Archive for November, 2006


Friday, November 10th, 2006

Much of this evening has been spent installing software on the new lappy :-)

I suspect this is going to be a long process – especially as I can’t find two of the disks that have the most important bits of software on. In the meantime, my techy chum has reviewed the desktop and told me it needs a new hard drive – if I can save it and get a few more years life from it, it’s probably worth forty quid or so. So I’ve told him to go ahead and get that sorted.

And he thought my plans for the old lappy – to make it usable for Jenny’s needs – wouldn’t work. But he DID suggest an alternative, so we’ll see what happens there :-)


Thursday, November 9th, 2006

I’ve got my new lappy! While I’m playing with that, therefore, have a look at this. I know this has been about for yonks, but it’s quite fun if you’ve never seen it. Safe-ish for work (as long as your office mates have a sense of humour), but you need sound enabled.

Independent Woman – played by kittens – Joel Veitch, music by Elbow

Brrm Brrm

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

There was some idiot on the radio this morning, talking about experiments which are going to take place over the next two years in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, to try to ease traffic flow.

What this means, of course, is that our correspondents in those three cities are going to spend the next two years moaning about how some pillock has mongoosed up the roads again. I have every sympathy for local authority traffic engineers – I have to really, since I have at least one among my readers, and if I wind Barbara up there’ll be double yellow lines outside my house quicker than you can say “Oi, you can’t park that there!”: But they do seem to be on a hiding to nothing, and there seems to be far more politics than common sense in the solutions which are eventually adopted.

The bloke on the radio was talking about variable-priced roads, so that if you drive on a main road in the rush hour, you’ll pay more than if you drive on a quiet country lane at off-peak times. Of course similar ideas are suggested all the time, and they all fail to grasp the fact that no-one drives anywhere in the rush hour for pleasure: I’ve tried getting to work by public transport: It takes 45 minutes longer than driving, and involves getting cold, wet and miserable standing at bus stops. I can’t say there’s no alternative to driving – there is, of course – but driving is going to have to become very expensive before most people will stop, because it’s so much better than any of the alternatives.

Of course, it didn’t help my mood much, that while the guy on the radio was banging on about how difficult it is to think of new ways to ease traffic flow, I was stuck behind a dustbin lorry – which stopped outside every house – on the main road into Eastleigh. At quarter to eight in the morning.


Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

I had a cheesy cheating pre-written blog for you tonight. But now I’ve just promised readers of Jenny’s blog some quality here, and I can’t think of anything to tell you :-( . I’m hoping at some time fairly soon to be able to show off my lovely new smilies – I’ve discovered the secret of getting custom smilies into WordPress blogs. But I haven’t acksherly got round to doing them yet.

Ah well. Perhaps I should’ve given you the pre-written cheat blog after all. You’ll have to wait till tomorrow for that now.


Monday, November 6th, 2006

Well, I did it.

Yesterday I bought a new laptop on-line: delivery expected by Thursday. Wanna have a look at it? Go here. I suspect Rockin’ Rob will tell me it needs more RAM: He can install that when he comes round to see if the desktop can be saved, although part of the reason for buying this lappy is to do away with the need for desktop-ness.

What of the old lappy (on which I’m currently writing this)? Jenny wants to buy it, although I suspect if she knew how rubbish it was she wouldn’t bother. I’ve got a few ideas for what I can do to make it usable for her needs, but I want to be very careful that I don’t land her with a machine that’s going to let her down at a key moment. More thought needed.

In the meantime…I have a new laptop coming :-) :-) :-)

Adventures in Catering, and Wot I Dun Yesterday

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

My smoothy maker doesn’t only make smoothies…this is the vegetables that were left over at lunchtime, smoothied and microwaved for soup at teatime. It was a bit peppery – which is odd, because the original veg were fine – but nice enough to eat :-)

Anyway, you’ll remember from a previous blog, yesterday I was off to Sussex to help with a sponsored walk in aid of the Breast Cancer Unit at St Richards Hospital. The walk is called “One in Nine”, after the fact that one in nine women develop some form of breast cancer. The apex of the walk was at the top of Kingley Vale, above Chichester, and there are a couple of caches up there: I knew it woudn’t be possible – or professional – to dive off to do caches during the walk, so I arrived early and ended up doing the walk twice, once in daylight, and once in the dark with the official walk!

First on the agenda was Inside Out – read the aforementioned previous blog to see why I was so keen to do it. The climb up to the cache was a bit steep, but once I was in the area I found it fairly quickly, helped by the fact that I’d accidently decrypted the clue on Friday1! I felt a bit of a prune when I got there, because I’d intended to drop in a geocoin owned by the cache owners – and I’d left it at home :-( . Sorry T&J, I’ll find a cache to drop it in soon.

