goznet ...

David's diary: October 2003

Right, I'm back at work today, and had a mere 132 non-spam emails to chug my way through, but I'm pretty much done now - and with good timing, given that I need to make my getaway in a few minutes to go and collect the new car. It's going to be odd to say goodbye to the Accent, which has served me pretty well over the last four years. However, it's never been perfect and is beginning to go wrong in more serious and potentially expensive ways, so I'm pretty sure this is the right time to pension it off and get something nicer and newer!

Been a busy evening and I must head to bed now, but I have the car - which seems to work, but will take some getting used to in many regards - and did make it to Open House and thence to the pub for their quiz night again, not that any of us won anything of great significance this time. Goodnight!

Second day back at work, and only one day to go until the weekend - though the latter is still somewhat "up in the air" for various reasons, not including because we have a balloon trip planned or anything, although Katy's insisting I don't worry too much yet! Today's been OK, meeting with Mirabelle to discuss a couple of strange bugs she found in the microprocessor simulation - one was a sheer foul-up on my part and the other a knock-on effect from a previous change request - and ploughing through the comments from the interim version of some other software I handed over shortly before I went off on leave. The latter is generally more urgent, but Mirabelle had hit a dead-end in her own work thanks to the former so it was somewhat important I sorted it out there and then! But I have only a few minutes to go before I can head off home, and thankfully it seems finally to have stopped drizzling outside, so maybe the walk home might not be as unpleasant as it seemed it would at one point. Not too sure what I will be doing this evening, but I strongly suspect activities will include a phone call to or from Katy at some point, and perhaps a healthy stroll - which may or may not involve driving out to somewhere to do so, but you guess...

Well I had my walk, up at Willen, and now I'm relaxing to the strains of Dido once again with a bottle of Côtes du Rhône for company... Ah, sweet bliss!

Right, the weekend's at least vaguely planned now, even if some small details may still need to be decided. All my original plans went out of the window, so going back to the drawing board really was the only option. I'm sure it will all work out OK though, and Katy sounds happy enough - and with under an hour until this short working week of mine is over with, I'm pretty happy too!

I can see the sun again. It's taken far too long, but hey...

The weekend may not have happened exactly - or even remotely - as originally planned, but it feels totally right in retrospect that it worked out as it did.

A bit more when I'm more awake, I guess!

Am I really more awake now? I'm not sure. I seem to have gone down with a cold or something and feel really quite grotty. Well, on the outside at least. On the inside, definitely warm and fuzzy, because - to cut a long story short - late yesterday afternoon Katy and I decided that our future lies together, not apart, and that by formally declaring that, we can start to plan things on the basis of fact and not mere hypothesis. Both our sets of parents were genuinely very happy if not terribly surprised, although I only spoke to Katy's on the phone yesterday evening. You want to know the facts? Well the deed was done during a walk from my parents' house, pausing for breath half way up a hill on the way back, with a company of only a couple of piebald ponies who were so embarrassed even they turned their heads for a few moments. I'm sure everyone wants to know - as David Coleman might well - "what happens next", but I can honestly say that very little has been decided but that a considerable amount of thought has gone into getting our feelings into writing. So for the moment all I can say is that we are engaged, we're aiming for next year sometime as far as actually getting married is concerned, and we're pretty flippin' happy!

I didn't make it into work today, feeling no better this morning than I did last night. Lots to do at work of course, but spending the morning with a bowl of boiling water and a towel won out in the end. I hope I might make it back to work tomorrow, but I've provisionally said Thursday. I don't think this is flu, just a grotty cold, but there's no way I'm risking overdoing it. Alas Katy is feeling little better, and feels obliged to struggle on at work, but at least she's got access to cheap Beechams powders there, so it could be worse...

Had a restful day, but don't feel a great deal better for it. Watched Brassed Off this afternoon, which was as good as ever, munched a pizza - no significant lack of appetite, happily to say! - and I've just had a chat on the phone with Katy, who's not feeling a great deal better still. Another kettle's boiled, so that means time to put my head over that bowl again and soak up more steam!

Two useless bits of post in the last couple of days, demonstrating the sheer hopelessness of companies we are required to waste our time dealing with.

