Interesting times …

I’ve had to do a couple of shopping trips in the past week. Just the essentials, wine, whiskey beer etc etc. I have been amazed at how my local Aldi has got their head around the ‘panic buying’ that we have seen reported. Shoppers queuing outside keeping two trolleys apart. They were operating a “10 out, 10 in” policy and it was working fine. People just seemed to be getting on with it. One funny moment though … an oldish guy turned up on his mobility scooter and started asking “Can I queue jump?” He asked a couple of times before the elderly lady behind me called out “No you can’t … join the queue like the rest.” She then explained that she knew him and it wasn’t his scooter. and that he wasn’t as disabled as he purported to be.

<> <> <> <> <>

Morrisons and Aldi today, and although they had got a queuing system in place, it was quiet and not really needed. Aldi still was operating the same system as before, but again it was very quiet. Only thing that I couldn’t get was plain flour and the obligatory loo rolls. I understand, that it is due to the fact that they can be used as paper handkerchiefs.

The thing that struck me most, was how nice people were being. No pushing or shoving. Everyone giving way to everyone. Most people keeping the 2 metre distance. However, the only people that seemed to not have a clue, seemed to be ‘old’ people. Old as in over 70 or so they seemed. One couple in Morrisons today did not seem to be aware of the 2 metre rule and gave me the oddest of looks when I asked them if they could move back a little.

Funniest thing of the day was when I was looking for plain flour. Morrisons had a few bags of own brand and a couple in front of me were looking at the shelf. Her husband said “There’s some!” His wife’s reply was “We don’t buy that type!” To which I relied “I do!” and plonked the offending object in my trolley.

The other funny thing I heard to day was a new word that has slipped into the British language. We had ‘Brexit’ now we have “Covidiots” Hate this ‘made-up-word’ stuff. I think it cheapens the British language somewhat.

Getting back to normal (or as normal as it gets)

     After surviving Christmas, the next task was to get through New Years Eve. We did!! R*** was on respite, as he struggles with the NYE fireworks. It’s not the fireworks themselves that are the problem, it’s the randomness of the explosions coupled with the unexpectedness, if that’s the word I’m looking for. So he was away for two nights and came back on Thursday evening. Sounds like he had a successful time, there were no reported issues. S**** and his girlfriend A**** and another friend from his university days, went to a party. They were all staying over, so that left me and K*** ‘home alone’ as they say. So what did we do… go to the pub? go to a party? go into town??? Nope, we watched the television. Well that sounds a bit simplistic, but it was a nice evening. We had a nice meal, some nice wine and spent the evening relaxing.

     Then it was back to work on the 2nd. That was a more stressful day than the whole of Christmas and New Year together. It appears now, that the work review that we are going through is changing somewhat. We were originally told, that our service would be “picked up and dropped into the new service” and that “new opportunities would present themselves.” We are now told that we will be “slotted in” but will have to push ourselves forward and sort of make a case for our existence. So that sounds interesting! We have also been told, that we need to make a brief ‘pitch’ to promote each one of us. My direct manager, S**** was pushing the idea, that this was going to be some sort of ‘presentation’ and that I should use Microsoft PowerPoint to do it. Ten minutes each was the suggested time frame for each one of us. The fact that this meeting was only booked for an hour with eight people to speak did not seem to matter. It is now down to a two minute talk about who we are, what we do, where we come from and where do we want to go. I am not looking forward to it at all. I’m not one of those people that enjoys self promotion. I’m a background person that just want to get on with the job in hand. I’ve been told that I should always be looking for better opportunities. Sorry, that’s not for me. So we will see what happens at this meeting on Friday.

     I now have a Tesco ‘hudl’. th I mentioned it to K*** just after Christmas, that I was going to see if they were reduced in the sales. I’m not a fan of Apple products, so the Ipad or Ipad Mini were not something I could ever see me using, but thought it might be useful to have some form of tablet computer.She got a bit annoyed with me as she did not know that I wanted one. We looked on the Tesco website, and she bought me a red one. We shall see how useful it proves to be. With it being an Android device, I am quite used to the operating system, which is the same as my smartphone. I just need to be careful that it does not turn into a smartphone without the telephone part.

     My attempt at writing a story based on letters from the main character is coming along, albeit slowly. I have a good idea where I am taking it, but I’m just not sure whether it is moving along to fast or even too slow. I decided to write this back in October 2013 and had the idea that each of the letters is a chapter of the story. I’m now up to chapter six, and this is where my doubts seem to be creeping in. I will finish it though, but not sure when.

One week later (or maybe a bit longer……..)

