Jean’s First Audition (by )

Today Jean is going to school with her home made poetry book - she has written and illustrated the poems herself as part of this months WoPoWriMo challenge (World Poetry Writing Month). She is nervous and excited and asked me yesterday if I would make her an outfit if she gets through!

The poems are lovely especially the one about Monster Mary who wants everything of Jean's even her school things 🙂 There is also one about how the Moon is light and dark but not made of cheese 🙂

Inside Jean's poetry book Jean's Poetry Book

Going for…. Gloucestershire Poet Laureate (by )

This Sunday the 4th of March at Gloucester New Inn there is the monthly arty chill which I have been attending to read my works poetic. This Sunday however is slightly different as they are running a competition for Gloucestershires Poet Laureate. The first phase of which is audience votes so I would like some people to come and vote for me - please.

Yep that's right I am going for this - I doubt I will get it as there are going to be like well know poetry types there - I am hoping for a few votes though so that I can continue to show my face in the arty circles of Gloucestershire and in fact the UK!

It costs £5 on the door to get in for non-performers and starts 3pm and ends at 9pm. There are lots of musicians and comedians and things there too and it's a really good event and I wont sulk if you vote for someone else (honest!).

The Moon, Venus and Jupiter (by )

There is a fantastic vista tonight - the moon is out with two bright 'stars' - these are the planets Venus and Jupiter and earlier tonight the International Space Station passed by also bright and lovely. So I thought I'd try and photograph the planets and moon as I found the fireworks mode on the happy snappy camera I have.

Moon Venus Jupiter

I am sad though - because on the camera screen it looks like it's captured the planets but once uploaded to the laptop they are not there 🙁

NHS SOS (by )

The NHS is in distress
As politicians make it an even bigger mess
Sneaking in private sector competition
Erosion of the health service is their mission
Drs who say, 'hang on a mo!'
Are told they will have to go
Such cost cutting measures
Will kill this most auspicous of national treasures
Lets hope the politicians stop
Before this nation is left to rot

A week off (by )

I took last week off of work, to recuperate from the house moving and to spend some time setting up my workshop. That sounds like more house moving, but it's without deadlines, and it's taking time to sort out my own space the way I like it. So it's relaxing and settling! I did a few other things, too. I chose the Half Term week for my holiday, as no work AND no school runs would mean I didn't need to get up in the mornings, and so I could spend more time with our children. Sarah's teenaged (well, 12 and 14) cousins visited for half term, too, and were eager to help out with interesting DIY projects!

  • We laid concrete in the fireplace, to bring the base level with the rest of the floor so we can tile it to make a nice hearth. We mixed the concrete by hand, and leveled and tamped it into the space, then checked back on it over the next few days until it was hard.

  • We laid mortar along a messy and dirt-accumulating crevice in the workshop floor, to level it. This was fairly similar to the laying of concrete, except using sand rather than all-in ballast as the aggregrate.

  • Painted most of the workshop floor with the special concrete floor paint I bought from the excellent and helpful Bailey Paints. We can't paint over the bit we laid mortar on until it's cured sufficiently, which will take a few months, so that bit can wait.

  • Constructed and arranged the furniture in the workshop. Shelving had to be assembled, and my famous double-deck electronics desk put back together!

  • Mounted my tool board on the workshop wall. It's happy in its new home.

  • Mounted and wired in the Caffreys sign. Years and years ago Sarah and I, with my friend Matthew, witnessed a pub being redecorated, and the illuminated Caffreys sign was being chucked into a skip. We asked if we could take it, and it's followed us ever since then, being used as a rather unweildy novelty lamp; now we have a place we can mount it properly to the wall, so it's mounted on the outside of my workshop, with the cable run properly through the wall so it can be plugged in inside.

  • Mounted and wired in the router, power strip, switch and UPS. We have a nice new cupboard under the stairs, built for us by Sarah's brother David. I've mounted the "core network" devices directly to the inside wall of the cupboard, and will mount one of my patch panels there when I run CAT5 to sockets around the house (and a trunk to the workshop, where my second patch panel will be installed in the comms cabinet - when it's bolted to the wall; we bought the bolts for that, but didn't get around to it).

  • Gone climbing (with Jean and Sarah's cousins) at The Warehouse in Gloucester, which has excellent facilities for children and young folks. Everyone had a good time.

  • Worked more on my scripts to migrate the massive amount of data from my current hosting setup,, to the new hardware. Love currently runs on a pair of servers, fear and infatuation, whose responsibilities will be taken over by one, just called love. This will be a simpler and more reliable setup, which will be easier to migrate in future, and will (touch wood) crash less. Oh, and it gives us much more disk space.

The love migration scripts were about the only stuff I did with computers all week. I'd have liked to have done more (I have some Ugarit, R7RS, and Chicken Scheme TODOs), but the presence of teenagers who would get bored if they didn't have exciting DIY tasks to do meant I focussed on things I could do with them. This isn't a problem, as in only one week I couldn't do ALL my projects; even focussing on DIY, we didn't get it all done 🙂

However, I think I need to take time off to relax like this more often. Mainly because, despite not needing to be up in the morning, I kept waking up at around 6am and not being able to get back to sleep. And once I woke up from a nightmare that I was neglecting all my responsibilities and everyone who depended upon me was being let down. These are not healthy signs...

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