Dear Diary...

This is my diary. How things are. Or something. Please note that the diary is archived month by month, so feel free to click the links for the archives.

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Tuesday 12th December - Jumper Round

After work today I decided that I needed to go and get the Christmas jumper sorted out. This was primarily because of Christmas Jumper Day this Friday, and also because of where I work I couldn't really not get into the spirit and not wear one. I also wanted to try and get something which actually wouldn't look too tacky to wear either - some of them are just a little over the top and for me it's a case of finding a nice balance between the two. I had seen some ideas in Sainsburys of all places, so it was off on the tram from East Croydon to Waddon Marsh first of all.

And that proved to be not so good. They did have one which lit up when you activated something inside but that was a little bit expensive, plus the sizes weren't right for me either, so boo there. I thought that TK Maxx just over the road might have had some options too, but no, they clearly didn't. In fact I couldn't spot a single jumper of sorts either, unlike the other day when The Love In My Heart and I were at Manchester Fort and saw loads, so that was worth noting.

Anyway, I thought that there might be late night shopping going on in the centre of Croydon so I took the tram and headed back to the Centrale stop, and went into the shopping centre there. Not all the shops in either Whitgift or Centrale were open though: I'd say mainly the big stores were looking at 8pm openings tonight. I did peruse most of them and did have some ideas in my head - and Primark had virtually sold out of all of theirs (not that I was getting one from there anyway but notable to see.)

In the end, I did manage to get one and from one of the stores, and it's not over the top but nice, and will at least mean that I can get into the spirit of things on Friday when the day happens. In fact I was thinking that it might be something I could at least get some wear out of during the festive period and then keep during the year for the next Christmas festivities - after all why spend more than you need to for this sort of thing I wonder? In a good way, it's a wise investment but also means I know where I am - so all good there.

Tune of the day is a Christmas song - but not as we know it. To get me in the mood for the She Makes War gig tomorrow night, I noted that Laura had herself done a Christmas cover a few years back - a version of the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping" which most supermarkets and stores will have on their Christmas playlists every year. It is a nice version though, much less horn section and much more synth like, not a bad thing, and a good singalong too. Yaay!

Monday 11th December - Cheggers Plays No More Pop

It was good to be heading back to work and with two work weeks to go to Christmas. It was also good to catch up a fair bit after having Friday off and also being able to get lots sorted out, so made sure that the deployment of the likes of Google Chrome went well (the new version appeared to have worked nicely so all good there) and also look at some development work with ServiceNow during the day as well. One feature we did want to implement didn't quite work the way I wanted, so need to find out some more information and work from there.

I did find out around 2pm from a work colleague that Keith Chegwin had passed away. I must admit that it did make me feel rather sad, not least because it was part of the childhood that had gone with it. When I was much younger, there was of course Multicoloured Swap Shop that he was a part of, but the main thing for me was the iconic Cheggers Plays Pop game show, with two teams in red and yellow pitting their wits against pop questions and also games with inflatables with the chart sounds playing in the background.

Of course being Mancunian, this was filmed at BBC Manchester Oxford Road, a place I passed all the time on the way into the city centre, and many local schools in the North West did feature on there. It did have a real classic theme tune with some nice guitar work, and that's tune of the day - highly evocative of the time but also full of bounce and getting everyone in the mood to enjoy the show a lot. In fact, it ran for almost nine years with a sense of enjoyment throughout.

There's several things that I suspect that Keith would rather not have done, Naked Jungle being one of them - there was one pilot for a reason, and it was pretty low brow to be honest. However, being an all round entertainer there was plenty of time to bounce back and be on other series, and the infectious nature of being a sunny side up personality was just the thing that a lot of us needed when the world isn't always at its nicest either, so there you go.

It was good to relax tonight and enjoy the tree being all lit and looking festive too, and used the new wok for the first time to get some chicken curry sorted out. I must admit it's a lot easier using that - even if it is a lot bigger than the pan I used to use, and really does work well to keep the heat in and make the food nice and warm. It was butter chicken with some mushrooms and some rice as well as some naan bread - and just the thing for a rather freezing cold day outside too!