Well I’ve had the new car for just over a week, and it seems to be fine. Acceleration is not as good as the Ford, and handling at 70 mph needs full attention, but I’m quickly getting used to that. What will take a time is what I’ve been told is my ‘heavy clutch foot’. Occasionally, I will come off the clutch too quickly and stall. It has been a small problem, since I learned drive. I even managed to do it on my driving test. I thought i had failed, but I “…responded to the problem, quickly and correctly, so it’s just a minor fault…” or so the tester explained. The comments I have got from people range from “dinky” and “nippy” to “smart” and “economical” and I prefer the latter two. The audio/entertainment system is great. Great as in 500% better that the radio cassette player I had in the other car. It has a USB port, and can play MP3 tracks. So haring along the country lanes, with the window down and Bruno Mars belting out, is quite a new experience.

Long, hard day yesterday. I was decorating the bathroom. Now when I say ‘decorating’ I really mean refreshing the current decoration, as we’ve kept it the same colour scheme. I bought, what I thought was a decent paint-pad tray, but it turned out to be so bad, that I binned it rather than try and clean it (note to self … the stuff from the £ shop works just as well.) Ended up using an old pad for the ceiling, and a largish brush for the walls, so it took a bit longer than expected, but it’s all done now. Saying that, I need to do the ceiling and door frame in the en-suite, when the lighting has been sorted out. Deep joy!

Work continues as only work can continue! The bitching, the back-biting and the internal politics are as ripe as ever. I try not to get embroiled in it all, as I’m not sure who’s side I need to be on yet! And of course, there has to be sides so people have someone to blame when things don’t go right for them! I thought the last review was tough, but this one has yet to get going properly and it ready shows signs of it being a bad experience. At the last team meeting, the Service Manager could give us no “ ……new information on where things stand at the moment…… ” and promised to tell us as soon as she know anything. I took that to mean, tells us “ .. what we need to know, when they think we need to know it …… “. Politics !!!

Snow !!! Working from home

     The weather was a bit bad first thing this morning. I got up at about 5:15 as I was taking S**** to work at 6:45. At that time, there was very little snow about. Just some sleet that wasn’t really doing much. But by the time we left home, it was settling fast. R*** had woke up early too, and was very unsettled for some reason, so I dropped S**** off and came back home. Didn’t want to leave K*** alone with him too long. It had been my intention, to work at a different office today. One that is nearer than my usual base. By the time R*** should have been getting up, we had a good 3 inches of snow on the ground, and there seemed to be no stopping it. So a decision had to be made. Do we send him off to college (we decided to call it college as opposed to anything else) or do we let him stop at home. He stopped at home. I had also decided to do as I knew certain others would do, and work from home.

     Work from home!!! Now this was a new idea for me. My boss has always said, that if I needed to I could work from home. It had been sanctioned from above, and it appears that for certain staff, this is the future for the council. I had already set up my works laptop when I got back, but for some reason, it is always very slow to get logged in. Connecting to the network is fine, but being able to start work always takes a long time. I eventually got started at around 7:40, some thirty minutes after setting up. Everything worked very well, all considering. The network performed as well if not better than I could have expected, and I was not too distracted when K*** put the TV on. Even R***, bouncing around his room singing did not seem to be too much of a problem.

     So now I have another option for work. I already had decided to work one day a week in a different office, and I’m also making plans to work in my old office, one day a week. That is just until I can get the supervisor fully trained up, which should not take much longer, and now I know I can work from home.


     We also learned, this week, that our team, along with some of the other system support teams are under review again. There are not many details been issued yet, but the rumour mill is in full swing. It seems that we are to become part of a new divisional IT department. That is all I know, except that there could be another worrying few months ahead. I will keep you posted.

Boring day so far

   Before our system upgrade, when a member of staff needed to view a letter that had been issued, the system created a temporary file. These files should have been deleted when the reader closed the letter viewer. However, a bug in the system meant that these files were not deleted. There seems to be about 100,000 files taking up about 2.5gb of disc space. This causes a slow down of the network. I have asked the supplier, if I can simply delete these files? The answer that came back was not too helpful. Basically they did not know. Their suggestion, was to rename the folder, and see what happens!! So I decided to approach it from a different angle. I am moving all the files, that are datestamped upto the end of 2008, into seperate folders for each year. I can then archive them to disc, just in case they are needed. Belt and braces stuff!! As you can imagine, this is taking some time. It is probably a waste of time, as I don’t think these files are really needed.

Today it snowed …..

   The snow had been falling for nearly 1 minute, before that fateful cry came from within the ranks … ‘Can we go early … It’s snowing ???’ It is the same every time. Snow only has to be mentioned, and there are some people wanting to leave early. Tomorrow, those same people will spend most of the day, watching the weather through the few windows we have in the office, and bemoaning the fact that management will not let us go home. Well is you like your home so much, LEAVE !!!!!

