Dear Diary... June 2015

Tuesday 30th June - The Heat Is On

Like the old 1980s song, and it's on the street (well sort of). I must admit this is the sort of day when being in an air conditioned office really does have its benefits. The nice air at a decent temperature (not too cold) really does reap its benefits, as it allowed me to concentrate and get on with the task in hand - mainly testing out the build stuff. I had the issue log from all the previous tests that myself and one of my colleagues had done, which really meant that I could make sure each and every one of those issues had been fixed. The good news was that they had: and that had to be a reassuring thing.

I did also throw down a shed load of the site based applications as well, and this was also a good test to see how stable things were with them all coming down. The good news I had was that they all came down nicely, all installed and as a student user they all worked too, which I'd expect to happen but good to know that this was the case really. I also made sure that any potential issues which I had spotted I was able to therefore test and suggest a solution. In my view it's very easy to state problems but doing so without a solution is just plain daft in my view.

Anyway, I headed home and actually headed via Asda, and picked up a little hat to take with me on my forthcoming trip - sort of to keep the sun off the head (as I really suffer otherwise) and also to try and look semi-cool (well sort of, me and that sort of headgear doesn't always go) and with that done, I headed home and made sure that I was able to do what I could to keep the air flowing through the house prior to The Love In My Heart arriving for tea.

I indulged her in Emmerdale as I made the tea - some nice pulled pork shoulder with some mash and petits pois, and with that all really enjoyed it was then packing the case time. The Love is tons better than me at folding clothes (although I can tend to do short sleeved shirts these days) and once I'd got the case organised, almost everything was pretty much done and packed in a short period of time. There's still a couple of things I need to do (one pair of jeans to dry and iron) but everything else boxed off nicely.

After all that we watched the second to last episode of The Syndicate, which was really good. I quite liked the Scarborough backdrop of course as I'd been there many times myself, and everything was starting to unwind hugely in a really compelling way. I for one was able to see through the second Lady Hazelwood, and to be fair to Alice Krige, she's been excellent playing the real posh lady with an equal amount of ostentatiousness to say the least (and much different from when she played the Borg Queen, Star Trek fans!). Of course when the Lord is none other than Sebastian from Brideshead Revisited (Anthony Andrews no less) you're on a winner straight off really.

The Love headed home and the next time I see her will be a really nice time - I know it will. I always feel that sense of longing when she leaves, hoping she could stay longer or stay over, but I know she's got lots to sort out and two little kitties to demand her attention (and they do!) so that's fair dos really. I chilled out later before I went to bed with some early The Human League, with the excellent "Empire State Human" being tune of the day - I have the 7" single of that as well, fact.

Monday 29th June - Getting On With It

So back to work and a shortened week (always good) but lots to try and do in that time as well (not good). In fact I was going to bring down the latest Windows 7 build 1.6.2 we had (complete with latest updates, standard core build software etc) but for some reason every time you tried to get the content from the distribution point, it failed. I had a quick chat with one of our Systems folks and it soon became clear that there were hash value errors, and this usually means that the content wasn't validating correctly on the distribution point. One re-validation later, and I set it off last thing tonight and it looked like all was good.

I spent a fair amount of time this afternoon in a meeting as we planned out some of the wide fomat printer stuff as we've got some new devices arriving. On the whole it worked pretty well, and it gave us some direction and what to do with it. It also meant that we would have to work on a lot of the stuff beforehand in terms of infrastructure and seeing how that all worked - and in reality it meant that we would be able to get things done now. Ideally I think we'd want to get that done before the change freeze later next month. That's the plan.

I went home via my sister's place later on as it was my niece's birthday tomorrow and wanted to drop off a card and present for her. It was good to have a chat and I had a nice Costa capuccino out of my sister's little cute Tassimo T12 model. There was an offer she had where if you got x amount of pods, you could get any of the little machines for £10, and thee white T12 was just the right size for her kitchen. And lots of the Twinings English breakfast tea pods too as her and her husband both like tea.

In fact I also spent time with my little nephew too and he was sorting out a train track where the pieces assemble almsot jigsaw style with two joins rather than the classic one that the wooden train tracks have. I managed to work out a new track arrangement with him and we assembled it nicely, and that pleased him massively - and gave me a massive hug as I was about to go home as a thank you, which was really nice. It's the little things that keep you going I think.

