Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Lincoln Earthquake Appeal

An Earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale hit Lincoln this Wednesday morning just before 1am in the morning. The epicentre of the tremor, which measured 5.3 on the Richter scale according to the British Geological Survey, was centred on the village of Holton cum Beckering, about 15 miles northeast of Lincoln. According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre was 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from the Earth’s surface. Casualties were seen wandering aimlessly saying “o me belongeens ar brock” “worapend” and “bloody ell”.

The earthquake decimated the area causing in excess of £17.55 worth of damage. including several grade two listed chimney pots, and several irreplaceable roof slates, many priceless collections of mementos from Ibiza, Corfu, Rhyl and Blackpool were damaged beyond repair. Preserved areas of historic importance were destroyed and cars burned out which were unable to be moved in time due to being on bricks. Many locals were woken before their Giro’s arrived. One resident, Kylie Sharon Smith, a 15 year old mother of six said “It was such a bloody shock, little Chardonnay-Destiny-Beyonce... came running into my bedroom crying; my hands were shaking that much I could hardly skin-up.”

The British Red Cross has so far managed to send 5000 crates of Sunny Delight to the area to help with the crisis. Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble and have found numerous “Elizabeth Duke” sovereign rings, benefit books and Pound stretcher ornaments.

How can you help?

This appeal hopes to raise money for food and clothing parcels for those unfortunate enough to be caught up in the disaster. Clothing is most sought after. Urgently needed are Lacoste tracksuits, white socks, Burberry caps, Beanie hats and Rockports. Food parcels are also needed. They include McCain oven chips, Aldi Beans, Monster Munch and Iceland pizza. Alcohol is also in short supply, especially White Lightening Cider and Special Brew. Cash donations are also needed. 22p buys a signing-on’ biro, £2.50 buys a Jumbo sausage dinner, £20.00 buys a fake MOT and £16.00 buys 200 Regal from the back of Jack's lorry.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The upgrade worked !!

Well that's enough about work, we had a mishap on Monday, somebody left the interior lights on in the Jeep over the weekend consequently the battery was flat by Monday morning, I couldn't leave Andrea high and dry with the kids and school etc, even though they were probably wishing I would ;¬) I was on the early shift, I threw caution to the wind warned work I was going to be late in and I whipped out the jump leads, needless to say the Peugeot's puny battery and alternator did not like being plugged into the equivalent of Battersea power station in jump start world....and I dread to think how many amps were flowing down those jump leads, anyway I left it running for a good 20 minutes tried to turn over the Jeep and it barely turned over the starter motor........"oh dear" I thought ......

so I retired to the kitchen observing both cars with bonnets up for any signs of smoke or burning whilst sipping yet another coffee and after another 15 minutes I tried again except this time utilizing my wife's foot on the peugeot's accelerator.....the Jeep sprang to life !!! and I made my exit off to work

it was a pretty hectic day in work that day, I came home knackered yet again, it's not that it's hard physical labour, it does however take a lot of grey cell work, and I really must cut down on my coffee intake !!!

Friday, 22 February 2008

and here we are again......

It's Friday and nearly the weekend, this week has been pure hell, Citrix thin client servers dropping like flies, it's all been centred around a long awaited Lotus Notes 7 upgrade from version 5, which happened over two weeks ago now, but ever since we have had terrible problems and the call queues have been enormous....and it's not been an easy one to track down what with servers refusing to reboot every night and just sitting there like room heaters until they are kicked back into life, plus it hasn't been consistent either they have been refusing to let people login, or they have printing problems or notes refuses to load....the list is after the other

Anyway today I think I got to the bottom of it, only time will tell when we implement the changes on Monday next week, but I'm 95% certain it's the fix we have been searching for, I found out that Lotus Notes has two clients in it's MSI installer stub, and it installs either a multiuser client or a single user client, depending on what you answer when you install would think "logically" that in a terminal services environment with lots of users that the "correct" install to use would be multi user..... right ???

