April 2021

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Thursday 29 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619730183

Day 32 of Hotel Life

A toilet has arrived (in the kitchen) today and there is actual contiguous flooring in the bathroom.

But also the house is an absolute tip, and Kim is being driven mad by it!

Tuesday 27 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619546519

Day 31 of Hotel Life

There is plasterboard on the walls of the bathroom and Teri's bedroom!

It all looks rather good now - but the dust will probably take 6 months to get off everything!

Monday 26 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619454351

Day 30 of Hotel Life

Thirty days! Blimey.

The ouside of the house is now done (barring the decorative cladding), and all of the rubble has been removed from the garden.

Sunday 25 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619383002


16-bit kitty
16-bit kitty

Sunday 25 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619382546


Under the subreddit of r/iamactuallyverybadass...

An Albanian citizen prevents a potential massacre by throwing a drop kick through a car window

Sunday 25 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619337592

Day 29 of Hotel Life

I love listening to people who have no telecommunications knowledge nor experience whatsoever saying, upon having a call drop off or some glitch, "I don't know what happened there". Of course you don't. It's likely that nor does the other person you're speaking to - why would you/they?

Even with my degree in telecommunications, I could only really hazard a wild-ass guess from a litany of possible faults.

I think it's one of those things of humans trying to absolve blame...

Saturday 24 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619300704


Saturday 24 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619263031

Day 28 of Hotel Life

Why haven't I migrated my linux boxen to SSDs before now?

The time it takes from I press the restart button in Ubuntu to the login screen is 26 seconds!

Friday 23 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619201942

Day 27 of Hotel Life

Mr Moose is Up!

If you can read this, the Linux/SSD upgrade was successful!

And for those who don't get the "Mr Moose":

Thursday 22 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619114879

Website Going Offline

After my Herculean patience, I shall upgrade my Linux box and webserver tomorrow, switching to a shiny new SSD as my main drive.

Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo has been released today.

That means that I shall begin my upgrade tomorrow afternoon, but have pencilled in Saturday also to complete the upgrade as I'll be slightly modifying my Apache webserver configuration, so it may take some time to come back online.

Thursday 22 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619112421

Day 26 of Hotel Life

I have no idea what's happened in the house today - It's like I've been in an information bubble.

COVID-19 Page

Based on the number of hits I've had to my COVID-19 page in recent weeks, I've decided to retire it. Keeping up with the daily figures had become habitual, but it's one less stressor that I have to deal with now.

Wednesday 21 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1619033218

Day 25 of Hotel Life

The front of the house is coming on - we have actual insulted walls built now...

Avril Avocado

She'll need potting soon
She'll need potting soon

Tuesday 20 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618938945

Day 24 of Hotel Life

Email today to say that our stay in the hotel is going to be extended by another 2 weeks...

Ho hum...

Monday 19 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618852851


I think the title deeds or covenants of buildings with illuminated signs on them should force the owners/dwellers to repair said signs within a certain time frame.

Seemingly, I've been staying in the "Jur" for the last 22 days...


Monday 19 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618852736

AstraZeneca Vaccine Side-effects

Last night I had shivers without feeling cold, and today I have a sore/swollen lymph gland in my neck (near my carotid pulse) that really hurts if I open my mouth wide...

Josh says it's a recognised side-effect, so I'm not panicking yet (I am).

Monday 19 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618852673

Day 23 of Hotel Life

They are having to replace the whole front of the house - the wood frame is totally chewed upon by woodworm.

That's meant to be a straight edge
That's meant to be a straight edge

Woodworm Feast
Woodworm Feast

Sunday 18 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618736821

Day 22 of Hotel Life

I had some shivering last night, followed by quite a bad nose-bleed - I assume that was the vaccine side-effect? My arm has a background-level ache that really is only there if I think about it.

But all-in-all, I'll be at the front of the queue when they call me forward for the second dose.

Saturday 17 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618685786

Time is Relative

So, one of the theories of spacetime is the theory of relativity. I think we can see that in our own perception of time as we age.

We all know that our perception is that time speeds up as you get older - Christmas seems to come around every fortnight when you're 50...

But is that because your perception of time is based on the proportion of your life that has passed?