First off, yet more insurance paperwork for the car, and despite spelling all their errors out in writing, in great detail, they've still not got it quite right, and I'm going to have to go through the routine all over again when I feel I have regained the energy to do so. If you ever find yourself dealing with a company called Boncaster - they trade under various names, providing generic insurance services to companies that can't be bothered to do it themselves - then be very wary. Trouble is, it turns out that they can't be bothered either, with sayings about excessive drinking parties in breweries springing to mind. Oh, and if you work for Boncaster and happen to read this, sort your company out, will you - you're an embarrassment to your industry.

Secondly, another threatening letter from the television licensing people, unable to believe that I can possibly survive in the twenty-first century without the use of a colour television - or indeed a television at all! I've lost count of the number of times I have received different form letters from them, but can count on the fingers of a double amputee how many times they've actually been bothered to come and see for themselves that I really can cope. OK, yes, I do actually have a 12-inch black and white portable stowed away in the wardrobe, but I don't use it - indeed I'm not even sure if it works any more - and even if I applied for a licence for that they wouldn't believe that I could live my life without seeing everything in red, green and blue pixels.

Katy recommended Lemsip with red wine as the perfect knock-me-out nightcap, so that's precisely what I'm currently trying! I will almost certainly not be going into work tomorrow, but I ought to do the best I can, really... Had a good chat on the phone with my brother Pete, telling him the good news about Katy and me apart from anything else, though Ali remained typically elusive!

I think I can feel myself gently drifting off... Will I make it to the end of this diary entry? If you're reading this, I evidently did - if only just!

Off work again, as anticipated. Nothing much of note to report, medoesn'tthink.

Well I thought I would be brave and go out and get some fresh air for a little while, and oh what fun it turned out to be. Cathal at Stoneacre had asked that I called by to pick up the care kit for the protection treatment my car had been given before delivery, but it turned out that the reason it hadn't been supplied already was because - yes, you guessed it - the protection treatment hadn't actually been applied in the first place! So the car's booked in for that next Tuesday, although it has already picked up a bit of superficial damage that might have been partially avoided, thanks to an estate agent's "for sale" sign that got caught in the recent gales and scuffed the rear bumper. However, the valeting guy was pretty sure he can sort that out, otherwise I'll be having a good grumble at O'Riordan Bond estate agents you can be quite sure!

Then I went for a stroll around Willen Lake, and that did me some good I think, especially considering how mild it was. Now I'm back home though, and will soon batten the hatches, cook myself up a curry or something, and call it a day!

OK, so you could of course add an hour's natter on the phone with Katy on to that list, but that may well have gone without saying. Bed time very soon!

Been back at work today, as I had anticipated, but alas spent most of the day fighting with C++. When you've been programming in Java for a while, it's very easy to forget just how horrid a notionally object-oriented language can be, when it was never designed to be one. But still, thanks to the apparently limitless patience of Sam and Tim, I did get the software in question working - in this case, a launcher that would install Java if necessary. Still some things needing fine tuning, and some other issues that raised their head once I was testing on a clean Windows installation, but I'm getting there. I doubt I will be handing the software over exactly when promised, thanks to my absence Tuesday and Wednesday, but I hopefully won't be too far off target either.

This evening I would far rather have been putting my feet up and watching a DVD or something - once I'd finished talking with Katy, of course! - but instead so far I've been spending it drafting out yet another letter to those incompetents at Boncaster with regard to the free insurance for my car. That's "free" as in "free to those whose time is worthless" given that I've spent a good few hours of my time chasing them up often with no visible result at all, but hopefully - and I know I've hoped it before to no avail - this might be the end of it now. Hmm, nine o'clock - still time for some suitably inane DVD do you think? I reckon so, and Katy did suggest it might be the best therapy for me, after all!

Woo, just after I put The Princess Bride on - Katy's specific recommendation, indeed - my sister Ali finally phoned back after I'd called earlier, so now all my immediate family know the good news about Katy and me, and I can announce it to a few others now... Finally, the lives of Pete, Ali and myself all look up!

Phew, the week's over, and the weekend is with us again. OK, so I was only in work for three days this week in the end, but the last couple in particular have been pretty stressful, not helped by hardly being in tip top health after my earlier absence. But this evening I've been out for a pizza with Darren, and am now hoping there's time for a quick bath before Katy gets home from a prayer meeting she's gone to, so we can plot our weekend ahead in more detail!

And the weekend is now done, save the winding down bit before I hit the sack!

