Tuesday, 30 October 2007

it's my last day of paternity leave

and I have to see one of my customers today, I don't particularly want to go, and it's a no brainer setting up a a few laptops for secure wifi access to their company lan/wan ......but it puts a bit more in the melting pot so to speak, looking on the bright side it is a fantastic autumn morning, bright blue sky and gentle breeze if a bit nippy :)

Freya slept for 7 hours last night, a new record !!! it must be her mothers milk I'm convinced it's laced with morphine it's the only explanation.... Andrea's mother went home this morning, she has been a great help all through the week, piles of ironed clothes have been appearing as if by magic on the beds and the washing machine and iron have put in a request to have a well earned holiday and both breathed a sigh of relief when she left.....

we have the proud granddad coming down next week.

My stepdaughter is cuddling the incredible sleeping baby on the sofa right now, she is good with her although every now and again you have to remind her that Freya's head can't support itself like hers just yet, but she is getting the hang of it, and she adores her :)

ohhh nearly forgot to say, in town the other day we bumped into the xbox recluse on a rare outing from his xbox, it's quite disconcerting being surrounded by teenage hoodies where all of them are "ahhhhing" and "cooing" over her, to be fair though halo boy does have a nice selection of friends, he is a sensible lad despite his current addiction to body count in Halo3

the only other thing worth a mention is I forked out for a new phone, my old one which is nearly 4 years old was starting to creak at the buttons, I got the Nokia 6070 a pretty basic phone and for a knock down price of £25, like all phones these days it comes with a camera and a radio, and can play mp3's... bit of a waste really because all I will be using it for is texting and talking really....call me old fashioned

bring back the red call boxes !!! when life was simple and not a ringtone in sight !!

Anyway I must bugger off things to do etc

Monday, 29 October 2007

The battle of britain has started

We have two buzzards and a kestrel nesting nearby us, and when the buzzards take flight our resident evil clan of Crows and Ravens take to their wings and the most spectacular display of aerobatics unfolds in the sky above us, usually involving the buzzard flying upside down displaying it's formidable talons to the extremely brave (or stupid) Crows or Ravens, the Kestrel on the other hand is pretty much left to it's own devices hovering over the fields like a police helicopter a bit like a humming bird but a tad bigger !!!

there must be at least 80 - 100 ravens / crows congregating on our remote hill top, to be honest I am not looking forward to their morning chorus.

Freya had yet another peaceful night and she wakes up now just looking around the room taking things in and it's rare she cries..... we are under no illusions that this behaviour will in any way last....

but we hope it does, because neither of us are getting that tired or crabby through lack of sleep, probably Andrea more than me, because she has to feed her, but there isn't a lot I can do about that......

We are daring to go out today the whole tribe, just a walk around town to get some fresh air, should be nice :) .... no doubt Freya will come back with yet more fluffy pink clothes....

......well we made it back, Freya spent the entire time from being put in the car seat to getting home .......asleep..... but my prediction of pink fluffiness proved beyond any reasonable doubt, she now has even more pink to wear, women and baby clothes should be up there with crack addicts and granny bashing in my book, they simply cannot walk past baby clothes without touching them and saying "ahhhhhhhhh.........wouldn't she look sooooooo cute in that !!!"

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Well another relatively peaceful night

Freya only woke up once as far as I know last night and I was woken up by her this morning..... she is quite an alarm clock :) but even when she cries it's not at the usual newborn 140db brain piercing cry, she gets to a certain point and then only dogs can hear her.....

The weather is appalling out here in the sticks, it's that drizzly rain that completely soaks every pore you have. Andrea's mum has gone to a coffee morning at the boat club with my parents, so by the time she gets back she will know every little thing about me and my previous life, not that my mother likes to talk or anything or that I have anything to hide :¬)

to be perfectly honest I really don't know what I would have done without my mum and dad post divorce, she talked a lot of sense into me, some of which I ignored but a lot of it I followed and my Dad......well he was just my Dad always 100% there for me, solid and reliable, and unflinching ... salt of the earth and then some :)

anyway we have friends coming down today to "coo" and "ahh" over Freya the incredible unconscious baby and I'm managing to keep the kids quiet by luckily finding a windows version of "SuperTux" it's basically like "SuperMario" but with a penguin instead of a plumber, either way it's pretty addictive and my stepdaughter batters hell out of the keyboard in frustration sometimes when it doesn't quite go her way on it

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Ahhhh the CSA such a caring organisation....

