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David's diary: March 2004

Only in a semi-foul mood today, which I guess is an improvement on the norm here as I carve my last twenty-nine notches into the leg of my desk. Or would if it wasn't made of metal, which would require a hacksaw - funnily enough not part of our standard software designer's toolkit, even if a pocket knife is.

I thought we didn't have a Monday Morning Meeting this morning, but it's actually next week we get a modest reprieve. Not that we did much else other than moan and make sarcastic digs anyway. Well I was asked what we should do about the problems we hit in Flash last week, but all I could honestly do was shrug and say I had no idea. Though as it happens I have managed to fix them, albeit not in any way that I found faintly rewarding or that increased my understanding of Flash. But that's fine - it's done now, and I have not the slightest intention of ever touching Flash ever again, so who gives a monkeys?

Amongst other non-achievements today I managed to make a DVD that didn't work in our departmental DVD player, managed not to crack the administrator password for the video capture machine - it's insanely set up so that you have to be logged on with administrator privileges to access the capture hardware - or get any help from our IT support department in obtaining legitimate access, and consequently got no further with making the stupid CD-ROM swap-out version.

Other than that, a simply marvellous day. At least I got a nice email from Katy, and we all went out for a lunchtime stroll and didn't bitch too much. Going round to Sarah's this evening, but she's just phoned to say she's only just got home, so I won't be rushing - and I don't anticipate too fun an evening coming up anyway, between assignment proof-reading and blue-beret duties. I do understand there's some nice Stilton though, so all is not lost.

Not quite the evening planned, and it threw me off balance sufficiently that Katy didn't get her evening phone call, I'm afraid to say... Sarah had - as I had somewhat suspected - not got her assignment anywhere near the point of needing proof-reading, but we were looking forward to a civilised and quietish tea, with Rachael over the road at the youth group. But then half way through eating, there was a power cut, so we had to go and collect Rachael anyway and all ended up playing cards by candlelight. Actually remained a peaceful time for everyone, the girls occasionally needing a bit of a prod to do as they were told, but no fights, tantrums or tears to spoil the evening. I was more than a little disappointed to note that their new DVD player seems to have packed up already; I know it was a pretty naff one - albeit not exactly cheap, from what I can gather - so it might just have been a dud, but I never can quite tell... Meant that I never was able to find out whether the speakers I'd sorted out for them worked or not. Well, they didn't, obviously, but that mightn't have been their own fault, and of course with no electricity for most of the evening, that was slightly moot! But now I feel guilty for having neglected Katy this evening, albeit unintentionally. Will have to make up for it somehow, won't I?

Fair day at work today, discovering that the reason we don't do our own MPEG1 capture is political, not technical. So while the politicians weren't looking, I fired up the capture rig, persuaded a colleague with administrator privileges to log in for me - see yesterday's comments on this matter - and as far as I can tell have produced a nice set of MPEG1 video files to my own specifications without bothering the overloaded Sound & Vision folks further. I might even get this wretched DVD and CD-ROM thing finished this week! Here's hoping...

This evening I've been to what will probably have been my last meeting of the OU's astronomy club. I will still technically be around for the April one, but it's likely to be at a somewhat hectic time so I doubt I'll make it along. So funnily enough I didn't hand over my subscriptions for the next year, this evening's meeting being our AGM, but I'll leave with happy memories, after a quite entertaining talk about camera obscuras - or are they "cameras obscura" or "camerae obscurae"? Apparently it is a matter of some discussion amongst the more obsessive enthusiasts... And I was even able to tip the presenter off about a camera obscura he wasn't aware of, at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Katy's been keeping busy while I was out, and has provisionally booked us in at the recommended hotel for Kit and George's wedding in May - so I guess that means we're going, even if it will be a fair old haul up to Blackburn from Farnham. But never mind, it should be a lot of fun, and I'll know a fair few of the guests even if Katy might only have met the happy couple by then. It will help us get into the mood for our own events a month and a half later too, I'm quite sure - though how much helping we'll need, I'm not sure! - and it'll be nice to have a weekend away in a completely different setting in any case!