WRONG.... Lotus Notes 7 is not terminal services aware, after digging through countless redbook technotes on the amazingly complex IBM notes support website...... bizarre I know in this day and age, so anyway our users have been using the wrong client causing mayhem over this two week period, looking at the two versions they are identical in file size and version numbers, but they have different MD5 checksums, which means they ARE different code wise, we shall see on Tuesday after they have been re-installed and rebooted if the problem has been solved or not :)

as for this weekend, I don't have anything in particular planned, we are going over to my parents to shuffle some furniture around that's too heavy for my father on his own to move and to see them of course :) and other than the tail end of this bloody awful cough I've had, things are ok :) if a little stressful work wise :(

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

back at work today :(

wishing I hadn't come, I still feel awful.... I think I underestimated my "wellness" this morning.... and that's coupled with a late shift so I won't be finishing here until 6pm so double :( :(

looking on the bright side it's been quiet today at work so my brain isn't fried with the phone going constantly, just mainly project work finding out if particular software works in a given environment, crashingly boring work but it pays the bills as they say...

we have started sitting down and having breakfast together.... and it's working well so far all very civilised croissants and tea with Freya residing at the end of the table sat in her "bumbo" looking like Buddha and every now and again throwing up on her bib and vocalising her presence..... all very domesticated but nice :)

I slept downstairs again last night because no sooner had I put my head on the pillow I was coughing away again, except this time I didn't hang around hoping it would stop, I removed myself to my now familiar sofa and propped my head up and was off to sleep in no time, I don't think more pillows would help I think it's more to do with the way my head is jarred upwards that stops me coughing, anyway I woke up this morning having had at least a few hours sleep.

to be honest I can't wait until the weekend it's not much fun feeling this bad and working.....only another 40 minutes to kill before my 45 minute drive back home the dark... I think I will melt myself in a hot radox bath tonight and see if that helps

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

I'm off sick today :¬(

I went to bed at around 11pm feeling pretty grotty, and woke up at around 1am coughing this continued until about 2am when I got out of bed and went downstairs because I was disturbing my other room mates... I didn't get back to sleep until about 6am :¬(

it's one of those colds where your nose is constantly streaming and it was that which kept me awake as it trickled down my throat (TMI I know) eventually I got myself off to sleep by propping myself up on the sofa and next thing I knew Andrea was waking me up ..... I felt dreadful

I had already sent an email off at 5am saying I would "probably" be in in the afternoon once I had had some sleep, but when I was woken up I didn't feel much better to be honest....

so I rang and told them the bad news, it does make me feel guilty taking time off work especially when there are only two of us on shift..... but there isn't a lot I can do about it really, hopefully I'll be back on my feet tomorrow... I hate being ill, I blame it on kids, they drag all sorts of diseases back from school ;¬)

it doesn't help feeling run down of late, it's probably left my defences a bit low hence the dreaded lurgy

Monday, 18 February 2008

Just thought I would show off my beautiful daughter :¬)

and here she is :¬) considering the last one I posted here was her with her bib over her head, and not very flattering I just thought I would put some balance back in....

No mistaking she is a Brabrook, not sure if that's a good thing or not.... ;¬)

she is a complete darling, she sleeps through the night and doesn't wake up too early, she even slept in until 11:30am one morning and woke up full of smiles, I'd probably have a different opinion if she was a whinger, but it's rare she does and when she does it's usually because of something she wants or needs, in fact my step daughter makes more noise than Freya does

anyway I'm full of cold today woke up feeling really sore behind my nose and progressively got worse as the day wore on, I was sneezing for Wales today as well, I have a feeling I'm going to be worse tomorrow, but with only two of us on shift it's not fair to take a day off unless something is either broken, bleeding or blue with gangrene, I'll just dose up on paracetamol and drag myself through the day, oh and the Peugeot is running like a dream it's a pleasure to drive now, it stops on a dime to use an americanism....

right time to put my feet up and chill :¬)

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The Peugeot 205 is done......