I quote

"I'm writing today about the arrangements for collecting your child maintenance payments. According to our records, We've agreed that you should pay these by manual cheque, Calendar Monthly" Well thanks for telling me that you've agreed, because I haven't done anything of the sort !!!

but that's what you get with a faceless, unaccountable organization, with powers way above what it should have, they go on to threaten me with all the various methods they have now at their disposal should I prove reluctant to cough up, albeit still with no contact with my daughters. Don't get me wrong I'm not averse to supporting my daughters, but a reasonable and fair amount which can be afforded with none or very little impact on my new family, instead while one family reaps the rewards another has to scrimp and save to make ends meet, how is that looking after the welfare of children where one family has to suffer so another doesn't ?

My appeal has been posted/lodged, we simply cannot afford £175.54 a month simple as, and if it's enforced then I shall be forced to give up work to take me below their so called thresholds, so basically my new family will suffer and so will another family because I will have been forced to be unemployed, how is that helping ? all it does is throw another capable person onto the social security bonfire, because nobody works to have it taken off them, what is the point ? there is no incentive to better yourself

One thing I won't do is jeopardise the welfare of my new family. This isn't helping my daughters, well two of them might benefit if my payments aren't simply swallowed by the anonymity and enormous cost of the system, my youngest daughter will definitely be deprived, I sincerely doubt my daughters would see anywhere near what I would be paying and it certainly will not helping my three step children I am currently supporting, you know you buy into the whole package when you take on a woman previously married, when I married Andrea I knew I would be supporting the whole family.....but instead I'll be supporting two families..... it's the government propping up a failing social security system by clawing back what they can from people who can ill afford it....

here are some statistics :-

Child support agency

Money recovered by CSA from non-resident parent 350M
Money recovered by old court system 350M
Operating cost of child support agency to taxpayer 213M
Operating cost of old court system 60M
Maintenance assessment forms returned 260.5K
Total cases cleared 568K
Interim assessment 64K
Full maintenance assessment 187K
Average maintenance 45.53/wk
Interim maintenance 96.67/wk
Compliance rate 33%
Debt uncollectable 900M£
Normal employment rate 87%
CSA father employment rate 55%
No. fathers unemployed because of CSA 32%
No CSA related suicides 39
Percent of MPs mailbag taken up by CSA 10-20%
No. MPs wanting abolition of CSA 200
Time to deal with claims 211 days
Average accuracy rate (chief CS officer Haselwood) 34% accurate

makes you wonder why they exist doesn't it ?

when I was in the Army if we had an exercise and there were more than 50,000 troops deployed on it, and there were more than 2 deaths the whole exercise would be called off because it had exceeded the MOD guidelines on safety, but here we have a government organisation which through it's own statistics admit they have caused 39 deaths through hounding their non resident parents, they also cost more than the old system, and only have a 33% success rate AND 200 MP's want to abolish it's very existence.....

so it's beyond my understanding why they are still here

I can understand why fathers disappear off the face of the earth, and even commit suicide with debts such as these thrown at them when they are at their lowest and most vulnerable, I have a feeling this is going to drag on for years, but never mind it's gives me a hobby fighting the CSA :) as for fathers for justice, I think not..... I don't think it would be a good look in Lycra and a pair of underpants over my trousers

3 days old :)

and Freya is thriving, she seems a very peaceful baby she only cries when there is something wrong like a full nappy or she needs feeding other than that she looks around and is interested in most of what is going on, the kids adore her, even the xbox recluse has taken a huge shine to her, which was a bit of a shock but a nice one.... and the midwife called today....everything seems to be working properly her hearing is fine (as are her lungs I can assure you)....

we didn't get much sleep last night but we don't mind :)

My parents are bringing my niece Ellie to see Freya today she is down from London staying at my parents, I haven't seen Ellie since the wedding and apparently she has lost loads of weight which is a good thing :)

The kids are all back in school and I have to say it's nice to have a bit of peace and quiet for a bit.... nothing much else to report for the moment

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Happy Birthday Rhiannon & Freya :¬)

Today is slightly bittersweet in that our daughter was born today on the 23rd October 2007 @ 03:51am in hospital weighing in at 8lbs 5oz. Mother and baby are doing fine.....the bitter part is that it is also my now second youngest daughter Rhiannon's birthday.

Birthdays are always hard for me to cope with as is Christmas, and I have developed a fairly decent coping mechanism over the years during this time of the year it's not failsafe but it works 95% of the time, but today I have mixed emotions at the moment, in that I wish my daughter Rhiannon a happy birthday but sadly, because I don't see her, but even so I wish her every happiness that life can bring her :) and I am also elated that Freya has finally arrived, but of all the days to pick !!!

