July 2004 Archives

Turkish Day in Cambridge

Spent the day wandering round the many pubs in Cambridge with Sy, Geoff, and the Leyshon family. Milton's Walk (nnoooooooOO!!!), then off to a Turkish restuarant for lunch in preparation for their hol's over in Turkey in a couple of weeks.

Was a great day, and the meal brought back memories of our hol's in Turkey 3 years ago. It's a shame we're not going this time round, maybe next year.

Must get off and grab some sleep, as my head's spinning after the brandy!

Big Night Out

Well, more of a little night out, but a night out none the less.

A few friends from work descended on the local Weatherspoons for a few drinks. And then a curry.

As it was a warm summer's evening, we were soon onto the cocktails, trying a selection of cool ones before crawling over the road to the local curry house. Didn't want too late a night as we're off to Cambridge tomorrow.

Pics in the extended bit...

Bloody MS Project

I've been writing a macro in MS Project to translate SAP PS plans into Primavera plans. And all was going well until about 4-5 weeks ago when the laptop died and I lost about 2 weeks of developing. So, imagine how chuffed I was today to discover it's all vanished AGAIN :-x(

Seems the latest laptop overwrote my VBA project with an earlier version, somehow, without warning.

Oh, I really love these Microsoft products... NOT :-x(

It's Restin'

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Got my laptop back today, and it's dead again. Lasted little over 5 minutes this time, before it gave up the ghost.

Technician can't believe it, "It's restin' mate, it does that, especially after a long boot-up", er, yeah, maybe IF it was a parrot...

Handing it back again in the morning. Must remember to chase up the "Problem resolved" email too, as it obviously ain't.

In the meantime, my bosses laptop's running fine, been using it all day. So mine must be posessed by some demon. And before you start, no, I don't believe MS Windows is demonised...

New Laptop

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My boss is on holiday tomorrow, so he's left his laptop in my care - Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha :-(X !!!! Little does he know the power of "Laptop :-(X :-(X

New Virus

WOW :-O I've never got a virus in the mail the day it's discovered, so you can imagine the shock tonight when I logged on to the 'net, Norton went off and updated itself, and my mail came in. BEEEEEEEEEEP WARNING! The following attachement is infected with W32.Mydoom.M@mm......:-O :-O :-O

Oh, and before you say anything, Jonathan, I know, a virus is something that attacks your computer, if you're unfortunate enough to be running a crap operating system like Win-"dohs". I know, it must be hard having a system that never has these troubles ;-) One day.... who am I kidding :-(

Ivan Has A Baby

News on Ivan Noble's baby:

Ivan Noble's Tumour Diary: Baby news

Glad to hear he was able to be at the birth, it sounds like he enjoyed the Royal Free muffin's, I know someone else did ;-)

Scarlet Pipernel

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Spent today sorting out the house and garden. And after rushing in the house to answer the phone for the 5th time, only to find it was someone asking me if I had the opportunity of refurbishing my windows/kitchen/bathroom, etc... what would I choose, I stopped answering. I even got one on the mobile :-(X

So, if you're trying to call today and didn't get through, that's why. Leave me a message and I'll call back. In the meantime I'm off to the TPS website to see if I can stop all these stupid calls...:-(X


Farnborough International Logo
It was Farnborough Airshow this weekend, or at least the public event. And I'd managed to win a couple of tickets in the company draw. So off we went!

Guinness were sponsoring the beer tent, hurrah, and being such a hot day, it was only right that we had a couple.

The displays were fantastic. And the Harrier showed off, as always. In the back of my mind I remembered what someone else once said, "That's the mother of all airplanes". She'd have been watching, front row seat, enjoying the view.

Day off

Today I stayed at home to sort out the final bits and bobs. Going through the bags from the Hospice, and then off to the bank to close the joint account. A pretty heavy day, except for what happened at the Lloyds TSB branch we had our account at. Now, having had so much trouble with everything else, on account that there was no will, it was refreshing to be treated like a human being, "You are her partner, Mr Bell, after all".

