The more accurate diary. Old stuff.

Warning: These are old.

February 1st

1000 emails, a filled disk and a dead mailing list, thirty letters and a trip to the solicitor for house stuff later, I am surfacing and starting to write up an account of the trip. I was hoping to use the news reports of the conference to remind me what happened when, but blink: where are all the news reports? I know that it's a week after it and news scrolls fast, but on past experience, I suspect that there just weren't many: it wasn't in the US so wasn't worthy of cover. I see a European conference on free software is getting very little promotion compared with yet another LWE open source extravaganza, too.

Alan seems to have been badly confused by jetlag and is getting up at civilised hours. When I ask him why, he looks affronted.

I could swear I had loads of goodies in the freezer for our return, but a trip to the supermarket (or, with luck, their website) is sorely indicated.

Reading the Guardian and the BBC, it emerges that it wasn't my imagination about the heat: the BBC is reporting that the east coast of Australia is having a heatwave such that rails are buckling; someone on IRC from Adelaide said they're well past previous records and onto their 35th consecutive day of higher-than-ever-recorded temperatures; and the Guardian informed me both that funnelweb spiders have shown up in Queensland and that it was the worst week for years in terms of reported spider and snake bites.

However did we get out alive?

January 31st

This is a placeholder entry more than anything. We are now back from Australia, where we have been for two weeks, for both LCA and touring around a bit afterwards.

Brief summary:

More later. There is a lot to write up, but first, there are about a ton of letters in the post to deal with. Argh.

January 12th

Alan up and out of the house by 8.30am. I would be more impressed by this if I were convinced he had been awake. He set the alarm off on the way out...

Headline today in the tabloids: "Five Olympic athletes had blood clots on way to Australia via plane". Now I had to decide whether to panic or to ignore it on the grounds that it was in the tabloids. Ignored it. Promptly found the more restrained version on the BBC: a mere three. Eep. Australian (and non-Australian) friends have picked the evening to say "Yes, there really are redbacks all over the house"/ "Heard this headline?"/"Did you know the temperature is..?".

I become ill when it gets above 25C. I now am wondering whether I can become ill, or be turned back at customs, or something.

January 11th

Was forced to tidy desk in fruitless quest for RH 7.0 powertools CD. We have about four copies of this somehow, and I can't find one of them. Found a sock on my desk instead. This has to be Alan's fault.

Tried to close some bugs, got sidetracked by a discussion on closing bugs instead. Productive, yes. Went to print out stuff for Australia. No ink left after last night's run on the printer. Thank you, tax office. Sent my taxes off. Maybe we'll sort Alan's out yet.

Alan has acquired "Chicken Run" and we finally got to watch it. Two whole hours of Alan present.

The pharmacist was at pains to point out to me that aspirin is not licensed for "trying to bring down the risk of thromboses on long plane flights". (We seem to be having a flurry of press stories about this at the moment, and they all seem to involve long flights like the one we are about to take. Lovely.) I reassured her that I would not attempt to sue if all my blood turned thin and I started dribbling blood out of my toenails or something, but she looked even less convinced about selling it after that image. I bought it anyway.

Also got around to signing will. The two events are not related. I hope.

January 10th
Up late. Alan not up late (by his standards) after the accountant called and I woke him up. Apparently Alan has managed to create a complicated situation without even trying. I spent the evening printing out about thirty pages of the tax office's flow charts off the website on how to calculate your tax. There is also an Excel version, which I plan to feed to Gnumeric, which has successfully dealt with several spreadsheets I got sent by people using Excel. Time to up the stakes. Alan now has an 8.30am appointment in his future, and I have no idea how he's going to make it short of staying up an extra couple of hours.

Broke evolution some more.

January 9th
Several visits from NTL for new phone line (this is getting ridiculous). First person didn't have his card, naughty man. Looked at job and went "Oh" and called some more people. Second person turned up, I went to leave the room, and discovered we had a hall full of people drilling and hammering cables, and got stuck where I was. Apparently more arrived, but I didn't see that.

Alan spending very very long hours at the computer trying to get things done before we go. I think I saw more of him when he was getting up at 6.30am and getting a 7am train and returning at 10pm. I was generally grumpy because my wrist hurt after landing on it because I am a twit.

Monster chilli day. That got him downstairs, at least.

January 8th
Went to book coach tickets for coach to airport. Bought some washable currency from the bank for Australia. Alan wouldn't let me test how washable it was.

Software destruction day:

Through all of this except the kernel squabble, Alan was downstairs watching "Orgazmo" or some such, and howling with laughter so much that he was louder than my CD player, despite two shut doors between us.

Fell off my ergonomic "force me to keep wrists in right place" stool (don't ask how, it's too embarrassing). Landed on wrist. Decided day was not going to improve.

Went to bed to a nice unbreakable book, woken by Alan reminding me that the Mark Thomas Project was back on, (shown well after midnight on S4C, sigh). It was worth getting up for, though.

January 7th
Not a productive day. Diddled with HTML for no real reason. Read some more books. Refrained from reading book for flight and was very proud.
January 6th
Either neither of us know how to set a mousetrap (I'm still not convinced by Alan's baiting it with Coco-Pops...) or the mouse has departed. There is a musty smell in one room. I do hope the mouse did not depart there.

Watched some rugby in the pub before remembering that we too have all these channels and watching the rest at home. Later caught "The Avengers" (film) on the telly too. Subsequently read lots of reviews and decided some people clearly had not seen the original series. Fun, and not nearly as bad as some reviews would have it.

January 5th
The restaurant which opened just before Christmas is now immensely busy. I still keep ordering something which is just a little too hot for me but the taste of which I love. Alan thinks watching me try to eat it is very funny.