Later on I saw some of the Wimbledon coverage and was surprised to see a British men's player that wasn't Andy Murray getting through the first round. Kudos to Liam Broady who came back from two sets down to win in five. And he's a Manchester City fan by all accounts, so even more kudos where it is due. Of course Wimbledon isn't so without the proper theme tune, that is "Light and Tuneful" by Keith Mansfield of course, a classic and therefore tune of the day.

Sunday 28th June - The Pride of Lionesses

I was up in the early hours of Sunday morning, and with very good reason. England's women were up against Canada in the quarter finals of the Women's World Cup in Vancouver, and with the host nation and virtually all the fans up against England, it was going to be a tough game - not least as Canada had edged England 1-0 in a friendly before the World Cup. So it was with a sense of excitement and realism that had me glued to BBC One till around 3am.

In fact the game started off with Canada on the attack and Melissa Tancredi missing a chance early on, and then it turned around hugely. The ball was passed back to Lauren Sesselmann who made a fluff of her attempted clearance, and Jodie Taylor was on it rapidly, robbing the ball, surging forward and skipping past another defender, saw the bottom corner and absoutely drilled the ball into the net giving the Canadian keeper Erin McLeod no chance. 1-0 to England! It was no more than they deserved for a really good piece of closing down in the attack, and silenced the crowd somewhat.

That silence was even more noticeable just three minutes later as England got a free kick. Fara Williams floated the ball over and Lucy Bronze got her head to it, and it dipped over McLeod's head and off the underside of the bar and in. 2-0 to England! I normally get annoyed by Jonathan Pearce's commentary but he redeemed himself with this quote about the Canadian team's poor choice of marking: "Why didn't Canada learn? To be honest, I don't care!" - shades of Barry Davies and the 1988 Olympic hockey final and all that..

England almost had a third when Katie Chapman's looping header rattled the bar, but just before half time the ball was crossed in and Karen Bardsley spilled it right into the path of the Canadian captain Christine Sinclair, and she doesn't miss those. 2-1 at half time and it was getting somewhat edgy out there. It stayed that way at half time and in the second half whilst England made chances on the break, with Taylor forcing a fine save from McLeod, it was backs to the wall stuff for a fair bit of time.

Karen Bardsley went off with an odd eye injury, and Siobhan Chamberlain came on in goal and did a great job, keeping the score at 2-1 with some good decision making and really blending well with the team. And the whole spirit and togetherness has been something really special, it really has. And when the final whistle went, I was so chuffed for them all. It's a real turning point for the women's game with the team doing well, and with a fair number of people staying up and cheering the Lionesses on, I can only hope more people take notice and appreciate that the women's game is growing, not just in stature, but also skill, desire and passion too.

I can look back at the men's team in the World Cup and the only real affinity I had with the squad was in 1990. Bar say Gary Lineker and Paul Gasciogne, they weren't necessarily world beaters. But Sir Bobby Robson believed in them, made them all a team with a real never say die attitude that earned respect everywhere. We won the Fair Play award that World Cup. We scored in the last minute of extra time against Belgium and had the coolness of Gary Lineker's penalties against Cameroon, and so narrowly lost on penalties to Germany. When Lineker scored the equaliser, his fist clenching celebration was spot on. We played in the right spirit and attitude like the women are doing now.

With that in mind, I think it's only right that tune of the day is something that anyone should be singing along to again - the best England footy song ever, "World In Motion" by the 1990 England Squad with New Order. It had a proper tune. It had John Barnes with a credible rap. It had a catchy chorus, and best of all listening to it now reminds me of warming up with it before every England game, and I've been doing that with a couple of the women's games too.

Saturday 27th June - Sorting Stuff Out

I had a bit of a lie in but then realised I had a fair bit to do today, so got myself up, showered and changed and ready to head out into the city centre. I really wanted to make sure I got the holiday money sorted as well as all the toiletries I needed (including sun cream and aftersun) plus then seeing what else I could find along the way. It was a quite nice and warm day though as I headed out and no doubt in my mind that the city centre would be rather busy with shoppers.

And so it proved to be as well, rather packed actually. I did pop into a few places to compare exchange rates for travel money, but M&S for example would give you more if you had your bank account with them. Meh. The Love had got hers last night from Asda and I was thinking if I maybe should go and do the same, but the rate from the Post Office was more than decent enough and I ended up paying almost the same as The Love had done for hers (same amounts of Euros) and so that was at least something.