Freya is so damn gorgeous !!!! she has been pretty quiet since she has been born, not really crying very much, Andrea is in hospital with her at the moment mainly to make sure she is ok and to give her a rest...... I am left guarding the fort with the kids, the house is still standing and their aren't any injuries as of yet, so I must be doing ok ;¬)

Happy Birthday to you both :)

Monday, 22 October 2007

Not a good start to the day

I was late for work this morning because of the Xbox360 Halo 3 recluse, he had obviously been up most of the night gaming on his console and couldn't get out of bed this morning for school !!! and he jammed up the bathroom for the precious 10 minutes I need before I go to work he should have been on his way to school at that time ..... consequently I was running 10 minutes late, fortunately there was a delay on the M4 so I didn't have to tell any porky pies about why I was late....

anyway his Xbox360 was disconnected/banned from the broadband router before I left for work this morning as I muttered my way into the Duran Duran car and won't be reconnected until tomorrow morning, I don't mind how much of his life he wastes/spends on his Xbox as long as it doesn't effect anybody else and if he can't get up in the morning after being on a killing spree as "master chief" all night during the school week and he makes other people late in the morning because he is tired and can't be arsed to get out of bed...... then his first offence will be 24 hours of no Xbox live, second offence 48 hours etc etc ..... until he learns his lesson....and if he thinks he can connect his Xbox directly to the router via an ethernet cable........wrong.....his MAC address has been banned on the router which is passworded, he would have more success connecting the toaster to it..... so unless he buys a new Xbox360 he has no chance of connecting to Xbox live until I unban him.....grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.... he was warned about this during the summer so it's not going to be news to him

The only other notable thing that happened this weekend was Andrea's ex husband ringing up to speak to the kids, I answered the phone and instead of his usual "can I speak to the kids" in the usual monotone demanding way once he knew it was me on the phone, he was actually pleasant and civil and actually used my name, and used "please" it was nice ....... maybe he realises that neither I nor Andrea will ever stop him from seeing or contacting his kids, God forbid (if I believed in him) because I know how awful that is to go through, I have no idea if we will ever be on talking terms again, it's unlikely, but it's nice that he is being civil.... at least :)

and it's all quiet on the bun front which is slightly overdue, Andrea has been having regular contractions all weekend but they have only lasted for 5 or 6 seconds then nothing until the next bout of them, she is in the assessment unit now and the baby is on a foetal monitor and she has taken her overnight bag with her, so as she said "that will be it now, she will be home by 4pm"..... I hope not this waiting is doing my head in... and hers, although her brain has been Swiss cheesed by the pregnancy so there isn't much to "do in" with her at the moment, if she hadn't been to university or hadn't been good enough to go to university I think I would have been living with a potato by now after her being ravaged by pregnancy hormones, ahhh well all should return to normal once it's born :)

addendum... all the kids have been told to be up and out of the house by 08:30 and Halo-boy has promised it won't happen again.....we shall see.....I've enabled his wifi connection for now but he still has his 24 hour wifi ban hanging over him if it happens again.....he thinks I'm joking....lol

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The wifi empire expands

We now have wifi enabled printing, and my step daughter is getting her head around linux and x windows and the gnome desktop, she did have a hissy fit when it didn't quite work like windoze does, but I have tried to make the transition as painless as possible for her, she did ask me if she could install windows games on it....rolls eyes.....ahhh well eventually maybe she'll get it.....I'm setting up SAN storage on the wifi network so all the kids can play videos and music centrally, seeing as their pc's won't have enormous hard disks, a sort of linux media centre type experience.....hopefully, anyway my step daughter is warming to linux.... slowly

Andrea had a three or four very strong contractions this morning so who knows maybe today is the day :)

The only other thing of note is that I eventually got the exhaust done on the 205.....£65 for a bit of piped U bend less than 2 feet long !!! but at least it doesn't sound like a 4 litre engine now :).... and all we have to do is save up for the Terrano's exhaust and shock absorbers, it tends to make the ride less spongy to say the least, you really don't want to be experiencing a corner 100 yards past it do you ?

we are just about to settle down to Sunday roast, it's nice sitting around chatting at the table, and Andrea is a remarkably good cook :)

beats pasta every day anyway ;¬)

Friday, 19 October 2007

Gutsy Gibbon !!!

What is he talking about you may ask :) ?

