>Roche Abbey

>A week ago last Saturday I should have been walking, but my knee was still playing up from the double-distance walk around Yorkshire Sculpture Park the previous Tuesday. I didn’t stay in, though. Instead I went to visit Roche Abbey, near Maltby in Rotherham.

Here is the English Heritage visitor centre:

The abbey ruins:

I had to lie on my back to get this shot of the vaulted ceiling:

This was my favourite spot on the whole site, I found a patch of spongey grass to sit on where I could watch and listen to the fast running water in the man-made beck:

I came to Roche and fell in love – I thought it was a very spiritual place, very calming, very thearapeutic – and there’s more there than I initially thought. I shall definitely go back:

You can see the full set of 21 pictures on Webshots (there are 22, but one was off-topic and I didn’t get his permission to share him on here), or here’s the screen show:

Roche Abbey Sep 2010

This weekend I should be walking again, so next weekend I’ll just be one week behind with the pictures. Enjoy.

>WHAT technology?

>So this week, on Tuesday evening, the guestbook fell over AGAIN. I started to get text messages from people with other guestbooks from the same organisation and they were asking ME what was up with them. Eh? How should I know? On Wednesday, AOL webmail started to play up. Then on Thursday, Webshots fell over – well, it was taken down for maintenance.

Why is this happening? Have they got too big for their own good? I can understand free services being taken down when they can’t cope, but I pay for some of these and I expect them to have in place some kind of disaster recovery, or at least everything staying where it is while they work on it and just updates not being available. Or something.

If you see “temporarily unavailable” where a photograph should be, this is what’s happened. I stopped uploading to Photobucket because it doesn’t work very well from work. But I may go back to having backups on there too.

Do I expect too much?

Yesterday was a quiet day, in comparison to recent weeks. At work. It gave me the chance to catch up on a lot of stuff.

I finished reading my latest Stephen Booth on Wednesday evening, and have started on a market research novel for my NaNoWriMo project. Is anyone else going to do NaNo this year? I was too busy last year to do it, and still getting back into the swing of things. But I want to give it a shot this year. I should have at least one activity annual on the go at the same time, and deadline for the December magazine is on 5 November. But if I plan my diary carefully I should be able to manage.

The Ramblers are trying to get me to go on a longer, easy walk with them. They understand the injuries I’ve had and that I’m trying to build up fitness and stamina again gradually, but they want me to go with them and I think it may be better to at least be with a crowd of people if something goes wrong than be on my own. So I may change one of my short walks and go along on one of their easy ones one of the weekends. There’s an easy 6-miler this Sunday, in fact. I may give them a call …

No gigs planned for this weekend, just chores, walking and writing. Have a good one.

EDIT: I’ve decided to go for it and join the Ramblers on Sunday. It’s the Anston Stones Wood walk and I have to meet everyone at 10am in a layby just outside Worksop. I’d best give the walk leader a call … (10:40am)

>Turned the corner

>The person that sent the stroppy, rude, ignorant email last week that started me off so badly? Apologised. The person that sent out the unedited pdf in the first place? Apologised. The magazine? Almost done – we’re on the home stretch. Things at work have started to improve.

I got all of my pdf corrections and amendments off to the designer yesterday, and my boss was sending his this morning. That means I’m waiting now for pdfs to come back and get signed off.

On Monday I did some extensive diary work, remembering to include R&R as well as everything else. So far, everything is being ticked. I also hauled out all of the freezer drawers to see what home made meals I had in there, and every evening this week I’ve been cooking and eating stuff before it gets too old and has to be thrown out (I label them with the date made as well as what’s in them). I’m eating proper meals again, have cut back on the snacking, and am writing everything down.

I’m trying to cut down on the mega-feast I always seem to take out with me everywhere I go. It’s like a subconscious need for survivial – maybe in a previous life I starved to death and don’t want it to happen again. When I work at home, it isn’t a problem. But when I go out …? I could probably feed the five thousand. This week I’ve cut 1 x Mr Kipling cake slice from the sandwich box (why do they have to pack them in 2s?); next week it might be the Quavers that get it …

I’ve been feeling really stiff and had trouble reaching my shoes to tie my laces. My back has been playing up again and I don’t know why. On Monday I got the Wii out. On Tuesday I started with just 15 minutes of yoga. By Wednesday I was tying my shoe laces, just on 15 minutes of yoga. Today I feel ready to tackle another walk this weekend. It’s a 2½ mile doorstep walk around Whiston in Rotherham. In the afternoon I was going to make a long overdue visit to the Magna Centre, which isn’t far from where I work yet I’ve never been. But admission is £10 – a bit steep the week before pay day – so I may just do my shopping on the way home.