Yesterday - that's Saturday - I arrived in Farnham at about noon, and we drove to nearby Farnborough to do a little timely shopping and to grab some lunch. Hinds jewellers turned out to be by far the best of the bunch for the former - and no compromise, I hasten to add - and a Christian bookshop-cum-cafe for the latter. We took a stroll in the Alice Holt woods - almost entirely not getting lost, for once - before hitting the Golden Fleece in Elstead for a Thai feast, followed by an admittedly pretty lousy game of Scrabble, which I somehow won!

Today our engagement was formally announced at Katy's church in the morning, though judging by the number of cards we received it was hardly news to most of the people there! It was good to be prayed for briefly, though, even if I did have to make an impromptu speech of sorts and was a little lost for words! We had lunch at Katy's mum and dad's, before going for a better-navigated walk round Frensham Great Pond and winding up at Catherine and Glenn's for the evening which was most civil, despite the best efforts of James and Cameron!

But now I'm home, and mundanity returns for another week - though it mightn't be a lot longer, on the basis of discussions today, but we'll see, OK..?

Back at work today, and it was a bit of a strain dragging myself out of bed I am ashamed to admit. Hit more outwardly-trivial but in practice downright nasty problems with this software I'm developing, this time thanks to Borland's insane decision to omit string-tokenisation from C++Builder. All sorted now though, and most of the remaining work on this software should be stuff like adjusting wording and so on. There are a couple of other tricky issues I will definitely be needing external help with, but at least I can press on with the minor alterations now - tedious but hopefully simple. And it's only a couple of days until Lara should be back after her revision and exams, whereupon I plan to broach the subject of getting out of here for good, hopefully with a few thousand pounds of tax-free "golden handshake" to help me on my merry way!

It's Tuesday, and the car's back at the garage to have its belated paintwork and upholstery treatment applied. I hope "Flash" does a good job - the name of my valeter, not the product they use to do it with, or so I hope, anyway!

Made my software a little bit slicker, though a very strange error appeared yesterday that I won't be happy to let the CD-ROM go without having fixed - and it's not in my own code, which is even more worrying. However, that might buy me a little more time I suppose, and I suspect I'll need every bit I can get!

On that basis, I'd really should be getting on with it, not writing my diary!

Hmm, lots of exclamation marks today, aren't there? In the past, my friend David has performed accurate psychoanalysis on the basis of the distribution of miscellaneous punctuation marks in my writing, so what will he make of this?!

Hmm, very little joy fixing the remaining bugs in the software, but Chris has promised he'll get on the case when he has a chance. At least a little of the time spent waiting I have used productively in sorting out accommodation for Katy next weekend, as well as a birthday present for her brother in law - and all now seems to be in order in both those regards. But I've just received a phone call from the garage to say my car is ready to collect, and Tim unusually decided to cycle in today so there's no chance of a lift which means I need to get a move on if I'm to walk over there before they close for the night!

Right, I've been and fetched the car - the walk up took about three quarters of an hour, a little less than I had anticipated - and everything seems to be in order now. Flash did indeed manage to polish out the scratches on the rear bumper, the ones courtesy of O'Riordan Bond estate agents, so I now have a car that's about as good as new - and smells the part - as I could really hope for!

But now, while I have the chance, I really ought to get at least partially up to date with the updates for Gareth's website. He's sent a load of stuff over in the last few days and I really haven't had any opportunity to do anything about it. But this evening I should get a chance to put that right - although given that one of his consignments was a CD with about 100 images, some needing further processing, I very much doubt I'll be getting everything done tonight!

Well I did a bit of work on Gareth's site - enough to bill him for twenty quid, anyway - but it was far more interesting talking to my friends on the phone and on MSN. Main lesson learnt this evening though: Loading seventy large JPEG images into Photoshop presents difficulties even with 256MB of system memory.

Oh, and I've been starting to pull together my "half" of a wedding guest list. Scary stuff - I never knew there were so many people I'd like to come! It's currently running at about 110 invitees, of whom I would expect 70 to attend. Something is clearly going to have to give somewhere, and I hope no-one turns out to be offended; anyone who's been through this will surely understand!

Well Katy's small and perfectly formed list of guests is running to about fifty who are likely to turn up. I hope I can get mine down to something similar!