Shame that the same courteous and polite manner couldn't have been extended from Barclays:

Dear Mr Bell

J A Page Deceased

Please find enclosed a cheque, made payable to you being the closing balance(s) of the account(s).

A closing statement will be sent under seperate cover, which you can expect to receive within the next 10 days.

If you need to contact us regarding this letter or require any further information please telephone us on the above number.

Yours sincerely

So, despite all those nice adverts and caring image, they can't extend themselves to a simple, "We're sorry to hear..." or, "Accept our deepest condolences...", you know, a caring thought wouldn't have gone amiss. I mean, even British Gas managed to say how sorry they were at the news!

So, I'm writing back, advising them that I'll never have a good word to say about Barclays after this, and maybe they might rethink their deceased customer policy. I've found a couple of friends who have accounts with Barclays, so that's 2 more customers Barclays have lost. As for the Lloyds TSB, I walked out of the branch feeling much better than when I walked in. I was even considering moving banks, but I'll rethink after this.

They Call Me "Laptop"

My bruv's have recently been busy dreaming up cartoon-style characters for everyone they know, and for various reasons, which I'm sure Ian will comment down below, I'm "Laptop". A killer who bumps off his enemies with his trusty laptop. Except that I seem to have, as the IT tech at work put it today, more of a magnetic personality than most, as I've now claimed my second laptop. Yes, my faulty laptop no.2 has been returned, post-diagnostic, and is as dead and broken as the first. Complete hard disk failure once again, and I only touched it once!

I await my third victim...

A Day Lost

Jules Grave
Mean't to do so much today. Car club show, car cleaning, garden... And I apologise to everyone I let down, I woke up this morning with other things on my mind...

It's been 2 months since Jules died. Where's the time gone?

I'm still sorting stuff, and spent today going thro' more paperwork and tidying things away. Things I've not been able to face until now.

It's hard work, but it's done and out the way again. As someone said to me, the boxes are packed, the memories are stored, ready to be reopened when I'm ready.

I'm off up the cemetry now for a chat...

Keeping Time

Jules Dad made me a clock with a picture of Jules from the first time she'd met her Dad in so many years. And it's been sat on the mantlepiece ever since, keeping time, sort of.

I'm not saying it's bad at keeping time, far from it. But the weird thing is, no matter how many times I've tried, it insists on keeping exactly 1 hour early.

Now, I'm not one for the supernatural, but is there any significance in the fact that, in effect, it's keeping "Jules time" ? We all know that whenever anyone needed to make sure Jules was out on time, they'd tell her to be ready an hour earlier than need be.


Where There's A Will

After all the sorting out over the last few weeks I think I can safely say it's now all sorted. Bills, bank account, student loans, insurance, cars, the list is endless. The one thing to come from it all tho' is just how easy it would've been if Jules had made a will.

Now, at our time of life it's not the sort of thing that crosses your mind, regardless of what might be happening. But I'm sitting down over the next few weeks and sorting one out, along with my funeral arrangements. Not that I think my time has come, but I know if Jules had pulled through this it'd be one of those things she'd be sorting out. If there's anything she's left behind that made life easy the last few weeks, it was her notebook, and filing. All the paperwork was in one place, and took minutes to sort thro'.

So, a leaf out of her book. I'm sorting my life out, filing it all away in an easy to find place, just in case. Because it's one less thing to be stressing over when the whole world around you seems like it's collapsed...

Health News

Couple of stories picked off the BBC site at lunch today.

Ivan Noble's Tumour diary: A plea to the medics
Drive to fight hospital superbugs

Both these things hit home. The fact that during Jules time in hospital, both the bedside manner, and the bedside infections, came into play each and every day. On average, once a week there would be someone infected with MRSA, and that was whilst Jules was in high dependency care, which should be cleaner than the normal wards. And the bedside manner, well, there's plenty on Jules weblog recounting the problems and attitudes of some of the staff.

Acker Bilk!

I saw Acker Bilk, live, last night in a little village near Northampton. WOW :-O

Mum was jealous, and I know Dad would've been looking down too.

Strangers on the shore, my Dad's party piece, sent tingles down the spine.