Sunday 10th December - Snowy Derby

The Love In My Heart and I looked outside of the bedroom window, and noticed that some snow had fallen overnight. Not enough to settle on the roads, but certainly enough for the roofs nearby to show that they had indeed been graced with the white stuff. It did stop early in the morning though and so unlike other parts of the country that had had six inches plus of snow, it was relatively calm in Croydon. We did have a lovely breakfast and were ready to face the weather a bit later on.

In fact we did just that as we ventured down to Surrey Street Market to check out the Canadian themed market that was on offer during the afternoon. It wasn't that busy due to the cold weather, but there were some nice stalls selling maple syrup, some hand made goods and other themed items, plus a coffee stall doing a roaring trade with some Tim Horton's coffee. I think the weather had meant not all of what had been planned was taking place though, so it wasn't necessarily all on.

We got back to my place and had a game of Scrabble in the afternoon and saw that the snow was coming back down and that wasn't nice to see - mainly because we wanted to head out later and get The Love back to Euston for the train. We did thankfully see it stop and so timed our exit at the snooker mid session interval and then was able to walk up to East Croydon to get the train - and that went without a hitch to Victoria, then the tube to Warren Street and onwards for lunch.

And it was back to the Crown and Anchor for our last Sunday lunch there of the year. We did enjoy it hugely though, with some lovely ale on tap for me and wine for The Love, plus some gorgeous food - the beef and amber ale pie for me for one, which was stunningly nice. It was just good to natter in there and really reflect on a lovely weekend together, and on the way to Euston I'd noticed all the places close to the station such as the former Ibis hotel and the former Calumet shop all been compulsorily purchased as part of HS2 - oh joy. I've stayed in that Ibis back in the day!

The Love and I had a hug and kiss farewell at Euston as she headed home on the train, and I got myself back to Croydon where I noted Boxpark was showing the Manchester derby on the telly from Old Trafford, so I watched most of that in there. City went ahead through David Silva, only for Marcus Rashford to equalise right on half time. City though went back in front through Nicolas Otamendi and so it stayed at 2-1 and City won, with the snow coming down at Old Trafford a bit too. But I'll take it, oh yes, another win in the Premier League and a defeat of United too - and so playing Supra's "Blue Moon" at full pelt only seems right somehow (and tune of the day at that...)

Saturday 9th December - All Christmas Loved Up

After a nice restful lie in, The Love In My Heart and I got ourselves up and ready, and had some nice sausages on toast for breakfast to get us in the mood for the rest of the day. It was good to potter about seeing some of the James Martin on Saturday thing too (Rachel Allen was even being a bit flirty to be honest!) and once we'd got everything all good to go, it was off to East Croydon station and to head towards the centre of the capital. In fact, we had a cunning plan..

That plan was to change at Clapham Junction and head on the train to Waterloo so we could start there and walk along the South Bank all the way to London Bridge and so take in any Christmas markets and just the nice view generally. It worked well getting into Platform 1 at Waterloo and following the pedestrian walkway to the back of the Royal Festival Hall and heading up and over to the Southbank Centre, and did a left at first to check out the space that had the Rekorderlig cider house (the hot cider was expensive though) and then back along.

In fact we stopped off at the upper floor rooftop bar in the Southbank Centre, where in Summer we've stopped in the warm to admire the view. They had some heaters and a tent and it was a so-called "Finnish Sauna" - it wasn't that warm but they did have Glögg for The Love and coffee for me, so all was really good there. It was good to look over the Thames as ever and see the river boats go past, and also after that we walked past the National Theatre and the book stalls, and onwards towards Blackfriars.

After that we thought that there might have been a Christmas market by the Tate, but not this time around - a shame, as last time was good. We had at least perused the stalls before by the Southbank Centre, and there were the craft shops in Oxo Tower so that was nice to look around, and as we approached London Bridge and beyond, there were some more Christmas stalls on the waterfront too, and we had a large bratwurst for lunch along the way. It was festive and certainly being able to sit by the river and have lunch was nice.