Right, that was an altogether pretty frustrating day, but I've made some small increment of progress with this software so it wasn't a total disaster - even if other issues are now coming to light that may still delay it considerably. At least I got a free lunch, going to a gathering to "celebrate" the recent move of one of the Technology media teams and the SHSW media team into their new accommodation. Well, there was food, there was drink, and we were invited, so we went. We did wonder if there was going to be any official presentation, tour or anything, but after an hour there was no evidence of any such thing happening and we got bored and came back. Still, the olives and spring rolls were particularly delicious, so we weren't seriously complaining, but I think overall I would rather have lunched with the rest of my colleagues, so I billed it to LTS on my timesheet. Anyway, on that note, it's more or less time to head off home, though I have Open House tonight, the first I'll have been able to make it along to since getting engaged. It's very doubtful that anyone there will know yet, so that should surprise a few people - though everyone so far has actually said "about time too", or "was just a matter of when", so perhaps not. Strangely though, some of my closest friends don't yet know, but that's simply because I'd like to tell them face to face - or even with Katy there - and there simply haven't been any such opportunities in the last week!

Another so-so day work-wise, getting a little closer to my current goals, but still feeling that the end-of-week deadline provisionally agreed is a little unattainable. I wouldn't have minded so much but for the fact that I didn't realise there even was an imminent deadline, helped by the course team asking that I didn't prioritise this work in the first place... In fact the real QA deadline was while I was on leave just month! Hey ho. But I'm at home now, and I take comfort in my ability to largely switch myself off from all work related stresses when I am, and there's only one day until the weekend anyway, and that means Katy-and-David time when I shall care even less about work!

Right, well apart from the remaining focus issues - caused by the transition from Java 1.3 to Java 1.4 - I think my software is done, to agreed deadline! However, those focus issues are still almost certainly going to have to be resolved before the software will be accepted, and I understand that Chris has been investigating them for quite a while. You may well ask why I don't just go with Java 1.3, but the trouble is that if users have installed 1.4 for any reason, it will take priority. I seem to recall there is a way of forcing 1.3, but I wouldn't like to be sure that installing the 1.3 JRE on top of the 1.4 one wouldn't have other undesirable knock-on effects. Besides, 1.3 is old and rubbish now, so we really should be working with and for latest versions where possible. Just a pity that in this case it seems to be causing headaches.

My former boss Phil popped his head round the door a little while ago, having heard I was running into problems with the rapidly aging Java framework so many of us are using. He had put a bid to the project board to fund redevelopment of the framework but although it had been accepted by the board in principle, they rejected it in practice, despite it being precisely the kind of generic solution we're supposed to be adopting as part of our cost-cutting endeavours. However, a fair number of us are hitting serious problems with it - with the net result that the code is diverging again - so he's putting together another bid, and hopefully it might succeed this time. Of course it's not going to reap anything by Monday morning, when I hoped to pass this CD-ROM to QA, but never mind... At least the existence of problems is being made known, so the powers that be really won't have a leg to stand on if software gets delayed.

But with that soap-box rant over, it's almost time to forget all this nonsense for the weekend, and with Katy finally coming up here again, it should be good!

I suppose I ought to be going to bed now. The weekend's looking a little bit better defined now, but I'll not assume a thing until it happens! Just got over a bout of hiccups - thanks to that old trick of drinking a glass of water backwards - so I think this is my cue to head for bed and aim to be up in fair time tomorrow morning! Bit of a busy day, but nothing we can't cope with!

Half way through the weekend, Katy's safely deposited with Chris and Claire for the night, and now about to likewise deposit myself in my own snug bed!

And now with Katy safely on her way home - or, more likely, stuck in jams on the M1 and M25 by the sounds of the traffic reports earlier - the weekend is basically done! Been a really lovely time though, finally getting good chances for catching up with lots of my friends as well as plenty of "us time".

Katy arrived at lunchtime yesterday, and I was prepared with Hawaiian pizza and accompaniments, which of course went down very happily. Then round to Sarah's to go out for a walk with her, Rachael and one of Rachael's friends. We were a little delayed waiting for Jam to collect Laura, but we had a good bracing stroll round Willen Lake - and not too many grumbles from younger companions. The pub was closed for refurbishment though, which was a slight disappointment, but the ice cream kiosk certainly wasn't, so there weren't too many tears. Back to mine for crumpets and chocolate Swiss roll for tea while we watched The Princess Bride - yes, the second time in only a few days for me, but it is a brilliant film after all - and a game of Scrabble. I lost that, but "only" by less than a hundred points, so given that Katy managed to empty her rack of letters twice - for fifty bonus points each time - I could take some solace and we didn't have to call the engagement off forthwith. As if, of course...