I did venture into TK Maxx, and it was rather warm in there. The good thing tends to be though is that the men's section is usually very neatly sorted, so that you can actually find stuff you really want in there. You can't say the same about the women's one a lot of the time. I did however manage to locate some shorts and a decent brand too for a decent price, so picked them up along the way, and then made my way towards Quality Save and got the bits I needed in there (new toothbrush, sun spray (and one with no fragrance, colour or anything too) plus some aftersun as well. In fact I'd head to my local pound shop later because they had shampoo I have at a better price, so always good to shop around there.

It was good to get everything all nicely sorted, which meant I could not only finish off my Commodore 64 tune from last night (which I'd done) and that turned out rather nicely as a six minute version of Sensoria, but also venture out to the local market, where I picked up a nice bargain for myself - the CD of The Human League's "Reproduction" album for a mere £2. A bargain, especially when early stuff such as "Empire State Human" and the superb brooding "The Path of Least Resistance" (make that tune of the day) is on there as well.

I had Mum round later on and my brother too, and had a coffee and chat with them. The Australia v Japan women's football had just come on, so once they had gone and I had a catch up, I settled in to watch that. I have to say that it was a real sense of attrition due to the rather warm weather in Edmonton, and fitness told as Japan scored the winner with three minutes left after a scramble from a corner. It wasn't perhaps the best game ever and I had been rooting for the Matildas (the Australian team) but showed that at the quarter final stages, it's tight and anything can and will happen. England are on later in the early hours of Sunday morning which I am staying up for. Come on you Lionesses!!

Friday 26th June - Paying The Penalty

So another day at work, and once the team meetings were done, and indeed the look into progress of work for the next few weeks, it was clear to see that anything I could get done as soon as possible might prove to be advantageous for the remainder of the next few months. And in fact I could - the standalone version of Solidworks 2015 at that. I'd had delivery of the serial number which was good for a nice new 200 activations, and this effectively meant that for the laptop trolleys I'd be able to send it out using SCCM. I tested it and it all worked rather well (with the caveat you do have to activate it manually, but no biggie really)

Later on I headed home and realised that the weather had turned to some form of rain - I was okay as I had a jacket with me to cover myself a little, but it wasn't the most pleasant weather ever it has to be said. It did clear up by early evening though and I had my evening's viewing planned, along with a food shopping delivery from Tesco. I also knew Mum was going to call me and get some trains sorted out, and with that done, all good to go and relax really.

In fact I even had time to put on the Commodore 64 and start work on a second tune this week - I must have been feeling productive. I think for me the key has been to really just be able to call back on some previously compiled work where there's already a good selection of instruments that I'd programmed on, and work with them. In fact this time around it was going to be a version of Cabaret Voltaire's excellent "Sensoria" and the 12" mix at that (make the original tune of the day) and so started some fun with that, sounded good and got the first two minutes or so down.

I also then put on the Women's World Cup match between Germany and France. I have to say that the French took the game to Germany and looked the much better side on the whole - and they had chances in the first half to take the lead but didn't take them, which they may regret later on. In fact the French kept going second half and eventually a deflected shot from Louisa Necib meant they went 1-0 ahead. Game very much on and the Germans looked a tad shell shocked.

That said though, only 1-0 down meant all to play for, and when the German shot struck a French defender on the arm, it was ball to hand not the other way around, never a penalty that. Up stepped leading goalscorer Célia Šašić to do the honours and it was 1-1. Extra time was played and the French had a great chance near the end which Gaëtane Thiney normally would take, but it was sent wide. Penalties it was, Thiney scored hers which atoned for her error, and it went to 4-4 with the Germans scoring their fifth penalty. Up stepped Claire Lavogez and missed, and Germany were therefore through..

Thursday 25th June - Mastering It All

It was a productive day again for me today - this time though getting quite a bit done in terms of working out a plan of action for the next few months, but also looking back through the capital purchases made for IT equipment, and matching those orders against our new asset inventory spreadsheet, so we know exactly what device came on which order where possible, so we have a good idea of what would need to be done in terms of replacements etc. In fact, going through a lot of the orders showed just how much things have changed: it was mainly desktops in years gone by, and it's so many more laptops now.

I also worked out sort of what I needed for the holiday coming up - make sure that all the out of office messages were in the right format ready to go, work out what I needed in terms of any more clothes, toiletries etc, and found pretty much when I got home that most of the things I needed, I already had. I'd just need to ensure that I got all of that sorted at the weekend. Shouldn't be too bad really and I'd like to think that the majority of things are all good to go.

