Well I think this is interesting …


Youngest is doing his usual Saturday ‘thing’ and watching YouTube videos on my laptop. He does this every weekend, after he has had his wash/bath, he’ll come down and sit at my laptop until his lunch is ready. I was going to use my older laptop to do some work on but I thought I would give this a go.

So, I am sat at the living room table, with my iPad Mini and TechGear bluetooth keyboard, writing this post directly into the iOS WordPress editor! An unusual experience to say the least. I think I may have tried using the editor before on my laptop, but usually like to write posts using Open Live Writer (OLW), which is a free piece of software born out of the now defunct, Windows Live Writer. If you’ve not tried OLW, can I suggest you give it a try. Back to the post in question!

I found the settings for Tags and Categories and managed to add some, but it is a lot harder to actually work with. In OLW I have a single button that will post some work as draft. I can then go into the web version of WordPress, check for any errors (there usually is a couple or six!) before I finally post. The iPad app seems to offer the same facility, but it is going to take me a while and a lot more practice if I’m going to make a habit of it.

One thing I have found, it seems to quite difficult to centre a line of text. There must be a way, but maybe not with this keyboard.

** Update** I think I may now know why. The Techgear bluetooth keyboard is mapped for an Android no iOS. There are (apparently) a number of differences between the keyboards of the two systems

Doing a bit of computer housekeeping …


I (currently) own two laptops. My main one sits on my computer desk in the living room but the previous one lives in S****s (the spare bedroom) bedroom. Both work fine but the old one was beginning to get a little slow. So on Friday I decided to give a good clear out and try and bring it to a more reasonable speed. I first spent about three hours getting the system up-to date. As I tend not to use it as much as I use the more recent one, it had fallen a little behind with the “up-dates”.

On Saturday morning I ran a small piece of software that checks most of my applications to see if there re any updates for them. The list was quite large, but as I was not going to be using all the applications on the laptop, I only updated a few. Later in the day I began to uninstall some of the bigger software apps. I managed to get three done before I got fed up with it. Started again this morning and after around four hours, I was in a position to write this post. The machine is now much faster, and it is my intention to use this one to work on any creative writing I happen to be engaged in.

The problem I had was the the Microsoft cloud storage on the ‘old’ laptop was called “SkyDrive” whereas on the ‘newer’ laptop it’s called “OneDrive”. It caused me a bit of grief to get the two synchronised, but I eventually got it sorted. You see if I wanted to do any work, such as write this blog on a Sunday, it was a problem. R*** like to use my newer laptop before he has his lunch, and this has now become part of his routine. It meant that any ideas I wanted to write down had to wait until he had finished.

Full of cold …


Yep, I’m full of cold. It started with a bit of a cough at the beginning of the week and it’s now reached the ‘messy’ stage. Problem is, that on Saturday, we are all going for our annual ‘flu jab’. I’ve been told, that with any prosthetic heart valve, the flu vaccination is a very good, if not essential idea. Not sure if I will be able to have it. Certainly don’t feel up to having it at this precise moment.

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Related image
Bramham All Saints Church

We went to church on Sunday. Not such a big thing you may say, many people do. I used to go often when R*** was a lot younger, but as he has grown up, getting out of the house on his ‘days off’ is a big problem. I can understand too. He goes off to his daycare centre Monday to Friday, so on the weekend, all he wants to do is be in his room, doing the things that he likes to do. A bit like most of us really. If it’s not something you have to do, then why do it? Anyway, he was on respite at the weekend, and it seemed such a good opportunity to go. It was interesting seeing people that we know, but have not seen for a while. We are looking to go again on the 5th November, when R*** is on a weekend respite again. This could become a regular occurrence.