/set geek mode on

Well it's the long awaited next instalment of ubuntu Linux !!! "gutsy gibbon" was it's development name as "feisty fawn" was it's predecessor, officially it's version 7.10, the previous version 7.04 was good, but like most distributions of linux always had problems with various things like wifi support which required the user to take a scalpel to the operating system scripts and insert some proprietary bit of code to make a previously Windows only bit of kit work in Linux.... that's the long and the short of it

Gutsy Gibbon was released yesterday 18/10/2007 and I downloaded it expecting improvements but still expecting to sharpen my scalpel after installing it, but I was really surprised, not only did it immediately recognise my Edimax 7128 wifi card (which turned up by the way ....eventually) it also quite merrily recognised my Nvidia graphics card and happily installed all support for the hardware with no problems whatsoever :) ...... and it really is the quickest boot and gui I have seen in ages in Linux

it was my first complete out of box linux install that actually worked 100% first time .....

I would seriously recommend anybody considering ubuntu to download and install it... it's worth it

/set geek mode off

still no mini me ..... :(

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding

Well the bun timer has gone off it's Andrea's due date, nothing to show this morning when I got up.. I have to say there was a lot of movement last night it was like putting your hand on a bag of puppies, lumps and bumps and jolts and squirms, to be honest we are both getting a bit fed up of waiting, but there is light at the end of the tunnel she has an inducement date of the 29th if she doesn't produce before then.... I hope she does there really isn't much room left

Nothing much to report really......just waiting.....and waiting

I'm picking my step daughter up at the sports centre tonight after her netball practice, it coincides with my return journey home for once, and I am under strict instructions not to wave at her or have my music playing in the car or behave in an embarrassing way in any shape or form..... or in fact behave in any way that could be construed as embarrassing by a 13 year old teenage girl.... who is so obviously hip and cool... (whatever that is these days)

I had best remove my red nose and false moustache and somehow manage to put my oversize clown shoes in the boot before I pick her up...... although I might just retard the ignition on the embarrassing Duran Duran car a little so it backfires horrendously as I pull up outside the sports centre with no music playing and a deadpan chauffeur face on ;¬)

I also sent the eldest lad a hilarious text I got this morning off a friend of mine, needless to say it's far too rude to say on here what it said..... but it was that good the xbox360 "master chief clone" (ahhhhh eeeeehhh arrrrrrr eeeeehhhhhh ...halo 3 durge) rang me up himself and he was getting holy hell off his friends who were laughing their heads off at him and the content of the text in the background...... apparently I'm dead tonight, he is going to beat me up..... I hope he does it after I go to sleep I'd hate to be disturbed, and I must remember to avoid getting within striking distance of those highly developed thumbs of his ;¬)

and I've found a new toy on the web

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

I'd like to buy a new car.....

Certainly Sir which model did you have in mind ?

This one would do nicely thank you :)

Excellent choice Sir....

How would you like to pay for it ?

Oh weekly I think what do the payments work out at ?

Let me see Sir.....ahhh yes with your current income and expenditure we have calculated that will be £40 a week :)

Fantastic..... what next ?

Well just fill out this paperwork and sign at the bottom so we can deduct the money directly from your bank account and it's all sorted :)

Fabulous.... when can I pick the car up ?

Ohhhhh Sorry Sir you can never do that....you misunderstood me

What ? did I ? ....

yes you did you can never take the car home....or drive it....or fill it with petrol or polish it and cherish it, in fact you're not allowed anywhere near it

Pardon ?.....

You can never take the car home....or drive it....or fill it with petrol or polish it and cherish it, in fact you're not allowed anywhere near it......

YES YES YES... I heard you the first time, so hang on a second, I've entered into this agreement to pay £40 a week for this car, but I'm not allowed to go anywhere near it ? not even press my face up against the showroom window to even look at it ?

That's right Sir and if we catch you smearing our windows with your nose will call the police and if you miss a payment we will send around the heavies to drag you to court for non payment.... now bugger off !!!

ridiculous little story don't you think ? nobody in their right mind would pay £40 a week for something they didn't get.....or would they ? apparently so........namely me....

I've just had a letter off the CSA demanding £40 a week backdated to the 16/10/2006, not bad considering I've had about 3 letters off them since the divorce asking for my earnings which I told them. The first letter was to ask what I was earning the second was an exemption certificate and the third one was asking for my earnings again....... this is all to support my two daughters whom I don't see, who have no contact with me, though no choice of my own, where I have asked my ex for contact, I've even asked them.... basically myself and my immediate family even their grandparents who they used to have an excellent relationship with have effectively been expunged from their lives, in fact the only thing that they do carry which is mine is my surname, and no doubt if my ex was allowed to change their surname without my permission, she would have done that by now as well....

