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David's diary: February 2009

The party was quite fun, and I didn't have to make as much use of Mr Tweed's anti-Abba bolt-hole as I had feared - and indeed I even succumbed to participating in the karaoke, albeit just the once! Thankfully there were only a few flakes of snow last night, compared with the quite hearty amounts currently falling. Thankfully also, the meeting I presume is still on for tomorrow I had already arranged to be in the afternoon rather than in the morning, so hopefully the roads up to North Camp won't be quite so treacherous by then!

Nine inches! And no meeting this afternoon after all, needless to say.

And Facebook has now keeled over due to almost their entire UK user-base being stuck at home with nothing to do but update their status to reflect the weather and/or be smug about it.

No snow overnight, but quite a fall this morning, justifying the Surrey schools being closed for another day, though it's starting to thaw a little now. This afternoon we wandered up to see Katy's parents, still pretty much snowed in on their quiet lane, timing it just right as a coffee and walnut cake came out of the oven. Hungry again now, so must be about time to start cooking our sausages and chips we've promised ourselves!

I'm getting a little weary of people going on about how a little snow brings this nation to its knees. It's true enough as a generalisation, but what we've had the last couple of days is more than a little, in fact supposedly the most in 18 years - and indeed Katy's parents reckon they've not seen anything like it since their university days. Then there are those who say "the council could have gritted the roads", like a bit of grit will do much to stop a foot of snow falling in the space of hours! And finally all those parents whining about the schools being closed. In my opinion that's just another symptom of the malaise reported on by the Children's Society just the other day; surely a day or two's missed education isn't the end of the world, or is it more that you have to take a day off work because of it? Not that anyone much has been going into work in the affected areas anyway... These are exceptional times; just be pragmatic and enjoy it if you possibly can, because it's not often we have such a justifiable standstill!

Rather tired of the snow now though, and there's lots more forecast for the next 24 hours... We're supposed to be having a few friends round tomorrow evening, but that would have to be a bit touch and go now. Today I've been busy trying to get a brochure together for a friend's company. Graphic design isn't my forte, but I agreed I would give it a go, and I'm fairly happy with what I've done so far. Quite a long way to go though, and the text I was given was more of an outline rather than final copy, so I'm having to be creative in that regard too. Anyway, it's good to be doing something a bit different, and it's all hours that can go on the invoice so I'm far from complaining - and with those hours coming in far cheaper than an experienced designer would charge, hopefully that will mean everyone can be happy!

There wasn't any more snow overnight, but it made up for that in the last hour, as we drove home from what should have been a pretty routine shopping trip to Aldershot. Near blizzard conditions and very slippy-slidy on the hills, so not much fun at all, and it took us almost an hour rather than the usual ten minutes or so. No more snow back at home by the looks of it though, so we might still get some visitors this evening, but we really wouldn't blame anyone for staying in if they can help it because it's likely to be pretty icy out later.

Unsurprisingly, Friday evening was a quiet one in the end, and that was probably a blessing in disguise because we had a fairly busy rest of the weekend. Breakfast chez Si and Bex Saturday morning, and back to theirs for a marathon babysitting stint in the evening - though relieved by Cate for the last hour, since she was at a bit of a loose end. Sunday we made it to church in the morning, then went for a coffee and a walk in the park with Mel and with Chris, including fulfilling my ambition of the last few days of making a snow penguin. Sadly my phone decided that would be a really good time to conk out so I got no photos, though both Mel and Chris took a few I think, so that deficiency may yet be rectified. As for the phone, thanks to bit of tender loving care and gentle warmth, it seems to be better again, though I may have to face the reality that it's not going to live forever.

Today I've been up to North Camp for a follow-up meeting with one of my new clients. I was supposed to have gone a week ago, but that really wasn't going to happen for obvious reasons. Anyway, quite a constructive time this morning, even if I have had to throw out most of the design ideas I'd been experimenting with, as the site's taking quite a different visual direction now. A little frustrating, but all part of the process...

Oh I suppose I should write something here - just been a bit busy lately so no time for idle blogging! The redesign for the aforementioned client went OK, so just waiting to hear back from them on whether they like it, and I'm considering applying aspects of it to my own business site. In matters other than work, it's been a fairly hectic last few days, what with home group Wednesday, supper with Guy and Esther on Thursday, properly meeting our new neighbours over a little more white wine than we'd bargained for on Friday, hosting Meryl's birthday party yesterday evening and doing church set-up and hospitality this morning. All went very well (and I quickly recovered from the wine) but we're both justifiably shattered and glad we've got nothing else to do today but scoff karahi lamb and finish off a bottle of red from last night!

Karahi lamb was utterly delicious! Reasonably busy today, but managed to take a couple of hours out this afternoon to go belated birthday present shopping for our nephew Daniel. As I'd discovered when trying to buy something for our small friend Mali the other week, boys in general seem to be remarkably poorly provided for gift-ideas wise. Oodles of girlie craft kits and so on, but if you're a boy, there's naff all, especially of any kind of creative nature. Still, we got there in the end, but thank heavens for mobile phones - no, we didn't buy him a phone, but were able to consult with his mum as to what on our (very short) short-list might be best!

But despite all that telephoning, we still managed to buy Daniel something he had already! They're supposedly calling in again sometime today to drop the Lego kit off so we can swap it for something else. We've been up to see my parents this weekend and are having a quiet Sunday - though will hopefully venture out later for our evening meeting at Café Rouge. We all enjoyed a fair little walk out on Watlington Hill yesterday afternoon, though preceded by an unusually lacklustre pub lunch at an establishment I shall not name, whose eventual service sadly did not in any way reflect the warmth of the welcome we initially received. We also made a bit more progress with planning for my parents' forthcoming golden wedding anniversary weekend, and today have booked a couple of rather nice looking hotel rooms for a knock-down price. Only a little bit of computer maintenance to be done once again (upgrading them to Windows XP a couple of years back has had huge benefits) though we now need to source an additional internal hard disk for them since 30GB's getting a bit tight - even with a nice big USB external one at their disposal, that really being for backing-up purposes.

Talking of storage, we've just received a couple of 2GB Secure Digital memory cards in the post, since both the Wii and our hi-fi can make use of them - the former for viewing photos and the latter for playing mp3 files and recording DAB radio. Initial experiments seem to suggest the Wii's functionality is more polished, whereas the hi-fi's implementation of SD really is rather half-baked. No long filename support, and no playlist support - even though the comparable functionality when using mp3 CDs copes with both just fine! We want to basically have several hours of music on shuffle play, and the only way it seems we can do that is to chuck all the mp3 files into one folder - which although not a problem, really isn't at all elegant.

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