An interesting day . . .


Everything was happening yesterday. My granddaughter, S***** had her 2nd birthday and came around for lunch with her parents and other grandma. And the youngest R***, came home for the weekend. He usually comes home every other weekend, but the dental work he had done upset that routine.

He got home around 11:30 and as usual he took himself off to his room to use his laptop. I went up about 10 minutes later with a drink of water for him and everything seemed fine, although I did notice that his TV was showing no signal. He was listening to a music CD through his DVD player and didn’t seem to be bothered. I went up to tell him his lunch was ready and saw that although the satellite box was on, there was still no signal. So while he was having his lunch I re-booted the box. Nothing changed. I then did a reset and still nothing. by this time he had finished his lunch and was back in his room, asking me to “Fix Sky!”

I spent a while looking through manual, and Googling the problem but nothing seemed to work. We told him that we would have to ring the ‘engineer’ to get it fixed fully believing that he may need a new box.

Meanwhile the lunch party was in full swing downstairs. Everyone was having a good time but because one of his autistic ‘quirks’ (for want of a better word) R*** didn’t join in. He is not very good with a lot of people. I was up and down most of the time, trying various other Google solutions, with no effect.

I was about 15:00 when something clicked. When he played a CD before, through his DVD player, the track listing came up on the screen, but this time there was still no signal. I then thought, that the HDMI cable to his TV had come loose, but it couldn’t as it was a fixed cable. That’s when it hit me. I picked up the TV remote and clicked on the ‘Source’ button, which by it’s very name is the place where you decided where your TV feed is coming from. The screen lit up and showed that the source was set at the TV’s default which was Freeview. Now as this box is not connected to an external ariel, Freeview is not available. I scrolled through the option, then knowing that I was looking for the HDMI-2 feed. Once selected the screen started to show all the programmes it should show. Everyone was happy.

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Back downstairs and the lunch party was nearly over and little S***** was starting to open her presents, of which there were many. to say she is only 2 years old, she certainly knew what to do, and soon the room was filled with torn wrapping paper and scattered presents. She is fascinated with books and with a TV character called “Hey Dougie” so most of the presents seemed to on those lines. Her other grandma left around about 16:00 and her daddy told us that K***’s father was going to pop over with a present, which was a nice surprise all around.

Initially, the idea was that the ‘Birthday Party’ would have been today, but she had been poorly with a throat infection which meant cancellation. However, given the effectiveness of the antibiotics the doctor prescribed I think the party could have gone ahead as planned. But never mind, I think it all went well.

Worrying day, going well …


I was going to have a go at with the new Writing Prompt app today (might still do later) but things that we were expecting to go bad, didn’t. I shall elaborate.

Mrs H*** decide, some time ago, that she wanted the rendering on the outside walls replacing. It has become damaged somewhat, and the last paint job did not work well at all. The issue has DSCF0167been that the paint is flaking off and exposing the ‘bare’ render. It is not a small job and requires that the old render be chipped off and a new render applied. My personal view was P1010864that it just needed the rest of the paint removing and the render skimming. As ‘Master of The House’ I was, of course out voted and we went for the a full re-application. Whatever we had decided on, it meant that the house needed scaffolding erecting. Today was the day that the scaffolders arrived. We were both worried that the noise would upset R***, as because of his Autism, anything out of the ordinary can cause him a problem. He was brilliant, and it did not seem to worry him in the least. He skipped from room to room looking out of every window, just watching everything that was going on.

Then, just we thought that we had cracked it came the the ‘big hit’. One of the guys knocked on the door and explained, that because of the position of our satellite dish and the positioning of the scaffold around it, we would lose the signal. Now whilst (whilst or while … which would you use?) this was a bit inconvenient, me and Mrs H were not too bothered. But R***! He watches (at least it is on all the time) the same programmes every day. From around 8am until 10:30pm it’s ‘Nick Jnr Too’. He then switches to ‘BBC2 NI’ until 8am the next day. This happens all the time he is at home with us. Never changes. So how will he cope with this? He seemed to be okay when he was having his lunch and when he finished, I managed to load up Thomas the Tank Engine DVD. Surprisingly enough, he accepted this without any issue. We were both amazed. He is now on his 4th DVD and has even picked his own choice. This certainly not what we were expecting at all. There is a lot of finger crossing and hoping at the moment, as he could just turn at any time. We will know when  it gets to BBC2 NI time!