I picked up a complete set of front pads for the front brakes from Halfords for a grand total of £14.99 :¬)

it only took me just over an hour to fit both sides, and that was with the drivers side caliper being practically welded together, I just freed them up and coated the caliper slide tubes with copper grease and put it all back together, it was a breeze.... the Pug now brakes in a straight line and all worrying jabbering has disappeared, it just smelt of burning brake lining for a while but that soon cleared... so job done :¬)

it's a pretty easy car to do any jobs on looking back, although mid taking the bearings out I probably had a different view on it !! the only thing I have to sort out now is the small oil leak from somewhere from the top of the engine which is painting the interior of the engine compartment with the help of the alternator, it's not very much but still......looking on the bright side there is very little rust and neither will there be !!

We've had a quiet weekend really it's been really nice, I only had the brakes hanging over me really and I knew they would be easy to sort out..... ahhhh well back to work tomorrow, I wonder what delights I have in thing I know they certainly aren't paying me enough for what I do....

Saturday, 16 February 2008

I am awaiting the step children

as I step up to the role of family taxi once more, I don't mind though I have to go to Halfords and pick up some copper grease for the front brakes on the Pug, because it's currently interesting when you brake hard......

The weather is brilliant today, lovely and sunny, although a bit cold, we had quite a frost last night, it's just gone 1pm and the frost has just melted on the windscreens of the cars, we had a blast last night with our friends from the back and beyond, lots of laughs and the wine flowed freely...... although both our heads were a bit muggy, Freya of course slept right through the night again :¬)

anyway I had better get moving they expect to be in town by 1:30pm

Friday, 15 February 2008

The Weekend has Landed!

"All that Exists now is CLUBS, PUBS and PARTIES
I’ve got 48 hours off FROM the world, man
I’m gonna blow STEAM out of my head like a SCREAMING KETTLE
I’m gonna talk CODSHIT to strangers ALL NIGHT
The free radicals inside me are FREAKING man!
I’m going to NEVER NEVER LAND with my chosen FAMILY, MAN
We’re going to get more SPACED OUT than NEIL ARMSTRONG ever did
Anything could happen tonight, you know?
This could be the best night of my life!
I’ve got 73 quid in my BACK BURNER I’m gonna WAX the lot, man!
The MILKY BARS are on me! YEAH!"

3 points if you know the film I'm referring to ;¬)

and actually things couldn't be further from the truth, I've got a 20 pack of Grolsh on special offer from Morrisons and a winebox of JP Chenet, also on offer.... we have some friends dropping by tonight and Ribena just doesn't cut it

its been an awful week at work, everything that could go wrong did, servers dropping like flies, after Lotus Notes 7 was installed on the thin client I think it's time to blow some steam off this weekend and let my skin down (well my hair left years ago)

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

The CSA have really excelled themselves

They have made their judgement and it's £50 a week with the grand total of a £17 allowance for the FOUR children that we/I provide for, so my two estranged daughters get £25 per week and I have £17 a week to share between four others.........hmmmmmm somebody at the CSA is worse at mathematics than I am !!!

it just goes to show that this government and previous ones before do nothing to encourage the average person on the street to be honest about themselves, I had to provide the names and birth dates of all the children resident with me and my earnings with attached proof, which I duly sent off, mainly because if I didn't then they would slap a £1000 fine on me, I've been reading some right horror stories on the web about NRP's as they are called (non resident parents) and how they are hounded by the CSA, in some cases when a deduction of earnings has been issued it has left the NRP with practically nothing to live on and it forces them to leave work so they fall below the threshold, keeping them in poverty... but it doesn't stop there, apparently the CSA can prosecute for deliberately reducing your earnings to avoid payments....CAUSED BY THEM !!!

So somehow I have to find £290.80 a month extra from somewhere !!! I know it doesn't add up but apparently they are asking for back payments as well since the year dot

I honestly do not know what we are going to do, I originally appealed because the first amount I considered way too much for us to pay with our current outgoings, but after appeal they have actually upped the payment !!!!

