Had a bit of a scare that protobikes.org had been stolen. Not sure if that is true,

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For the last year I have done my blogging on Facebook Jonathan Woolrich. A lot has happened. Unfortunately little Aphie is no longer with me. She was run over on the nearby A30 in January. She was such a bold little hunter. She just had to go and look. Now she’s buried in the garden. I plan to plant a Hamamelis Aphrodite over her in the autumn when they are available. The other big event has been my retirement/redundancy  on 1st July. Still getting used to it. Having a lot of fun.

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Aphie’s introduction to the house has been very successful. On Sunday she had her 1st official outing, though she got out somehow on Saturday. There was a small anxious face at the cat flap. Great success. Shorter and longer expeditions, ending with snoozing in my lap on the sun lounger. She and Olly play fight all the time, ambushing each other. No blood drawn. Tonight both dashed out to meet me when I got home. Later on, she brought me her first ‘present’. It is a tiny house mouse, seemingly undamaged. I thinkshe will be a terror. I’m having trouble getting the mouse pic down off my phone, otherwise it would be here.

I may be observing a couple of record attempts this spring. More later if anything works out.

On a worse note, work continues horrible. I have been shifted sideways, out of sight, into a very gloomy room, which isn’t good for my health. I am about to be moved to an even worse corner of that room. I hate it. I have a year to go before pension, but I’m about to review my CV. No reason I can’t work longer if it is reasonably pleasant.

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Another cat! Olly always wants to play. Now he has a playmate. In his past life there was another cat he was friendly with and which he let into the house. I wanted a young female so he wasn’t threatened. Eventually Battersea came up with Aphie, short for Aphrodite.

Aphie1 Aphie2 Aphie3 Aphie4

Cute huh? She’s tiny. At about nine months old, she will probably not grow much more. She’s full of energy and very confident and friendly. She spent 3 months on a building site, but must have had a proper home at some time to be so nice. After 2 weeks Olly is tolerating her, sometimes pouncing before she does. She hisses more than he does. She’s a small white and orange tornado, dashing around the house. Not going out for another couple of weeks, but she eats alongside Olly and sometimes steals his food.

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It has been a very long time and it is lateish so just a few words. The IT replacement project is going. I have promised to have most PCs rolled out before I go to Battle Mountain on the 5th. The build and group policy isn’t great. It takes about 15 mins setup for each new user. Most of that is importing setting from XP profiles, setting printers and program defaults and setting compatibility view on 4 sites.  Tomorrow we try and improve the build.

I am really looking forward to Battle Mountain. It looks like I will be travelling with Alan Grace and his handcycle. I didn’t really want to be with a team, but I am a sucker. Seems like a good bloke. Doesn’t really need Battle Mountain to break the record, but fair play if he goes to the effort.

I was an observer on a record attempt the weekend of the 9th and 10th. Can’t say anything but keep and eye on Channel 4 at the end of the year. Worked with a great team, including Alan Goodman. It was good to get to see eye to eye with him, when I feel I have not for a while. I felt like I was doing what I was good at, in a very colaborative atmosphere. Not much like going to work. 

Olly continues to be beautiful, but I had a bit of a scare with him last week. Normally he is awake at my least move. Last Thurs he wasn’t. I met a very drowsy cat as I left the bathroom. He didn’t like to be touched. He usually loves fuss. He didn’t want to eat, which is very unusual. I took him to the vets. They could not find anything significant wrong. He was looking perkier after fighting off all comers in the surgery. He had a slight temperature.  They gave me a pain killer to mix with his food. He ate it, and drugged food the next day, but then he was wary. Cats hate feeling at all drowsy.

The vets told me he is over weight, like his person. Owner doesn’t work with cats. I had not noticed his weight gain, but his favorite game is pouncing on cat treats thrown around the room. I had to stop that as they are very fattening. He did not eat at home for a few days. He was drinking, so I wasn’t too worried, but I did get concerned he was eating elsewhere. My old cat snacked out a lot, but he wasn’t gready and kept a reasonable weight, so this is new to me. Olly is a big chap, but 7Kg is too much. 

On Sunday night to Monday morning he woke me several times, seeming to want food, but not eating it. I got blase and ignored him. On Monday he really meant it. When I would not get up he bit me hard. I still have the marks from his canines (felines?) on the forearm. He ate a decent meal. Good for him as I was about to confine him to quarters.