To a four-year-old, 1 year seems to take forever, but is that because one year is 1/4 of their life up until that point?

For a forty-year-old, that same year is only 1/40 of their lifetime, so is that why it seems to go 10x as quickly?

I don't know if these are commonly-held theories of the perception of time - I was merely pondering them whilst sitting in my car on the Hoe, earlier.

Saturday 17 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618675297

Day 21 of Hotel Life

Nothing happening on the house today and I care as much about Phil the Greek's funeral as he would've about mine...

Friday 16 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618595665

Volunteer Vacinnator

Let the needles meet the arms...

Today I actually vaccinated some people - the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine given in Devonport Dockyard (Henley Building) to dockyard staff. Quite a few of the people I vaccinated were old friends, colleagues and/or staff of mine, and it was really nice to see everyone and we had fun with me giving them their vaccines - all went really well and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Blimmin' knackered from standing on my feet all day though! First time I've done that in over a year...

In The Club

And part of being a volunteer vaccinator was that I was able to volunteer myself as a test subject for on of the others (Alessandro) to do his first vaccination on a human - which, of course, got me vaccinated...

Posting these is popular on social media...
Posting these is popular on social media...

Friday 16 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618595539

Day 20 of Hotel Life

Technically, we've been here 3 weeks now, but only 20 full days.

We have some new joists fitted, and there's definitely progress. However, we received an email today saying that it's likely to take longer (again) than expected, so it looks like our stay at the hotel will be extended beyond next Friday...

Thursday 15 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618494486

Book Review - Ready Player One

Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Just Wow.
I really didn't think I was going to like this - the cover image of the DeLorean and everything turned me off. I thought it was going to be all nerdy gamer stuff and Dungeons & Dragons.
And it kind of is - but in a brilliant and engaging way!
What a story.
It's all the classic storylines wrapped into one, and it follows the same path as many before it, but it's a recipe that works and the way it's done is nothing short of brilliant.
If you lived in the 1980s, you have to read this book - the nostalgia is amazing.
Great characters, great scenes, great reminiscent imagery, great story.

And yeah, I have a huge crush on Art3mis...

View all my reviews

Thursday 15 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618494390

Day 19 of Hotel Life

Received an email today telling us that the asbestos checks have come back negative.

I'm dubious - What the hell is that fibrous grey board under the plasterboard and cladding then?

Wednesday 14 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618425273

Avril Avocado

She's really shooting up now...
She's really shooting up now...

Wednesday 14 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618423830

Day 18 of Hotel Life


They are able to start work on the house now, so workers have descended on it in force...

Tuesday 13 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618331883

Book Review - An Eye for an Eye

An Eye for an Eye (Detective Kate Young, #1)An Eye for an Eye by Carol Wyer

What a great crime novel this is.
DI Kate Young is a complex and interesting character and the backstory evolves to brilliantly complement the main story.
A really good, gripping read.

View all my reviews

Tuesday 13 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618324905


Took Nancy to the vet this afternoon because of a large wound to her back - likely an outbreak of flea bites to which she has reacted. So she's had some steroids and antibiotics.

On the plus side, she's apparently very healthy for a 13 year old cat!

Tuesday 13 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618324774

Day 17 of Hotel Life

The receptionist at the hotel told me this morning that they've extended our stay until the 23rd April now!

Called to find out what's going on to be told that we are still awaiting the results of the asbestos checks form Friday, and that it'll likely be into next week before we could move back in...

Monday 12 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618259690

Day 16 of Hotel Life

Absolutely no progress on the house - rather annoying now...

Sunday 11 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618172688


I wonder if all the people who purchased 3D TVs feel foolish now?

Sunday 11 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618172452

UK COVID-19 Figures

Hmmm, the Covid-19 figures that the UK publish to the WHO were delayed yesterday.

Today, they have completely changed - In the end I had to update back to March 2020 to align with the "new" numbers. What's going on?

Sunday 11 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618161458

Yum Kipper

I treated myself to a kip this afternoon. Kim was out, so I just got undressed and climbed into the lovely fresh sheets of the hotel bed.

It. Was. Bliss.