 

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Now the bathroom is finished, I’m looking to start on some decorating. I need to tidy up the paintwork in the bathroom, (ceiling and door frame to be precise) but want to have a good go at it without too many break-offs. R*** goes on respite again on Monday, so I could probably do that in one day. I then need to start on the staircase. There is not a lot to paint, but it will be the access that will be the main issue. Hopefully, if I can crack on, I should get it all done before he returns of Friday afternoon. Ideally, I’d like to have all the work done by the end of Thursday, but that may be pushing it a little. It’s all in the planning! I’m thinking though, that the doorframes, may have to wait until the following week.

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I have once again used the new WordPress editor to publish this, and the jury is still out. I have yet to work out how to publish as a draft, or in fact if I need to publish as a draft first.

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** I have just discovered the ‘Preview’ button. This seems to work as a draft mode, allowing me to check what the post looks like before posting. So no real need to post a draft first. I have also just found the Windows Store ‘WordPress.com’ app. So the next post will be using that (if I can remember) **

Friends … real friends??


This is a bit of a rhetorical question I suppose, but are your FaceBook friends real? It is something I have started to think about recently. In fact as recently as 1 hour ago!

About a year ago, I came across someone I have known or been known to, for about 60 years. This person was a good friend of my parents and her daughter was a friend of mine. When we moved house in 1966 all contact was lost and it was through FaceBook that I was able to get back in contact again. We have chatted (the mother and me) on a number of occasions and it was good. However! The daughter seems to have dropped me from her friends list and I don’t know why. It has happened just recently, possibly in the last couple of weeks. It is this that makes me question the reality (if that’s the correct word) of FaceBook friends. The thing is though, I have friends from work, who are FB friends who still ‘appear’ to be friends. In fact, I have been chatting to two of them tonight. Now they may just be humouring me, I would not like to speculate on that, but from what they were saying, I get the impression that we are still friends.

Now, saying all that, I have myself just ‘unfriended’ (what a stupid word) a couple of people that I used to work with. They have not responded to any messages or posts and so I get the feeling that I’m just a number in their ‘friends’ list. I don’t want to be a number. Is that wrong?

No Weekly Photo Challenge this week …


This is going to be a short one! The WPC this week is “Fun”. I struggle with this. What is ‘Fun’? What’s fun for you, and you, and you and even you is quite likely the opposite of what I would call fun.  I fact, sitting here on a Saturday night, I can’t recall anything I do that I could call “Fun”. There are many things that I enjoy (typing this is something I like to do) but as for ‘Fun’ …

What is Fun? I had a look round a couple of dictionaries, and most entries seem to have the word ‘amusing’ as part of the definition. On that count, I suppose watching my collection of Tony Hancock DVD’s (I still want to call them videos …. so sad) would count as being ‘Fun’ and although they are great to watch … Fun?

I have, for a long time believed (how difficult is it to spell that word!) that I may qualify to have the title “Grumpy Old Man”. After this post, there is no question!

Today so far …


A trip to Farndale this morning to see the famous daffodils. I have been before, many years ago, but on that occasion, the daffodils had bloomed early and there was very little to see. More successful today, but they were starting to look past their prime. For me, if you’ve seen one daffodil you’ve seen them all.

After the walk, we visited the Feversham Arms Inn for a spot of lunch and an alcoholic refreshment. My choice of burger was not my best. It sounded good, but was very dry and to be honest, quite tasteless. But everyone elses choice was fine. I will live with it.

First day …


Well I think I slept okay. I don’t remember too much. I do remember getting up in the middle of the night for my usual visit to the toilet. Totally confused, I completely forgot that we had an en suite and trotted of downstairs. How I remembered there was a toilet downstairs if I had forgotten there was upstairs, I will never know. Still the sun is shining and we shall where today takes us.

Worrying day … not going too well …


It was never going to be a good start to the day. R*** has had an infected thumb for a couple of days now. K*** was worried that it was getting worse and thought he would need need to see the doctor. Not so bad I hear you say, but here comes the crunch. Today was the day the rendering was to be started and was also the day we were going away for couple of days. Add to that, R*** going on respite for four nights, made for a nightmare of a start.