Olly is causing trouble with a neighbour. We have always got on in the past. She is a hairdresser. I don’t know if it is connected but she is very protective of her garden, which is immaculate and has won local prizes. She found Olly’s collar at the side of her house, where he had been fighting. Quite a lot of cat fur too. They can lose loads without a sign on them. In addition, she told me he was shitting on her patio. I offered some repellant chemicals I bought when he was troubling another neighbour. I made the mistake of a slight shrug and saying ‘He’s a cat’. She stomped off and would not take what I offered.

My garden is really nice this year, even in her eyes.

OK – not just a few words.

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Anniversary of the London bombs. I remember I was working in a contact lens warehouse, scanning bar codes on packs returned by shops around Europe. Quite a bit of panic amongst my dafter colleagues, but my mother was the same at the time of the IRA bombs in London. She lived in Lincolnshire. I lived in North West London. She was convinced I was in danger. Legs Larry did turn out to be in danger, but the odds were much against.

Olly continues to get friendlier. I’m spending time after work on a sun lounger. He comes and sits on my lap, then goes on his rounds etc. Tonight it was a bit wet out, so I lounged upstairs and he dozed in the crook of my arm, with the odd demand for a bit of fuss. We have played chase games tonight. He was a bit fixed on the bit where I would throw cat treats for him to chase. Much better this time.

Work carries on. I really don’t like turning up on a Monday. There is always something to clear up. The new servers are functioning, but the DNS move had problems and had to be reverted. On Weds we are due to have a Windows 8 workshop, but I don’t have confirmation from the person supposed to run it.

I am winding up to Battle Mountain. I have my flights, car and motels. I’m staying a few days after and had hoped to see my cousin Laura Floom Manning. She lives in Pasadena. I’ve made some attempts to contact her with no result. Maybe Al and Alice will tolerate me for a while, or I could ‘do’ The Grand Canyon or Yellowstone.

I’ve just ordered a Swann OutbackCam, which should record bikes and chase vehicles as they go past the finish post, with time stamps to match with the weather recorder.

I have been thinking about the colourful stones I pick up at Battle mountain. Here are some unwashed stones.

Stones 4

There are olive, green, blue and quartz stones and some sedimentaries. I just scanned these on the copier/scanner. There are also jaspers and a variety of sparkly stones. I have found rose quartz. The round white one shines like a cat’s eye if you get the angle right. I am in the process of buying a small macro rig to do them justice.

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Olly is settling in fairly well. He still goes for me sometimes, but I notice he is licking his bum, which probably means he has worms (and so has eaten a mouse), so that could explain him being a bit irritable.
I bought him a new toy – a Sense feeding maze. Only used cat treats so far, but he spends time with it – and tips it over sometimes- so may be a good place to put his dry food. It may have been made for little kitties. He isn’t one.
He brought me a dead bluetit, unharmed. He was very excited about it. I think it was one of the juveniles from my nestbox. The box was crammed a week ago. Now it is silent, so they have gone. I cleaned it out. The nest was mostly live moss. I scalded it out and left it open front as a robin box. I’ll look up and see if there is any chance of another brood of something.
At work, the 1st new server is in, but still being configured. The various items will be virtualised within it and we will have a second mirror server. We are going Office356. It comes with an intranet and extranet. The extranet is half configured to be used as our customer facing pages. We need some more style and data changes but it already looks way better than the old one. Also much easier to maintain.
Sad to hear about Karl Harris. I knew dave Pinkerton who died in a sidecar at the IoM.
Battle Mountain is looking very exciting, with a number of high laminar bikes. Multiple bikes over 80 this year?

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After another 2 weeks, Olly is an outside cat. On Saturday, I scattered a scoop of his litter tray into the corners of the garden. He woke me early on Sunday. I took him outside and played with him with cat treats. He explored. He went further and I eventually lost sight, though I rattled the cat treat box. I went back to bed. An hour and a half later he was back, bristling with friendliness. I fed him, then he wanted to play. He likes to sit under a chair and have his goldfish toy whisked around to grab. The day went on like this. I left the garage door open and he came and went, then wanted attention. One time we were outside and he used a corner of the garden under the shrubs. He does not appear to have used the litter tray. He had a short excursion onto the roof outside my bedroom window.