Katy spent the night at my old friends Chris and Claire's house. Zoë stayed there a lot, many years back, and they had always made it clear the offer remained open, and it happened to work out very well. It was lovely to catch up with them both after far too long, and as I expected, they and Katy got on like a house on fire. And thankfully they had recently replaced the mattress on the spare bed, so Katy managed as good a night's sleep as she could really have hoped for. Chris and Claire were only just getting up as we left this morning, but we got a chance for a quick hello and thank you anyway.

Then it was time to walk up to the XScape for church at the ski-centre café. Numbers were down a little on usual, but it was a good opportunity to catch up with various people and of course announce our good news - although obviously the grapevine is pretty efficient because Matt and Jill already knew! We'd had a bit of a Rachael overload on Saturday, so were quite thankful that largely we were able to talk with others. After that we lunched at Nando's, demolishing a whole chicken and enormous plate of chips between us - and spicy olives for me too! And then after a healthy and bracing stroll round Campbell Park, upstairs to Cineworld to watch Finding Nemo, Pixar's latest computer animated feature film, which was thoroughly excellent from start to finish - simultaneously funny and sad, and one I will definitely be getting on DVD when it's available!

Walking back to Chris and Claire's - where I had left my car for the day - we thought it perhaps best to avoid going past Sarah's house. Nothing personal, just the wish not to be mobbed by small children. So that meant we walked past my old house group leaders Seamus and Gill's house instead, and we popped in there for a little while instead. They were about to embark on their lunch - at five o'clock - but didn't mind entertaining us too, and it was good to catch up with them too and of course fill them in on happenings in David and Katy's world! We'd only planned on staying a short while - especially since they were eating - but were there for a couple of hours in the end, though since Chris and Claire were out on our return to their house to pick up my car, Katy wasn't further waylaid on her own homeward journey and was on her way soon after.

But now it's over, and I'm winding down and aiming for an early night methinks!

Oh, and I mustn't forget Katy's thoughtful engagement presents to me, as well as cards from her and from Sarah and the girls. The former were one of those posh corkscrews - the kind you don't have to twist at all, they do it all by magic - and two nice wine glasses to go with it. I was a little concerned when Katy said she had got me something she knew I would like - knowing that I am notoriously difficult to buy for - but she got that just right, she did!

Grotty and unproductive - but not for want of trying - day today. Made better by what I thought was a half-hour phone call with Katy that actually turned out to have been well over an hour! Oh, and by watching Bhaji on the beach this evening, and formally telling my line manager this morning that I wish to plot my voluntary redundancy so I can take lots of money to go and marry Katy.

Another frustrating day, although I found a few things that I could do to keep myself reasonably busy, and I had a good chicken so-called-korma at lunchtime which was in fact decidedly hot but didn't cost me a penny - even with a yummy chocolate cornflake slice for dessert, for sheer childhood nostalgia's sake if nothing else. Tim and Sam are off to see Finding Nemo tonight, but it was only Sunday afternoon that Katy and I saw it, so it's a bit soon for me to watch it again; I think I can wait until the DVD, though it'll hit the shelves a bit later here than in the US, alas, thanks to Disney's usual staggered worldwide cinema release policy. So Mononoke-hime will just have to do, methinks!

And another one, to bring me half way through the week. Early this morning I had my long awaited one-to-one meeting with our head of interactive media, and interesting though it was I cannot help but suspect it will turn out to be a pointless exercise given his lack of influence in the LTS management structure. I didn't hide my intention to get out of this place, and I think he understood, but of course had no idea whether I would have a case for redundancy, as is the hope. I've been kept sane today by a steady trickle of emails from Katy, but they're going to have to make up for probably not getting a chance to talk with her this evening. Still another hour of this hellish day to go though. Then Open House this evening, which I have to admit doesn't fill me with joy either.

As usual, when dreading it, Open House turned out to be all right after all. Nice to see Annette, back for a few days from her studies in Holland, and to help lead the worship with her. Time for me to think about getting some sleep now though; as my relatively lazy days go, it's been quite a long one!

Bloomin' hope pay-day's tomorrow, or I'm going to be pushing it a bit for cash for the weekend, one way and another! Trust me to be so financially organised that it's going to be a "photo finish" like that for my current account funds - needless to say, it's a decidedly unusual thing to happen! I might have a bit of an interest-free overdraft zone anyway though, so I'm not worrying too much!

