Archive for October, 2006

Take Wings and Fly

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Some of you will know that I really don’t like flying.

I hesitate to say it, given that I know I have at least two pilots among my readers, but I don’t. I don’t dislike it to the extent that I let it stop me doing things I want to do, but I get nervous when I have to fly anywhere and I’m much happier if I can have a couple of whiskies in the departure lounge before locking myself inside a steel jet-propelled tube which some bloke1 is going to fling down a strip of concrete at a hundred miles an hour.

I think it’s some sort of control thing: Most people who have a fear of flying say it’s at least partly because they don’t feel in control. You’re not in control when you’re a passenger in someone else’s car, but the difference is, I at least have the skill to judge whether I’m being driven by a reasonable driver or not: In an aircraft I have no way of knowing if the plane is flapping all over the sky because of unavoidable turbulence, or because the pilot has half the gross national product of Colombia up his nostrils.

There’s a similar loss of control thing when you get on a train, but at least they tend to only crash in two dimensions, and somehow that feels a bit safer: Also, on a train there are at least some things you can do to improve your own chances of survival: Make sure you’re sitting with your back to the direction of travel2, for example. And of course if all the engines fail, you can just get off.

1 Or woman, of course
2 I can’t find the stats now, but you’re much more likely to survive a train crash if you’re sitting back to the direction of travel. I always do this, if there’s a seat available.

Sorry

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Today I have mostly been feeling sorry for myself.

I mentioned the other day that my throat was sore – it now seems to have developed into a full-blown bronchial infection. Of course, being a bit down over my assignment result hasn’t helped, but with one thing and another, the only reason I dragged myself out of bed for church this morning was that I’d agreed to take Antony’s turn driving the minibus: Having missed a few turns myself I owe loads of other people cover, so I didn’t want to let anyone down.

So, today I have driven the minibus, and been to the gym to sit in the steam room for a while. I suspect I shan’t be late to bed tonight, either.

Pub

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

I went on a pub crawl this afternoon :-D

Before I get into the detail of that, let me just tell you about this morning: I went shopping and bought myself a new pair of walking boots! They’re just the same as the old ones, only without the scuffs, splits and holes, and with a bit of tread on the soles. While I was in the region of the shops, I replaced the cache container on my cache A Walk in the Park, bought some sore throat medicine at Boots, and had a cup of coffee in the penthouse restaurant at John Lewis.

So…this pub crawl. In a couple of weeks I’m organising a get-together for some caching chums, and a venue was required. I had a pub in mind and it needed to be checked out, so I picked up Rockin’ Rob for some moral support, and off we went. Oops –
Pub no. 1: Ideal location and size, but closed for renovation.
Pub no. 2: Great beer, nice location, much too small
Pub no. 3 – is now a building site
Pub no. 4: Was chav central
Pub no. 5: Turned out to be a bookshop
Pub no. 6: Was shut

Luckily pub number 7 turned out to be ideal for our purposes – it’s just a bit annoying that after driving about a hundred thousand miles around the countryside we ended up in a pub ten yards from Rob’s house.

Gah

Friday, October 6th, 2006

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I’ve been waiting on one assignment result and one exam result, to complete my diploma. They came today.

Oh well, at least I passed the exam. The assignment can be fiddled with and resubmitted, or I can junk it, wait for the next lot of assignments to be issued, and do that instead.

The thing is, if I resubmit the current assignment, it probably wouldn’t take much work to get it to pass standard, but it’ll be capped to 50%, which would give me an overall “pass” grade. I only need 52% on this last item to get an overall credit, but it would mean starting from scratch and doing a whole new assignment, with all the research and stuff – which I’ve already done on this one.

At the moment I’m too fed up with myself to make a sensible decision one way or the other: Since I can’t do anything over the weekend anyway – the current assignment only exists electronically on the work system which I can’t access from home – I’ll let it lie fallow over the weekend and decide on Monday.
And in other news, we had an all-day visit from “Captain Charisma” at work. That didn’t go too well, either :-(

Flying Saucer

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

I saw a UFO this evening.