Warmer ????


   Last nights snow did not amount to much at all. There was only about 1/2 an inch, but it was still enough to convince my line manager to dress down again. He’s not worn formal office wear since before Christmas. Tells us, he thinks he might get caught in the snow, and does not want to be wearing his office clothes. I can’t see it matters what clothes you wear in the snow, as long as you are warm. It has snowed for everyone else in the office, and no ones else has dressed down !!!! It’s the normal dress-down day tomorrow. I would not put it past him to wear his suit !!!

   All the files I was moving, at work last week got finished yesterday. Touchwood, no problems so far. What I should really do now, is copy those files onto a DVD, then delete them all, but I think I will wait a week or two. I’ll probably end up using a couple of my own DVDs, as it would take too much time and effort to order some. It is not as if I’m short of them.

   Mrs H has bought some paint for the kitchen. Looks like I’ll be doing the ceiling on Saturday, and possibly a wall or two. Fun fun fun !!! Living room looks weird at the moment. We have large samples of wallpaper sellotaped to the wall …… just to see what it looks like. This could be a long job. I’ve been having a look at the staircase. Could be that, I will be covering that in wallpaper too !!! I enjoy wallpapering though, much more than painting. I like to get the joins perfect, and usually succeed.

Everything seems to work


   I installed the software this morning. That was a job and a half. For some reason, the software must have been an old(ish) version because, no sooner as it was installed, than that little yellow shield appeared to tell I had updates. All 220mb of them. I then found out, that the Executive version did not overwrite the Home & Student version. all in all it must have taken a good two hours.

   I also installed the new RAM at the same time. That did not take as long. If fact, if you take away the time I spent clearing the dust out of the box, it will have taken no more than 15 minutes from start to finish. Things do seem to be a little faster now. All the Office programs start a bit quicker, I think. I’m having a little trouble with Outlook though. I don’t seem to be able to import my contacts from Outlook Express. I know they are different formats, but I thought I should be able to import all the messages and contacts, but it does not seem to work. I may have to just type them in, although I do not use my Gmail account for much.

   I downloaded some useful Microsoft Office guides from Custom Guide. It is a great resource for Office training materials. They have a lot of what they call Quick Reference Guides, which are very useful for learning the basics. For slightly more advanced tutorials, I downloaded some  stuff from a site called Office Tutorials. They have a good tutorial for Outlook 2003, which will be useful for work, and I got some stuff for Outlook 2007. I think I may need it. I will now have to think of something useful to do with Access !! Only thing I ever see any thing for is the usual Record Collection database, or possibly an MP3 database. Neither of which I need.

   I really need to get my Geek head on and sort out installing that old hard drive. The more I think about it, the easier it seems. There is just that nagging fear, that something will not go to plan. Silly really. I have added new RAM, various DVD and CD drives, USB cards and stuff like that, but never a hard disk. I suppose, all the other things just slot in, and away you go. A hard disk is a little more involved.

It’s done


   Well that was quick and painless. A hell of a lot faster than I expected. 502mb downloaded and copied to a DVD in just over 30 minutes. I’m not sure as to what kind of a download speed that equates to, but I’m quite impressed. I’ll not install it until tomorrow, or even Sunday. It may be wise, and I don’t know why, to leave it until I’ve done the RAM.

   No-one on Messenger tonight, which seems odd. There is usually at least one person on at this time of night.

Busy day…..


   Well we got the new TV today. Looks quite good and the picture is great. We have had to move the screen around a little so it does not block out any more light, but it is quite watchable in its current position. We have been trying to get S****s surround sound to work. It has been partly successful. We can get the theatre sound with the DVD, and with the analogue TV channels ie the Freeview, but we have not had any luck with Sky system. I think it may be something to do with the way the SCART cables are plugged in. May have to have juggle them round a bit.

   New mobile seems quite good. It has been a bit of a struggle to connect via bluetooth. The PC suite is not the most intuitive, but I can always connect by the USB cable. There is a lot to learn though. I still have to work out how I can get my old ringtones onto the new phone. I also need to know how to get access to the applications that appear to be on the thing.