The Love In My Heart came over later, and it was good to see her as ever. I was going to make some nice Pizza Express pasta with some ham in, but also decided to do the pulled pork (minus the chipotle sauce) and then have that on the side to mix with the pasta and sauce as desired. Actually it worked a lot better than I thought it would and so it was good to be able to get that served up nicely, and hopefully at a time that wasn't too late for the second episode of Emmerdale overnight.

We had been watching the Top of the Pops from 1980 on BBC Four and for me, some top quality tunes on there, not least the excellent "Tom Hark" by the Piranhas. I guarantee if I said to you you'll have heard it sung as a chant at a football match you may be able to work out the chorus from that, and it's a really classic song too - so tune of the day there. The episode also had The Gap Band's big hit (I'll leave you to work out what that was) along with the rather brilliant "Lip Up Fatty" by Bad Manners as well.

We did see Celebrity MasterChef and must admit we both do prefer it when they have the half hour shows on for during the week instead of an hour tonight (and indeed an hour and a half tomorrow!) - but nonetheless it did show that some of the celebrities were okay, especially Mica Paris for some reason. I had to smile seeing Syd Little of Little and Large fame attempt to do his thing - he gave a good go of it and the fish and chips he did in the first test actually looked much better than many of the takeaways in his native Blackpool, so kudos to him for giving it a go really.

Wednesday 24th June - Kicking It Old School

I had a mixed bag of a day but the main highlight of the day was getting to work on setting up the licence server software for Rhino 5, and once that was done, then ensuring that the client was packaged up for deployment, with the settings that we needed, and that once that was done, everything worked correctly and that no annoying messages appeared on screen. The server side was pretty easy, install the software and then tweak its firewall rule so as not just to see one single local subnet but IP addresses in a particular range.

Once that was done, the client deployment was easy, mainly thanks to the manufacturer's excellent documentation which explained how to amend their setup.ini file for a silent installation, and on top of that, how to add any add-ons for all users as well. We needed to do that as the extra free add on called Grasshopper was one that was requested. It was good to be able to get all of that sorted out and make sure it worked, and it was actually less hassle than I thought. I also documented everything as I went as well which took a bit more time but meant all was good there.

I also then spent some time in a meeting this afternoon with regards to wide format print and was able to put together some useful suggestions which would help massively with the way we're planning to implement the new devices that we're getting. I think too because I've stepped away a little from it, going back to it with a fresh pair of eyes has in my view been a good thing to aid my own productivity. I must admit though it shows that maybe I need to do that a little more often: break out from something and come back to it.

And in essence, that's what I've been doing later on tonight, kicking it old school. I was mentioning to someone Commodore 64 related that I'd been tinkering with the old software I used to use to make tunes, and he was interested in seeing and hearing what I could do. So just for the hell of it, I fired up Music Assembler and set to work. And in fact it was all rather enjoyable, because I had thankfully located a tune with a good set of instruments which I could re-use and create something fresh with.

A few hours later, and all was done - and really pleased with the result. There's a nice bassline, some strong leads and some kicking drums. All you sort of need really, but just good to get it down and remember just how I was able to put together things nicely like I used to. I can't see this being the last thing either: I just might have to look at seeing if I can do a couple more in the next few weeks as something different to take my mind off things. So there you go - good to give something back I reckon.

Tune of the day in the meantime may not be obvious but inspired me somewhat to get really into the mood of feeling: "Octavarium" by Dream Theater. All twenty four epic minutes of it at that too, and gave me a sense of thinking and purpose before I then went on and started the composing mode tonight. It's always good to understand just how real music works in terms of sequencing, chord progression, that sort of thing, and try to apply that level of common sense when you write yourself. And no, not planning to a Dream Theater song on a Commodore 64 - they're way too long and complex to be done justice!

Tuesday 23rd June - Syndicated

First of all, well done to the England Women's football team on a rather good 2-1 win against Norway late last night at the Women's World Cup. After coming back from 1-0 down with a headed goal from captain Steph Houghton, it was left to fellow Manchester City team-mate Lucy Bronze to strike home a rather cracking effort from 25 yards that was pretty unstoppable. The game had changed when Jill Scott came on, and her marauding down the right, combining with the other sub Jodie Taylor, really did work wonders.

