280414

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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230414

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.

Olly

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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240314

Not cycled to work yet. The weather is colder again and I am very lazy.

I picked up the  guitar last Sat. Very good, though the control knobs need sorting out. Joe advised against using the ‘old’ Fishman pickup on the Pres, but is going to do a setup. The frets are a bit worn and the relief isn’t quite right. Had some fun testing the guitars with another customer m. Played quite a bit over the weekend.

Next Sunday I drive up to Liverpool. The new company helpdesk is there and I’m going to help with the tricks of the system. I hope to visit the Liverpool University team.

 

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170314

Not been out much. On Saturday I caught up with a few things. I did a few more bits on the new car radio. Eventually figured out how to use the config menues. I did some work in the garden and picked up some things from Homebase. The weather was so nice I didn’t want to be inside, so I did the walk up the local hill  that I have been neglecting. It made me puff and sweat. At the top a butterfly was patrolling the road. I could see it was a Vanessid – dark colours and the fact it was about so early. They hibernate. I was trying to see it better through the sweat, when it alighted on my chest. Red Admiral. They used to be mostly migrants, so late summer butterflies. It is warm enough now for them to hibernate. It landed on me twice, which was rather wonderful. Maybe interested in the sweat.

On the way back down I met Bernie looking very sleek and athletic. She was walking further. 

Over the weekend I got my commuting bike ready to go, but I had to go in early today as the consultant on the hardware replacement project was coming in.

We had quite a good day. Several PC config issues solved and a good meeting with our hosts about network security. Looks like it can be improved without too much trouble.

I got the call to say my guitar is ready. Can’t wait to see it on Sat. I will be taking my Pres in to get the acoustic pickup sorted. I doubt the neck can be made much better.  I’ll have to rehearse a lick or two. I’m finding striking the quitar difficult. When I bit my nails, I used the corner of my thumb nail to hit the sting. Not fast, but very good damping if I wanted it. Now my nail varies in length. I couldn’t find a plec last time I looked, though I know there are plenty around. I played base style with 2/3 fingers, which worked OK, but I think I will have to get used to the plec. 

I was very tired all day, despite sleeping a lot at the weekend. Will I cycle to work tomorrow? I’m about to look for my kit.

For Battle Mountain, I have a handcyclist talking to me and a UK university team.

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120314

The trip to the guitar repairer was great. I liked him. Old school craftsman. He reckons he can sort the quirks of my old Egmond http://www.egmond.se/egmond_se_History.html

so  it plays really well. Now I start to want all my other guitars done. At £80 a go, that is possible.

I took another Egmond with me. It’s neck is really wrong. It would have cost £280 or more to get it done. I think I paid £12.50 for it, but I may be able to do most of the work. The fretboard is more concave than flat or convex. I find it is easy to buy fretboard radius sanding boards. I have one on order. No truss rod at present, but the relief is about right with light strings. It’s the kind of thing you can do a bit of then leave.

I have an old Wilson Sapphire bass I started working on many years ago. The finish on the back is cracked.  I planned on stripping it and painting it. Later the idea came to give it a layer of glass cloth and epoxy on each side. After a long gap, I got in contact with Mike & Silvie at HQ fibre products. They are happy to do the glass, epoxy coat and bring it to a finish, ready for the subtle colour pearlescent white and layers of clearcoat.

I’ll put up a guitars page when they are looking a bit better.

Andy F’s birthday this week. I was invited to the restaurant in Neasden. Had to say no. The travel isn’t easy and I get embarrassed by all these Brazilians gyrating when I don’t feel competent. I had some hopes last year….

I just confirmed Battle Mountain motel bookings for me, Legs and Sherri. We can cancel or change, but I got the last single room for Sherri.

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080314

It has been quite a tough week, but reasonably productive. I’m getting over my injuries, but my guts and side still hurt a fair bit.

Tonight was fun. I wasn’t feeling great at first and slept a fair bit. Didn’t drink much at home. I was going to my local, but the I remembered the other local pub was re-opening after a lapse of a couple of years. It was very busy. Not many people I knew, but I bumped into some, including the hotel/restaurant  crew. Also my old friend Bernie. She really took against one of the chefs. She thinks he should represent the establishment. He couldn’t be further from. She thinks he is arrogant. I think honours are about equal.

On the way home I met an Italian couple I previously met at the local a couple of weeks ago. She is Sabrina. very nice young woman. Psychology student at the local uni. I’ve done a few things down that way and we had a good conversation.

Tomorrow (Sat) I will be taking one of my guitars to Joe White’s Guitar Workshop, to sort out the buzzes. I have not played it for a while, but is wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought when I tuned it up tonight. Improvised Black Magic Woman anyone?

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280214

Early morning. Had a snooze earlier and am not working today.

Weds at the pub was a bit of a washout. 2 of the hotel/restaurant guys turned up very late. It turned out funny in other ways. I had a a conversation with Frazer about the Scots referendum. Despite a strong accent, he does not have a vote as he no longer has family in Jockland. I know a few people ‘North of the Border’, all of whom are in the No camp. In no way is that represenataive. Asked how he would vote if he could, he said he was a conservative (the last conservative Scot?) and would have voted no. Gently I talked a bit more about his conservatism. He is ‘every man for himself”. I want a caring society. My ideal is nearer Skandiwegia, his beyond the US. He stormed off from me ‘before it comes to blows’. Strange. Must be a bit insecure in his beliefs.

My mother was a communist party member in the ’30s. Many idealistic people were. Nobody knew about what was really happenning in the USSR. My Polish grandfather was a member of a socialist club, after he had been thrown out of a German dominated choir because he was Jewish. The photos of the club are amazing. Chrinolines and frock coats.

Back in the pub, there was a large group of young women. Local ageing failed lothario Ray was trying to chat them up. I could hear 2 of them near me were speaking French, so we spoke for a few minutes. They were au pairs from an agency. Quite a few different countries. They left. Not my doing.

After that I was landed with Ray. He knew I speak Spanish and now French. He greets me we ‘Hola, Como esta?’ every time I see him. It is easier to say ‘Muy bien gracias’ than to get more involved. He has a few phrses, which are rubbish. He is an East African Asian. He speaks other languages, but does not appear to have an idea how languages work. Knowing about verbs is a big shortcut. He wants me to teach him. I declined. I told him a few things. He won’t remember, which will show why I won’t do it.

Today at work wasn’t too bad. I installed my new Lenovo ThinkCentre as my work PC. Windows 8.1 is going to take me a while to get used to. I don’t have my old desktop with all the icons. I think we got firm numbers for the Cap Ex form, which should happen today. We should be putting in a slightly high figure to come down from. Instead the figure is pared to the bone because unrealistic budgets have been assigned.

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