Not a proper UFO – but the kind of thing my late buddy Mark the Buddhist referred to as UFOs. I’m talking about those cars – typically a 15 year old rep-mobile, in this case a Ford Sierra – fitted with ultra-trendy (last decade) underbody blue lighting.

I’m a firm believer in “live and let live”, but these things really do look rubbish. Not only are they no longer fashionable, they make the car look like a Dyson with an inferiority complex. Generally they’re attached to cars driven by people who’d’ve done better spending the money on anti-acne medicine, and the time on learning to wear their baseball cap the right way round.

I could just say “chavs”, couldn’t I?

Which made it all the more surprising when this one screamed to a halt in Tesco’s garage – where I was giving Grunty her weekly diesel fix – and out stepped a well-dressed Sikh gentleman in his fifties. There’s a lesson there about assumptions, but I’m not sure exactly what it is.

Gallery

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

At last I’ve got the pictures from Yorkshire online – and the one on the left is one of 21 you can see if you go to my Flickr set. For those of you who’ve never viewed Flickr before, that link will take you to a gallery with a set of little pictures – click on any of them for bigness, along with an amusing witty caption.

That’s about the only thing of great interest I have to report to you this evening, I’m afraid – other than that I still haven’t finished sorting the backlash of problems from PDA troubles reported yesterday (although I’ve managed to replace the internet software); I have a chesty cough developing, and there’s no sign of any exam rsults yet. Pretty much business as usual then ;-)

Technology

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

I hate technology.

While I was on hollibob, my work mobile phone died. I thought the battery had just gone flat, but it’s actually expired. OK, it isn’t mine – but it’s a bit of agro and sorting-out I didn’t need. The few of you that have the number of that phone – don’t use it for the forseeable future ;-)

A definite flat-battery problem was the battery expiration of the “good PDA”. You’ll remember I blogged a while ago about how the not-good PDA went so flat that it lost all its software? Well, now the good one has done the same thing, and I’ve spent most of the evening trying to re-install. I haven’t finished, I’ve just given up. Still a few bits to go, but that’ll do for this evening.

Jane – I’ll try to sort out the files you asked for. And Me – yes, I know. It’s on the list for sorting ;-)

Late

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

It’s gone eleven and I haven’t blogged yet.

I hate missing a day’s blogging: I know myself too well, and if I miss one day I’ll start missing more, and then I’ll no longer be a blogger. And then blogging will be yet one more thing that I did for a while, but couldn’t be bothered to keep going. Some of you may have noticed this obsession last week, when even though you all knew I was on holiday, I produced a pre-written blog for each day and set it up to auto-post – I’m not sure what happened on day one (Saturday), I wrote something and posted it but it never appeared: I expect I set the wrong date and it’ll suddenly pop up to surprise us in about ten years time.

Trouble is, today was just a typical first-day-back-after-the-holiday, although I did see some friends this evening that I wasn’t expecting to, so that was nice. But now it’s late, my feet still hurt, and I’ve got another early start tomorrow.

So I don’t think I’ll bother to blog today.

Wot I Did On My Holiday

Sunday, October 1st, 2006

A week in Yorkshire, caching with Rockin’ Rob: Originally Miche (Rob’s girlfriend) was coming with us, but on the day she had other things on her mind, so it became the “Men Behaving Badly??? Cachepedition.

Those caches were:
Day One:
Hoffmann Kiln
Sampson’s Toe
Jubilee Cave
Victoria’s Cave
Castleberg Rock
Scaleberg Force
Dead Man’s Cave
Woo! What a day! We’d decided on a day’s caching around Settle, although it was a fair drive from the cottage before we got started we knew there was a good concentration of caches in a fairly small area, so we’d get off to a good start numbers-wise. Scaleber Force was Rob’s 250th, and we had to wait for another cacher (“Celtic Connection???) to move on before we could log it ourselves.