Still it all now seems to be getting better. R*** got off okay (taxi manage to eventually pick him up). The plasterer started and was getting on quite well. We got off for our break after a not too long delay and found the place we were looking for with no problem.

Posting might be an issue at this cottage. There is wi-fi and it is quite good, but there is no phone signal (like being back in the 1980’s) and I’m missing it already.

All going along nicely …


The hospital appointment went well. The doctor has always had a knack of being ‘a little behind’ as the nurse politely put it. So it was no surprise when the appointment was delayed by about 30 minutes. I had blood pressure taken and the (same) nurse observed that the ‘bottom half’ was a little high, but nothing to worry about. I put it down to driving through the centre of York. Why is it, that visitors to that grand city seem to like wandering into the road for no apparent reason?

Anyway, the ultra-sound scan I had the previous week was just what the doctor was expecting. He listened to my heart, and that was fine, and he never even mentioned my blood pressure. We had a chat about how I was feeling as opposed to before the operation, and what was going to happen in the future. That was it! In his words, it was ‘all going along nicely!’

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That is about it really. I’m on leave for a week and I don’t really know whether anyone will pick up the work I do. My line manager (gnash, growl, spit) should do it, but I can’t see it happening unless she is forced. I would say I don’t care, but I do! I know I will be checking my emails every day, and I’ll try not to answer any of them, but for the past ten years, I always have kept in touch while on leave. It’s just something I do.

I’m not sure about this …


When I say “not sure…” I mean I’m not about why I’m posting this, but here goes.

I’ll give a bit of background first. One of the aspects of the work I’m currently on, is the need to do testing of certain pieces of computer software. The testing involves working in a ‘clean computer environment’.  This basically means that the PC’s used to test have been stripped back to the standard they were when first installed. It’s a bit of a tedious process that usually involves sitting a room with eight or nine computers and the system manager. Nobody else. That’s the background.

On Friday I was to do the usual testing and arrived at the test room as expected. I was then told that there would be someone else testing. I got on with my work and paid little attention to what was going on. Someone came into the room and they were welcomed by system manager with “Hi there Helen. Can you sit at your usual seat?” Helen is not her real name.

Helen answered, and the voice she had sounded a little strange. Not a woman’s voice I felt. I was then introduced and I turned to say hello. It then became obvious, that Helen was actually a transgender person.

Now this is where I worry about this post. I sat there trying to understand how I felt about this person. The conclusion I came to, was that there was no feeling apart from the fact that they were testing like me. I didn’t feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, intrigued, worried, disgusted or anything like that. It was the first transgender person I had met (at least I think it was) and it felt strangely normal, whatever ‘normal’ means. Should I have had one or more of the feelings I mentioned? At the end of the day, Helen was simply a human being that had decided what they wish to look like, what they wanted to be called and how they wanted to live their life.

On reflection, I think I must have made the mental decision that on this occasion, I’m not entitled to have any opinions. It is what it is and they are what they choose to be. I have no right to approve or disapprove.

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Talking of decisions, I think I’m going to stick with Open Live Writer for my blog editor, well at least for the time being. It doesn’t seem to work too well with images as my entry into the Weekly Photo Challenge shows. I could not get the images to show how I wanted them too, and it looks a little like a rushed job. The blog template in Word seems to be better and so does the WordPress editor. Both appear to have better options for working with images.

A recent idea (as recent as five minutes ago) flashed across my mind. That was, I wonder if I could create an Infographic image of the pictures I wanted to post. I have seen a lot of Infographics floating around on the internet, and have been wondering for a while on using the idea. Not sure if it will work for a collection of images, but I think it will make positioning of the pictures a little easier.

I have that “must test this out” feeling coming over me again, so expect some more ‘quick’ posting over the next week or so.

And so the end of the first week…..


Well here we are, six days in and I really don’t feel any different. It seems that is will make a difference being this age as things might start to get a little cheaper. More on that later.