Pics in the usual place, oh, and herbal Nytol? I only woke up in the early evening, it really does knock you out :-O


Played golf this afternoon for the second time ever. And boy, do I ache :-(

Superb laugh tho', and much arguing at the end as to who won (we did really, but the other guys cheated ;-) Even managed to improve on my ground hugging 50 yarders and got one in the air over 100 yards-ish.

Off to have a hot Radox bath then bed. Off to a Jazz festival tomorrow, so better catch up on my sleep. Going to try some herbal Nytol, see if that does the trick.

Silly Comments

After whinging about BT the other day a number of you readers out there (gosh, I have readers!!!!) commented on the this chocolate tastes of real chocolate statement referring to fish flavoured products. Well....

Oh dear!!

Thankfully I can't find a franchise over here, so you'll have to pop across to Japan to fulfill your taste cravings.

Of course, there's always Phish Food .

Never In My Lifetime

When you look back on life, any life, you have the fantastic benefit of hindsight. You know, the ability to see what happened, how, and why, so that in the event of it happening again, you can say, "Ahhhh, yes, saw this once, and this is how I'm going to deal with it this time".

What you don't get is the ability to see your life at the start so you can prepare yourself for the things to come.

Now, I'm not saying that I'd change anything if I could've, far from it. But I'd have been able to make a large wager back then, because some of those things that are infolding as the days tick by are unbelievable, even for me and my open mind. Life is seriously twisted.

We live in a small world, made all the more smaller by technology. But the technology still isn't there to stop terrible things from happening, and taking away things you cherish beyond belief itself.

I'm off to bed now, in the hope that I'll wake up in the morning and realise the last few days, weeks, months, and years have all been one seriously screwed up dream.

The BT Promise


I'm not one for getting wound up over things, but one thing that does hack me off is advertising when it doesn't ACTUALLY say anything beyond the bleeding obvious. You know, this chocolate tastes of real chocolate, so what else WOULD it taste of? Fish?

So, the new BT ad's. Err, what EXACTLY are you telling me?

"We promise our engineers will try their hardest to keep their appointment..."
"When the person at the end of the phone doesn't know the answer to your problem, they'll endeavour to find someone who does..."
All I can say is, if they WEREN'T doing this before, why are they so puzzled as to the reasons for customers leaving them?

Maybe they need to add:

"When you pay for a service with BT we promise to give you clear calls with no echo or crackles, real high speed broadband, a time when the technician will come and fix your fault, and a easy to understand billing system, with no hidden catches..."

Pub Lunch

After failing to get over to Dave & Micheles yesterday I dragged the whole family over there today instead.

Great seeing them both again, and Naimh (hope I've spelt it right!).

Went to a cracking pub just round the corner from their house. Monster grub, and London Pride, or as Ian put it, London Thames - well, it was a little cloudy...

Family's gone home now, car all sorted, with a little help from a big tube of silicon sealant. Well, it's the universal all purpose sealant, ain't it.

Fix Nige's Car

...or an excuse to pop down to Stevenage for a drink!

This entry should've been all about my weekend away at Dave & Michele's, except that I got a call earlier today to say Nigel really wanted his car back. So, off to Welwyn in the rain for the 40 seal (:-O) then to work to sort out the final touches of the server move (we've moved Primavera databases, oh what fun).

Expecting them soon, they've just left Hull. I guess it'll be beers, curry, bed, then early to rise to sort out the mota ;-)

Go Positive

At work we have a flexible working time arrangement. You can start any time between 7:30 and 9:30 and finish any time between 16:00 and 18:00, and take Friday afternoon's off too, if you've worked the hours. As long as you average 7hrs 24mins a day for the month, everyone's happy.

Well, for obvious reasons, I've had a little leaway on this over the last year or so.

Today, drum roll please, I hit positive for the first time in 18 or more months :-D

Next Friday I play golf, and I won't owe the company the time :-D

About Alan Bell

Lapsed: electronic engineer, scout leader, project controller.
Now: Oracle Primavera training consultant, business support manager, occasional website designer.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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