   To be honest, it’s 22:40 and there is a good 1 inch of snow. We probably will not get much more overnight, but you never can tell. I’ll take it easy driving tomorrow. It’s motorway for 9/10 of the journey, so the road will not be so bad, once I get out of the village. I’ll wager good money, that the car park at work is like an ice-rink. It usually is.

   No problems with the system today. However, one of the major parts of the upgrade, still has to be started. I am supposed to run a Windows ’Scheduled Task’, but our IT department, in their infinite wisdom, has disabled that particular function. Thanks guys, you really know how to make things easy for the rest of us. What really bugs me, is that technology is supposed to make work more efficient and productive. But IT departments do not seem to think that way. I’m convinced, that if the IT department had their way, then we would not have computers, just in case we caused any problems !!!!!

Staff meeting day ….

   Today was the day everyone dreads. Team Brief day !!! I cannot say what I really think about out meetings, as my blog is not ‘X’ rated. Suffice to say, it always is an experience !!!! A day to put out of your mind forever !!!!  The words  boring, patronising and condescending are too mild to describe what we have to put up with on a monthly basis. The Service Manager came in for the first five minutes and gave us some important information. We all took this information in, and there was no questions. There was no need. Then, the line manager spent the next 20 minutes explaining (in terms we low life could understand) what the Service Manager had said !!!! We are not stupid !!!! Even the ones that are not the brightest candles in the chandelier, understood, so why the patronisation ?

   The problems we had with the IT software got resolved. As I expected, it was a problem with our IT department. It would appear, that a shared, temporary folder on the network had been set as read only. Who did that, and more importantly, why ? You see, the main problem we have, is that our IT department does not understand the software, what it does or how it works, and the software house does not understand how our IT department works. This often leads to very stressful and difficult times, with me trying to explain the workings of each. Not an easy task, when both parties believe they know best.

A good deal ..

   I got the car service and MOT done today. No major problems, except one with the rear suspension. Apparently ‘one of the bushes on one of the suspension arms had too much movement’ which partly failed the MOT. All gibberish to me, but it was a similar thing with the front suspension last year. It appears that this is one of the things with the Ford KA, but speed humps accentuate the problem even more. Still, they ( K & M Motors, Nowell Lane, Leeds) did a good job, and I’m satisfied. At £190.00 for a full service and MOT seems like a good deal to me. Looks like I’ll get a better deal with the insurance, if I go with ESure too. That means that the tax will be the only thing I paying through the nose for.

   I was supposed to be doing a User Acceptance Test (UAT) on the upgrade to our system tomorrow. However, due to a slight communication breakdown (don’t you just love that phrase), our IT department were blissfully unaware, that the software house needs to do some configuration work first. The UAT has been put back until the 6th. It is crazy really. No-one else has to go through this fuss with an upgrade.

   Most people are beginning to get to grips with the change to our email system. Saying that, quite a few did not migrate last week as expected. They all claim, that they did not get the ‘upgrade email’ from IT, but I have my doubts about that. IT knows which office everyone works from, and the migration was office based. I have a very strong suspicion, that the ones who did not migrate, did either failed to do the online training (which was compulsory) or failed to action the upgrade email. Of course, everyone denies this !!!!

Friday part 2 ……

I was checking whether I could upgrade my phone contract, before the 18 months is up. It would appear that I can do this, so long as it is not a cheaper contract, but I need to do it at least 24 hours before the date of my bill. Anyway, that is not the whole story. Whilst I had it in mind, I decided to check S****’s account. Horror !! His account was showing a spend of over £17.00. Now to say, at the beginning of the week he had a £4.50 credit, this was a hell of a shock. It would appear that he ‘accidentally’ subscribed to something he did not intend to. I don’t believe it. Mrs H rang him tonight, which I don’t think was a good idea. It left her feeling more down that she was before. They are both going to have to learn. Him to ring more often, for now at least 3 times a week. For her, just to wait for him to ring.

R*** has been fine again today, up until about half past six. Then as per usual we had an episode. Then another one around nine o’clock, and another one just around quarter past ten. As usual, no apparent reason.

Well the week is now over, and I haven’t been tempted to log into the work network. That’s not entirely true. I was tempted … but I did not relent. I’m dreading seeing the mess that will be left on my desk. I did check my mobile though. There only seemed to be the usual network problems.

No lottery win again. I seem doomed to fail at this. Neither ‘lucky-dip’ or my so called system works. I think for tomorrow, I will pick some significant numbers and try that for a week or two.

The problem I am having with Windows recycle bin has not been resolved. The ‘Ask Leo’ site has not come up with anything yet. Not that I expected it to. This is the second question I have asked and got no reply. I think I will post it on ‘The Elder Geek’ forum page. That usually elicits a reply of some kind.

Why do I get weirdo’s following me on Twitter. I can go for days without any new followers, then just buses, they all come at once. Three tonight. All of them trying to ‘help’ me make money on the internet. Go Away Spammers !!!!