev/hda1 has a bad sector . . . not good. Thus, main computer is decidedly not happy. Aside from buying a new system with two hard-drives running under hardware RAID 1, I'm not really sure what to do. Hence, I've just said to it, "Re-build and re-compile everything," hoping that any corrupted software would get replaced and the damaged parts of the hard-drive ignored . . . or something. And my elder sister, Jo, gave birth to child number four today, or some time this morning. Sounds like there was a healthy flow of visitors. I popped over around about half past seven, and two more people turned up not long after me. So yeah . . . and then more of the on-going kitchen worktop madness in the evening. I sanded down one side with some 240-grade sandpaper (but still couldn't get rid of all the circular stains) and then treated it to some oil of some description. Interestingly, the instructions said that you know it's time to apply some more oil when water kind of spreads into the wood rather than settling into discrete droplets (pretty much like Goretex, I guess), which I don't think it's ever done. Clearly this wood was never sealed/treated properly.

Friday 29th September 2006

Don't think there's much news at the moment. Just boring stuff: been sealing one of our worktops using some kind of worktop oil stuff. We paid Ikea to do this, yet they couldn't be bothered and just pocketed the money. More varnishing in the living room . . . thought I would sand down the rough varnish and apply another coat, which made it all lovely and smooth. New motherboard and CPU installed in existing PC. All working fine except for USB mouse and keyboard (and yet the USB card reader is fine, whatever USB port I use), so that's a bit weird. I think it's some issue at the operating system level, as the keyboard works up until the point where I select which kernel to boot up with. Next stage is to install two 250GB hard drives running under RAID 1 and copy all existing data onto those. So yeah . . . erm . . . can't think of anything else.