We got back to London Bridge station and took the train back to East Croydon, and later on we were relaxed watching the rest of the snooker semi final, then being relatively chilled out watching Top of the Pops Big Hits from 1981 (make Soft Cell's version of "Tainted Love" tune of the day) and then getting ourselves ready to head out for the evening. The Love looked absolutely stunning in her really nice dress and boots, and I really felt so lucky to be taking her out.

We went and had a lovely evening meal at Tre Fratelli, one of the restaurants along Croydon's Restaurant Quarter. We've eaten there before and the food is lovely, so well worth going again. In fact we both had the minestrone soup for starters which was delicious, and really wholesome, and the mains were stunning - I had the carbonara with penne pasta, and the sauce was lovely and creamy and full of bacon in there too. The Love had the chicken in cream sauce with mushrooms with some vegetables on the side, and that really did feel stunningly nice also. We loved the really good friendly service from the staff, and also the welcoming feel we had throughout - and had no hesitation in leaving a good tip, especially as the price was very good for what we had too.

We ended up then heading back to near mine and in the Green Dragon pub, which had recently had a refurb inside. The good news was that this wasn't at the expense of the beer selection or the atmos, both of which were still excellent. We're talking eight cask ales, another eight on tap behind the bar, and multiple ciders too. In fact the other good thing was the still reasonable prices, a large white wine and pint of the very nice Truman's "Roll Out The Barrel" with some vanilla in there - gorgeous - for just over £9. For parts of London that's considerably reasonable actually, and set the evening off perfectly. A lovely day with the woman I love - what more could I ask for?

Friday 8th December - Oh Christmas Tree

I had the day off work today as The Love In My Heart was coming down to see me for the weekend, but I was also glad in a way when I saw what was happening with the trains. Power failures meant whole signalling systems and other things down, and people were taking two to three hours to get into work. Granted I'd have been able to work from home and not have to worry about traipsing in of course, but to be up and just relax during the day, get the shopping delivered, and then get all the house sorted was a bonus.

I got the Christmas tree and the decorations out and noted that for some reason I only had one set of lights, so managed to nip out and get some more - they were the LED lights and battery operated with 3 AA batteries, so no plug, and not just that either, but they didn't loop back to the plug like my other set, so can go in one long sring all the way around as needed. I put the lights on, the polar bear I have on top, and The Love said she would help with the decorations and so was all chilled out, watching the snooker in the afternoon.

The trains were still not brilliant but The Love managed to spot the departure to Reigate from London Victoria at Platform 19 first and got a seat before it became really busy, and arrived virtually on time to East Croydon where I'd walked up to meet her. It was lovely to see her as ever and we headed back to the nice warmth of the flat, had a coffee and were soon sorting out the decorations for the tree and putting the tree up. I must admit the LED lights are a little less bright than the plug in ones, but do feel a little more festive for somee reason.

I made us some tea later on and had in some nice Tesco Finest stuff, so we had the chicken in white wine sauce with leeks and some dauphinoise potatoes as well - it was really nice too. I did that a little early so that The Love could settle in and watch the soaps and chill out, and in the commercial breaks I'd be keeping an eye on the quarter finals at the UK Snooker Championship. It was a good compromise and meant that we were both happy and snuggled up.

We also did see Gogglebox later and it was always interesting to see what they'd made of the week's telly, especially the likes of Strictly Come Dancing but also how other shows such as Blue Planet II were gripping the nation. It was also good that the tree really did make us both feel in a nice festive mood and we were certainly feeling like it was a good opportunity to almost be like it was Christmas and get snuggly. Awww, I know. Tune of the day is the rather good "Magic" by Cabaret Voltaire, a definite more house inspired track they did but so spot on, and the uplifting feel of it certainly captured the magic in the air today.

Thursday 7th December - The Sunny Side

It was nice to be out after work tonight, as a fair few of us in IT got together for a Christmas night out. In fact we'd all been asked to bring some food along so we could have a little bit of a buffet and feast at 4pm beforehand, which was good, and that meant lots of snacks, sweet things and even mince pies to set the tone nicely. I had been testing out some things following yesterday and found out that for the SQL Server Management Studio install, it needed to have the tick box to run as a 32-bit application for the installation. Normally this isn't an issue, but after doing a check running it and seeing it show (x86), thought it best to do that - and it worked first go. Often overlooked!