As for the rest of the day, well it wasn't too bad. I finally conceded defeat with sorting out the focussing problems with the Java stuff I'm working on, and passed it to Chris for further investigation. I was holding off doing so for as long as I could, hoping at least to be able to positively identify what was going wrong even if the solution wasn't clear, but I was making no progress. Instead I spent a good part of the day experimenting with serial communications in Java, successfully persuading Sun's javax.comm library to work and talk to my borrowed second PC. It's all to do with a project coming up, to rewrite some old data-logging software that currently runs only in DOS, measuring the resistance of a number of resistors in an oven as the temperature rises. My biggest worry was the software side of the interfacing - knowing modern Windows to be very different from DOS in that regard - so getting the library working was a massive relief, and now I just need to wait for the experiment kit itself to be loaned! Other than that, well I had a few meetings, a walk at lunchtime, good chats with Katy, Sarah and with my mum this evening, and a nice long bath - and now am pretty much ready to call it a day and head off to bed forthwith.

Phew, my October pay is safely in my current account, so I will indeed be able to safely go to the bank later and do as I must. Friday today, and very much looking forward to the weekend ahead, the third since Katy and I announced our engagement! Not quite sure what fun and frolics it will bring, but it will be good whatever, I can be certain. Especially with both food and Katy involved!

First I must get through today at work though, with my working environment made somewhat unpleasant by building work going on outside the office window and the smell of carpet glue from the user room across the corridor - and of course not being willing to open either the window or the door for fresh air for fear of making it still worse! All my current projects are somewhat in limbo today - waiting on either academic feedback, specialist equipment or better programming knowledge than I can personally muster. So I think I'll be brave and start work on another piece of software, again a rewrite of an old application - in fact, one of the first ones I wrote when I started here, though that itself was a rewrite at the time - but one that should occasionally be interesting.

Today actually turned out OK! Chris is only marginally less stumped by my Java problems than I was, so no clear end in sight there despite a false alarm this morning when he thought he'd cracked it but hadn't. But I made a good start on the "new" software, which simulates the fetch-execute sequence for a number of different instructions implemented by my microprocessor simulation. Despite my bad experiences with the question software, I'm writing this in Java - well I'm not using anyone else's libraries, which helps! - and got most of the display working nicely by the end of the day, which was no mean feat! And in this case it's justifiable to do it that way since there isn't really a lot more to the software other than the display, which simply needs to be animated while a text description appears to its right, possibly with a voice-over accompaniment.

This really isn't a good time to be up on a Saturday morning, but it'll be worth the effort! Currently waiting to hear another traffic report since I'm pretty sure I caught something about the M3 being closed - not the precise stretch I plan to use later, but close enough to cause some serious delays...

Two lanes of the M3 are expected to be closed all morning, a junction after where I come off. Will keep an eye on the gantry signs on the M25 and make good use of RDS traffic reports - and use the A3 and A31 instead if need be.

Saturday morning turned out to be multiple accident city, but thankfully I managed to avoid them all - though saw some huge queues in the other direction. Slow journeys there and back nonetheless, however - but worth it still for all the bits in between! A bit of a family-oriented weekend altogether, meeting up for Saturday lunch at the Harvester at Puttenham with Rachel, Mark and Daniel, then going for Sunday lunch at Katy's parents' house after church this morning. Fitted in around all that were a couple of gentle strolls, watching Phone Booth, digging around for a more information on marquees and whatnot for next summer, and a couple of games of Scrabble with reasonably even honours. Still no sign of Katy's ring at the jeweller, but it really shouldn't be long now!

But now it feels an hour later than my clock says it is, which can no doubt be explained by last night's end to British Summer Time, but at least the morning shouldn't be quite as cold and depressing as they've been for the last week!

A really productive day, apart from all the flippin' meetings. Consequently I didn't get an awful lot done after all... But what I managed was good. Anyway, who cares now, 'cos I'm off out for pizza with Darren in ten minutes. And will hopefully get a call from Katy when she gets back in from Becki's later!

Pizza was good, thanks to Pizza Hut having run out of most of their menu items. How was that good? Well they had everything we really wanted, and cheerfully agreed to let us have it all as part of their cinema-ticket meal deal - saving us about a fiver, with two Cineworld tickets thrown in for good measure. We thought it might be a little cynical and cheeky to ask when they were next planning on running out of stock... Phone call with Katy was good too, but we were both pretty shattered so it wasn't too long, but hopefully before so very long we won't be having to make do with mere phone-calls! Scary but exciting!

