Katy grumbled a teeny tiny bit last night that I'd not been keeping this diary up to date, so I guess I'd better put that to rights!
We put the Christmas tree up yesterday afternoon, its second year with the new white LED lights, and it looks as lovely as ever. Just a nice simple four-foot artificial green tree (and yes, it does actually have four feet, now you ask) with small red and gold baubles, the aforementioned lights and of course the angel Angela on top. Means that the run-up to Christmas really can start now, especially since we've got our first batch of cards off too.
Also meant that getting up at 6.45 this morning wasn't too gloomy an affair, especially once I'd surreptitiously adjusted the time-switch from 7 o'clock. Why so early? Katy's first day back at work today - and what a cold and frosty morning she "chose". I hadn't said much about it here (in fairness I haven't said much about anything here!) but Katy's role was made redundant at the end of July, and she had been out of work for the last four months or so. Really not our finest hours, one way or another, but by now Katy should be rendezvousing with her new boss before digging into the inevitable reams of induction material.
My "exciting news" of the last week is that my business has a new web-server. Over recent weeks I and a couple of my clients had noticed a bit of a slow-down on some of the sites I manage on a "shared" server, and the straw that broke the camel's back seemed to be a photo/video upload site that went live just over a week ago. As it happened, perhaps not the most business-critical site I've ever created, but one where the high number of people experiencing problems (not just slowness, but random errors) was nonetheless downright humiliating. I did a bit of digging around, and also consulted my provider's technical support, eventually coming to the conclusion that the server must simply be overloaded with other unconnected customers' accounts. So I am now mid-stream in moving all the dozens of sites I run on to a new dedicated server for use by my direct clients and me alone, and those that have been moved seem to be running very smoothly indeed. A few hitches along the way in terms of configuration details, but I think I now know all the pitfalls, and transferring the remaining sites shouldn't cause any significant problems.
The photos website was a tie-in with a wedding we went to last weekend in Milton Keynes, that of one of my big clients. We had already decided to make a weekend of it, and earlier in the year had secured an excellent deal at the wedding reception hotel for a two-night stay. So we drove up on Friday and kicked off the weekend with a bit of Christmas shopping in Central Milton Keynes, not quite as much as we'd hoped, but still enough to make a dent! We had our inclusive hotel dinner on Friday evening, with the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes East staff doing a sterling job of looking after us despite it being the start of their craziest weekend of the year with parties and so on. We dined in the reception area, which was actually quite fun watching people arrive for the other events, and were never once neglected. After dinner we met for a drink or two with Gareth and few of the guests arriving in advance, then called it a night.
The Saturday was of course the big day, but we could enjoy a leisurely start with our delivered newspaper and typical Holiday Inn breakfast buffet. The service itself was lovely, striking just the right balance, and Lauren stunning of course, arriving to the dulcet tones of none other than David Grant - yes, he of Fame Academy etc. Photos immediately after were a brief affair, with the cold and dark closing in, and we were happy to return to the hotel for the wedding breakfast and reception. Our invitation to the breakfast was a late one, but gladly appreciated, and we were at a table where I at least knew a few of the people. The schedule had slipped by a couple of hours by then due to the weather, so the hot meal was appreciated all the more, entertained along the way by table magicians Daniel Alexander and friend. The evening reception started very late in the end, another reason to have been very grateful for our invitation upgrade, and to be honest we didn't last too much longer, but it was a great and lovely day and evening. Thank you Lauren and Gareth, and may you have many happy years together! Oh, the photos? At http://www.laurenandgareth.co.uk of course!
Sunday we'd decided that rather than head straight home, we would pop in on one of the churches where we might find a few friends, deciding on New Life in Wolverton. That consequently developed into a lunch invitation with Trevor and family, with the invitation evidently thrown open a little wider in end, which was lovely because we got to catch up properly with our friends Chris and Claire too. Needless to say by the time the world had been put to rights (or at least its wrongs identified) it was getting gloomy again, and we hit the road home. Although a little slow in places, thankfully the drive both ways was hugely better than that when we went up a few weeks previously and crawled almost the whole way in both directions. Glad to get home though, even if the week to come was to prove challenging!