I had brought in biscuits as part of the food thing, and others had brought in bread, cheese, a really nice roasted ham with honey and mustard, all that sort of thing. It was nice although probably didn't need endless naff versions of Christmas songs playing in the background but there you go. It was however nice to be able to get in the mood and feel festive, and I did have one of my Patrick Grant shirts on so looked smart and ready to hit the proverbial town.

In the end, we headed off to Simmons, a bar not far from work and there's a few of them in Central London. What is key is that their happy hour is quite long during the week (4-9pm) which means selected bottles of beer and glasses of house white wine for £2.50, a veritable bargain in London. Management had put a nice bar tab aside so we were able to use that, and they did have some Meantime ales on, so myself and a couple of colleagues went for the Cali Pale Ale, which was pretty decent to be honest.

It was nice to be out, share conversation and have a few drinks, and the place was packed out (prices have a lot to do with it I suspect) and so from there it was a case of being able to listen intently, because of the mass noise of conversation and decent tunes (such as Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" so that's tune of the day for me) and it was all good. I didn't stay out too late though becuase I wanted to get things sorted at home for The Love In My Heart's visit tomorrow, but it was nice to be relax anyway.

I got home and was glued to the telly on the BBC Red Button as the final batch of last sixteen matches were taking place, and Ronnie O'Sulliivan as I came in was 4-2 down against Sunny Akani (probably easier to use that than Akani Songsermsawad as was previously known) - Ronnie battled back to 4-4, but then Sunny put together a brilliant 128 break to go 5-4 up, and had a chance in the next to knock the green in, and he tried to get the blue off the cushion but potted it. Gutted. Ronnie cleared for 5-5, and then it was tension in the final frame but Ronnie got over the line to win an absolute epic 6-5.

The post match interview with both players was brilliant, and to give Ronnie credit he really did big up how well Sunny played, with Sunny stating Ronnie was his idol and thanked him for the game. It was really nice to see and I certainly think that some of Ronnie's over-zealous fans should take note that you always respect the player in victory or defeat - if he can do that, and be very fair and complimentary, why can't everyone else? Going to be a cracking last few days of the championship now.

Wednesday 6th December - Testing Times

I've spent the last few weeks with a colleague of mine getting together the packages together for a task sequence which will, when run, add all the administrative tools that are needed in order to get a build sorted quicker for the second and third line teams. In theory this means that after our Windows 10 base build, we can put together all the needed stuff and have it all installed nicely, so less hassle all round. Individually, we know that the packages and applications do work, so it's just getting them all together the right way around.

I did note that there was an error with one of the batch files that installed KeePass and also copied a required configuration file to the machine, and when that was all sorted it meant that that installer did work, and indeed the majority of applications did work - one did need a restart and as such it meant that if left alone, the task sequence would carry on and keep installing, so that was all good. In fact later in the day I was able to show that the second line stuff did all work correctly, and install, and it was only some of the heavier third line stuff which was proving less effective.

In fact I narrowed it down to two which may need an additional restart putting in, and those were the SQL Server Management Studio, in itself not the nicest installer anyway, and MS DaRT, which does have some pre-requisites and also may in fact need the Windows 10 ADK installing first before anything else. I'll have to get some further tests done tomorrow but it was interesting to note that some of the pieces of software installed fine on their own, but there's most likely a certain order they could be needed in a task sequence, so some juggling round is inevitable.

I've been watching the UK Championship snooker on the telly of course this week, and there's been some excellent games. In fact the BBC Sport app on the telly has both tables available so I was able to see the Ryan Day v Li Hang game. It was a good move because on the second frame, Li was putting a very good break together and had got all the way to the fifteenth and final red with a possible maximum break on - and potted a very difficult red and tough black, but then rattled the yellow in the jaws. I did feel gutted actually as it's always nice for a player to get a maximum, and his first at that.

