Problems still ongoing…


When I started to compose this post at the beginning of the week, the problems I was having with my laptop were indeed ‘still ongoing’. However, and I am touching as much wood as I can find, things seem to be a little better at the moment. Many of the problems seemed to be with my Microsoft Office 365 applications. I was getting a lot of ‘xxx not responding’ messages when using Word, Excel and Outlook which seemed to point to an issue there. Although, other software was often slow to open and close. The internet gave me a few ideas, and one of the more prominent ones was to ‘repair’ my Office application. So I gave it a go, and (here’s when the touching wood comes into play) at the moment it seems to have worked.

Later yesterday, I got what IT people call the “Blue Screen of Death” or BSOD. For those that don’t know, it’s when Windows decides something is amiss, produces and ‘error code’, uploads the code to Microsoft and restarts your computer. I checked out the error code, which told me nothing at all but I was advised to run a system security tool. This tool, called Windows Defender Offline, which is part of the Windows security system, runs a much deeper scan for viruses and malware than the normal scan. It takes about 40 minutes on my laptop and (back to the wood touching again) seems to have done the trick, although I’m not holding my breath.

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I’m going to try a new approach to my posts. For a long time I have been combining the topics I want to say into one post. I usually separate the topics with a divider (as above) and the post can often have 4 or 5 topics. I have now decided to use single topics in each post, and post more often (how many times have I said ‘post more often’). I shall see how it goes.

Another bitten bullet and other things


The laptop I’m currently using is a Windows 7 machine. I’m always quite reluctant to change, espcially if I don’t feel the need to change. So I have never been tempted to upgrade my machine to a later version of Windows. However I may have no choice as Microsoft seems intent un upgrading users to Windows 10, whether they want it or not. As those in the know, it’s a free upgrade and brings ‘all the benefits of an up to date‘ operating system, if you believe the blurb.

It is probably a good thing to upgrade and I have come around to the idea that I need to do this. The problem is, that on this machine, I have a number of software applications that I use regularly (daily or every other day) that will not run under Windows 10. I struggled to get them to run under Windows 7 and people have tested them for me, and they simply fail. These are not applications that need the internet to run so I have decided that I will buy another laptop running Windows 10 and leave the Win 7 machine as an ‘unconnected’ machine that I can use for non-internet specific things.

The issue now is, that I need Microsoft Office on the new machine. I cannot install my current version as it is tied to the machine I’m using now and it can only be used on one machine. All is not lost. Last year I bought my son a subscription to Office 365. It seems that the subscription type I purchased allows the software to be installed on upto 5 different machines. Job sorted! The only thing now is how? A quick on-line chat with Microsoft support and I have all the info my son and me needs. Well done Carmina P. the help desk advisor.

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So, how am I doing with what I called my ‘New Year Intentions‘? Sad to say, not as well as I would have liked. The number 1 on the list, was to blog at least once a week and this is the only one I have kept up to press. Although they are all still on-going, just not quite quickly as I would have liked. I am reading more (No 10 on the list) but it it difficult to read at work as the dining room can be quite noisy and there is nowhere else in the office. I recently chatted to a friend who has a blog about theming my blog (No 2) and their answer was to either pick something that I enjoy (she said obsessed with) or that I’m and expert with and blog about that. Well the only thing I’m either obsessed with or an expert in is … me, and I’m blogging that already. With regard to the rest, who knows where I’m going.

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Talking of blogs, I have been looking back over the years at my stats on WordPress. I have noticed something quite unusual. I have been posting on and off some of my photos, following The Daily Post‘s ‘Weekly Photo Challenge’. I’m by no means an expert photographer, I just take pictures of things or scenes that I like.

It looks like my average views (no going into comments here) for my written stuff is around the 3 – 4 mark per post. However, when it comes the the photo posts, the average has rocketed up to 10 or 11 per photopost. When I started this post, my last photopost under the ‘Weekly Photo Challenge’ banner had hit 31 views!  Looks like that old adage ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is true! One could say ‘ A picture is worth a thousand posts.’

Happy New Year


Did it start with a ‘Bang’? Well no, not really. We stayed up until midnight as we are obliged to do, watching good old Jools Holland, but it was nothing special. I suppose now I should spout all the usual clichés, but to be honest I just cannot be bothered.

It’s been a bit of a rough year all in all. What with the concerns about the new job and the worry about whether I would actually have a job. The five office moves, the problems with R***. Eldest moving in with his girlfriend. Finally to cap it all, my heart operation.

Still, I came through all and am still here (well 99.9% of me is still here) so I don’t suppose I have too much to grumble about really. R*** seems to be in a good place at the moment. Eldest and his girlfriend both seem to be very happy. I still have a job at the same on the same pay and it does not look like we are moving office for the foreseeable future. And to cap it all, my old heart is working properly again.

Life changer + 103


Well I did go back and see the doctor. He went through my notes and I explained that I did not seem to be improving at all. He examined me, and we chatted about everything really, home life, work. I explained the pressures of the changes at work and asked if it could be stress related. He said it could be, but thought that it was all to do with my heart condition. Now that is what I thought it could be from the very start, but it had been dismissed by both the previous doctor and the practice nurse. He thought that there was some fluid on my lungs, which would explain why the other treatments did not seem to work. So he prescribed me a course of Diuretic or water tablets. This treatment is supposed to get rid of excessive fluid from my body. So on Friday 2nd May, which I had luckily taken as a leave day, I was packed off to Harrogate District Hospital where they have a drop-in chest X-Ray unit. We were not there long, in fact we were in and out so quickly, that the parking was free!!!

