Monday, 16 January 2012

Exciting times

At least the start of such things... We - that is M - had a busy Sunday* ensuring that there was a clear path for the scaffolders who arrived this morning at 10. They were scheduled to arrive some time between 8 and 11, but as predicted they arrived just as I was sitting down to the first meeting of the day. I was extremely glad that M was still at home to point them in the right direction - asking a customer to wait a few minutes while I sorted them out didn't seem a terribly professional approach!
They came, they scaffolded, and they went away... the job was done in about an hour, and there is the BIGGEST ladder I have ever seen leaning against the back wall of our house. Fortunately there is absolutely no way for any miscreants to get access to our back garden without climbing at least two 6ft+ fences, unless they come through the house or garage, so I think it's all pretty safe. The Solar Team arrive tomorrow at about 8 to start their installation - fortunately there are no customer meetings scheduled - they expect to have the panels up and installed by the end of tomorrow, and there may be a bit more to do the next day, but by the end of Wednesday we should be generating our own lovely free electricity!!!

In the meantime, I have done a little bit of playing with my new toy... as part of the excitement, I sent the artwork for the logo we use for our boat to a company who does digitising. You can't just give a .jpg file or a drawing to the sewing machine, it has to be turned into a proper control file which contains all the instructions about how to stitch it... I do have software to do this wonderful transformation, but it's not easy to do a really good job, and I thought we should invest in getting someone who knows what they are doing on the case. So I did, and here's the result... How cool is that?!?

* I did some work too - laying insulation and floorboards in the loft because Solar Team need to get up there to do clever things with cables and it would be frightfully embarrasing if they fell through the ceiling because I hadn't got around to doing the floorboards... so I did them.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Middle age traveller on the loose

Been a busy old weekend...

Saturday morning was supposed to be a very early start - but by the time I'd sorted out a casserole so that M wouldn't starve while I was missing, it was well after 9 before I left. But the roads were as kind as they could be on a Saturday morning, and I got to Northampton General Hospital about 1pm.
James' garden...
James was on pretty good form, and certainly seems to have turned the corner. The dialysis machine count still stands at four, and hopefully he won't be using any more of them! It sounds as though he will be locked away from the world for quite a time, and he's becoming resigned to that, but there is at least a plan for his recuperation. Although the hospital will discharge him once he's medically fit (whenever that is) he will still need to convalesce for a time and gain strength before he can look after himself once more.
He's decided that sailing at Whitsun  might be a bit ambitious, but is certainly intending to be in his usual place on the Steam Rally circuit this year! I left him in the tender care of the representatives of the Northamptonshire Law Enforcement Community who had chosen to join us in the Palace Hotel and Ballroom Hospital Ward this evening...

Then I went to the chippy and spent the evening with a bunch of friends I haven't seen for ages. Seriously ages. So long that one of them turned up with a grown up daughter who was old enough to drink who wasn't even thought of when I'd last seen her. Sheesh, have I been away that long? It was good, and one of those reminders that you should remember to talk to people. It was also a reminder that real friends are always just that, and the years fell away as we talked.

 After a night of fun and frolics in the motel (where the "free" internet didn't work) I rushed off to see my
niece and her tribe... times have been pretty tough for them recently, and they aren't getting much easier any time soon, but she's a tough lady and I know that she'll come through for her kids' sakes. It was good to see them all, it seems like a long time. Probably because it had been a long time.
Then back to the hospital, for a brief chat with James, who had other visitors, followed by a long hike around the hospital looking for the promised cash machine, and then a couple of hours with Julia who is still on the path through the dark scary forest. Her path has been pretty rocky, and she'd fallen into a few holes that I only tripped around the edge of. She's reacted quite badly to the latest round of drugs and has spent most of the week in a hospital bed, has had real trouble with mouth ulcers (and if ever there was a prize for understatement, calling what Docetaxel does to your mouth "ulcers" is a pretty sure winner!) and has had an all-round bad time of it. Mind you, she might be bald but she still has perfect eyebrows, and mine still look a mess a year afterwards!
My dear Bruv and his good lady wife provided me with a sterling roast dinner before I headed off on the next installment of the adventure... back up to the bit of the M6 that's cobbled. Then some other motorways that weren't built last time I was there. There's no Holiday Inn in Burnley (shock!) but there is a very nice Travelodge...

There's this sewing machine machine shop, you see. Where there was this sewing machine... Well, it was a bargain. Honest, it really had to be a bargain, otherwise I wouldn't have driven that far... And anyway I was already half way there, seeing as how I'd driven as far as Northampton... It's quite clever, does clever stuff, much more than my existing machine, which was clever but not this clever. And the trade-in deal was good...
Ah, what the heck. I wanted it, and I figure I deserve a pressie once in a while. So I bought it. And then I drove home. Which took 7 hours but I managed to keep the indicated fuel consumption average over 65mpg, so that was good, wasn't it?