It was another day of hard work at work, and in a way plenty to attempt to sort out. I did however have some good news in that one of the software packages that we had ordered had arrived, and so the licence keys for it were delivered later in the day - as it transpired, two lots of 30 user licences with different keys. I checked with the manufacturer, and that was no issue - when the licences were activated on the licence server, it'd become part of the same pool of licences to issue out, and so would automatically be able to issue accordingly. Happy days really - I'll give that a blast tomorrow and see how I get on.

Later on The Love In My Heart came over, and it was always lovely to see her. In fact I indulged her in some Emmerdale whilst I got the tea on - some Hunter's chicken (basically chicken topped with cheese and bacon in a barbecue sauce) along with some mash, petits pois and carrots. That went down nicely and we then settled in to watch the first episode of the new series on ITV, "Black Work" which I'd recorded on Sunday night as I was seeing the football and The Love was watching Humans (which I'd also recorded for myself too). It was a really good drama actually and Sheridan Smith was on pretty top form all round.

Then it was on to the next episode of Series 3 of The Syndicate on BBC One. It really had some good revelations in, such as Lady Hazelwood carrying on with her solicitor, to which the cook Julie (wonderfully played by Melanie Hill) had massive pleasure in announcing when the Americans were all there at the same time. The will they won't they suspense of whether Sean (Richard Rankin) and Sarah (Cara Theobold) really blew hot and cold, but when Sarah finally decided to really give it a go, the dress she wore with the hair down - gorgeous. No wonder Sean looked jaw droppingly agog (well played Richard there too)

I have to admit too I've enjoyed Lenny Henry doing serious acting in this, and he's got the role of Godfrey down nicely, even with helping the police locate the mysterious Luxembourg bank account that he paid into. And indeed the real sense of loss that Dawn (played by Elizabeth Berrington) appears to be suffering during all this. It's a feeling of differences in the people that comes across ever so well, and we're both enjoying it after it started off a little less well, slow burner so to speak.

In terms of tune of the day there's only one real choice for me, and that is the rather impressive and rocking "Panic Attack" by Dream Theater (and yes I did spell it correctly, that's how the band spell it). I've really enjoyed the sense of feeling the panic in this one as the line "daily life is strangled by my stress" certainly sums up my mode of feeling over the last few weeks or so. And I'm sure over the next few months it's going to be exactly the same too..

Monday 22nd June - Packaging Away

Back to work for me then, and after catching up with my emails, it was time to get back to some application packaging, and to solve a conundrum from last week. I'd packaged up Solidworks 2015 SP3, no problem, I'd even made sure that the installer command worked without issue, again no problem. However when it came to installing via SCCM 2012, it would stall on the installation and give up the ghost, almost seemingly like it wasn't attempting to bring the content down from its distribution point.

The content was there and present, according to my colleague in our systems team, and both he and I thought that it might be worth ticking the box to "copy package to a package share on distribution points". Normally you don't have to do that in SCCM 2012 due to the way that the content libraries and files are actually handled, but worth a try. Once the box had been ticked in the package, I could see the package going to the distribution point share, and as soon as it did that, I did an SCCM deployment to a collection, and badabing! It all worked smoothly. Rather nice it has to be said.

Flushed with that, I also had tested out Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 last week and found out that for some reason InDesign CC 2015 needed the Adobe Creative Cloud desktop app, even though all other applications didn't. I did a repackage to include the app, but then also had to include a registry setting that basically removed the Adobe Creative Cloud app from running on startup and asking people for an Adobe ID (which they won't have - it's an enterprise subscription!)

Anyway, after some research later, it appears that it's a mess created by Adobe themselves, as this knowledge base article confirms. The good news is that it is being looked into, but it seems that in the rush to get it released for all shiny subscription customers, they are in danger of losing a grip on enterprise - and that might not be such a smart move. I always think that testing, testing and yet more testing is the way to go and even then get lots of people to test it.

So England later are up against Norway in the Women's World Cup 2015. I must admit that it'd be great to see the Lionesses win, but at least the exposure of the game and the coverage by the BBC this time has been really good to help both development and awareness of the sport too - and the viewing figures have not been bad either, nearly two and a half million for the game against France for example. I think too that it shows that people talking about their tactics and play as if it was the men's World Cup shows a real sense of equality, and more of it I say. So I'm blasting out the classic "World In Motion" by New Order (tune of the day) as I cheer them on. Come on you Lionesses!