The results came back last week, and K*** got the doctor to ring me, as the receptionist could not tell me anything because it was clinical and she was allowed to. It now seems that it is not a Silent Reflux and it may not even be Asthma. The doctor confirmed that is something called Pulmonary Congestion. This was explained as being a “…… difficulty of my heart to work as well as it should, leading to a build up of fluid at the top of lungs …..” which explains the cough. He is going to give me the full results to take to my assessment, which if I haven’t mentioned it before, has been brought forward by a day to the 13th May. Should mean that it will be one test less on the day. That is about all I can tell you at the moment. I’m slightly concerned that this Pulmonary Congestion, might mean that the operation is pulled forward, but I don’t think that happens outside of the TV soaps, but you never know. I hope not, as I have got my mind focussed on the 12th June as the big day. I also need some time to get my colleagues up to speed with work issues.

Work, well some of them, have been very supportive. I now have, what I call my “Dolly Trolley”. Amazon call it an “Executive Business Bag Laptop Trolley On-Board Travel Flight Case Suitcase” and it is simply a way of carrying my office requirements in one bag, with wheels. It really has made a difference, although there are a few things that I take with me, that I think could be kept in my locker.

A pleasant day all told …..


Today was the second ‘whole team’ meeting of our new team. In my opinion, in spite of, or maybe because of the little ‘let’s get to know each other’ game that M*** had us play the afternoon went very well. Everyone seemed to be a lot come comfortable with each other. Of course there are those that appear to be comfortable in any situation, but those like me seemed to be more relaxed.

There were a lot of comments about the new office. Interestingly, at the start there were no positive comments at all, but within an hour the complaints had narrowed down to one single complaint. I don’t think they are going to do anything about the complaint, as it would be too expensive to implement, but it was interesting to hear the majority of complaints disappear during the discussion.

The networking drinks went down well, and at the end of the day, I’m glad I stayed for a while, and I even managed to mingle a little.

Work can be a shit ….


It’s not so much the work, more some of the people I have to work with. There’s a lot of stressful things going on in my life at the moment. What with the “Life changer”, the ‘restructure’ and the new service, things are quite worrying. The whole of the public sector is going through a really bad time as we pay for the mistakes of the past years. So it becomes very hard to be understanding of the microcosm attitude of some of my colleagues. I’ll not call them friends, because despite their ‘crocodile tears’ and concerns, I still feel I’m an outsider and that they don’t really care as much as they try to make out. Saying that, there are some who I genuinely believe do care. I will only identify them by their initials (not that they are likely to read this, but you never know) and they are SB, MS, JB and DC. If they do read this, then they will know who they are.

I’m sick of the little ‘chats’ the others have between themselves, when I seem to be out of the office. The sudden ‘quite’ when I come back into the office after the private phone call with my manager. Do they really need to make it so obvious? Today was a great example. I went to have a chat with someone, about a work issue, and when I got back, three of my colleagues were sat together talking about something. I don’t know for sure what it was, but am convinced it was about the new changes. There was no attempt to either include me or bring me up to speed with what was happening. And this kind of thing seems to be happening more and more. I am now watching my back a lot more closely than ever before. I’ve identified my friends and am just watching the battle lines being drawn. This could be a rough few weeks, but I know which side my bread is buttered. Interesting times ahead.

Now here’s where I apologise for the number of clichés used in this post.

Workplace review .. moving on


The new workplace review is starting to pick up speed now. I had, what they call a “Work Style Assessment” on Friday. That, basically was to a document that formally set out how each one of us will contribute to making the best use of the available desk space. It seems that at any one time, at least 28% of the office desks are not in use; people at meetings, training, sick etc etc. we have a program called “Changing the Workplace” which is trying to maximise the available office space to save money. Mine worked out very well for me. It means that one day a week, I’ll work from a satellite office, one day a week from home, leaving three days a week working from my base office. This, of course is to be more flexible than rigid. It might mean that sometimes, I do two days in the main office and two days in another office, it depends on what work I’m covering. It was what I was looking for and it seem to fit in with what the service requires. However, formalising the “Working from Home” part, means that I need to have either an office or a proper work station. When I have randomly worked from home, I’ve sat at the dining room table. 020214_1241_Workplacere1.jpgThat is not going to be allowed, which I kind of expected. So yesterday, I set about tidying up my computer desk, clearing out some of the rubbish and making it more of a computer work station than it was. So it should be okay now. All I need to do, when I’m working is to move my personal laptop and slot in the works one.

Of course, the ‘moaners’ are still finding things to moan about: the expense; the inconvenience; the increased travel; earlier rising; getting home later; unsettling, there seems to be no end to the excuses why this is not a good thing. Those people should take a good long look at their conditions of service. It is all explained there, and before they go running off to their respected Trades Union, they should be aware, that the Unions signed up to this from the very start! We have an ‘Away Day’ on the 7th, where we should learn a lot more about what is happening. Well it started off as a day when we get to meet our new colleagues and get to know a bit about them. However it seems that it is going to be a ‘bonding session’ and a ‘workshop’. Neither of which, is what I was expecting. I have also heard that our team will be “absorbed” into the service the following week, but that’s only a rumour, so I’m not sure how accurate it is. Still I accept that it is a worrying time for some people, who have never been outside their comfort zone. Me, I’m just going to get on with it. As I mentioned before, we have no choice, and at the end of the day we still have a job. The bigger worry will be when the new structure is formalised and we have to start applying for our jobs.