It was absorbing stuff and at the time of writing it's 4-4 and all to play for still, and I'll most likely stay up to watch the rest of that. I do though wish that the BBC would bring back the proper snooker theme, ie: "Drag Racer" by the Doug Wood Band, in its original form, not the horrible remix that they still seem to be playing these days. We as fans would like the proper one back and that's tune of the day for definite. Need to get playing it some more right now in fact...

Tuesday 5th December - I've Got Algot

After work it was off to the local IKEA, having had a couple of ideas as to what to do with the space at the bottom of the wardrobe. I did have a spring loaded rod that went across between the walls to hang my jeans etc on, but the springiness had gone and meant that the whole thing just fell, which wasn't good. Ideally I needed something that was free standing that would fit inside the space but also not have to be drilled onto the wall or anything like that, so I had a couple of potential free standing ideas and thought it best to go and have a mooch and see what was there.

I got to the home storage section and did see some potential different ideas - all the clothes rails were too wide so wouldn't fit in the space, and knew that the space I did have was 60cm x 50cm in terms of width and depth, and around 100cm high. I did spot a frame which looked good but had too many side bars for the drawers it used, but a more bare version of that might just do the job. And when I headed to the warehouse to check other products in the same range, I found something in that Algot range which might just be the thing.

So it was the frame with rod for £15, which measured 60cm x 41cm and 100cm high, so spot on for the specs I needed. Interestingly, I worked out I'd have to have it longways on with the rod facing back to front instead of across (as the rod is the 41cm part) - but nonetheless that should do the job. So, one purchase later, having checked the assembly instructions online to see how easy it might be to build, and that was me heading on the 455 bus back home from IKEA with item in tow.

I got home and the instructions were spot on, you fitted the four metal rods to the two rectangular with curved frame, and once all fitted, that felt very sturdy. You then screwed in the feet so as to give it some floor ground clearance a tad, and then put the brackets for the centre rod in place, which dropped into the recess and its place perfectly so wasn't going to go anywhere. After a bit of tweaking sideways on to get it past the sliding door and into the space, in terms of the width 60cm was absolutely spot on, and fits snugly against the skirting board, and the frame was nice and solid. I put some jeans on hangers on there, and it all worked, perfect. I just wonder why I didn't get that in the first place!

In the meantime, tune of the day is the rather epic twenty five minute soundtrack that accompanies the Commodore 64 version of the game Tetris, as composed by Wally Beben. It's not the arcade machine version, but instead a wonderfully atmospheric piece of progressive synth music with lots of sampled organ as the tune develops, with a simple build up of the main theme into those organs too. It's often overlooked how good it is, so let's redress that balance a bit...

Monday 4th December - Dust Settled

It was back to work after the weekend, and the good thing was that one deployment which I'd set to happen for over the weekend, ie: the deployment of a specialist piece of software where the back end was being upgraded, all appeared to work. I knew the target number of PCs and in fact I'd seen around 700 of those deploy successfully, and with zero errors as well. That pleased me immensely and it was good that I'd had some nice praise from a fair few people for getting to the bottom of all the issues at the back end of last week.

I also looked at a couple of reports in the old SCCM, primarily to see what we could do in terms of seeing what devices were still out there. The good thing was that there may be something that we would be able to possibly do to give them a nudge, so will be looking at that as a possible incentive / carrot / stick, whatever you want to call it, to get those things done. In a good way we can see that there's much less need for the old version too, so one good thing we'd be able to do eventually is turn off discovery, and indeed decommission the old system out. That would be useful.

On another positive note (there's a few today) what I had ordered at the back end of last week had arrived - a new Oyster card! You see, my original from 2006 Oyster card is first generation, and whilst I can use it to top up online and all that, if I wanted to use the app, I can't do so - as only second generation are allowed. However, TfL realised that it would be unfair to penalise those who had purchased Oyster originally and so have offered for you to get a replacement sent out for free - which you can then transfer the products too. Nifty, I know.