Everyone keeps noticing "Oh, 2.4 is out". I keep waiting for it to make any difference to life here, but I don't think it's going to.

January 4th
The humane mousetraps appear to be five times the price of the splat-'em variety. Alan has made a good point. "So you catch it. Then what are you going to do with it?" Dunno. Oops.

Still not finished the European history book. But found an equally-sized volume by the same author, bought it, and put it in the "for Australia" pile. Much easier to find than laptop batteries.

Alan popped his head into the bedroom sometime before midnight. "2.4's out". And then vanished for four hours.

January 3rd
The mouse is annoying Alan. He's still being out-thought by pea-brain (the mouse).
January 2nd
Having cut one finger opening a jar of pesto, I have now cut another one wiping the cooker down. Apparently I am not fit to be left to my own devices in the kitchen. My typing speed is limited now.

I am convinced that the Channel Four film channel (on the new super-exciting multi-channel cable or satellite or whatever we got) is monitoring Alan's E-bay purchases. All the films we want to see are in the pile of stuff Alan has accumulated. I have decided I don't mind films, because the alternative is some massive hardware which several kind people (whom I shall kill as soon as I know who they are) pointed out to Alan. He was measuring the cellar door dimensions and the angles in the stairs.

January 1st
Alan seems to be playing "which comes first, the real release or the -ac patch?" games which result in many many late nights. I have been up late reading a book on the history of Europe in bed for several nights (um, me in bed, not Europe). And I still don't know what time he's coming to bed. It's a very good book, though, and I wish I'd saved it for the plane trip to Australia for instead. It would probably have kept me quiet.

Much washing and spinning at high speeds going on in a hare-brained "it will stop the mouse hiding under the washing machine" manner. This is proving more successful than seven years of nagging at getting Alan to bring his washing down.

December 31st
Not in Scotland with my sister for the new year. Boo. Hiss. Weather is warming slightly: the snow turned to water and the rain started again. Lots of it.

New year is always an anti-climax after the Australians have all arrived on IRC, shouted drunken happy new years, and departed, leaving the rest of the world thinking, "well, that was it then, was it?" This year, we had additional entertainment. A novel mouse problem.

No local parties, and anyway, Alan wanted to hack. Around 11pm, he spotted the 2.4.prerelease and scrambled to get the news onto before anyone else got it, and then to release an -ac version by midnight, which he didn't make. I had a fit of madness and decided to turn the semi-working potato box into a maybe-working woody box, and when faced with multiple debconf questions, ran away. We went out to watch the fireworks explode behind the clouds (success) and to hear the horns and sirens from the boats in the harbour (didn't hear them! Wah!). We left the front door open for a while whilst watching, too, which in retrospect may have been a mistake...

About 1am I was ready to sleep. Alan poked his head in to announce he needed my help. Goodness. DocBook? No. Spelling? No. Scratching a particularly tricky-to-reach bit of his back? No. "I think I saw a mouse scurry under the washing machine, and I need your help to catch it." So began the Great Mouse Chase, in which it is demonstrated that Alan can be outwitted by something with a brain the size of a pea.

It is of course our wonderful new kitchen with nice cupboards. Alas, some of the lower ones have holes in the back to allow access to stopcocks and other vital things. We had to take the nice panels fronting the base of the cupboards off, and with the aid of a long metal pole normally used as a hook for lanterns and a couple of powerful torches, we were completely unable to get at it. I wandered off, beginning to doubt Mr Mouse's existence.

Ten minutes later, Alan is back again. "It's under the fridge". Trying to rock fridges to flush the beastie out without killing it turns out to be easier than the same technique when applied to washing machines: but trying to slam the plastic bin on top of the fleeing rodent is not so easy. "There! Get out of the wa -- damn!" Back under the cupboards. After a war of wills between Alan and mousie ("I can see it: it's staring at me. It has lovely little brown eyes and a pink nose. It's not moving" was emerging in a muffled voice from the part of Alan squeezed under the cupboards), it eventually made a break for freedom and the back of the cupboards and hid again. Clanged pipes, groped around in the dark. No mouse. Became suspicious, opened the cupboards with accessible holes, and caught a glimpe of the thing diving back out of one. Argh!

Rearranged food from lower cupboards to those with no holes (thankfully, we have some). Eyed time. Regaled IRC with mouse tales ("I have a mouse problem" "Is it PS2 or USB?" "Um.") whilst plotting madness with a webcam, irda and bait in order to find out where it was hiding. Alan found a camera and decided this would help find the mouse. Half an hour later, the good news was that the mouse was no longer in the kitchen. The bad news was that Alan left the wrong kitchen door open and it is now at large in the rest of the ground floor (contents: wooden tables, wooden dresser, many cardboard boxes, and cables).

Left him to it and went to bed. I have never had such an entertaining first-footer for new year before, but all good things must come to an end, and the 'good' bit ended with its foray into the rest of the house. Alan is extremely irritated by the whole thing. Not because it's a cute fluffy beastie, but because he can't work out how he got in, despite investigations round the back of the house in the dark and rain with a torch. ("There's only a limited number of ways it could come in, and it can't have been through this wall." Ponder, ponder. "I don't understand." Sulk.)

Now collecting safe humane ways to remove mouse (ideally, alive) from house.. Happy new year.

I've been asked for a more obvious feedback route. So there you are! But please note: This should be clear from the above, but: I am not a kernel hacker. I am not an anything hacker. "Is this diary true?" will get answered. (It is.) "I have a problem compiling the brainsplat module under the pre-sliced option terminator; I am using the mutability framewedger on the standard infernalisation build" will not. (Well, it might be answered in a similar vein, but for a real answer, look elsewhere. It's much safer.)