The ‘big day’ went as well as I could have hoped. I did not want any big celebrations or fuss that I think people might have wanted to plan, so it was a quiet day. I had changed my Facebook profile to not display my birthday, to see if anyone actually remembered. Guess what? Nobody did remember. It has come to something, when people, including some family members need a social media site to remind them of birthdays and the like! What was a surprise was, when I was searching for something on Google, I hovered over the graphic on the Google web site, and saw that Google sent me birthday wishes. Was a bit of a shock, before I realised that Google does actually know my birth date.

Lots of presents and a few cards, and a nice day out with K***s parents at Harlow Carr gardens. Then lunch at The Black Swan in Burn Bridge, near Harrogate.

One of the ways that being 60 has got a little cheaper is my prescriptions are now free. After my operation, I realised that it would be cheaper if I got a prepayment prescription certificate (or PPC). This drastically reduced the charges by over half. But, it seems that when you get to 60, the charges stop and all my medication is now free. The pharmacist, told me to reclaim the balance, and it looks like I may get somewhere in the region of £25.00 back.

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On Wednesday we set off for a couple of days break at The Black Swan (different one from before) in Fearby, just outside Masham. We got there in good time and decided that we do the Black Sheep Brewery tour. It was a very interesting couple of hours, and if you are in the area, I suggest you give it a go. You will not be disappointed. Especially with the beer sampling you get at the end of the tour! Now this was another way that being 60 was a little cheaper. The tour cost is £8.50 per person, which includes 3 x 1/3 of a pint of beer as your sampling. However, and I never spotted this, if you are a ‘senior’ aged 60 or over, you get in for £6.99 and still get the beer at the end. It seems that there are a lot of places that do this kind of reduction for people over 60, and I’ll need to look out for them. One thing that bothered me a little, was that no proof of age was required ……. Maybe my little joke about being as old as I look was not such a joke after all!

We arrived at our place of stay, at around 4pm, booked in and then went for a short walk round the village. It seems that The Black Swan is the only pub in the village. It worried me a little, that it might be a bit noisy later on in the night, but it turned out not to be the case.

The restaurant/breakfast room/bar had an unusual collection. The whole of the roof was covered with chamber pots. Must have been over 200 hanging from the ceiling. It made for an interesting if somewhat bizarre display. Mind you, saying that the landlord seemed to drive everywhere in an old U.S. army jeep, so I suppose each to his own.

Thursday was the day we were to do what is known as “The Druids Temple Walk”. Now this is not as dramatic is it sounds. The Druids Temple is actually a folly built in about 1820, by the owner of the Swinton Estate, as a means of employment for local people. It is stated that it is a 5 mile circular walk, although to me it seemed to feel more like 8 miles! But it was worth it when we got there.

We had a quick visit to Thirsk on Friday on the way home. Nothing special there for me, I’m afraid, but K*** seemed to like the place. K*** likes to make our breaks last as long as possible. Me, on the other hand prefer to get home as soon as possible on the last day.

All in all, it was a good couple of days away. The weather could not have been better and the scenery was just perfect.

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Monday will be interesting I think. The team I work with now, seem to like to ‘celebrate’ people’s birthday milestones, and they seem to know when everyone’s birthday is. Thing is, that I’m not in my main office tomorrow, so I’m not sure how things will pan out or what might happen when I go to the main office on Tuesday. I think I need to get some sweet stuff to take in on the Tuesday, but I shall just have to play it by ear. Before the last workplace review, the team I was in just did not do anything for birthdays. They didn’t even send each other Christmas cards, which always seemed unusual. I did get a ‘Get Well soon’ card after my operation, but it was given to me about 2 weeks before I returned to work, so I felt a little bit cheated.

 

 

Tomorrow is another decade !!!


