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Frosty Weather

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

There has been a lot of freezing weather recently, with several days where the temperature didn't get above 0C but here in Coventry we have had very little snow. I took these photos on my way to work. All of the white on the trees is hoar-frost, not snow.


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Story location: Home / computing /

I was backing up my laptop to the remote server in work this morning when I noticed the abbreviated directory names...


When a backup drive is shared between people, the Time Machine/Time Capsule backup system uses what's known as a 'Sparse Bundle' to simulate individual drives for each person. Unfortunate choice of name when the directory window isn't wide enough to display the full filenames.

Week 26: Chocolate and Beetroot cake

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /

We have a monthly cake day in work, on the last friday of each month. My contribution was this chocolate and beetroot cake:

Chocolate and Beetroot cake

The recipe came from the Channel 4 website. A couple of months ago I mentioned to a colleague that I had some beetroot in the garden. He sent me the recipe and said it was better than you'd expect.

The beetroot from the garden was smaller than I expected. When I weighed it, it was closer to 75g than the 250g required so I had to go out and buy some more. The supermarket didn't have raw beetroot so I got cooked instead and I don't think it had any adverse effect.

The cake was quite good, with a nice gooey texture. I don't actually like beetroot so I was glad you couldn't really taste it in the cake. I peeled all the beetroot to reduce the chance of the cake having that 'earthy' taste which beetroot often has.


Story location: Home / Blog / work /

A selection of photos from this week - bluebells in the woods and some ducklings and goslings near the lake.


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The Mysteries of Windows Printing

Story location: Home / computing /

Yesterday I tried to print some documents using the networked printer in the department. The first time I tried this, it was about half an hour before I went to retrieve the print-out. When I got to the printer there was no sign of it, but the document had gone from the printer queue so I thought it might have disappeared due so some sort of error.

Later in the day I tried to print something else. I can see the printer from my office door so I watched to see if the lights on top started to flash. Nothing happened so I deleted the document from the print queue and decided to use the other printer, which is down the end of a long corridor. This other printer worked ok. Nobody else had problems with the first printer so I suspected my computer and thought a re-boot might help.

This morning, after turning my computer off overnight, I tried to print something out using the first printer again. I sent the document to the printer and watched for the flashing lights. The printer leapt into action so I walked over to retrieve my print-out. I was surprised to find it had printed out the missing document from yesterday morning as well as the document I had just printed.

I don't know where this first document was hiding. It can't have been in the printer because other people had successfully used it after me. It wasn't visible in the printer queue of my computer. For some reason it only started to print when I decided to print something else, so it looks like it was hiding somewhere in my machine. Very puzzling.

To the person in the pale blue Vauxhall

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

To the driver of the pale blue Vauxhall Vectra, who was driving behind me on my journey to work this morning. You were so close to my car I wondered whether you wanted me to open the boot so you could climb inside. I thought you were impatient or in a hurry but when we got to a empty straight bit of road, you failed to overtake. I then realised you weren't in a hurry but were just a dickhead with poor road manners and no concept of road safety.

Browsing the Dilbert archives.

Story location: Home / Blog /

I have been looking through some of the old Dilbert comic strips and found this one:

Dilbert Comic - LifeSuck 3000
This is one of my favourite Dilbert comics. I remembered seeing it first time around. It summed how I felt at my workplace at the time. I wouldn't have been surprised if they had a LifeSuck 3000 hidden somewhere on site.

The original cartoon can be found at Dilbert.com.

Locked Out

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

I was locked out of my office this morning. The electronic card reader in the main corridor was broken so nobody could get into the department. I had my laptop with me and I managed to find a spare desk in a colleague's office so at least I managed to get some work done.

Unfortunately I couldn't make any tea or coffee - although I had teabags with me and there was a kettle in another office, my mug was in my office so I had nothing to drink the tea out of. I had brought a chocolate mousse from home, which I intended to eat during my morning break. All the spoons were in the kitchen, which was in the locked part of the building. By the time someone managed to open the door, the mousse had warmed up and gone sloppy.