Time I was off to bed now though, so night night, folks!

A generally good day at work today, all told! Well, apart from Microsoft's documentation for Windows Media Player being hopelessly wrong in certain key areas, but that was only a small glitch in an otherwise really rather good day. Off to Open House at Jam and Simon's in a moment, for our monthly social; I believe a DVD is on the menu... Speaking of which, maybe I will take along the one I made today, to test it out on another player; better safe than sorry, eh?

Another good day today, and one that hopefully will be the last I spend doing that DVD/CD-ROM thing, because I think I finalised its content today. I'll need to cut a couple of discs for QA, but I'm pretty confident it will be as good as it can be. I managed to make the DVD be very clever, and detect if it was being used in a DVD-ROM drive but without anything like PowerDVD available to help play back the video, persuading it to fall back to using the MPEG1 data that "just happened" also to be on the disc. Learnt some more of the finer points of Javascript and the W3C Document Object Model in the process, which is a jolly useful thing at the moment, and speaking of such things I'll hopefully be polishing my CV in a short while. Anyway, I guess I had duly better get on, especially since I want a bath and not too late a night, and also intend to revisit my half of our guest list for June since the invitations are hopefully getting close to being ready to be written and mailed to our lucky individuals!

Now that I've almost certainly got this DVD and CD-ROM thing out of the way - well, QA have their copies for testing, so it could well be the last I see of the discs - I can quietly laugh about another aspect of the discs that in fact I only discovered today. The video content includes several minutes of footage of the University of Bath, its facilities and some sweeping vistas of the city itself. All very laudable in getting the students familiar with what to expect when they go there on their residential school this summer, no? Indeed it would be, except that the residential school is happening in Nottingham. Hey ho!

Anyway, this week's done with in a minute or so's time, so who cares? I don't!

Actually going to get an early night tonight, or at least do nothing more than relax in the bath for a little while, anyway! Been a bit of a hectic evening in the end for one reason and another that I won't go into, so that's exactly what I need... At least I've got all Gareth's website updates done, even if uploading them to the live site will have to wait until Monday when I'll be on a connection that's barely even going to blink at the prospect of transferring anything up to fifty megabytes. Anyway, it's time for Messrs Binns and Hardaker to go to bed for the moment, and for me to do likewise, once bathed...

Goodnight!

Ever had one of those days when you really feel you shouldn't be where you are, doing what you are doing, when you would really like to just hit "rewind" and try again, when you wish you hadn't said the things you did to the people you did, but in knowing that there's nothing you can do about it now, you fear for the neck of the next person who dares say anything that even remotely annoys?

Just me then.

Talked to Katy a couple of times this evening, went shopping and bought comfort food (and drink), ate (and drank) it, and consequently feel markedly better.

Going to get an early night now however, to try and make up for last night's marathon. More on that, perhaps, and the weekend now vanishing into history, when I'm a little bit more awake. Wouldn't count on it being tomorrow though!

Well I guess I can manage a vaguely brief recap now, can't I?

Katy and I had the second session - and the first of the slightly more formal ones - of our marriage preparation course on Saturday morning, but thankfully Geraldine and Michael weren't whizzing off on holiday this time so we could run it at a slightly more civilised hour than the one the other week! It went very well, with us discussing the biblical basis for marriage and the roles within marriage, but we were well ready for lunch by the end of it, giving the local Miller's Kitchen our custom as often seems to be the case! We managed a short stroll around at the Alice Holt forestry centre afterwards, but that was Katy pretty much finished for the day, so I don't remember us doing much more after that than go home, munch samosas, bhajis and pakoras, and play a couple of games of Scrabble - with reasonably even honours for the latter this time.

Sunday morning we went to the church meeting of course, which was tied in with the "40 days of purpose" scheme that Katy's congregation is currently committed to - and for which I am trying hard to keep up to date with the accompanying book! We were going to have lunch with a small group of people from the church, but somewhere along the line a load more people were invited, which made our trip to Pizza Piazza quite fun but a little busier than some of us would have liked. Time was getting on by the time we were out of there, and the weather was looking decidedly threatening, so we agreed I wouldn't hit the road home too late. The journey did indeed turn out to be slow, but mainly due to the M1's unique breed of rubberneckers, as well as the customary roadworks on the M25.

