Thursday, 29 December 2011

There was a knock at the door this morning

"Who can this be" we thought. Turns out to have been the postman, with a parcel too big for the letter box.

Hello, a box from Canada, but we didn't order any presents from Canada. Ah, there's a name I recognise.


And a card.

All home-made. Thank you so much - I hope it's more blessed to give than receive, because this made my morning. And we might get a chance to share on Saturday.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Today is a day for new things

In this case, new clothes, and new exercise.

Well, the exercise isn't that new, but it seems that I've been so unwell the last couple of weeks that I haven't got much strength or stamina left, and need to rebuild again. That has been a familiar pattern over the last 10 years - enter autumn reasonably fit and strong, hit by lurgy, collapse in heap, gradually rebuild in the spring and summer. Rinse, repeat.

10 years ago I'd have been out on a boxing day mountain bike ride, but today I have to make do with walking gently round the damp & muddy local countryside. And I'm grateful I can. The 'new' bit from the title is a nice new Berghaus walking jacket, heavily marked down & arriving courtesy of my mum. I also had a surprise from Ben - walking trousers (feels like neoprene) with built in gaiters. Just a touch large in my present slim state, but I'm sure that will sort itself out soon.


p.s. lets see what endomondo makes of it all.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas eve.

The tree is up, food (mostly) prep'd - last night Chris told me I smelled of Strawberry jelly.

I'm at that funny in-between place, where I'm waiting, not able to start, but not really able to do other stuff either. Glad the cold is mostly on it's way out now and strength is returning so that I can participate without coughing up a lung. It's still hard to hear speech and translate it into meaning, but that's as much a head as an ear thing.

Next to me on the settee I have a sleeping wife & a snoring cat, the cat making more noise than the wife! Afternoon naps are a basic human right in our household.

And so I have a prezzie or 2 to wrap still, in the peaceful gap. Hope she likes it (in particular) in white gold, rather than silver. We'll find out in less than 24 hours.

Christmas is an odd time.

I don't know really how to make it mean anything. It's not like a birthday celebration because there's all kinds of odd traditional stuff that's all about us wrapped up with it. And it's not like celebrating a birth because Jesus is here with me all the time, so He's not being born fresh again each year.

As a child, it was a time where you went along with parents to visit aged rellies,
usually living in coal heated houses so that the living room was roasting hot, hallway icy cold. My brother & I would crawl around warming up & cooling off, playing round the different floor layouts & unfamiliar furniture. Later there were church events we'd take part in, & family parties each with their own variety of funny games: passing scissors crossed & uncrossed, squeak piggy squeak etc. The childrens parties were more like a competitive sports session, always with games that one could never win, and the kind of food that old people imagined children liked to eat.

Later, it was an opportunity to acquire the things one could not be patient enough to save for, and later still, a time of hoping to 'get off with someone' while they were susceptible/charitable/careless (only worked once, did not work out well). Then came knowing Jesus, and Christmas stopped really meaning anything much.

Once again, as with so many other things we do, I'm reasonably convinced it's all about us, and only a little about Hm at best. I enjoy the celebration - no longer a radical that wants to ban Christmas - but it's still a strange thing for me because it distinctly doesn't do what it says on the wrapper. For years Christmas was valid as an outreach opportunity and a few days break after all the hard work at the mid-point of winter. Now... I dunno.

Maybe we need grandchildren to validate it now? AFAIK not too much chance of that for a bit (I hope!) so we'll have to carry on, just getting older, walking through it and trying to enjoy it for what it might be.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

I'd love one of these

for playing in church. Well, I would have at one time anyway.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

This must be about as cheeky as it get - a nice Pear!

Pear OS is a version of Ubuntu ripping off Apple's OSX wholesale. Even the version names (panther, puma etc) borrow from the cat theme.

But the funny thing is that it actually looks *good*.

The bundled apps are all the usual suspects: Opera, brasero, synaptic, shotwell etc though sylpheed email client is new to me, so it's probably going to mostly work just like any other Linux distro. But the interface does look very polished.

I've not moved to Apple's Lion 10.7 yet, and after Snow Leper I hope I don't have to. But this does look intriguing, in the slightly messed up way that OSX/Gnome 3 have adopted.

Get it here.


Review here.

*Update 2*

Downloaded a copy, burned DVD, now I'm running it here as a live disc. It's surprisingly snappy off the disc - live CDs etc are usually slow, but this feels only a little slower than off a hard drive.

Is it like OSX? No.

There's some nice eye candy in there if you like that sort of thing, but this is definitely a Linux distro. Would I use it? Not normally, except I have a box I want to build & experiment on, so I might just try it on that. Thing is, because of DigiKam I'm pretty much committed to KDE as a desktop now, and Sabayon do most stuff really well. But I could fiddle with other OSs on a spare system. Maybe try to dual-boot this with AV linux & have 2 dock-based OSs on the same machine.

*Update 3*

Is it like OSX? Actually yes, it is, quite a bit.

I've probably spent 20min fiddling, and I'd say that if you've used a Mac before then it may not actually feel all that strange. The Apps store is a nice touch, and made finding software very easy - except some of it is in French! In the review I linked the reviewer commented this was the first distro running Gnome 3 that he's recommend, and I guess I'd go along with that. Certainly worth a look.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Left work just after sundown

Went early because this cold has become a full-on streamer.




I also feel sorry for the poor people that had to share an office with me this afternoon - must have been horrible to hear.

Fire's lit, I'm dosed up and Chris is cooking me dinner (kind of her, since we were both supposed to be going to a Christmas meal tonight).


Don't you just love it?

Today is an odd day, leaving home in pitch darkness, driving down the A34 as the sky became deep blue, but with huge black storm clouds on the horizon so that it felt like I were driving toward night with no option of heading back toward daylight. Arrived at almost exactly 8am, still before the sun had actually risen enough to be visible.

2 more drives like this after today. Guess I've learnt something about myself and the way to work (or not work).

Sunday, 11 December 2011

You may have heard of....

The singer Dougie Dug Dug?

Does a great series of Christian worship videos for children. Unfortunately I also know a little too much of the English language:

Romeo and Juliet Act I, Scene 3:

Nurse: ...

And she [Juliet] was wean'd,–I never shall forget it, –
Of all the days of the year, upon that day:
For I had then laid wormwood to my dug

Ho hum.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

When it comes to dinner

Is there really anything better than a thick, tender piece of cows bottom, lightly sautéed with mushrooms and olive oil, served with a nice baked potato? Chris's was medium-rare (hint of pink, Ben's pinkish and mine bleeding sightly).

Thank you mr. Tesco, for cut-price beef joints.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

'Bout time I got some pictures up

..... especially of somewhere other than India.

Local views, when we walked with Hillary.

And Southampton when we went to MK1.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Beautiful frosty, misty morning.

With an early start.

I was looking out over the fields on the way in this morning, some emotional music playing, thinking Sarah and how nice it would be to just go lay down in the ice and mistiness and go to sleep permanently. No more struggles against sin and a gradually aging body, no more feelings of inadequacy and pressure to get work done and keep all the plates spinning.

Damn stupid really - I must make sure I get some early nights and not stop up late again.