I wonder if this is anything to do with her "current" partner being made bankrupt and his various attempts at running a business.... "doing what he has to do to survive" to quote my ex ... and being thwarted by various government bodies and the compulsory liquidation of his companies, not to mention his house being repossessed by the sheriff up in Scotland....I also see now my ex wife is a company director probably out of necessity due to her "man" being struck off as a director at companies house here as being unfit to be a company director, he wants to be careful though he can't run a company through a puppet director..... it's against the law, being a bankrupt he can have no say in running a company, and my ex has an excellent business head on her shoulders.......not.....you work out the rest..... doesn't take a plasma physicist....(even a bankrupt one) .....

as for the CSA, I will appeal of course, I wouldn't mind one little bit supporting my children..... if I was allowed to see them, or if they made contact, even emails (they know my email address it hasn't changed in 10 years) or letters or even a single photograph, or even showed the slightest bit of interest in me, my life or anything to do with me.....alas that isn't the case :(

this would have been so much easier for both parties if my ex had agreed on contact at the time of the divorce with the kids, but instead now it's been years since I have seen them.....there is no relationship......time has eroded any chance of reconciliation it seems.......and it's all come down to money at the end of the day.... how sad..... :(

and it's madness that one family has to suffer financially to support another, my ex has a man who isn't capable of supporting her, obviously or the CSA wouldn't be involved.... and I wouldn't mind paying if I had some kind of feedback or contact...or even choice in the matter..... I also pay for another man's kids through my own free will and choice and if this appeal fails it's simply means my step children will suffer financially, the buck has to stop somewhere..... it's a house of cards.... the domino effect........next !!!

this isn't helping children it's depriving one to pay another, but if I have to pay because it's the law then that's what I'll have to do, we will just have to find the cash from somewhere..... I'd sell one of my children but unfortunately they don't speak to me.....

anyway lets see what the future brings, one thing since leaving my ex, I'm the eternal optimist knowing that things can and do improve :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Still no mini me arrived yet

it's only two days until Andrea's due date. Time has flown by this year, I really don't know where all the months have gone, it only seems like a month ago I was complaining about how wet everything was (and still is by the way).

My parents have kindly lent their caravan for Andrea's parents to stay in when we give the green light for the mad dash down from Liverpool where they live, so I'm expecting it parked up near the house when I get home, it's a comfortable caravan not huge only two berth but has everything and is very warm, we will probably run a cable out so they can have have all mod cons whilst they stay over, certainly makes it easier than them camping out in the space on one of the landings for us and them.

our friends gave us a fantastic Mama's and Papa's wooden swinging crib, it would cost a fortune if we bought it, it's lovely.... it's been assembled and is parked next to the bed for easy access and all Andrea has to do is shove her hand out of bed (or foot) and rock it, I'm getting quite excited about it all now, it's finally hitting home that we are going to have a new arrival, we have no idea what it is yet, but everybody seems to think it's a boy, I'm reserving judgement until I see the evidence in front of me, there is no point in guessing because that's all it is..... guessing, whatever it is doesn't really matter because you can't send it back :)

My wifi cards and usb wifi print server didn't turn up yesterday so I'm hoping they do today at some point, at least then I can get my step daughter off my back and get her linux computer installed in her bedroom, I don't really agree with computers or TV's or games consoles in kids rooms, they simply don't think about the next morning when they are knackered after spending all night on them, but we have the final word all the computers can be shutdown remotely even from the internet through my VPN connection/firewall.

you can't really argue when your computer is shutdown remotely and it makes it a bit pointless switching it back on if it goes straight back off again....

Friday, 12 October 2007

The Dark Destroyer resurfaces

I started building the Unbuntu linux machines last night, so I removed the Edimax wifi card from the existing kids pc, to include it in the new linux pc build, it didn't work !!....well that's not entirely true, it did work it just refused to connect to the ADSL AP SSID (basically it could see the router but refused to connect to it), other than that it absolutely flew running the operating system much faster than it would run XP :)

so anyway ......bugger I thought and I put the wifi card back in the kids pc, booted up and......nothing......removing the card had somehow screwed up the registry, it saw the card but refused to load it's firmware when XP booted, so early this morning I was busily repairing XP on the kids pc, hopefully it will fix the registry issue, by the time I get home, if not then it will have to be scrubbed and re-installed.... :(

anyway I have ordered 3 edimax wifi cards and a usb wifi print server so we can all share the printer/scanner, the only annoying thing is that the computers use PC133 SDRAM memory which costs a bloody fortune £35 for 512MB !!! the same in DDR ram is £15 !!! (I might have to dig around in my glory boxes full of antique hardware, who knows I might have a few Gigabytes of memory lying around somewhere)