So altogether perhaps a little less hectic than the weekend before, which I am sure Katy appreciated given her current state of health. But any hope of being full of energy myself for the week ahead proved to be a little bit premature.

Monday at work was OK, managing to concentrate on the thermal conductivity oven software once again, now that the preparatory DVD and CD-ROM are out of the way - barring QA disasters - but the evening was not so great. I had agreed with Sarah that I would proof read her latest assignment - well, in fact I was meant to have done it a week previously, but there was no assignment to proof read then! - but when I arrived it was pretty clear there was still some way to go before it would be ready for me. Rachael was already at a youth club, so I agreed I would take Laura out for some tea and give Sarah some peace and quiet to finish off. But after all that we were still going way into the small hours of the morning and I eventually had to concede defeat and go home. But Sarah phoned yesterday evening to say she'd handed it in and her tutor seemed happy enough with it, so perhaps it was worth the effort and my diminished sanity.

Of course, despite being utterly shattered by the time I got home, my mind was still buzzing, so I didn't get a particularly good night's sleep and I spent much of yesterday in a foul mood as you know - though that was at least partly due to some work that got dumped on me, but I was already on a hair trigger. That work was making yet another CD-ROM for a particularly obnoxious academic, containing yet more random junk downloaded off the web. I simply cannot see why it is that these academics can write software and spreadsheets and so on - even if they ask us to tidy up their messes - but can't even download a few files on to a CD. It's not as if I'm short of proper programming work right now either. But only just over four weeks to go and it'll all be history.

At least today's been all right. No-one's head's been bitten off yet anyway!

Today's fine but quiet, waiting on academics to get back to me regarding the work I am doing. The oven software could well be essentially complete now, but there are a few question-marks over subtleties of its behaviour, that I would if possible like to resolve before formally handing it over. A spreadsheet I am also working on for part of the same residential school I have now asked the relevant academic three times for clarification on certain issues, with nothing forthcoming - and he's one of the better ones, it has to be said... At least I finally seem to be pretty much wide awake, having had not too late a night last night despite watching two - well, one and a half, really - DVDs. The DVDs in question were the first few episodes of Haibane Renmei, and Donnie Darko; I have to say that despite Sam billing the former as pretty weird, the latter won out in the weirdness stakes and I am really not quite sure what to make of it!

No wonder it's suddenly come over so cold, despite my convector heater being on full blast - winter's returned outside. I'm expecting utter chaos tomorrow, of course... Thank goodness it came no sooner though, because I've been out this evening at our monthly "In Touch" meeting, this time very much focusing on the forthcoming UK cinema release of The Passion of the Christ, and nice as the Rev Kev's church may be, I'm happy not to have been stranded there for the night!

It's Saturday morning - actually, I lie, it's the afternoon now, though I've not yet had lunch - and I am mightily glad it's now the weekend and that so far I have almost precisely nothing concrete planned. Yesterday at work was OK, but I was still glad to see the back of a frustrating and annoying week, and I spent the evening in a therapeutic combination of talking with Katy, tidying the flat, watching Donnie Darko again, and having a nice long read in the bath.

So it's now four weeks until Easter weekend, which is of course when I finish at the Open University, a week before I make my final trek south. Well, final "routine trek" that is, because we have no plans to cut ourselves off from our friends up here, and can consequently foresee travelling those familiar miles of motorway reasonably frequently. But it will at the same time be a chance to start a new and exciting life, so I must leave things behind to some extent.

Today I have made and eaten a loaf of rice bread, talked with Katy, analysed my bank statements from the last year in considerable detail, watched my shiny new Finding Nemo DVD, eaten pizza and - strangely enough - added to this diary a couple of times. With regard to the latter, you'd better get used to a reduced frequency of postings here, or at least a rather different style. I had a good chat about it with Katy the other day and we've agreed that things round here should probably change somewhat, since it really becomes our - rather than just my - diary. But at the same time we realise there are many people around the world who make good use of this, so have no plans to get rid of it! Phew!