On Tuesday I got the Roche Abbey post pre-scheduled for Sunday. I’m not turning a computer on every day, and I’m not sat in front of one every day. When I’m writing, in the early stages, and for several drafts, I work in longhand with a notepad and pencil. Until I get onto later drafts there’s no need to use a computer. So, while I don’t have to switch a computer on, I’m not doing so just to write a blog. I’m sorry if this means you tune in on a Saturday or a Monday and there’s nothing here, but it’s why I’ve started to pre-schedule the days-out posts for the weekends. When I’m back in front of a computer every day again, I’ll blog every day again. At the moment, it’s unnecessary time out of my writing/leisure time.

Yesterday evening was another Ramblers meeting in Mexborough. By Christmas I hope to be up to 5 miles so that I can start going walking with them again without feeling a burden. They’ve already asked if I’d like to adapt a couple of my short walks into slightly longer ones so that they can come with me.

Pluto went direct on Tuesday. I’m waiting for a secret to be revealed. :o)

>Battle of Britain Day


On Monday I watched Battlefield Britain on Yesterday, an excellent documentary series from Dan and Peter Snow. This particular episode was about the Battle of Britain, and Dan going up in a fighter plane together with the computer-generated graphics really brought it closer to me.

This day in 1940 has since been commemorated as Battle of Britain Day.

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. Winston Churchill, August 1940.

Today’s picture came from here, where you can also find things like the roll of honour – and I know someone who seems to have a casualty on this list … that brings it even closer to home. Y

>Famous last words

>This morning I took very great pleasure in waking the cats. Both of them. And then I had to physically put them outside as well. Both of them. Then both were very keen to come in again later before I left for work. I’m wondering if there’s a big storm coming, or chilly/wet weather. They normally start to get me up at 4:30am. It’s unusual for one of them to sleep in never mind both.

When I got to work the internet was down. I fired a quick email off to favourite techie, and 5 minutes later we had a round robin, all staff email saying that the internet was down. It seems to be working again now …

Famous last words.

I had a good, steady, productive day yesterday. I started with diary work, which always puts me in a good mood, but I also managed some writing work and some ironing – shock, horror. In fact, in all I managed a total of 140 minutes of activity, which were all loaded into the Wii, which was also dragged out of hibernation. I’m only going to use that for tracking, yoga and balance board games because I think I get plenty of other exercise while I’m out walking, or walking around the supermarket, or sightseeing (more walking), or doing housework (ironing, Henrying, cleaning windows, changing beds, etc). After quite a lazy weekend, I was exhausted by tea time. But at least it was productive.

The health and fitness regime started again yesterday, along with the diary work, and I’ve started to write down everything I eat as well as all of my activity. My weight has ballooned in recent weeks and I don’t know why when I’ve been so active, but I have been eating junk, and at quite odd times. I also needed to give myself a good kick up the bum after the fug of the weekend and writing it in the diary helped with that.

Another thing I seem to have taken my eye off is the budget. It’s not a problem, I’ve not overspent, but I’m not meticulously writing everything down, and I know from experience the slippy road that this leads to.

The Matlock Illuminations are currently on. I’ve put a call out on Facebook and am hoping to meet up with one or more of my Brummie mates, and any local mates, before 30 October. If no-one can make it, I’ll still go anyway.

I’m back at work and I’m feeling very calm. My boss is back from his holiday and I have nearly all of the pdfs in. It’s a 4-day week and I reckon the magazine will have gone to press by the end of it.

Famous last words …

>Listen to the body

>Okay, so on Tuesday I start to get a tension headache, and when it hasn’t gone by Friday afternoon I take my first painkillers. I try to rid a headache by sleeping, drinking water, and/or getting fresh air in the first instance. But when I woke up Saturday morning, I honestly felt as though I’d been kicked by a horse. In the chest, initially, but when I got up to see to the cats, I was aching all over. I have no idea where it came from, but I’m not so stupid to ignore my body. So I went back to bed and got up at 3:30pm.

Food for much of the day was 1 bowl of cereal, 1 cup of tea, and copious cups of water. But I did decide to force-feed myself something at tea time – in case I felt like doing anything on Sunday – then I just relaxed in front of the telly and uploaded the Roche Abbey pictures to my new laptop (do you like it, by the way?), and to Webshots. Facebook friends have seen these already, but my choice of 10 plus the slide show will be on here next weekend.

