2010 — 8 January: Friday

Junior rang from the train on his way home after work earlier. He seems to be enjoying his latest new job. Good! Meanwhile, ol' stuck-at-home retired widower Dad just potters along day by day. I must say, the novelty of being in a state of house arrest, hemmed in by icy roads, is now rapidly wearing off. I stuck my head outside a few times, mostly to keep a jaundiced eye on the thermometer in the front porch, or sneak further rubbish into the "grey" bin parked on the other side of the back gate (even though it was soon apparent that the wheelie bin chaps had no intention of showing up).

If I didn't have a warm house full of books, magazines, music, videos, PCs,1 and food/drink I might have to resort to the Interweb malarkey. No, wait, I did that already. I've been catching up on numerous iPlayer items I've paid for via my BBC licence fee.

And here it is, again: midnight. Yawn. G'night. At 01:05...


... some hours later, at 08:03, the great freeze continues, the world news remains gloomy, and the nasal congestion slowly clears, much helped by a nice hot cuppa. And now (08:55) the sun has appeared peeping over the top of a thick bank of low clouds, just in time for the second cuppa. It's a mere -4C outside. Amazing to think that on this day in 1972 I was Big Bro's best man at his wedding to Lis in High Wycombe. Why, I didn't even sport a beard back then! Happy 38th anniversary.


It's good to see my chum Brian is keeping up the tradition of the 2km lunchtime walk around the grounds of IBM Hursley, taking his GPS data logger with him lest he gets lost. If you open this file of his Tuesday amble in Google Earth you can track his route. He took a couple of photos on his walk, too. All without using Microsoft's wares, too.

Drips are good

There are a few drops of water dripping from bits of snow up in my trees. I choose to regard this as a good sign. I'm an incurable optimist today. It's 11:47 and very quiet hereabouts. However, the road is still horribly icy. [Pause] Is it time for lunch yet, Mrs Landingham? Well, it's 13:19, so I reckon it is... Be sure to put the Bach on downstairs.

Close to the Edge... dept.

Not just a reference to an excellent track by the band "Yes" (remember the fabulous cover artwork by Roger Dean?). How's this for a fancy font?


And not that the weather is getting me down. No, not at all. No way. I simply love being trapped here near the foot of an icy hill. Love it.

Anyway, I spotted a new (beta) release of the firmware for my DVDO Edge video scaler. This is slightly trickier than updating the Oppo Blu-ray player for the simple reason that I need to link the scaler to my PC temporarily (the Edge lacks the capability of uploading firmware from a handy USB stick even though the process uses its USB port). But (of course; wake up, David!) there's an iMac sitting on a shelf within (literally) a foot of the scaler. So instead of downloading the Windows variant I can download the firmware and its OS X loader application locally without having to move the scaler from the stack. Mind you, I still have to unfold a hi-tech paper clip and use it to press the "reset" button that's recessed somewhere on the back for about five seconds while watching the front display.

Ergonomic design? Usability? Don't make me laugh!

I've been looking for this film for (literally) years, since seeing it on 405-line TV in (I assume) the early 1960s. Now they're casually talking about it on the Film Programme. It's not available except as a BFI viewing copy, dammit. Come on, "Optimum Releasing". Release it. I'd buy it like a shot.

I'm 93, you know

Dear mama actually rang me a couple of hours ago. She couldn't say why, but my number was written on a large piece of paper, so she dialled it. She had overlooked the fact of her birthday (yesterday), claimed never to hear from anyone, wants me to write a letter to her, sounded uncertain as to the day of the week, could hear the "cold" in my voice. I just let her talk, since that was clearly what she wanted to do, until she decided it was time to "ring off".

I don't know what to make of her call. I was sent a copy of her recent "assessment" by Social Services — it makes the most fleeting reference to occasional short term memory loss. She's not on any medication, which is actually pretty remarkable. She's declined the opportunity of having personal care. Declined a pendant alarm. "Is able to articulate her needs appropriately". Seems to have forgotten the fact that she still has both a sister and a sister-in-law. Let alone another son, until I reminded her.

What on earth do we do with our confused elderly for the best? Increasing physical and mental decrepitude is, in my opinion, unintelligent design at its most grotesque. Better to go while fully compos mentis once the body has caved in. While I still recall Christa's awful pain, and the grim necessity of her heavy sedation, she remained essentially "Christa" until just 36 hours or so before her death. By contrast, dear mama has been "away with the fairies" to varying degrees for about the last five or six years. And is only vaguely aware of this.

Enough! It's 19:52 and there are dishes to do, tea to be drunk, and Nurse Jackie to be caught up with. Not that it's exactly a barrel of laughs, but it's well-made.



1  Big Bro has subtly reminded me there are a few postage stamps knocking around hereabouts, too. :-)