Today was like yesterday, only without the meetings, so I actually got a fair bit done. Meetings seem to be part of the new "LTS Way" - for example they are apparently setting up a working group to determine the best system for source code control; everyone who uses source code control uses CVS, so what exactly needs discussing? I guess they need something to keep the Grade 3's and above busy, while us Grade 2's get on with actually producing software, when we can. But today's been meeting-free, and my productivity has increased no end!

This evening I have spent about half-and-half on the phone with Katy and doing a bit more towards Gareth's website. Two phone calls with Katy, no less, and about an hour towards Gareth's site, all told. Gareth tells me he has been promising clients for several weeks that the work I'm doing was to be complete "in about a week", so nice of him to tell me, but not my problem, ultimately. Now I am enjoying a glass of Hardy's new budget Cabernet Sauvignon - and very pleasant it is too - and contemplating bed within the next few minutes!

Work today has just been irritating and only slightly productive. Audio-visual are getting concerned about the progress on the questions CD - as if I wasn't gravely so already. Chris hit a dead end with solving the remaining problems, but inspired by a few things he and others said today I've managed to get the software working a bit better than before but there are still loads of little problems I really haven't got a remote chance of resolving. So I'm now waiting for the go-ahead to cut a CD-R for QA to rush through, in the full knowledge that the software is faulty. Half of me hopes that QA rejects it, because then we really will have no choice but to shelve the project pending LTS management pulling their fingers out and funding redevelopment of the Java libraries I am depending upon. Whatever, I'll be glad to see the back of the software for a little while at least - and all being well I'll be long gone from here by the time funding is approved. Ooh, Lara's just phoned and says cut the CD-R and let QA do their worst, so methinks I'll do just that and then head homewards...

A Katy-less evening this evening - but I coped, thanks to the distraction of Open House. I'd like to say we'll make up for it tomorrow, but it's looking like I'll be out and pretty much uncontactable for most of the evening - taking Sarah's daughter Claire up to Peterborough - so we may just have to make the most of our weekend instead! And we'll be celebrating Katy's birthday, too!

I was planning to spend this evening updating Gareth's website, but as you will know if you read my last entry closely, I have instead spent it mainly "on the road". It was good to have the opportunity to catch up with Claire for an hour or so. I can't claim we've always got on too well, but she's grown up a lot over the last year or so and seems able now to talk to me as a friend and as someone she can confide in rather than as a resentable authority figure. Laura has rather taken over from her in the latter regard, but hopefully she'll turn out to be vaguely similar to her big sister and be fine again before too long. Rachael's still full of affection, and I sense will be somewhat different to the other two, but in a few months time it will probably largely be academic as I most likely move away to start my new life. Not that I wish to cut myself off from my friends up here - they mean far too much to me for that, which Katy thankfully understands - but it will be a major change and I will inevitably see rather less of them. Even Claire was a little dumbstruck when I suggested that Milton Keynes wasn't likely to remain my home, which says something...

Work was OK today, thankfully. I was just writing an email to Lara to say the dreaded CD-Rs were ready and that I was awaiting further instructions, when she called in to the office in person, clutching a print-out of an email from Lynda in QA basically explaining there would be no time to test the software, but she went off and grovelled and it turns out QA will make time, and there's a bit of leeway with the mailing date anyway so it's nowhere near as dire a crisis as we feared... Still pretty grim, but at least heads shouldn't roll! I'd rather leave with a few grand redundancy pay-off - if that's the way things turn out - than a bad reference, thank you very much! So with that appreciable weight off my back I was able to focus once again on the fetch-execute sequence simulation software, and have now got a considerable amount of that done. It's actually possible I'll have got it basically finished by the end of tomorrow, which will help prove I am not a completely useless waste of space, programming-wise, though I've not been foolish enough to make any rash promises, of course!

But now, after a long evening, methinks a reasonably early night is called for!

Oh, and I did get a good chance to chat with Katy this evening after all! I had kind of been anticipating that I would have tea with Sarah and family, but that didn't turn out to be the deal - and I can't say I'm complaining, to be perfectly frank. Avoiding squabbling children and managing to talk with Katy without any interruptions was much preferable, believe me! Anyway, bed...

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