All I managed to do on Sunday was the shopping and I feel as though I wasted the weekend (the sculpture park post was pre-scheduled). BUT, had I not listened to my body, my throat and ears would have started to complain too. So, sorry for being such a grump. Normal service WILL, as usual, resume.

The weekend did have one highlight, so it isn’t all gloom and doom … I got asked out on a date. I can’t remember the last time I actually got asked out on a date. :o)

I’m back at work tomorrow for a 4-day week, so I need to be recovered so we can finish the magazine. It has to be on everyone’s desks before 27 September.

>Yorkshire Sculpture Park

>A week ago last Tuesday I went on a slightly longer walk around Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Here are a few of the exhibits that are currently there. I think the pictures speak for themselves:

There’s a lot of flora and fauna in the grounds, and part of the grounds are closed to the public for conservation study:

I love the reflection of this bridge – both this one and the one above would make cracking jigsaws, again:

I always find water:

More of the “exhibitions”, including these 71 steps:

And this is Bretton Hall:

I think the walk was a little over 4 miles because it took me just over 2 hours. I’d been doing 2 mile walks in 1 hour, and this was the first time my knee started to hurt. The park is free, but car parking is quite steep, I think, at £4 per day. (2010 fee.) There’s a nice little cafe there for refreshments and there are indoor galleries and displays as well as the open air stuff.

You can see the full set of 20 pictures on Webshots … or here’s that screen show:

Yorkshire Sculpture Park Aug 2010


>I had 2 really rubbish days this week, and while I planned a few things for yesterday, I did sleep in late and when I was working my internet fell over and my laptop completely died. I’ve had a budget for a new laptop since Christmas and I’ve been moving it forward, not touching it, and moving it forward again a month at a time. So I decided to just go for it in the end, and with favourite techie at the end of the phone, I bought a brand new 15.6″ dual core 3Gb Advent laptop. I still couldn’t get the internet to work for ages, and had 2 very long phone conversations with support while they got me connected.

At about 6:30pm I got a call from the gig buddy asking if I’d ride shotgun with her to drop something off with a mate at about 9pm halfway (between us and them) along the A1M. I’d already had a KFC for tea and was just about fed up of all things IT, so I went with her for a break and a change, and got back at about 11pm. I’m writing this close to midnight to post in the morning because I may not have time tomorrow, and as my internet has already fallen over several times it may not be working again.

At least I have a shiny new pc, though – and Windows 7 was MY idea …

So, Friday morning the plan is to work from home so no work emails upset my workload for the day. I brought the magazine home with me on Wednesday in case I got around to looking at it on Thursday. I didn’t, but I know I’ll get a lot more done if I do it at home, then I’ll head to the office for 1pm.

I plan on doing absolutely nothing for the next 3 days unless I really, really feel like it – or get an offer I can’t refuse.

Eye candy time, the last for now – here’s a bit of a surprise. Santiago Cabrera played Isaac Mendez in the first series of Heroes, and I always said he was the dead spit of one of my characters. So here’s one of my favourite pictures of him:

I found Santiago here (mylot.com).

And I said I’d find one, but Heather Locklear, pre-Tommy Lee (whaddya got against Tommy?), without big hair but in colour, was a bit of a challenge. I think I did it. Another one for Nidge:

I found Heather here (sitcomsonline.com).

Have a great weekend. I might see you on the other side …

>A dodgy dongle + 2 more eye candy

>Apparently my dongle is faulty and they’re sending me a new one. I didn’t have the heart to explain to the lovely “Samir”, who was calling me all the way from Bombay, that I could really do with them waiting until after 12 September when Mercury would be back where it’s supposed to be. So I expect my replacement in 2 or 3 days time.

Oh, sorry, this is my mobile broadband internet … the one that they say I have to try and use at home … I’ll pause while you all think about that …

I finally joined Twitter. I have no idea why or what I’ll do with it. But if you’re on there as well, please do click the shiny new button in the sidebar. Thank you.

Yesterday got better. Today is a day off. I have writing work scheduled in but I may yet go for that walk I didn’t make on Saturday.

As it’s been a bit of an eye candy kind of week, here’s some more – but here are a couple where the character is actually the scrummier one:

I found Viggo, aka Aragorn, here (letitiabrave.com).

And I found Johnny, aka Captain Jack, here (inthebasement.com). Looks like he forgot his makeup in this one. (They’re in the middle of filming no 4, by the way.)