It's not all good news though as fares will be going up in 2018 - and by 3.4% as well. So my monthly Zone 1 to 5 travelcard will be heading up by around another £8 a month, so need to bear that in mind when revising my outgoings each month. I guess that some of that is because of the rail companies who are upping their fares a fair bit that also happen to use the London fare zones, but a bit poor really. So off peak from Euston to East Croydon (as The Love In My Heart would do) will be £4.90, up a little bit.

Still, it was also good to catch up with one of my friends and former colleagues tonight on the phone too - plenty to talk about but mainly on a personal level instead of work, always a better thing that. It's always good when you can spend some time nattering and when you realise that the time has just sped by without you even realising as well. With that in mind, tune of the day is the ace "All In A Heartbeat" by Swing Out Sister - pretty much sums up how time has gone by lately!

Sunday 3rd December - Do do dooooooo, Pablo Zabaleta

It was first of all, after some lovely breakfast, off out with The Love In My Heart as she needed to pick up a parcel from DPD Local for Christmas, but needed to know where to go when she would head there after work tomorrow to get it. As it turned out it was close to the M60 on Windmill Lane in Denton, a short cut way I've known for ages as my father used to do so all the time. We found the place so she knew where to go tomorrow, and noted that it wasn't too difficult to get to but might be bad in rush hour traffic.

Later on I headed over to my uncle's place, and had a coffee and a good natter with him, his wife, and son and girlfriend, who is lovely. They've got two kittens now called Colin and Bell (after the Man City legend of course) and that was nice to see them both being so cute and lovely, in fact Bell was running around a lot being quite active whereas Colin was more than happy to rest on the cat bed. In a way they reminded me of how Jô and Brian were when The Love first got those cats.

Later on it was off to my friend's place and had a good catch up and natter over coffee with him and his wife, and it was good to see how things were, before my friend and I were off to the Etihad Stadium for the next home game - and West Ham United at that. It did mean that Pablo Zabaleta would be back, and we were both sure he would get a hero's welcome, more so that West Ham had announced him captain and that was a good thing. Needless to say he got a great reception and to Black Lace's "Do The Conga" the City fans started the chant of "Do do doooooo, Pablo Zabaleta" - which he applauded. Nice one Zaba!

The game was tight and clearly Zaba had had words with the West Ham defence to stay organised and keep tight, and hit City on the break. They did exactly that just before half time and Ogbonna headed home from close range so that it was 1-0 to the Hammers, which obviously the fans that could make it up went mental at. Something wasn't right for City somehow and I had a feeling that there would be a change at the start of the second half.

And change it was too - with Danilo coming off for Gabriel Jesús, and Fabian Delph back at left back. It was much better and City pressed West Ham further back and further back, and Jesús' low cross was met by of all people Nicolas Otamendi who poked home the equaliser for 1-1. All well there, but West Ham kept going and it took a cross of genius from Kevin de Bruyne and a sublime finish from David Silva to take the lead with five minutes to go and win the game for us, but credit where it was due - West Ham gave us a hard game and were unlucky not to get a better result.

At the end, Zabaleta told their players to go to the fans, and he embraced lots of his former team mates. There were special hugs for the likes of Silva and Kompany particularly, and the City fans still sang his name and he applauded both sets of fans. See, legend. He is still the man even if he plays for another team, and bleeds blue blood. As I took the train home later in a nice warm carriage, I thought about all the times he fought for us and his love of Status Quo, so only fitting that "Whatever You Want" is tune of the day...

Saturday 2nd December - Touched By Your Presents, Dear

I had a busy day ahead of me, primarily as I'd brought some Christmas presents up with me and felt it best to drop a number of them off today and this weekend. Part of the reason for me doing so is that so when I do come up on the 22nd December for the Christmas period, I'll only have the large case to think about and nothing else either, as carrying lots of bags of stuff on top would just be a tad unwieldy. I did even think about possibly looking at some large packages being sent in the post (and I'll be sending a couple that way anyway...)

So it was off to see my auntie, and in fact because my sister was away for the weekend, I dropped off all theirs too and so was able to catch up a little with my auntie, all seemed well and we had a good natter over a coffee, and with some of my younger relations being there and showing me how good they were at writing, it was all nice all round. I did see Mum too and popped over for coffee, she was getting the dining room ready for Christmas having put the tree up yesterday which did look very nice and festive. Go Mum!