The night included another play episode and feeding him very early. He still goes for me from time to time. I hope he’ll settle. He’s using the cat flap both ways, so he is quite settled.

Apart from that, I took my old Wilson Sapphire bass body to have the paint stripped. I’ll have to check if I mentioned this. I started it with an old can of Nitromors, which worked. Then I bought more and it didn’t. It appears the active ingredient has been banned. I went to a company called ‘Strippers’ near Maidenhead. I don’t advise looking for them on Google. Also had a few beers at the local that night.

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Things carry on changing very fast. There were some good things at the weekend. I fixed my boiler, my shower fitting and the rear wiper on my car. On the other side, my new cat went missing and I dropped an impact driver in the bath, ruining it.

I had planned to let Olly out Saturday morning. I didn’t feed him first and I had cat treats handy. He seemed fine trotting around the garden. He attempted the 6ft fence on 1 side, but didn’t quite make it. Easily got over the other fence. I saw him nosing around in the neighbours garden. That is the last I saw of him. I spent ages walking around the block and calling. Barely slept that night. On Sunday I went up to the local Battersea branch and reported him missing. They were quite reassuring, but his collar had my phone number, and I have not had a call. I printed some leaflets (Where’s Olly) and distributed to my immediate neighbours. Today I printed a lot more and laminated some. Just have to hope.

Ref the bath: I have not had home insurance for a bit, but I bought some the week before last. Maybe they will pay.

Late update. the lad is back. I put up pictures around the area, one opposite where he was consorting with an older female. I wonder if he needs a companion. Battersea had a tough little white female I liked, but I think she has gone. Getting Olly into the carrier wasn’t easy. He’s a big lad. I need to learn to pick up by the scruff. He’s not overly pleased at encarceration, but currently snoozing peacfully.  


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Quite a lot has happened since I last wrote. I went to Liverpool. Stayed overnight at a travel lodge, then spent the morning with the company helpdesk. Pleasant lot for the most part. Didn’t quite resort to Google Translator. Then to Liverpool Uni. I met the team who are planning a speedbike. Very early days. Lots to chat about.

Then I went to stay with Graham Sparey-Taylor and family. Lots of showing bikes and chatting about them. They are near Mold, North Wales.

In the morning I drove over to Burleydam near Whitchurch, Shropshire. I have known my friends there for a very very long time, but I have not seen them for years. I would have stayed with them on Sunday, but they were supposed to be away. Turns out they weren’t. Only Fiona (Nisbett) was in when I got there, and an assortment of cats. Fiona asked me when I was going to get another cat. I gave me usual answer, when I get the house cleared up. She pointed out that the cat would not care.

I drove home, but was tired when I got to High Wycombe, so I stopped of to see Miles. Slash was there too. Miles showed me the latest secret project, the one everyone knows about.

The following Saturday (the  5th) I went to look at cats. There is a branch of Battersea cats & dogs near my home. I went and registered, but there wasn’t a really suitable cat. Looking at the website, I spotted a big tabby called Bluey. On the 12th he became my cat. Now known as Olly, for the big O marking on each side and because it is easy to call, and because Tina’s tabby cat is called Molly.


He is a very cool customer, washing and dozing in the basket on the way home. He sometimes nips, but never scratches. Loves chasing toys around the house and snuggling up close. I got a collar onto him with no difficulty. Next weekend I will let him out for the first time.

Meanwhile work has been rather dreadful. I nearly quit and would have done if the finances were a bit better. The company promised all new IT kit, but just isn’t coming up with the money. An update slowed the PCs and server up so much they were unusable. It was lucky it was Easter and lots of people were away. I threatened to leave if the money did not arrive pronto. I have backed down, and of course nothing will happen for ages.

I spent most of the weekend dozing and playing with Olly. Horrible to be back.

I was at the Hillingdon race on the 13th. Great weather and a reasonable attendance. It took lots of pictures which you can find here: http://s1127.photobucket.com/user/Protobikes/library/2014%20Hillingdon%201

Also, last night, I took the red Hofner (recently fettled by Joe White) to an acoustic jam night. Very low key and enjoyable. Now the practice starts! The pub had large screens, initially showing football. Eventually the sound was turned down, but the pictures changed to some beach based ‘reality’ show. Not good for the concentration.


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