Friday part 1


The trip to the doctors went quite well. Unfortunately, the nurse advised us that we need to use olive oil in his ears for 4 days, prior to the syringing. So he needs to go back on Tuesday. Still he was exceptionally well behaved.

Then off to York for lunch. We had a walk round some of the shops. R*** spent some of his birthday money on some books and a DVD. We had lunch at the Slug & Lettuce. Again R*** was a star. However a proposed walk round the walls was not forthcoming.

More later ………

Tuesday all done and dusted….


Today started quite well (apart from the youngest being in a bad mood again) and it continues in that frame for the rest of the day. I had cakes to buy today. I spent about £9.00 I think, but I brought what was left home with me. They would have only been pinched by ‘persons unknown’. I could not believe Spike asking me if I was taking them home. Cheeky sod … he did not buy any last year.

All the work I needed to do got finished as planned, for which I am very pleased. We are now back in a position, that we should have been two years ago. We’ve finally caught up.

I started reading ‘Brideshead Revisited’ last week. It’s an interesting novel, but I think it will take me a chapter or two to really get into it. I need to get the TV series out of my head. From what I’ve read up to now, the TV version was very true to the novel.

I started to watch the DVD that the eldest bought me for my birthday. He got me Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal’. I’ve not watched it for years. It’s possibly my 3rd favourite film of all time. He said he was in two minds whether to get that or ‘The Seven Samurai ’ (4th favourite).

The new DVD writer is a success. I have just to get my head around how to use the freeware authoring tool. It is not the most intuitive piece of software I’ve used, but I’ll get there. Which reminds me, I need to edit one of my previous posts. Stop it showing a ‘404’ on the hyperlink.

That is that week over then ….


This week went quite well. Better than expected at work, with no real problems that could not be dealt with. I had a problem with the Equita stuff on Thursday and Friday, but now we know what the problem is and have a work round, it should be okay.

Out for dinner with the in-laws on Friday evening. The Fox & Hounds at Walton. Very nice, only I would not have the 10oz beef burger again. The meat was tasty, but there was too much cheese on, so it did not melt properly, and as such, the burger became a little dry.

My new DVD re-writer arrived on Thursday. It was quite a bargain really. £16.99 from Play.com. Spent a good hour at work on Friday (don’t tell anyone) trying to find drivers and installation details, as there were none with the unit. I installed it Saturday morning. It took just over an hour to do, and that included giving the PC a good cleaning to get rid of all the dust. I have yet to try and create a DVD, as we no longer seem to have any blanks. Morrison’s has a 50 piece spindle for £14.99, but I have an idea, the Tesco may have then cheaper. I may blog my experience with the installation on another page (if I can workout how to do it). I think I may have to blog straight from WordPress.com rather than use Windows Live Writer.

That will do for now, going to look for some DVDs.

A little bit of this ….. a little bit of that …..


Saturday went well. Potted on some of my seedlings. They are looking quite good, fingers (and everything else) crossed, they will survive the holiday. No luck with the Lottery again. There should be a prize for nearly numbers. You know, where you nearly get the right numbers. Maybe get you money back if 4 or more numbers are near to the drawn numbers. For example the Lottery (funny how no-one calls it ‘Lotto’!!) draws say 1,21,22,35,6,47 and you have 2,20,34,7 and a couple of others. Because 4 of your numbers are within 1 number of the draw number, you get £1.00 or a free play. Worth a thought ??

The National was good. Poor start again though. We Mon Mome - 2009 Gand National Winnerdon’t really need two false starts. It’s the jockeys fault, they should be ready. When the starter calls them in, they should be ready to go. Not facing the wrong way.  What’s that all about !! A 100:1 winner though,who would have thought of that. I bet only the groom and her partner had money on that one. The bookies are laughing all the way to he  travel agents.

Packing to do tomorrow morning. Youngest will want some more YouTube downloads. I think there are another 2 lots of 26 to do, and then it should be done. I timed it this afternoon. To download 26 videos and convert them to .wmv format, takes around 1 hour 15 minutes. I had 3 lots to do today. What he is doing is collecting the American versions of the classic series. There are 9 DVD’s in the series at the moment, although I think there is another one either out now or in the very near future.

This may be that last blog for a week. No internet while I’m away. With any luck, I should still be able to get MSN on the phone, so I’ll still be able to chat to anyone who wants to.