At least the door was opened before lunchtime. I was going to have a ham sandwich for lunch. I had the bread with me but the ham was in the fridge, behind the locked door.

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Lake District

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

I have been away for most of the week, in the Lake District. I have had no Internet access or newspapers since Wednesday morning, and haven't had time to watch TV news so I've been feeling a bit cut off from the world. I was there attending my department's annual conference so it wasn't a holiday but we had a couple of free afternoons.

On thursday afternoon a few of us went for a walk to Grasmere. We saw a deer which seemed very calm and unafraid - it didn't run off as soon as it saw us but stood and watched us approach for a minute before wandering away.

A Deer
A deer, seen on the walk to Grasmere.

View over Grasmere
View of Grasmere.

When we got to Grasmere I went to the 'famous' gingerbread shop, which I hadn't heard of until this morning. The gingerbread is a bit like a cross between cake and biscuit, with proper pieces of ginger in it.

Woodpeckers in the woods

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

I sometimes walk through the woods on my way to the office. I've been told that there are woodpeckers in the area. Sightings of them are quite rare but they can occasionally be heard. This morning I heard the distinctive 'rat-a-tat' sound. I don't remember hearing them before - I probably have heard them but didn't notice at the time.

Trapped in the car park

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

It took me about an hour to park the car and get to my office this morning. Getting into the car park was easy - my pass card opened the barrier. The car park was full so I tried to leave to go to another car park. Actually the car park was had plenty of spaces but they were all in the roped off empty upper floor of the multi-storey. The top floor had been closed due to the risk of ice.

I drove to the 'out' barrier and swiped my card but the barrier failed to open. A queue of cars started to form behind me. A few other people tried the barrier but it wouldn't open for them either. We phoned security and waited for them to arrive. It took 3 people and a lot of trial and error before they managed to get the barrier open. I eventually managed to leave and find my way to another car park which had some proper spaces, which happened to be a decidedly non-icy top floor of another multi-storey car park.

New idea for a celebrity game show

Story location: Home / Blog /

Earlier today in work, we were discussing radio listening habits. I mentioned that I sometimes listen to Radio 2 but never in the car on the way home because I don't like Chris Evans.

That may have influenced the dream I had tonight where I came 2nd in a 'Beat up Chris Evans With a Baseball Bat' competition, and won a pile of cakes. The winner cheated by claiming they hit him more times than they actually did.


Story location: Home / Blog / work /

I was walking back to the car this evening and I saw somebody walking along the path towards me. There was a small dog trotting along a few paces in front of him. As we got closer to each other, the dog turned to one side and ran into the field. I then realised it wasn't someone out walking his dog, but a fox which just happened to be walking in the same direction.

I stopped and watched the fox for a few seconds when I saw a second fox on the other side of the path. It stopped and watched me for a short while before it scampered away into the night.

Photos of Stevenage

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

Some photos of Stevenage. They were taken on my phone, trying to hold it steady for the long-ish exposures, so the picture quality isn't very good.

Stevenage New Town
New Town is very concrete and has no redeeming features.

Stevenage Old Town
The High Street in Old Town.

Stevenage Old Town
Middle Row - a medieval alleyway running alongside the High Street.

Old Town is much better and is where all the night life is - most of the bars and restaurants seem to be around here. After the training course today, a few of us went for a curry in one of the restaurants on the High Street.

In Stevenage

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I'm in Stevenage for a few days, on a training course.

The train journey down here was ok. I only had to wait a couple of minutes for each connection. At King's Cross Station, I had a long walk to platform 9 for my train, although I did pass the famous Platform 9¾ on the way. My train was at the platform ready to leave so I didn't have time to stop and take a photo.

Stevenage town centre is a bit of a concrete dump. It's like the worst parts of Coventry town centre, only darker and more desolate.