Sunday's been OK I guess, but not a great deal to write home about. Church in the morning was fine enough, but lunch at the nearby pub afterwards was only really saved by the unexpected arrival of Richard, Shona and entourage; if they hadn't come along I'm not sure if I'd have bothered staying. After giving Katy a phone call I went on to Sarah's to try and help her make sense of her new housing and council tax benefit assessment, and I think only managed really to confirm that they had probably made a mistake and she needed to go and talk to them to find out exactly what the deal is supposed to be. The girls were both pretty dreadful, as I had been warned they were being, although practicalities meant they got a couple of hours' reprieve on their consequent early bedtime, but all was quiet by eight and to be honest Sarah and I were both right ready to call it a day anyway. So just winding down now, having phoned Katy again and had a good chat with my mum before she goes to visit my sister tomorrow for a couple of days, and I think in a moment I shall enjoy my second bath of the day - ah, such luxuries! - and try and get a faintly early night myself...

A largely forgettable start to this week at work, so I think I shall try to oblige and duly forget it. Hopefully just tomorrow to go, having provisionally booked Friday off - not that it was ever confirmed, nor that I have a clue where in the stupid system my leave card currently is. Would be nice to get at least a little bit of work done, though I seem to have hit a bit of hiatus in all the projects I am currently undertaking, and unlike in the good old days I no longer have a manager who can remotely help. Perhaps the realisation that in three weeks tomorrow I will have gone might put a rocket up some backsides.

So, my working week is over. Or so I have decided, anyway! Lara never did confirm my leave booking for tomorrow, and there is a quite important meeting in the morning, but the more they argue the more I am likely to kick up a fuss myself, and I kindly provided them with a potted summary of what I would have said at the meeting. This evening I was supposed to have been helping Sarah with her assignment, but she's not feeling well so we've postponed that for a few days. The idea was that it wouldn't be a late-night rush job, but it probably will be whenever we get the chance now, although Sarah will hopefully get a sick note and be able to secure an extension from her tutor. But I've been using my time productively and have now finished the "production version" of my CV and have rattled off a few paper and CD-R copies. I was going to do that tomorrow morning, but instead I can now enjoy a nice lie-in! Hopefully we'll get a chance to call in on a few appropriate agencies this weekend, and really get this show on the road. It's hard to believe, after seven and a half years here, that in three weeks I'll be finishing work and in four I'll be gone altogether; I must admit my excitement is tempered with a little apprehension!

Home again after my weekend away - and only two more such weekends away planned before I won't be making the round trip any more. Or not very often, anyway! The journey down was foul, and I surpassed my own record for the journey time, thanks to uselessly vague traffic reports not making it at all clear that I was likely to be spending two hours just getting from Junction 13 to Junction 12. I left the motorway at that point and cut cross-country, but took another two and a half hours after that, since too many great minds thought alike. So that put paid to our plans to go visiting agencies on Friday afternoon, and we found that not even the "high street" ones were open on Saturday, which was a bit useless, but hopefully I'll get in touch with a couple of hopefuls this week.

Quite aside from her ongoing illness, Katy wasn't feeling too brilliant when I arrived, and declined as the weekend went on, but we enjoyed a good Chinese takeaway with Simon, Becki and Malachi last night and a splendid Mothering Sunday roast with Katy's mum, dad and grandmother today at the local golf club.

Although I wouldn't have wished it upon her, perhaps Katy's ill health helped us in one way, providing one of our first opportunities just to be together and do stuff in each other's company, without feeling we had to make the most of every minute. So we attempted the Times crosswords, ate pasta bolognaise at home rather than going out to eat - though we went out to eat a few times too, I hasten to add! - and just generally got a feel for life together rather than rushed weekends. I have to say it didn't always feel natural, but that's just a decade of independence and my own personal space for me; I know that we are doing the right thing, and as Katy said, we're going to make a great team!