Nearby is a cache owned by another of my readers, Jane’s Yew (West Sussex): This was another easy find, not because of gratuitous clue abuse, but because the previous finder hadn’t re-hidden it too well. Unfortunately the cache was suffering from the damp a bit, and because I was there mainly to work, I didn’t have my cache repair stuff with me. Sorry Jane, I did my best.

Then it was time to walk back down the hill, link up with the leaders of the walk I was accompanying, and walk up and down the hill again. We had a radio person at the head and tail of each of the four walking parties, and I was due to be at the head of ours: the walk leader was very fit, and hadn’t heard of the concept of “going at the pace of the slowest”, but we didn’t lose anyone, although I really had to push to keep up – at one point the GPS said I was walking at 4 miles an hour, and I was barely keeping up with him.

This morning I felt very stiff in the leg muscles :-(

More PC failure related news tomorrow :-(

1 As I’ve mentioned before, once you’ve been caching for a while, you can decrypt the code used for clues in your head – sometimes without intending to, if the words are common ones.


Saturday, November 4th, 2006

I bought a smooothie maker yesterday!

I’m forever searching for ways to make the diabetic food regime more interesting, so I thought a few home-made smoothies would be worth trying. Based on 24 hours experience, I can say that smoothying harmless innocent fruit is close to the most fun you can have with your clothes on – I haven’t tried naked smoothie making yet, and given the ferociousness of the blades, I suspect I may not.

I also bought a smoothie recipe book, although my technique so far has been:
1) See what fruit is cheap in Tesco
2) Buy it
3) Chuck it all in together and see what happens.

Apple, cucumber1, kiwi fruit and mango smoothie is rather nice. It looks like something someone’s already eaten, but it tastes nice.

And in other news, the desktoppy is getting worse :-(

1 I’m not sure if cucumber IS a fruit or not, and frankly I can’t be ostriched to check.

Hayulp! Hayulp!1

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Some of you will know I’m looking for an excuse to buy a new laptop.

I thought I had one last night – my desktop has been playing up a bit this week, crashing every time the screen saver cuts in, and needing rebooting. Last night when it did it, it wouldn’t reboot, claiming it didn’t have a hard drive.

I fiddled around in the BIOS – which was a bit scary – and persuaded it that it DID have a hard drive, and spent the rest of the evening frantically copying files to CD, in case major hard-disk crashage is only just round the corner. Luckily it behaved itself, and as a temporary measure I’ve disabled the screensaver, but I can’t help thinking that’s treating symptoms rather than problems. Unfortunately my advisor on all things technical (he’s one of the TechGuys y’know) wasn’t well so I couldn’t pick his brains – hopefully he’ll be back to normal soon.

In the meantime, one more session of CD-copying should see all my most valuable data safe. I hope.

1 © Penelope Pitstop


Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

John commented a while ago that my map of “Caches Found” looks a bit like a history of where Hospital Radio conferences have been. So I thought it would be fun – and provide a cheap blog – to see if he was right.


I haven’t included Portsmouth, Autumn 2005, because although I’ve done loads of caches around Portsmouth I didn’t do any of them at that conference – although I did take a party caching to one I’d already done. I did no caches at all at Brands Hatch Autumn 2003, amd I wasn’t a cacher before that. There was a conference in Nottingham, but all the caches there (the big lump East of Stoke) were from non-Conference related visits.

Of the others, the huge group West of Leeds are this September’s cachepedition, and the small lump in Devon last September’s cachepedition. The arrowhead in the South Midlands (below and to the right of the words “Autumn 2004″) is caches I’ve done on various work-related trips to Stratford-on-Avon. And with the obvious exception of the mass centred on home, the others are all where I’ve taken advantage of a few spare minutes somewhere new, to grab a cache or two.

Obsessed? Me?


Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

This one from the “Now I’ve Heard It All” department of blogging (“Some People Will Believe Anything” Subdivision).

One of m’work colleagues is collecting rabbit droppings: Apparently if you put them in your fish tank, the algae that normally grow on the glass, grow on the rabbit droppings instead. You replace the rabbit droppings with “fresh” ones every so often, and it keeps the glass clean. Back in the days of long ago when I had a fish tank you just bunged a couple of water snails in and they ate the algae as they formed, but I suppose in someone’s twisted mind rabbit poo is less obtrusive.

I can’t help thinking that at least one of my readers is going to be getting an idea for a geocache theme out of this.

Anyway, my extensive research (thirty seconds on Google) reveals no references for this, so I think someone’s telling Margaret porkies. But I like the idea of her bombarding her goldfish with excrement, so I think we’ll leave her to find that out for herself :-)