Sunday 21st June - Home and Time For Tea

It was a reasonable hour rise as three of the four of us had got ourselves up and out by around 9.15am, and headed out for some breakfast. Luckily we'd spotted a place yesterday that we knew would do that, and indeed for a reasonable price too, so that was us duly sorted. We headed back to the hotel, and the four of us got our things together and checked out at around 10.15, and took the relatively small walk to Brighton station to start the journey home. For me, less of an epic journey than for them, but still good to do most of it together.

Again we were on a fast train from Brighton to London Victoria, seeing more of the Formula E circuit being built as we passed Battersea Park, and then at Victoria we avoided a chunk of the crowds in the station, and entered the tube station with relative ease. It was more noticeable that coming the other way out of the tune station were plenty of people, so glad not to be in that lot. We got on the first tube to Euston, and once at Euston we had some time to get outside, get some supplies for the train to Manchester, and board the 1217 departure to Piccadilly, where most of the four of us apart from me had a nap on the journey.

Once back in Manchester and back to mine on the bus, one of my friends headed straight off as he needed to get back to pick up his pet dog, whilst the two others had a coffee with me and a good natter before they too were setting off. The weekend had gone too quickly and it was really good to spend it with friends again, even more so because we'd really done something different this time and made it not just a stay in Manchester either. We'll just have to get something else organised soon I reckon!

Later on once I'd sorted the house out, The Love In My Heart came over, and we headed off first of all to top up some petrol and use up the Clubcard Fuel Save points to make it cheaper (and so it was!) and then via a drink at the Elizabethan in Heaton Moor to a pub in Didsbury Village where we both had a Sunday roast, which was rather lovely. It was good to chat for a bit and even though my throat was again back in agony, I did what I could to be sociable and it of course was always lovely to see The Love anyway.

We got back and I'd recorded the F1, so I watched that and chatted some more with me on some orange juice to try and battle the pain and infection, and The Love chilled with me and all snuggly. Aww. She left later on to head homewards to see to the kitties, but it was great to see her and made that weekend just a little bit nicer all round really. I know I should really be counting myself lucky to have such a wonderful woman, and one whose heart is in the right place. I'm dedicating today's tune of the day to her, so "So Sublime" by Beth Rowley is my choice of tune.

Saturday 20th June - Back in Time Weekender, Day Two

So an early-ish start for me and my friends as we made sure we had all our overnight bags, I had the train tickets, my friend the concert and aftershow tickets which had been printed off, and with us all ready to go, it was off on the bus to Manchester Piccadilly station from mine, with enough time to be able to stop off at Bread Box, get a bacon or sausage barm with a coffee for £2.50 each (bargain) and then board the 0915 service from Manchester to London Euston.

The journey was on time as ever with Virgin (in fact we arrived at Euston a few minutes early, bonus!) and so from there it was on to the tube station, avoiding the massed crowds all buying tickets at Euston and heading off through the ticket barriers down to the tube (haven't these people heard of Oyster or contactless payments?) and after down two deep escalators, on to the Victoria Line and the four stops to take us to London Victoria station. We had a bit of time to pause here and get anything we may have needed, use the loo etc, and then through the barriers at platform 15 and on to the 1207 service to Brighton.

The train sped through Clapham Junction and East Croydon, skipped stopping at Gatwick Airport and was non stop to Brighton. Even more so it was a newer Southern train which was actually pretty comfortable (and we got a table too) and they had that decent Azera coffee too, so that was much needed. It also wasn't far from the station to the Ibis that we were staying at (logic being it'd be less of a walk to get the train tomorrow when possibly hung over!) and so we were able to check in early, drop our stuff off and then meet in the hotel bar (my silver membership meant two drinks out of the four were free, so bonus there)

We soon headed off down the road from the Ibis and towards the city centre, and headed down North Street towards the Kemptown area of Brighton where the gig was. We spotted a pub that did food, so stopped there and managed to have a fairly hefty meal - our thinking was that as we'd be in the gig most of the evening, we may not be able to get any food till late and so getting something now was the right move. And so it proved to be, to be honest. It was good to sit down, I had a mixed grill that hit the spot, and managed to locate a Sainsburys Local to top up on some more cough sweets (still pretty bad on the throat side of things, so wasn't drinking hardly any alcohol but orange juice instead..)

