2010 — 25 January: Monday

Yet another reason for missing Christa: last time I had a dripping radiator I could take it in turns with her to stagger over to it through the night and empty the drip tray before it overflowed. This time, even though I've followed my plumber's instructions1 to the letter, it's still dripping, it's already 01:18, and I'm on my own, chum. <Sigh, yawn>

I've actually switched the heating off for the night, in hopes that the pressure in the pipes will diminish if the pump is off. Look on the bright side, David. If the whole shooting match freezes up, at least it will stop dripping. (Last time I checked, it was just on 0C out there.)

I shall just park the biggest container I can find under the drip and call it a night, methinks...

Suffer the little children, indeed

This article explains as well as anything I've yet read exactly how the Catholic church continues to "get away" with overlooking the fiddling proclivities of its paedophilic priests. Now, exactly which idiotic, blinkered, nasty little bishop (or whatever) is — I wonder — going to dare to call Laurie Taylor a deluded liar? Source and snippet:

Our deeply ingrained religious beliefs made it almost impossible to believe that priests could be anything other than holy men. Somehow we must be the sinners. And, of course, the priests knew how to play upon this belief.

Laurie Taylor in New Humanist

The piece chimes nicely with this "Jesus and Mo" cartoon. Jesus wept, indeed. Having mentioned that Holmes and Rahe stress scale yesterday, it occurs to me that neither dripping rads nor fiddling priests occur on it, though there's an item about "Change in church activities" (19 points) and one about "Change in living conditions" (25).

It's 09:46, the blasted item drips on, and it's way past time for the cup that cheers. Could it be Monday by any chance? Still, at least it's not raining. [Pause] Plumber Brian has just called and should be here within minutes. If he can just completely isolate the dripping offender I shall be able to get some uninterrupted sleep tonight — with luck.

The problem with...

... radiators today, it seems, is that they are made from thin gauge metal to improve the thermal conductivity, and increase the speed at which the toxic corrosive treacle sludge that passes for water in my heating system eats through them. The comparative toddler that was fitted in April 2007 is now resting beside the side of the house, waiting for me to take it to the tip. Its two supply pipes have been capped. All is now relatively dry — let the clear-up continue.

It's 11:07 and I need a vacation! Mind you, had I been on one I don't like to think what state the house could have been in. As Roger remarked in an email, As Noah said:

".. as he settled down to dine,
we don't care where the water goes
if it doesn't get in the wine."

What's next, Mrs Landingham? Breakfast? Right.

I could use the Tardis

Given the truly massive upheaval2 I now face on the short-term horizon I'm glad that Mr Postie has delivered the first DVD set of 2010. I need the cheering up:


Perhaps it's time to adopt Geoff's approach: calculate my likely lifetime and the number of books needed to fill it. Of the books I'd bought prior to moving here in mid-1981, some 1,390 or so are still around. Since then I've acquired a further 7,650 or so despite regular culling. The music and videos pose, by comparison, a trivial storage problem. Though I still remember the hassle involved in shifting well over a thousand 12" vinyl albums down here from Old Windsor.3 (The vinyl had all but gone by 1984.)

What goes around...

... comes around. In the wake of the (second) great waterbed disaster (October 2002), Christa and I equipped ourselves with a more conventional bed, and a fan heater to help dry things out. I've just fetched this down from the loft and left it gently warming Junior's moist carpet.

Pity I can't use it for heating the lunch that is now needed to fill the rumbling tum. It's 14:31 and grey, cold, but dry out there. Could be worse, as they say. KBO.

I can empathise with this. Source and snippet:

The above examples help explain why to the biologist, a Russian doll is such a satisfying plaything, especially if it has a historical dimension. I own a doll of Russian President Vladimir Putin, within whom we discover Yeltsin, Gorbachev, Brezhnev, Kruschev, Stalin, and Lenin, in that order. Finding a little Lenin and Stalin within Putin will hardly surprise most political analysts. The same is true for biological traits: The old always remains present in the new.

Frans de Waal in Greater Good

Which for some (recursive?) reason reminds me of the little verse here by Lewis Fry Richardson.

I thought I'd cheer dear Mama up by telling her all about my woes, but she's not picking up the phone. Woes, plural? Yes, since I'm counting the dentist tomorrow as I suspect I'm about to embark on my first-ever crown. Deep unjoy. As I said, it never rains but it pours. Life seemed much easier to tackle, as it were, in tandem. Right; back up into the loft with you. [Pause] No, still not picking up, an hour later. Ho hum. It's 16:53, and time for a cuppa. [Pause again] Aah, contact established and a brief exchange of woes. All is well, though she swears she's heard nothing from anybody (and that includes you, Big Bro). Mind you, she's also forgotten who her one remaining sister-in-law is, so I didn't even bother mentioning her one remaining sister. What a doleful end game that Intelligent Designer has formulated for us, heh? Crap, if you ask me.

One last burst of lofty activity and that will be it for a bit. Water loose in the house? Never a good thing! I've been drying out some prints that were in cardboard boxes on Junior's carpet within what I suppose you could call Ground Zero. It's just gone 18:00 and the news isn't exactly cheery, either. Still, a trouble shared is a trouble doubled, if you ask me :-)


It's 21:08. The tum is full, the warm air blowing over Junior's carpet has just about done the trick. It seems I've lost relatively little in the great flood — if you don't count notes I made (but have no need for) of some of the application datasets and printouts involved in the set of programs I wrote for "What Hi-Fi?", "What Camera?", "What Car?", "What Caravan?", and so on in 1978 through 1981. A chap needs a hobby and, as hobbies go, this was both enjoyable and profitable, paying more than double my meagre ICL salary as a first-line manager. (I was also writing self-teach training packages for the bit of ICL I'd been working for, but that's a whole other story.)

I also found a set of notes I'd made about 1500 Series minitape hardware data transfer times. I'd been trying to get the hardware guys to enable interrupts during tape motion as I reckoned there was a timing window that would allow "room" for an 83-instruction interrupt handler. In my opinion this would have been very handy. I left ICL for the sunnier climes of IBM before I could pursue this. With a 12 month old son, a mortgage, and a non-working wife I felt I needed the greater security in the economically disastrous climate of la Thatcher's UK.



1  Close off the valve on the outlet side. Done. Set the thermostatic valve on zero and then remove it and put back on the safety cap he left on the windowsill (that's been there since April 2007). Done. Open the air bleed vent at the top of the radiator to assist drainage of the now — theoretically isolated — radiator. Done.
2  Arranging clear, unfettered access to every radiator, and all the pipework under the floorboards, is going to mean moving and relocating a massive amount of stuff (books, mostly, but also carpets and vinyl flooring) from A to B, C, or D (where those last three are currently unknown variables). I suppose B could be the loft and C the garage. D might be the self-storage place where "Mr Kipling" used to bake his cakes.
3  Christa and Peter made three trips in a single day, in a hired van.