Ah well just another debt to add I guess.....the only legal thing I can do is appeal again, because we simply cannot afford it....end of

I've just done a calculation and our current outgoings which cannot be trimmed down because they are essential, means we would effectively be spending over £500 a month more than I actually earn, we were just keeping our heads above water before the CSA got it's snout in the trough.... so at that rate my bank would shut me down in ohhhhhh ....about 2 months, I have no option other than to fight the CSA..... or give up work, it seems the CSA only see what your take home pay is they assume they can work a percentage out on that, like it's easy money for them......they don't take into account your own living expenses, one thing I am damn sure of ....I am not letting any of my step kids or Freya suffer because of this..... (they are at least glad to see me on a daily basis)

HOW CAN IT COST £25 a week for each of my estranged daughters whom I don't even get to see....... and yet £17 a week for FOUR children !!! that's £4.25 each a week !!!! £25 EACH !!! my daughters never cost that much when I lived with them ......suddenly got expensive did they ? what a load of bureaucratic ill advised, completely back to front drivel

They are living in cloud cuckoo land .....I really want to swear but what's the point eh ?

now where is that brochure for Canada .......(kidding)

but the gloves are off ;¬)

Monday, 11 February 2008

I have banned all laptop activity

mainly because I am sick to the back teeth of fixing the damn thing, it already has a dodgy power connector which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't caused by unnecessary strain put on the connector and the PCMCIA wifi card looks like it has been bent over at 90 degrees and hastily bent back with an silent "ooops" nobody admitted that one, although there was an admission by the 2nd youngest that he had dropped the laptop ONCE !!

that probably accounts for the recent hard drive I have had to replace to get it working again, all in all it's been slowly getting hammered by the kids, I've said nobody in particular is to blame, (but that's mainly because none of them would actually admit abusing it!!!) but it doesn't stop them asking to use it.... so it has a drivelock password and only has one login account on it now (mine) and has been installed with Unbuntu 7.10 Linux to make it even more unattractive for the kids to use.....yet still they ask "can I go on the laptop please ?" they seem to completely and consistently misunderstand what "NO" means, I'm not sure if it's the "N" or the "O" which is causing the problem. Either way it usually ends up with me being called "sly" for not letting them (whatever that means these days)

it doesn't help when they do get access to it they punch away at the keys like its some kind of strenuous finger workout, and it doesn't matter how many times I tell them to treat it gently, they usually end up playing mindless shootemup games which requires the space bar or some other poor unfortunate key being battered to a splintered pulp in order for the game to be won

anyway it's off the radar now only myself and Andrea can use it, least that way it might last longer than five minutes, I honestly don't know why they don't use the two computers they already have, it's one more than they used to have, (plus they have another one in the pipeline once I fix one of the monitors I have) I dunno kids these days never bloody satisfied are they ???? AND STILL they complain they are BORED !!!

Freya Brabrook to replace Connie Fisher world exclusive

Exclusive pictures obtained today confirming that Freya Brabrook is to star in the sound of music in the west end, our paparazzi photographer caught the exact moment she was told by Andrew Lloyd Webber of her success at the auditions

Freya stated that the surprise appointment would not change her in any way and she would continue singing in her chair as she dribbled profusely and blew raspberries at our reporter, she also exclusively announced that she very nearly has a tooth coming through, but hopes it will be through before her performances start in late August 2008 she also announced that she has started a regime of dancersize in her bouncy chair and has requested to be strapped in every day in order to get fit for the role, it was reported by her parents that she was laughing out loud the other night at gone 3am, obviously delighted at her new found career, and was telling her blue and black Zebra with goggle eyes all about her new role, we wish her luck in her new career and will keep tabs on her progress