Since I stopped drinking alcohol, I haven't really allowed myself kips - mainly because I sleep really well at night and don't want to disturb that sleep pattern by sleeping during the day. However, since the clocks went forward, I've been really tired every day (this happens every year - why oh why can't we stop that nonsense now?). So to combat my (perceived) sleep deficit, I had a kip.

I shall let you know if I sleep OK tonight, but I feel bloody good right now!

Sunday 11 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618159180


I use the term "womble" as a term of affection and endearment for groups of people in work. I do hope I'm not offending anyone.

So, for instance, I deal with the Finance Wombles, Supply Chain Wombles, Tech Wombles, etc.

It's because they go around making good use of the things that they find...

Sunday 11 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618158833

Kids Again

Kim and I just spent 10 minutes fully launching ourselves (taking turns) at the bed in the hotel room.

Because when was the last time you truly dived onto a bed??

Sunday 11 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618158812

Romain Grosjean Crash

I've just watched the amazing interview that Martin Brundle gave to Romain Grosjean after his horrific but miraculous crash in 2020.

I encourage you all to watch it, even if you have no interest in Formula 1 or motor racing - it is a chilling brush with death and he remembers everything.

Sunday 11 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618133901

Day 15 of Hotel Life

I'm doing another dress-rehearsal of installing my SSD with Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute). I want to minimise the time my webserver is down, so practice, practice, practice.

My immediate thoughts are that it'd be a great opportunity to do a full refresh/rewrite of my website (keeping the other)?

Saturday 10 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1618065671

Day 14 of Hotel Life

A beautiful day in the 'muff - I went for a 6k stroll around the Barbican, up around The Hoe, across to West Hoe and walked down the new boulevard along the back of The Pavilions. It was a good mooch.

Also, I started listening to Russel Kane's Evil Genius on BBC Sounds - good stuff!

What dented that? A Seagull?
What dented that? A Seagull?

Friday 09 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617981132

Day 13 of Hotel Life

It's the 13th full day, but we actually arrived at the hotel 2 weeks ago today (about now actually). Our key cards stopped working today as this was meant to be the end, but we've been extended to at least next week, as I averred to below.

I happened to bump into Sean - the guy who originally turned up just to do a bathroom - this morning and he told us that they were awaiting the inspectors to come in before the builders and carpenters could get in and start rebuilding our house - I assume the inspectors are to check that the asbestos and woodworm have been fully cleared out.

I think I'll celebrate with a takeaway tonight! (as we have done every night for the last 2 weeks)

Sack the Structural Engineer!

Surely they calculated the load through the smallest surface area?
Surely they calculated the load through the smallest surface area?

Thursday 08 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617895849

Day 12 of Hotel Life

We found out today that we've been booked into the hotel until at least the 16th April...

Kim's not impressed...

Wednesday 07 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617814818

Day 11 of Hotel Life

Yay! Work has started on the house. They've ripped the front of it off!


My faith in the comedy of humanity was restored earlier when I was on the phone to Kim and walking to the car park. I was just opening the door to the car park when a man was walking out of said door. This happened just as I was ending the call with Kim, and I said, "Love You...".

To which the gentleman replied, not missing a beat, "I love you too, but it's all happening so quickly..." and carried on walking...


Tuesday 06 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617728852

Day 10 of Hotel Life

Still no sign of any work being done on the house...

I was back to work today after the Easter break - well, working from my hotel room. It's OK, but the security paranoid womble in me decided to shut the curtains to keep the camera outside from spying on me...

Monday 05 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617640830


When a building is finished, why isn't it called a built?

Monday 05 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617640484

No Such Place As Parliament (or Church)

In another of his excellent blog, David Allen Green avers that we needn't have parliament in the Palace of Westminster, just like we needn't have Church in a monstrous, peasant-funded, ill-gotten temple such as a Church, Abbey, Minster or Cathedral.

You see, Church and Parliament are not the names of buildings, but the collective nouns of the gatherings there - they are what you do, not where you do it...

Monday 05 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617622619

Big Brother

I didn't think I was paranoid about state surveillance until I notice the arrangement of mirrors in my room means that the camera on top of the lamppost outside my hotel room's window can look directly at my computer screen.