Somehow, I stuffed myself last night - the Chinese was so yummy, it would have been criminal to have let the others' relative lack of appetite mean much went to waste - and I hardly held back at lunch today, having cheese and biscuits as well as raspberry pavlova thanks to Katy's turning down her dessert, and yet I am still under twelve and a half stones tonight. Yay me and getting slimmer!

It's Tuesday morning and very nearly time to go to lunch. Had a bit of a scare earlier when a strange problem I thought I'd fixed on the DVD I've been making recurred, but it turned out I hadn't actually fixed it at all - or at least not on my development disc image, only on the test machine that I was sorting out some Windows 98 problems on. Anyway, that's hopefully sorted now, and I can at least vaguely kiss goodbye to that phase of the project. Yesterday I agreed I would prioritise the remainder of my time here on the fetch-execute animation and the simulated processor, since the academic concerned is seriously worried that no-one else will be able to pick up the reins when I've gone. But now of course the deathly silence from the academics for the second part of the course I was making the DVD for has been broken, so goodness knows what I'll get done now, but I am inclined still to focus on the slightly more interesting stuff.

I spoke with Katy briefly early yesterday evening but it was a bit of a one-way conversation, thanks to her negligible voice and extreme tiredness through lack of sleep. It's just one thing after another with Katy's health at the moment, so it's just as well we're not so superficial and fickle to allow such times to get between us, as I have experienced and seen happen so many times before. I was out last night anyway, helping Sarah polish yet another college assignment, but for once it really was pretty much ready to check over, and there wasn't a great deal needing doing anyway. I'd taken Laura out for tea at Dexter's Grill, as I had done last time, which gave Sarah an hour and a half of quiet to get done what she needed, so we were done by soon after ten. Just a pain that I got to the Tesco checkout just a couple of minutes too late to buy any beer, but never mind, I am sure I can cope with a teetotal week - though I need to go shopping again anyway to get a few bits in for Open House on Wednesday night...

Katy may still have been decidedly croaky, but we managed to sustain a much better telephone conversation this evening, thankfully, and I've also turfed out another bin-bag of junk, caught up with my mum properly, and sent my CV to a couple of recommended recruitment specialists. Oh, and Sarah phoned earlier to happily tell me that she had managed to get a merit grade on the assignment I burned the midnight oil helping her polish a couple of weeks ago, which is rather good I'd say! Work turned out to be OK, though I still seemed to be dipping into lots of things rather than being able to concentrate on any one project, and as I've probably said before I'm lousy at multi-tasking! Trouble is, now the realisation that I soon will no longer be there is finally dawning on people, they all want a bite at the last slice, even more than they did when there was plenty of pie left. Despite repeated reeducation attempts, the academics still labour under the delusion that they each have my undivided service, but I'm afraid there are now only a few crumbs left for each of them!

Not the most productive day, as the clock's relentless ticking becomes ever more noticeable. I might have got a bit more done had it not been for the joys of mastering DVDs with dodgy DLT cartridges. For some nonsense reason, DVD pressing plants only accept submissions on tape, not on DVD-R - rather like the early days of CDs, but worse, since decent capacity tape systems aren't cheap - so the final stage here is to make a DLT image of the proposed disc. Except that of course I just happened to find myself using the first DLT cartridge in about a hundred we've got through that was dud and refused to read in order to verify. So it would take the best part of an hour to fail to write, a process I tried a couple of times before we decided it was worth trying another tape. But anyway, it's all done now - as far as I can tell! - and handed over to go off to the pressing plant, and I managed to use the intervening time vaguely usefully with stuff towards the fetch-execute sequence animation in particular.

Still, only an hour or so until I can go home, though I'll have to go out again almost straight away to get whatever food things I'm taking to Open House.

Thursday morning, and almost the end of the week, which will leave about one more week to work on actual project stuff rather than housekeeping and handing over. Open House last night was quite good, although we probably tried to pack a bit too much into the two hours - though thankfully we had time to eat, so my contribution of mini-rolls, corn chips and healthy dips was mostly consumed!