Saturday, 9 February 2008

First off my wrist is knackered

Mainly because of this lil sucker on the left, the lower ball joint was refusing to come out, but did eventually I took it off to my local garage to get the bearing pressed out, I had to do it myself in the end because Ron was too busy with MOT's and it only took half an hour, the circlip was almost impossible to get out, but I eventually persuaded it out ....and that's when my wrist went "Twannnnggggg" I think I have stretched a tendon it's very sore.... anyway I bunged Ron a tenner for using his bearing press which is an impressive beast and makes bearing removal and fitting a breeze at 50 tons :) and so it should be at that pressure ....
I was on my way home when Andrea rang to pick her up from town she was in there shopping for the wedding we are off to in March, so I had to turn around and do the family taxi bit, I was itching to get the hub fitted back on the car.... but it had to wait.....:(

and as you can see I had to leave the driveshaft just hanging there until I got back, I really should have tied it up to the strut but I didn't which turned out to be a bit of a mistake because when I did get back into the workshop I jiggled it out of the way and it came out of the transmission unit to my horror !!!! and as you can see on the floor dumped a pool of transmission oil all over the place, I hastily stuffed it back in and breathed a sigh of relief as the oil flow stopped.....

I then had the task of fitting it all back together with a knackered wrist, you would have laughed at the pitiful cries that came out of that workshop as I kept forgetting that I had hurt my wrist, anyway eventually I got it back on with Andrea's help she did up the only nut I wasn't able to tighten on the lower ball joint because of my wrist..... so if the wheel falls off it's her fault ;¬)

and as you can see it's all back on as it should be albeit with a small slick of TU oil all over the place, but I took it for a test drive and I am pleased to say that the Dresden bombing raid is over, and the all clear has been sounded :) furthermore you actually have to brake when you are going downhill because it freewheels once more and actually picks up speed alarmingly so !! I went up the dual carriageway towards Carmarthen and took it up to 70 mph ;¬) ....... huh hummm and nothing fell off or sounded bad so I guess it's been fixed :¬)

I'm taking the Jeep to work on Monday to pick up a kitchen table and 6 chairs we got off Ebay for £25 because the kitchen is crying out for a table, but it also means I have to fit our Metric sized dishwasher into our imperial sized kitchen unit
now where did I leave that hammer ?

Update :- I managed to fit the metric dishwasher into the imperial hole, by a cunning combination of brute force and my left hip administered in a crouching position will never come out again so if it springs a leak it will just have to be cut out with a reciprocating saw and plastic explosive ;¬)

Friday, 8 February 2008

Had to laugh at this

it's a knee generator developing 5 watts of power, and at the moment is at the design you can clearly see..... because you couldn't wear THAT under your jeans, apparently it is only good for charging mobile phones at the moment and does slow the walker down, and the designers say it has applications for hill walkers etc

you have to ask the question why would a well prepared hill walker go out in the wilds with a mobile phone where the battery was flat, but they had the forethought to pack this metal brick in their backpack ?

Surely it would be better to make sure your phone was charged before you left the house ? plus I can't see walkers walking around with one of these strapped to their knees ruining their very expensive all weather walking trousers, and the last thing you want on a trip up Snowdon is this mechanical leech sapping your very last energy reserves to top your phone up !!! mind you if you are lying injured in some ditch and your mobile phone is flat I can't think of a better device to use to summon help.....mind you, you would need to do 500 knee jerks before you got a usable signal ;¬)


My weekend is booked

I'm ripping off the other bearing this weekend.....Joy!!! my blog is beginning to look like a Haynes manual these days, I guess that's down to not being able to afford to pay a proper mechanic to do the work, but four kids and a Labrador don't come cheap these days, it doesn't help with liquid gold....sorry petrol being the price it is these days, and diesel being even more expensive, mind you at least with the utility companies putting up the price of energy by an average of 20% the rest of the UK is falling in line with what it costs to fill up a heating oil tank these days :¬) so we are all slowly getting into the same boat, quite a few people are feeling the pinch these days, we have less and less spending money, most of it taken as some form of taxation and making sure all the bills are paid and there is food on the table and the house is warm and the kids have everything they need is becoming a bit of a challenge these days, it seems you just get your head above the water then another big wave comes and puts you back where you started