Let’s start with the title of this post shall we? Tomorrow, 20th April 2015 I will reach a milestone in my life. The day will see me hit 60 years old! And in reply to all those kind people ….. yes I do look it and at times I do feel it. So that’s that out of the way.

For an early birthday present, S**** took me to see the wrestling at WWE Live. It took place at the Leeds First Direct Arena, which is a fairly new venue. Although I love watching the wrestling, the thought of going to see it live was something, I had never really considered. So it was a bit of a surprise when he produced the tickets. To be honest, K*** bought mine and he bought his own, but the thought was his. I really enjoyed it. It was great to see some of the big names in the wrestling world. The seats were good, and we both had a good view of all the action. I know it’s all scripted and it is more of a pantomime that a sporting event, but it is very entertaining. The atmosphere was amazing, and I have to say, I did get into it quite a bit. Even the two kids right behind me that were joining in, with very annoying voices added to the whole enjoyment of the event.

It was good to spend some time with S**** as father and son. It has been a while since we did anything together. We used to go to the local pub for the ‘Quiz Night’ every Tuesday, but that stopped when one night R*** flipped and K*** struggled to cope with it.

But, the day was not without its problems. I needed to get some cash as the ticket machines in the car park would not accept my debit card, so tried to use the nearest ATM. Again, my debit card was not accepted, not even to obtain a balance. Luckily, I had a card for another account with me, so all was not lost. However, it did nag me a little, and I could only put it down to my card being damaged or something.

When I got home, I checked my account on the website, to find that there had been two unknown transactions for $200.00. A swift panic call to the bank, quickly sorted the issue out. It seems that a clone of my card had been used in New York on the 10th. The bank had picked it up as a potential fraud, as they said that the time difference between the last use in England and the use in New York was too short and when the second transaction was made, the card was blocked.

I now have a new card and the cash has been refunded, so all’s well.

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Remember me talking about my mobile phone? I was going to get a Windows phone. I was still not sure about changing operation systems, but when I talked to the sales person about the phone, he advised that “…. We no longer stock that model, because of the issues with it….” There was no mention of what issues they had, but it made the decision for me. I had another phone in mind and I was kind of hoping they would be out of stock of the Windows phone. So in the end I settled for an HTC. I went with the HTC Desire 620. I have had an HTC phone before and was very pleased with it. Up to press, I am very satisfied with this one too.

I was a bit worried about the new contract though. It cost slightly more (the provider has changed all the ‘plans’) and has only a 2gb data allowance. My previous contract had unlimited data, and although I checked my data usage and found it never went above 1gb in the whole 2 years. I was still concerned that I may be losing out. I am monitoring it and well within the limit. I have not used the internet as much as before, so it might take a couple of months before I’m sure I have enough.

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And now, a question. Why, when the road sign indicates a 50 miles per hour speed limit, do some drivers think that it means ‘drive at a speed between 30mph and 40mph’? It happens all the time. The major road when where we live to the centre of Leeds, is an ‘A’ road and for a great deal of it the speed limit is 50mph. You never actually get to that speed! There is always some driver that, for whatever reason drives slower than that. It’s not an age thing or a gender thing. It’s not just at 50mph it happens. Many times on a 30mph road, does one driver takes it to mean 22mph. Do these people own the road? Do they apply some complicated mathematical formula that calculates the speed for them? Or are they simply just inconsiderate drivers? I tend to think the latter applies. Rant over!

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Finally, does this theme work? I have struggled a little with themes for this blog, as I never really know if it looks right. I think it does, but I’m not the reader. Would be interesting to know your views.

Satisfying week


A great week off from work. Used the last 5 days of leave for 2014/2015. So we had two nights in Whitby. It’s a place we both like and have done for quite a long time. Whitby has lots of history about it, and I’ll mention some of that later.

We stayed in a hotel called “The White Horse and Griffin” which is a very old coaching inn, located near the harbour. The bar is interesting, as it is quite a narrow room. In fact the doorway you can see in the picture, is more or less, the width of the bar. There two seats at a table to the left of the door as you enter and to the right there is room for what can only be described as a shelf with stools. There is a gap between these that is suitable for two slender people to walk down together.