And again, a deathly unconcerned hush descends from the idiot academics...

Had a phone call this morning from one of the agencies I contacted the other day, though, asking me to pay them a visit next time I'm in the area. Maybe I really can have another job before too long! Well, it'd be nice - if only so that when the above-mentioned fools try to drag me out of my "retirement" to do "one last job" here, in true Hollywood movie style, I can just laugh and tell them to get lost. Not that that would make for an exciting film, admittedly.

Spent the evening tidying and sorting out a few more bits and bobs here. The latter because every opportunity is valuable, but the former because tomorrow afternoon my letting agents are showing their first prospective new tenant(s) around, and if I am to avoid too many invasions of my privacy I'd better make a reasonably good impression! Oh, and I spent about an hour on the phone too, though sadly not to my elusive sister, who I shall try again to phone tomorrow.

The stony silence mentioned in my last entry did come to an end, and of course it was to report more problems. My spreadsheet has suddenly stopped working, and it's not a part of it that I have changed that's causing the problem. In fact my number-one suspect is the university's desktop management system, which controls updates on applications and so on, since the spreadsheet works fine on my machine and on Sam's machine, neither of which use the said abomination, but fails on all those which I believe do. All good fun, with a fortnight to go.

Oh, and earlier in the day, the gits asked me to do a few screen dumps of the spreadsheet for them to put in the student handbook. This I grudgingly did - funnily enough I have better things to do - but then the course team chair, or whatever stupid title he has now, found me while I was investigating the above bug, to say that the wording on the screens was wrong, so I would not only have to change it but redo the screen dumps. Hey-ho, double the waste of my time.

I will be so glad to get out, even if I don't rename myself Fluffy Bunny Feet.

Quite a good day here I suppose. I've solved the problem with the spreadsheet, although no thanks to our IT support department whose desktop management system I increasingly suspect was somehow to blame even if inexplicably. It turned out that on the machines on which the spreadsheet failed, it was bizarrely looking for a RealPlayer ActiveX component. Needless to say, my spreadsheet did not contain any RealPlayer content, nor am I that evil anyway, and indeed on "normal" unadulterated machines no reference is made to the component. So goodness only knows what was going on there, and IT support seemed singularly disinterested, but thankfully loading the spreadsheet on a problem machine and unticking the spurious requirement for RealPlayer before re-saving it, seemed to sort it once and for all. Thoroughly reinforced my hatred for all things spreadsheety; I'd almost forgotten that dark chapter from a year or so ago...

Thankfully this afternoon I have finally been able to concentrate on the simulated processor software, as I'd "promised" to Mirabelle at the beginning of the week. How long I will be able to focus on this is anyone's guess, but I'm making the most of it while I can. I think there are only a couple more things on my list of requested changes, though at least one of those promises to be a tad fiddly, adding some intelligence to the system as to whether it will prompt the user to save their work when opening a new file or quitting. In a Word document or something it's very clear cut whether things have changed or not, but it's a lot more subtle in this case. I'm sure I can do it easily enough though, just I'm sure I will miss some vital register or other!

Otherwise, well it's now half an hour til home-time, and then it's the weekend! Not that I'm seeing Katy this time, and have nothing specific planned yet, but a weekend without Katy is second only to a weekend with her, so things could be a whole lot worse! And then it will be my last whole week of work proper, with a final four days to wrap up miscellaneous loose ends and say my farewells.

This evening - between Katy, Sarah and my sister Ali - has mainly been spent on the phone. Oh, and doing a bit of web work for Gareth while I had the chance!

Time to head for bed now though, and I'm looking forward to having absolutely nothing planned for tomorrow - and precious little for Sunday - at this point!

Oh and I also mowed the lawn yesterday evening - not that it desperately needed doing, but as you know, the letting agents are starting to show prospective new tenants around, and if I'd like to keep visits to a minimum I'd better impress them! As it happens, I'm not at convinced anyone visited yesterday afternoon after all, but it was still worth Thursday's sort-out and tidy, and with some effort I should now be able to keep things in order for these last three weeks.