which brings me nicely to my next pet subject.....I'm just waiting on the CSA's calculation, whatever it is it's going to hit us hard, but it's the law and you have to abide by the law, I can't say I'm pleased by it, just resigned to the fact that there will be less to go around, we will manage somehow, we have to, I just think it's wrong that I have to pay for children I don't see, who have in effect disowned me, but obviously not any hard earned money I have in my pocket, they are quite willing to take as much as I can afford to give and probably more, but that's my ex all over, she never was shy taking money off strangers, and the less work she had to do to get it the better......

makes you want to run away to St Tropez...... some things never change..... ;¬)

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

bearing in mind

excuse the pun :)

I had to take a day off work today, last night the pug started to sound like a bombing raid over Dresden circa 1945 just as I got past Pont Abraham services, followed by a rather worrying burning smell...... yes the noisy bearing had decided to rotate it's last wheel, or very nearly, I limped home and was glad to drive into our homestead....

Anyway early this morning I started on removing the hub which didn't take very much time at all really, but once confronted with the offending bearing I gave up all hope of doing it myself, for a start the vice I had didn't open wide enough to take the hub in order for me to press the bearings out, and I didn't have a pair of circlip pliers big enough to remove the circlip..... so off I went to my local Garage up in Pwll Trap who are very reasonable, they have a 40 ton bearing press and even that struggled to push them out, the mechanic that was doing it was even nervous explaining that if the pressure got too much the hub would simply explode due the the enormous forces being laid upon it :( ..... I retreated and crossed my fingers

anyway it eventually came out but left the outer race in situ, that was dispatched with a suitably sized socket and the new bearing pressed in within minutes ..... and all for £10 which I was pleased about :)

I didn't even attempt to start on the other side as it was getting on in the day and I couldn't afford to be without transport tomorrow for work, All I'm waiting for now is for my step daughter to finish her netball practice so I can go pick her up and once I get back I'm sinking into a nice hot bath :)

the windscreen washer works now as well only one bearing to go and it's Thunderbirds are go......once again ;¬)

Sunday, 3 February 2008

the Pug repairs are half done

and ok maybe I'm not clean (at least not after being under the Pug for a few hours), fast or professional but the job is done (half done anyway) and ok I have less hair than Bronson but the distinct advantage of still being alive .....I spent a fair few hours yesterday trying to remove a stubborn track rod end which had decided to weld itself inside the track rod end tube using nothing but rust, eventually I managed to persuade it out via a selection of hammer blows, heating it with a camping gas stove and more brutal bludgeoning with large metal objects, unfortunately my hands were so cold I didn't notice I was slowly slicing lumps off my fingers with shards of metal that had been gouged out using the mole grips, I thought my hands were just sticky with oil and grime.... I soon cottoned on when I realised that no oil producers actually produce oil which is red in colour... so sweat, tears and a considerable amount of blood later....the second track rod end came off text book with no problems at all...and if I'm honest didn't really need replacing, but what the hell at £8.60 each I may as well replace it, the broken one really was on it's last legs, the ball was very nearly coming out of the socket a few more weeks and I think it may have, which would have been a nasty shock had it happened..... it now has two track rod ends fitted and working

the tracking is slightly out, but it's only by a small degree I'll pop into a local garage and get that done as soon as I can...

I didn't attempt the bearings because of the delays I had getting off the frozen tie rod end, which set me back most of Saturday.....but hopefully I will be able to do that next weekend once my bleeding fingers have healed a bit

I took it for a test drive and was pleased to notice that it didn't judder when you pulled away any more neither do you get a nasty vibration when you brake harder than normal..... so not a completely wasted weekend at least something was done, I just keep thinking about how much that Garage in Carmarthen wanted to charge me for doing the track rod ends and smile...£150 my're aving a laugh mate !!! :)

£17.20 that's more like it !!! albeit with fingers looking like they have been fed through a mincing machine ;¬)