Then all we need are two monitors, I did have 4 or 5 really good working ones but they met an untimely death with the mad axe man of Sarnau a couple of years back.....I have to admit despite all his faults he was good at destroying white goods and electrical items ..... ;¬) anyway that's all ancient history there is no point dwelling on things you can't change, you should only worry about the things you can change

which reminds me it's my youngest daughters birthday soon, I'll do the usual send a card with some cash, because I have no idea what she is into or in fact what she or my eldest daughter looks like now, my parents sent some presents and got a thank you letter recently ( well I say recently it was months ago....), they even saw them in the flesh which broke my heart, I practically interrogated my mother asking her what they looked like now, I still don't know......in my minds eye they are as they were when I left my ex in 2003, but I know they must have grown up radically since then, I might not even recognise them if I passed them in the street, or maybe I would, I simply do not know ..... :( I haven't had a peep from them since I last saw them except for a few letters, but every year I remember their birthdays and Christmas, I don't even know if they get what I send, and at times I've thought ......

"what is the point ? I may as well set alight to the things I send at least then I'll see SOMETHING even if it is just smoke and watery eyes" probably hurt a lot less as well ....

but every year I do the same and they are my daughters and despite what they think of me, I still love and miss them terribly that has never changed..... anyway I can't change how things have panned out, so I'll try not to dwell on it .....too much ....again, as I do practically every bloody day, but somehow it's worse at the milestones :(

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

A server in Shotton is being repaired tonight :(

So I have to wait until the engineer has bashed the new motherboard into it's guts and switched it back on......
haven't got much to do really I've already browsed the internet yesterday and got to the last page
I guess I'll just have to start at the first page again until I get the green light and the server starts working again :(

ahhh well

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The "Notorious" "Wild boys" car has "come undone" on "planet earth"

Excuse the puns but as I was leaving last night my alternator belt flew off (it would be a fan belt if it didn't have an electric fan on the radiator) and I was 40 miles from home and it was getting dark, for those of you who have no understanding of cars the alternator is needed to recharge the battery to stop it going flat, it tops it up as you drive so to speak...... :(

so I raced home on side lights and eventually got home on headlights no brighter than an Argos Christmas tree light bulb but after a phone call to Halfords in Carmarthen I reserved on Peugot 205 alternator belt and brought it home and proceeded to fit it.....

Now what should have taken at most 20 minutes took an incredible 2 hours, I'm not a stranger to things mechanical I have taken on some fairly big jobs regarding cars, and I was confident I would nail this and be in before my cup of tea got cold..... Alas I didn't count on a 15mm bolt securing the top of the alternator to the engine which felt as if it had been spot welded in place, I tried everything from WD40, diesel, brute force, ultimate force... short of a tactical nuclear detonation this bolt was refusing to free itself, I even tried heating up the surrounding metal to expand the thread hole......nothing worked.... it got that bad I was even considering half catching the belt on the engine flywheel and then turning the starter motor to jump it onto the flywheel, but as I stood back and contemplated my next angle of attack and weapon....I paused and I then picked up a hammer and gave it a damn good beating ( think Basil Fawlty and the car hitting episode but with a hammer), I looked like I had dipped my arms up to my elbows in molasses by the time I had finished..... :) I then smashed a 15mm socket onto it's tortured hexagonal's and wrenched it so hard I could swear my shoulder sockets came out briefly as the car moved back 12" ......Then I heard the briefest of squeaks from the bolt, thinking I had sheared the head off the bolt I turned it gingerly half expecting the clunk of the bolt head falling onto the garage floor.... but NO NO NO it had deemed all by itself a fitting time to unscrew.....

The new belt was on and tensioned within five minutes and the engine running, topping up the almost flat battery.....I retired to the house looking like an extra off the black and white minstrel show...(for those of you who remember it) and found that my cup of tea was almost frozen :)

Andrea has finally finished work now, and is already bored to death......the house is sparkling though, I guess you can only watch so much Jeremy Kyle before you HAVE to do something else ;¬) fair do's though she tidied my study which had fallen into a right state through my neglect.... the only thing now is I can't find a damn thing :)

(my lovely wife posted a comment but I rejected it because it had too many swear words in it ;¬) )

Monday, 8 October 2007

Quad Core AMD Opterons ROCK !!!!

