2010 — 19 July: Monday

Before I follow Big Bro upstairs to bed, let's just recap. First, the irritating deduction (not yet confirmed) that my latest Freesat box defaults to standby at midnight, so I will have to hook it back up to the screen temporarily at some point just to see what's going on (or off!) in its system setup menu — since I've been using it purely as a radio, I've only connected its optical digital (audio only) output rather than the hdmi (video and audio) output. That way, I figured I stood less chance of getting annoyed at the five to eight seconds it can take to do its stupid "hdcp handshake" thing if I switch away from, and back to, it.

What else? Well, following the short but intense family business chatter, we went out for a delicious evening meal at a local eatery, followed by watching my DVD of Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" which seemed to go down well. (He's probably still a bit jet-lagged.) So at that point I was left with just a few minutes of Guy Garvey and his finest hour.

John's off back up to London tomorrow, for business and to meet up again with the two daughters currently living there. He's going up to the Midlands with daughter #3 on Wednesday to see for himself how well, if at all, dear Mama is settling back into life at her house (after a month in the hospital she seems to think was a hotel). He'll return here on Thursday, whereupon we shall head together back up there to see what progress we can make on arranging for her to transfer to the residential care that we both have amicably agreed seems far more appropriate for the next stage of her Grand Tour through Life. What a business!1

None of this will happen instantly, of course, and it would also be better (or, certainly, more convenient) for her to be in care somewhere rather nearer here — there's nothing by way of family ties remaining in the Midlands as she has quite literally outlived everybody she knew there. Nor does she necessarily know where she is right now, though Claire reported some signs of her earlier personality re-appearing with her return to more familiar surroundings. (Deciding, if that's the word, not to use any of the kit the Social Worker has supplied for her, for starters. "Stubborn" barely scratches the surface.)


... the clock is ticking2 here for the final pair of carpet and vinyl fitting sessions. I have to finish clearing my study, and must then tackle Junior's room. After that, I think I shall then collapse in an exhausted heap for a while before bringing any books back from the storage warehouse. Still beats being bored, but not by all that much. G'night, at 00:41 or so.

Having been warned...

... (very nicely) by his wife: "Please do not be giving John fatty horrible breakfasts!!! He never eats breakfast at home apart from perhaps half a grapefruit — or marmalade and toast." I've decided to join him this sunny morning with an all-fruit breakfast3 for a change. After all, he was kind enough to bring me a morning cuppa in bed.

The passage of Time...

... has always bemused me. Here (for example) is a charming 4-year-old niece...


... (seen in context here) who, this Friday, graduates as a fully-fledged D Cat Air Warfare Specialist. Well done, Heather. And here's a rather more recent shot of the Gang of Four (L to R, Michelle, Claire, Heather, Rachel) taken at a restaurant in Darling Harbour, Sydney, in June 2006...


... judging by the smiles, I deduce the photographer must have been a handsome waiter. I've cropped out the ugly chunk of the Harbour bridge that was cluttering up the background.

It's now (11:46) already far too hot to do any more loft exploring, but I did retrieve a box full of (German) family letters from the 1950s and 60s that Bro is now happily working through, hoovering up all those odd bits of perforated paper with dried saliva on the back. Chaps need hobbies. He's just identified the "make" of helicopter (Bell 47, he claims) used on that wonderful 1979 Pink Floyd album, "The Wall". What can one say?

And, of course, he just happens to have a picture of one — as used on M*A*S*H, it seems:

Bell 47

Not to mention a back of the head shot of daughter #2 (Rachel) flying in the Solomons quite a few years ago now...


Call-sign "Danger", I gather (after "Dangermouse" mutated from Danger Mounce I expect).

Harsh mistresses

No, not the nieces! An email from Amazon has shown me you can now get Heinlein books on CD in mp3 format...


Shortly after the first moon landing (after I'd returned from the south of France) I bought my UK paperback4 of this in Wolverhampton. It cost me eight shillings — a small fortune! And I read it while enjoying my final annual summer fortnight with dear Mama's sister Peg and Uncle Gra in the Midlands before earning some more pocket money at Alcan Enfield alloys in London Colney for a month or so, and only then starting life as a lowly aeronautical engineering apprentice in Hatfield. Busy chap.


Having lunched at "The Bridge", I lent Bro my satnav, passed along the new Stephenie Meyer for a niece or two to read, and waved him on his way at about 14:40 or so. Now it's 19:59 and I'm just waiting for my evening meal to cool to the point where I can safely wrap myself around it.

I've also been liberating some top shelf space on the A/V rack by moving the iMac to be alongside the two PCs and the server at the other end of the living room. Since that also places it almost directly underneath the ADSL wireless modem / router in Peter's room, I suspect it will be fine working wirelessly, which all helps reduce Ethernet clutter in these parts. And the extra shelf will make all the difference to the slight over-crowding that I was aware of.

Today's late afternoon Amazon incoming — the new paperback collection from Roger McGough, and the third "movie companion" in the Twilight saga — are both now read. Right. In with the food; on with the evening. It's cooled down a bit, which is nice. And I've remembered to put out the black bin (I actually raced down this morning to do that, a day early, thinking I'd heard the lorry).

And I thought I was keeping current!

Fascinating and amusing.



1  Shoot me now. Mind you, on our walk yesterday Mike was telling me of people who were now keenly hanging on to lives of reduced quality despite their earlier insistence that they wouldn't do so "when the time came". Circumstances alter cases, I guess.
2  Indeed, a lady from Peter Green rang 17 hours later to find out (now that the vinyl is here) when it can be fitted.
3  Haven't had one since staying (on an IBM "jolly") at a resort called Tarpon Springs in Florida in September 1984. I'd been invited to a 4-day Information Development Technical Symposium there in recognition of "my accomplishments in the area of writing more directly to the reader using a more informal style". So much for "reference manual English", heh?
4  Still much quicker to read than to listen to. (14.2 hours? Where on earth or the moon am I going to find that sort of time?)