It was then back to The Love In My Heart's place, and her father was there - and The Love was writing out all the Christmas cards and envelopes to be sent off in the post to family and friends for her father. We did drop him off at his place later and I sorted out (again) all the TV and video connectivity due to some extra fiddling. I got it all sorted so that he had HDMI outs from the Sky box and DVD player to the telly, and SCART from the Sky box to video, and back through from video to telly, so he could watch and record video if he wanted to and that worked out nicely.

It was off then to Manchester Fort for myself and The Love, and I managed to get a present for one of my friends, which The Love will wrap up here and so save me carrying it back and forward. In fact The Love did well anyway getting herself a couple of presents in Marks and Spencer, and on top of that, also getting herself a nice Winter everyday jacket in New Look too - she looks lovely in it. I even ventured into B&M Bargains and got some Costa Tassimo Vanilla Latte pods cheap - get in!

Back at The Love's place later we settled in and watched the Strictly special of Pointless Celebrities and was quite surprised that how well most of them did - but the prize round was a nightmare and so no jackpot. We did see Strictly of course with its musicals themed week, and Mollie and AJ did "Hopelessly Devoted To You" as originally performed by Olivia Newton-John in Grease (make that tune of the day due to The Love adoring it to bits!) and all was well with the world there. I did think though that Davood and Nadiya might be in the dance off after doing Phantom of the Opera, and he did struggle with balance during the Argentine Tango. We shall see..

Oh, and I had to endure the first part of the final of X Factor. Meh. At least this year the contestants have been allowed to sing their own songs they've written, and that's given some credibility back. Right from early on though I thought Rak-Su would be there, and they did a duet with Naughty Boy and Wyclef Jean from the Fugees which worked, whilst Grace Davies went back to her audition song but with Paloma Faith. The Love wasn't so keen and neither was I after she ruined David Bowie's classic Life On Mars... see, only certain people can do Bowie justice.

Friday 1st December - Battle Won Twice Over

I decided this morning to come up with a different approach. Effectively, I'd add a pause in the task sequence so that I could see at that point what needed doing from a SCCM point of view and how to resolve it. In fact, this proved to be a good move. I could see the client had installed, but the components weren't always talking over with the PKI certificate. So, as a test, I then installed the KB4042949 patch for the client, and then resumed the task sequence. And... yes!

The applications then installed, and the task sequence went on to complete, so major breakthrough. From there it was a case of amending the Setup Windows and Configuration Manager step to include the path to the patch installation and then ensuring that all was well there. The good news was that once it was done, we were able to test that with our test task sequence and that worked, and then made that happen for live, set a number of laptops off and all were good to go.

I was mightily relieved but also pleased I'd found an answer, and when we do then promote the client to production that should mean we don't need to add the patch line in either anymore, but it's something I know how to put back so should be pretty good. Bit annoying though that you do actually have to add the new client patch in for new machines or else all will fail during the task sequence, nothing about that in the readme, and obviously, you test out the client deployment so as not to screw up machines in the first place. Ah well, onwards and upwards.

Well, at work it was, but at Euston it was carnage. Some overhead lines had come down just north of Wembley, and that meant a number of lines weren't able to run, and there were cancellations of trains all over the place. I was thankful that my 1820 train was running, but at the same time, knew we were in for delays so was able to at least get to my seat, and it was surprisingly empty, possibly because everyone had piled on the delayed 1740 to Manchester instead..

It was delayed going through all the way to Milton Keynes Central following a slow service, and then a case of attempting to play catch up towards Manchester, where The Love In My Heart was waiting for me (and I had advised her of late trains so she could set off later too) - and we headed back, snuggled up with Brian the cat, and we watched Gogglebox on Channel 4 Plus 1, with plenty of giggles along the way - just the thing we both needed after a long week in every sense of the word. In fact tune of the day is "Epic" by Faith No More, pretty much sums up the feeling I wanted after a long week...