The room was good and comfortable and the food was excellent. The only downside, if you could call it a downside, was the Wi-Fi. It was really, quite poor. You could only pick it up in certain parts of the room, and whilst the hotel information said it was available in the public rooms (which was the bar, restaurant and breakfast room) it was very hit and miss there also.

Still, we did not go there for a technological experience, and one day, I will simply leave my tablet at home and forget about everything that is going on elsewhere. I say that now, but I don’t think it will happen soon. We are all too reliant on these things today. It’s true! I feel quite naked, if I forget to take my smartphone when I go out of the house. It’s a little bit scary really!

Now, a little bit about Whitby. It is the place where HMS Endeavour, the ship that James Cook sailed to Australia and New Zealand, was built. It has a ruined Benedictine abbey, which can trace its roots back to 657AD. Jet, the compressed remains of ancestors of the monkey-puzzle tree, can be found in the cliffs and on the moors and has been used since the Bronze Age to make beads. It was the favoured mourning jewellery for the Victorians. Of course, one cannot mention Whitby, without mentioning Bram Stokers Dracula. The famous gothic horror/romance was partly set in Whitby, and the ruined abbey has been used in many film and TV adaptations of the tale.

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It was K***s birthday yesterday, and she had mentioned the day previous, that it would be nice to have a pork chop for dinner. We had two in the fridge, which she had got at the beginning of the week, and I was to get some veg when I went out. This was the plan. However, the night before, S**** had texted me to say that him and his girlfriend were coming over on K***s birthday and could stay for dinner, if it was okay, but it was to be a secret. No problem, I thought, we could have the chops today (Sunday) and I would cook the ham joint, that we were going to have, on the Saturday. Simple. But it was not to be. K*** wanted the chops on Saturday. So my trip to the shops, involved sneakily buying a couple of extra chops, extra veg and hiding them in the fridge in the garage. K*** quizzed me a bit about the number of potatoes I had got out, but I explained that I was using up some of the ones that were getting old. I think I got away with it.

All in all, it was a great surprise for here, and it all went as well as could be expected, even though I slightly overcooked the chops.

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Today sees the start of BST or British Summer Time. It is the day when the clocks in Britain are put forward by 1 hour and nearly everyone gets up 1 hour earlier than usual. It goes back to the Summer Time Act of 1916. I say ‘nearly everyone’, because this time, we forgot! I put it down to having S**** and his girlfriend here the night that made me forget. It was not until K*** was listening to the radio after her shower, that she realised, she was one hour late! I will not repeat the language used, but it was not quite lady-like. We shall say nothing more about this.

Theme Change Alert


Nothing of real interest here. I have finally taken the plunge and changed my theme. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and it came to a head this morning, when I tried to add an image to a post. Everything I tried seemed to show the image with a solid grey border around the edge. It was not a good look, but I could not find anyway of stopping it from happening without editing the text and changing some the coding that was in the background.

Now, I was intending to have an image in each new post as a motivational prompt for writing. Having to mess around with coding, was not going to make life easy, and I was resigned to having to make do with what was on offer in the theme. It was only later this evening, whilst reading another blog, that I noticed the images in their blog looked exactly like the images should look. A bit of detective work and lo and behold, I’m now using the Penscratch theme as opposed to Twenty Ten. I suppose I really should have done some research and found a theme that showed images properly, but I felt sure that there was something I needed do to the image is the setting to make it look right. Unfortunately in twenty Ten, there was nothing I could do, it was either ‘like it or lump it’ as the saying goes. The only downside that I can see with this new theme, is that I cannot add an image to the title bar. However, a small price to pay, to get the right effect. I have to say though, it’s been good fun trying to get this new one looking the way I want it, so keep watching this space ….. it may change again.