I was weighing up the new Intel Xeon Quad core's, in fact I have just put in a new server with a quad core Xeon running at a blistering 2.33Ghz for each of it's four cores the other day and I was seriously considering getting one for myself, until I witnessed an AMD Quad Core Opteron TODAY !!! I have been bumbling along on my 4800 Dual core Athlon for some time now and it beat anything Intel had to offer........hands down

Then I installed a quad core Opteron.......OMG

it's evil, it must be at least 5 or 6 times faster than my dual core and at least 4 times faster than the Quad core Xeon

Looks like AMD have done it again this is seriously going to pan Intel, but I won't be getting one anytime soon ...... it will have to go on the wish list :)

meanwhile I have 6 x 2.2Ghz workstations which were kindly donated to me :) and I'm going to configure them with unbuntu for the kids...just so they can surf and get emails etc, I know it's ridiculous 6 wifi computers in the house

But they would only be gathering dust otherwise and it will save them battering the laptop keyboard and fighting over the other computer I've setup for them..... who knows we might even get the lounge to ourselves once it's done :)

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Glangwili Hospital is not the best place to spend the night !!

Well I'm totally knackered today I got home at 5:30am from the hospital, and no before you jump to conclusions Andrea has not had the baby........yet

It started last night, I was sitting down watching TV in the lounge and my whole right arm absolutely killed me, it didn't matter where I put my arm it hurt like hell, and it got progressively worse until bed time, I got into bed and noticed my forearm had swollen very noticeably which was worrying enough, but the pain was "almost" unbearable and showing no signs of lessening, so Andrea suggested me going to A&E at first I though "nah...I've probably torn a ligament or something" but as I laid down it just throbbed like hell, so I though well I'm not going to get any sleep anyway like this I may as well get it checked out, so I drove myself to hospital leaving Andrea at home with the kids......

I got into Casualty and explained what was going on, and before I could blink I was strapped up to an ECG machine arms legs chest the lot, I was having blood pressure taken in both arms, my right arm was at one point 175/45 and my left was normal at 120/80 so weirdness was going on no doubt about it......they were totally flummoxed as to what it was, my ECG was normal and other than elevated blood pressure in my right arm and my obvious pained expression they could see nothing wrong with me, so they elected to take a blood sample...I went through the usual "You'll have trouble getting blood out of me, I have very elastic and elusive veins"...."oh don't worry Mr Brabrook, I've been doing this for years, there hasn't been one person I haven't been able to draw blood from yet....."

25 minutes later and many stab wounds to both arms she eventually admitted I had defeated her, so she called on a professional vampire to extract my life's blood, who went straight in for the kill and sucked the two necessary vials worth of blood out of me in less than a minute, after the doctor apologised for treating me like a medical students orange she informed me the blood tests would take an hour and a half to come back from the lab....... so I waited

you have to realise this was Saturday night and Carmarthen's drunks had been out in force, one guy had collapsed in the Waterside club and had been dragged into casualty kicking and screaming, closely followed by his mother and girlfriend who were convinced their beloved had had his drinks spiked with drugs because this was so uncharacteristic of him (rolls eyes.....) and because he hung around with people who took drugs, alas it turned out the skinny bloke had simply drunk himself to saturation point and collapsed purely through alcohol, and there was another screaming teenager dragged in by her parents who was complaining that her mother wanted to section her......for what I don't know, but they could have started with a gag first then moved onto sectioning as a last resort...... needless to say I wasn't in a very good mood, I was in pain, waiting amongst a load of drunks singing, swearing, and generally being total arses, how my sister ever worked in A&E in this very same hospital is beyond me.....

anyway my blood test results came back and low and behold everything was normal, so they did some reaction tests and found that my arm wasn't reacting in the same way my other was, so concluded I had nerve damage, they shot me full of warfarin (I've noticed "Star" our hamster hides in the corner of her cage as I pass now ;¬) ) and let me go advising I took pain killers, to be honest I was glad to be out of there.

the only thing I can put it down to was earlier that day I had been fitting a brake light switch under the dashboard and I had to contort myself to get underneath it with my arms, but I don't recall hurting myself at all, maybe it was just a delayed reaction who knows. Anyway the pain isn't as bad as yesterday so life goes on :)

I was supposed to be going over to my parents house today to repair their computer after Alan my brother in law had tried to remove the linux grub loader from their computer, in the process he torched the boot strap and neither Windows 2000 or Linux could boot, grub loader is notoriously difficult to eradicate from any pc, and it best left where it is...... I intend to install Unbuntu Linux on their pc, it's free, comes on one disk and has everything my parents need, an email client, mahjong, and firefox browser, but alas they are out or at least not answering their phone, so it will have to wait.....

other than that life returns to normal :)

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Nothing happened today ......... :(

so nothing to write about ..........

until I got home that is !!! the Pug has developed a bad brake light sender switch, confirmed by shorting out the circuit and voila the brake lights came on.......(I wondered why three people were doing the funky chicken dance at me on the way home)......

