2010 — 20 December: Monday

I'm certain1 that I haven't heard the theme score by Malcolm Arnold from "Whistle down the wind" since the one time I saw it, in the Rex cinema in Wilmslow, some time in 1961 or early 1962. I fell in love with Hayley Mills, of course (who didn't?) but had no inkling that the music would have embedded itself so deeply. How strange.

It's dismally grey and frosty (-4C) out there, but I heard a little train whizz past a while back. BBC Radio 3 cheerfully assures me travel conditions in the UK remain appalling ("potentially fatal", if you please) and the weather likewise. Now back to the Handel and the Bach! It's 08:37 and soon time for some breakfast.

I can still remember when...

... phones were encased in black Bakelite, had rotary electro-mechanical gubbins and carbon granules, party lines, and could take many months to get from the GPO. Here's one with a 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 Hummingbird Multimedia Applications Processor based on the ARMv7 architecture. No sign of any carbon granules though.

There are increasing numbers of snowflakes falling from the sky at 09:34, dammit! Yuk.

I'm delighted to report that Big Bro rose to the bait I dangled yesterday:

I gather it is a bit cool in those parts... In the meantime having fled the 35C of Brunei, I am enjoying the 27C of Auckland... albeit with some wet stuff but then we have been declared a drought area already! The BBQ was good the other evening... will take a digital for you!
Trust you will be hibernating over the worst of the weather... a nice warming whiskey perhaps?

Big Bro

Cheers! How'd you like to buy me one of these, Bro?

I think my fresh air...

... ration for today will be inhaled on a walk down to the local shops. A chap has to eat, and a chap prefers vaguely fresh stuff. It's 11:43 and the snowflakes have given up for the moment. Still -2C out there, though. "Wrap up warm, David" I can (almost) hear her saying. [Pause] Back, with bones unbroken. I confess I haven't done very much local shopping on foot since getting my driving licence. I well remember doing a fair amount in the summer of 2007 during Christa's chemo- and radio-therapy of course. I can't say the falling snow and the packed ice enhance the overall experience. At 13:38 I think it's now lunch-time, but not before the cup that warms.

Scottish Power is still exhorting me to remain in their clutches: "Are you absolutely sure you'll get a better deal by leaving?" asks their letter this afternoon. Well, erm, yes actually, as admitted to me by your two lads when (during last Wednesday's personal visit) I showed them the deal on offer from their rival.


After my last despairing email salvo to Staples before being carted off to debtor's prison I have just received a sensible reply:


"And everybody praised the Duke who this great fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?" Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why that I cannot tell," said he, "But 'twas a famous victory."
(from) Robert Southey's "After Blenheim"

Phew! (Though I've taken the precaution of emailing a "thank you" and separately calling their accounts department to get them to confirm I'm now off the hook.) Meanwhile my chums in Microsoft have just reassured me "You can still work even if you can't make it to the office". Isn't that thoughtful of them? I'm off for a cuppa over the road... [Pause] Nasty wet rain and slush makes it tricky underfoot. There's a strong argument to be made in favour of hibernation. It's 17:55 and almost above 0C for a change. No chance of seeing any Lights, Northern or otherwise.

Oh, no, can it be true?

From one of my overseas correspondents — she knows who she is...


Somewhat later

It's 21:58 and I've been tinkering around in between sessions of my book and relocating all these damned storage cartons.

If I hadn't read this, I wouldn't have known there was an update. The new version takes seven minutes2 to do a "quick" scan. Perhaps granting it more than 50% CPU will change that?3 I also upgraded MSE on my XP 32-bit system, only to find it promptly complaining about an out of date signature file. And, although the XP version didn't demand a reboot of the operating system, the MSE window wouldn't close, but preferred to hang around until I used another window to force a re-paint, just as it has in the past. Tut, tut.

As it's Xmas, I may just take IE9 beta out for a spin in the park. It will replace the IE8 I currently have installed on BlackBeast but, since my default web browser is Firefox and I don't actually seem to need to run IE8 on Blackbeast for anything, I'm not unduly bothered. I'm going to make a leap of faith and assume that I can back it out and put IE8 back if necessary. (I must be mad.) Windows 7 updating has its own separate mechanism and no longer depends on using the web browser.

It's 23:13 and I'm going to call it a day. G'night.



1  Well, almost certain... say about 99%.
2  Its predecessor took only about 40 seconds this morning. Curious.
3  Allowing it 90% CPU cut the time back down to 40 seconds or so (but, of course, the initial scan with the new version may well be a special case).