I guess I'll have to shut my curtains when I'm using my work laptop?

You'll have to zoom in on the mirror/window to see it...
You'll have to zoom in on the mirror/window to see it...

The camera
The camera

Monday 05 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617618656

Day 9 of Hotel Life

An excellent quote from the book, Ready Player One, that I'm currently reading:

"AA 241:87 — I would argue that masturbation is the human animal’s most important adaptation. The very cornerstone of our technological civilization. Our hands evolved to grip tools, all right — including our own. You see, thinkers, inventors, and scientists are usually geeks, and geeks have a harder time getting laid than anyone. Without the built-in sexual release valve provided by masturbation, it’s doubtful that early humans would have ever mastered the secrets of fire or discovered the wheel. And you can bet that Galileo, Newton, and Einstein never would have made their discoveries if they hadn’t first been able to clear their heads by slapping the salami (or “knocking a few protons off the old hydrogen atom”). The same goes for Marie Curie. Before she discovered radium, you can be certain she first discovered the little man in the canoe." - Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Sunday 04 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617567978

Wine Gums

Purely in the interests of research, you understand, I have discovered that you can indeed still purchase Maynards Wine Gums.

Maynards Wine Gums
Maynards Wine Gums

Sunday 04 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617555567

Happy Easter!

Sunday 04 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617533321

Day 8 of Hotel Life

I've broken two separate keyrings today - weird.

I'm fully engrained into hotel life now - I've even set up my room as a delivery address for Amazon.

Still nothing happening at our house.

Although, in other news, the water leak I reported on Albert Road is being sorted - it seems to be bigger than estimated, lots of vans and workers around it, with one guy there at 10pm last night when I finished covering up Bud.

Not A bad view from the hotel's window, though...
Not A bad view from the hotel's window, though...

Saturday 03 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617486008

Hirsute Hippo

Currently upgrading my (very old) laptop to the Lubuntu beta of Hirsute Hippo (Ubuntu's latest version).

If you can read this, it went OK...

Saturday 03 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617471680

Protest About Protests

A protest was held today outside of Charles Church Police Station in Plymouth over the bill to chip away at our right of peaceful protest.

Ban The Bill Protest in Plymouth
Ban The Bill Protest in Plymouth

Saturday 03 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617461717

Christianity & Homosexuality

The whole thing about homosexuality being a sin in the bible and therefore to Christians is only 40 years old. It was read that way by someone in New York in the 1980s misinterpreting the passage about laying with another man. Before that time, it was never thought that laying with another man meant gay sex, but the furore and homophobia present in the outbreak of HIV/AIDS caused it to stick in the minds of right-wingnut conservatives.

Saturday 03 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617461475


Of course, this weekend we celebrate the true meaning of Easter - When Jesus visited the small island in the South Pacific and made stone carvings of people all over the place.

I do not know why he did this - I guess he moves in mysterious ways?

Saturday 03 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617451204

Day 8 of Hotel Life

Cold old day today - An Arctic northerly wind has brought us crystal clear blue skies, but bloody freezing weather!

I've also invested in a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse as the keyboard on my decrepit laptop has pretty much given up on life - it misses almost every other keystroke, which makes typing on it pretty interesting...

Friday 02 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617392875


Have Haribo bought out Maynards?
Have Haribo bought out Maynards?

They taste the same...

Friday 02 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617392797

That's Some Cat!

Oleg the Maine Coon
Oleg the Maine Coon

Friday 02 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617385397

Day 7 of Hotel Life

Not much news on the house/hotel front. No movement inside, except that they've supplied an oil-filled radiator to keep Bud warm as we head into a cold spell this week (our gas heating has been disconnected).

Dad Upgraded to 5G

Dad has had his 2nd vaccination today so at least that's one less person to worry about with covid-19 (variants pending)...

Thursday 01 April 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1617293660

Day 6 of Hotel Life

Working on my company laptop (light laptop, like a chromebook) has made me realise how bad my eyes are getting with age - I used to prefer to wear glasses to make things clearer when I was using it. Now I cannot actually read the text on it without my glasses.

Getting old sucks. I don't recommend it1...


  1. I am not, of course, advocating suicide either! (back)

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