and the Halo 3 recluse dared venture of his room blinking in the subdued light of a an October evening, he was complaining that the internet connection was slow, so I went through the router configuration, nothing changed there, then I benchmarked the ADSL connection bit slower, but nothing to write home about, so off he went head in hands......his life was over his connection light was showing yellow on Xbox live.......bless......

life is tough as a teenager

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

54 Miles Per Gallon !!!

I had to fill the Peugot 205 up this morning and the trip meter had done 470 miles so not bad on 40 litres of petrol and I haven't exactly been running about at 30 mph everywhere either, so I'm pleased with our frugal sewing machine, but at 1.1 litre it's not exactly a super car and neither does it need to be :)

My step daughter came home the other day and slapped down a letter from the school she has been invited to South Africa to do Netball in much the same way the eldest lad has been invited to do Rugby, I think it's the same trip....... it's only £1600 !!! but they get to do Whale watching etc etc it's a once in a lifetime experience .... for that price I would expect a whole Whale filleted and prepared in a nice garlic sauce for that much....let alone go to South Africa and just watch one !!! Finances aren't great at the moment, where the hell we are going to find £3200 for the both of them is beyond me, one thing I do know I refuse digging myself further into debt than I have already, there are limits......we shall see what the future brings

The only other thing is that my step daughter has asked to have her tongue pierced, Andrea flatly refused, and I don't blame her to be honest, I think it's probably the most unattractive type of piercing on anybody and anyway the British Body Piercing Association have a Code of Practice and Ethics for their members to follow, and these include not giving anybody a piercing under the age of 14 years. Those aged 14 to 16 must bring a parent or guardian with them. Also, piercings below the neck and on tongues at this age are carried out at the discretion of the piercer. Those aged 16 and over are treated as adults.

but it doesn't matter what the law says, the law according to mother says NO !!!

Monday, 1 October 2007

18 days left !!!

Before our new arrival lands or at least that's it's due date :) it only seems like a few months ago when Andrea announced she was pregnant, she is huge now, apparently a much bigger bump than she has had before, she hasn't put much weight on at all really, it's all at the front, time has flown by dramatically these last few months, we have everything prepared.... well as prepared as you can be for a new arrival, everybody in the family is looking forward to it's arrival :) some want a boy others want a girl, I'd prefer a boy because I haven't had one, but if it's a girl at least I know what to expect.... but whatever it is it will be loved, it's been a while since I have had a baby around it will take some adjusting, mind you it's been 8 years since Andrea had her last so no doubt a bit of adjusting for her as well, not to mention the kids :)

Well I managed to go fishing this weekend, in between the rain.... I took the youngest, well he did nag me to go...not that I needed nagging :).... I tried to get across to him how lucky he was on his first fishing trip catching two trout like he did on the way to the river, which is only a few hundred yards away from our house, I think he realised how lucky he was by the end of the fishing trip mainly because we had run out of worms and had nothing to show for it.

He still has a major aversion to putting his own worms on his hook, and I jokingly told him he wasn't a proper fisherman until he wormed his own hooks, but progress is being made, he did insist on throwing the remains of his last worm into the river which is a big advance from not touching them FULL STOP, he was also relieved that the bullocks were in a different field so we didn't have to walk through them.....again, I did get one nibble but it jumped off the hook and was only small so would have been thrown back anyway....

Life is very settled at the moment, no major dramas looming, bills paid, nobody chasing after us, it's all quite relaxed really, kids "mostly" behaving themselves, although my step daughter did throw a strop this weekend. She had her friend around and expected to watch X-Factor at gone 10pm which we had recorded for her earlier when she was out with friends, I came downstairs after helping Andrea put the youngest to bed to find her and her friend lording it in "our" lounge feet up ready for an X-factor fix, my fuse blew when she said "there's another TV in there go watch it !!", (purely said because her friend was there) closely followed by "you're ruining my life" as she stamped out of the room friend in tow, after I put my foot down and turned off the TV !!! Andrea apparently "ruined her day" earlier by telling her not to make a mess, after she had cleaned and tidied the house, but me being a true professional "ruined her life", thankfully the strops don't last long these days, I think she is beginning to realise they don't get her anywhere with either of us, 95% of the time she is a really sweet teenage girl, the other 5% is purely being a teenager without the sweet girl I think

Andrea has just reminded me to remind her to take her iron tablets via text her vision has gone a bit funny again at work, I'm obviously going to have to get on her nerves and bring them up with her tea in the morning and wait until they have been swallowed :)