Day Two
Shirfare’s Mountain Cache
Haw Fell
Settlement
Starbotton View
Today had been planned to be a 17 mile walk with seven caches, but after Starbotton View – at which point we’d done ten miles, and climbed the same almost-mountain twice – we were knackered. On a safety point, the pub where we were relying on refilling our water bottles was shut, so we decided to walk the three miles back to the cottage along the valley bottom instead.

Day Three
Coin Cascade
Mill Gill
Drowned City
Addlebrough
We also failed to find Aysgarth Falls, although we enjoyed looking around the area anyway. After yesterday’s hard work we’d decided to have an easier day today, so we did a few caches that we could get close to in the car. We met some other cachers (“Posh and Becks???) near Mill Gill. Just to make sure we had some exercise, Addlebrough – the last of the day – was a real steep haul up a mountainside. Then in the evening we walked to the nearest pub to the cottage, and drank rather too much real ale!

Day Four
The day started badly with a fail to find at Fountains Fell, although we later discovered that the previous finders had moved it to “a more suitable location??? – not impressed, especially as we’d walked nearly three miles along the Pennine Way, and then climbed a peak, to get there. Luckily, an email to the cache owner persuaded him to see things our way, and because we couldn’t possibly have known about the moving, and because we had a photo to prove we’d looked in the right place, he let us log it ??? Still, while we were up there a walk along the ridge gave us:
Forgotten Peak and
Sykeology, on the way to which we discovered that the new National Trust wire fence was indeed electrified – and the top strand was just about at nadger height :-( . Then back down to the car for a late lunch, before moving on to find
Cerritus Securiferus , and
Malham Cove Earthcache, before heading to the pub!

Day Five
We decided to finish off the challenge that we started on day two: Parking just up the road from Buckden, we started with
Cow Pasture before carrying on up the hill – the very steep hill – with the wind getting stronger. By the time we reached the trig point on Buckden Pike it was blowing a howling gale: As we crossed the stile to the next cache,
Fox Memorial, the wind nearly blew me off the top. Still, at least there were reliable mobile phone signals from up there so we took the opportunity to cower from the wind and phone home. Information from today’s caches – plus some of Monday’s – gave us the co-ordinates we needed to complete the multi-puzzle cache
Buckden Wile E Coyote Challenge.
We’d spotted that a cache further down the valley had a geocoin belonging to our chums Tim and June in it, so that had to be next:
Dales Way: Cetal Wella Split, didn’t take long to find, but there were about a hundred students here on a field trip, and we had to wait for them to clear away before we could complete the find – we spent the time phoning Tim!

Day Six
An excellent day: Sorting out what we were going to do, we rejected one cache because it was a puzzle and we didn’t want to spend hours solving it when we could be out on the hills. Then we looked again – we’d spotted the key, and from there it was easy. First was
Charlie’s World Cup Cache, near the ruins of the old lead mines that pepper the area, which we made a bit more complicated than it need have been: Then on to the puzzle,
The Blea-ting of the Sheep. By the time we’d finished this one the rain was closing in, so we sped up a bit and moved straight on to the next – so quickly that we managed to walk straight past “A Grim View??? within a few feet. Ah well…we DID manage
Water View, where many previous finders had commented that the rain started as soon as they found it: That happened to us too! We set off on a cross-country trudge through the mud to my 550th cache,
Curlew Calling, from where it was an easy walk back to the car.
Last for the day was
Dales Way – Who Put That Here, not the best cache we’ve done this week, but it was the nearest to the cottage so it had to be done!

Day Seven
…was the day we had to be out of the cottage, and we’d arranged to visit Jenny and Chris in Nottingham on our way home. Before leaving the Dales we found one more cache, a nice easy drive-by called
Grimwith, right alongside Grimwith Reservoir. And then just finish the week in the right way, we grabbed two caches in the new “Motorway Mayhem??? series caches, M1 Junction 30 and – just round the corner from Jenny’s – M1 Junction 25.

And I haven’t forgotten I promised you photos – I’m getting there…