Today I got up in a somewhat leisurely fashion, and after chatting for a while with Katy I took a stroll down to Caldecotte Lake for perhaps the last time. Good to get some fresh air, and it only drizzled for the last few minutes... But now it's almost tea-time, and I have decided that having had some exercise I can now justify pasta with pesto, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.

The cute bunny was sat on its haunches, nose up as if to twitch at me, and its front paws as if begging me for a small morsel. Sadly though, it was too late for this particular rabbit since it was under three feet of water. I wondered if a dog or fox had chased it into the lake, or if it had unsuccessfully gone for a swim. Either way, the poor thing had almost certainly drowned, and was in a state of suspended animation on the bottom of Caldecotte Lake, as I would imagine it will remain until someone more dedicated than me fishes it out. Kind of surreal to see though. I just hope it didn't have to suffer too much.

Mmm, that's nice. I go to the Sky News website and am assaulted by Google ads for sites peddling replica Israeli Defence Force garb, "Uzi does it" t-shirts (in kids' sizes up, of course) etc. Very nice. I'm sure it's just because Google happened to scan the site when there was an Israel-related headline, but it really doesn't reflect very favourably on either organisation, does it?

This evening, Sky News seem to have removed the offending Google ads. Perhaps Rupert Murdoch does have some vague semblance of a conscience after all.

This evening I was meant to have been proof-reading Sarah's latest assignment, but she phoned a little while ago to say she'd hit a mental block and wasn't going to be emailing me anything across. At least that means I can go and have a bath and go to bed now and not feel I'm letting her down at all... We had a fairly good day yesterday, anyway, probably the last such opportunity before I make my southward move, going to Pizza Hut for lunch and a walk at Willen Lake.

Katy's finally been to see the neurologist, and for once feels that the visit was productive, unlike so many previous trips to consultants who could find nothing wrong in their own "departments". She won't be seeing him again for about six weeks yet - taking us up to mid-May I guess - but there are blood tests and scans to be done in the meantime, which I am sure will justify the apparent delay. And I'll be down there by then anyway, which will be nice!

But today, the "Uzi does it" children's t-shirts are back on Sky's menu, and their web feedback form is of course bouncing emails.

Hopefully today I have knocked the simulated processor software on the head, or least sufficiently so that any poor soul who has to pick up the pieces after I've gone won't have too hard a time. However, Mirabelle has just emailed to say that the software appears not to be saving files, but I strongly suspect that she misunderstands how such things are supposed to work - i.e. that "save" is a visibly "silent" operation, compared with "save as". Mind you, this is a part of the software that I have somewhat overhauled in the last few days, so I am taking any bug reports seriously - just this bug is one I cannot reproduce. Oh, stop press, Mirabelle's just replied saying, "Ouch! How stupid can you get? Yes of course it's OK. Sorry!" That is a bit of a relief, let me say.

So, if that is the end of my involvement in software design for that course - and I remain reasonably confident that it is - then that means I'm a day or so ahead of schedule for spending my last week doing general tidying up, handing over and archiving stuff. I can't say I'm exactly relishing the prospect of these last few days - which will undoubtedly be punctuated by me having to tell various academics to go away - doing such tedious housekeeping things, but I'll have the added incentive of making a DVD for myself of all the software I've produced. It will be part portfolio and part source-code reference; almost all that I have learned here has been through "sucking and seeing" - mainly the former, it has to be said - and I really do need a proper record of it all!

Anyway, tonight's Open House at Jam and Simon's, and probably the last one I'll make it along to, since next week they're hoping to go and see The Passion of the Christ - Katy and I would rather watch it together sometime - and the week after that, I really have no idea whether I'll be here, in Farnham, or stuck somewhere on the motorway in between... It'll be strange not to be likely to see that bunch of folks again, at least in that setting - it has certainly ranked as one of the best midweek groups I have been a member of over the years - but it is time to move on, in case I hadn't made that clear enough. Simon's agreed to be my best man in June, anyway, which is cool, reflecting his, Jam's and the rest of the group's importance to me over the last couple of years.

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