It was then through the road to Kemptown and locating the Sir Thomas Kemp pub, where a few people had arranged to meet there pre-show. It seemed a nice enough pub, and they did real ale (darn this bloody cold and throat!) but at the same time the beer they had seemed shockingly expensive (over £5 for a pint of Tiger Beer incidentally) but we got a table space and was able to chat to quite a few people, and spotted someone else we knew later on when we left the pub and headed towards the St Georges Church where the gig was.

The doors were supposed to be at 5pm, we'd got there around 5.20pm but it appeared everyone was waiting outside. It wasn't till a while later that we had our tickets checked, wristbands issued and we got inside. It was pretty much as I expected: the stage at one end of the church, the stalls with seats downstairs and the pews upstairs being the balcony area. It looked a good layout but with these sort of venues the key is getting the mixing and acoustics right, so the sound is clear and spot on without being too boomy due to the nature of the curved roof. The bar at the back sold cans of either lager or Spitfire ale, but wondered if some of those were going to run out before the end of the evening.

So on first were Fastloaders, who were really very good. They had a suite of rock based versions of the game themes from the Last Ninja series, including the intro to Last Ninja 3 (often overlooked as a classic game theme, so nice to see it done here) as well as the Central Park Loader from Last Ninja 2, rocking out massively. It was nice that our host, the legendary Commodore 64 composer Ben Daglish, paid homage to the original composer of the Last Ninja 2 soundtracks, another legendary composer Matt Gray, who was also in the audience too. Everyone appreciated that hugely (not least because some people might not have recognised him!) and so they did a cracking effort. Even one of my friends who isn't into rock and metal said that they really did the games justice with their renditions.

After a break it was then back on with former Commodore 64 musician Julie Dunn (she was David Dunn back in the 1980s incidentally) doing some really nice piano renditions of game themes, including Warhawk by Rob Hubbard, and some of her own, including the really good budget game Finders Keepers, Flight Path 737 and the introductory theme from Daley Thompson's Decathlon to boot. She's classically piano trained, so as you can imagine that comes in handy for this sort of thing. It was good to see the crowd appreciating the effort by being relatively quiet (talking during acoustic / piano gigs is an annoyance of mine) so all good there.

Next up were the group SID'80s (Stuck in D'Eighties if you prefer), effectively a Commodore 64 related super group, with Jon Hare (Sensible Software) on guitar, Andreas Wallström (who runs c64.com) on drums, Ben Daglish on flute / whistle, Jeremy Longley on bass, Mark Knight on violin (he does sounds for EA) and Marcel Donné (former Maniac of Noise and Guinness drinker) on the keys. It was a decent set from them including a rather folk related sped up and slowed down version of Rob Hubbard's "Rasputin" theme, the theme from the game "Cannon Fodder" complete with Jon Hare belting out the vocals rather nicely.

There were of course more highlights here though, the version of Daglish's own "Deflektor" was on form, and of course cannot pass by without Ben getting the crowd to belt out "Day-o! Day-o!" at certain moments throughout (which they did) and then a good version of Rob Hubbard's "Spellbound" too so that everyone was pretty happy overall. I was noticing that time was still over-running a fair bit and as a lot of venues these days have strict curfew times, I had a chat with a few friends we'd spotted and wondered how that was going to affect the headline act...

And so it proved, as PRESS PLAY ON TAPE took to the stage (note: the band insist on their name being fully capitalised due to the fact that on a humble Commodore 64 that's how the message appeared on screen - so only right to explain that). They still delivered a cracking set, but had to cut some of the chat in between songs in order to try and squeeze them all in. They did manage the "Ocean Loader" theme, complete with an old school way of showing a loading screen from a home computer with an image of themselves on, really nice how they managed that.

There were plenty of highlights, their cutesy version of the arcade theme to "Bubble Bobble" giving way to a full on speed metal version instead, rather fab actually. Then though was for me the highlight of the night, and a bit of context explains why. Back in 1986, when some computer games were bloody awful, what often saved them were their soundtracks. One game, Knucklebusters, was of this trend. The game was not that playable but people were buying it purely as they'd heard that one of their idols, Rob Hubbard, had thrown in a near seventeen minute epic soundtrack. And indeed he had, still one of my friend's favourites too as it happened. The band delivered a twelve minute version that had all the key elements of the original in, with praise from the original composer for their efforts when they'd first recorded it, and live, it was just simply spot on. So well done them and tune of the day without question.

Later on they did a version of the old budget game theme from Nonterraqueous with the original composer playing piano for them too, and then the Out Run arcade themes complete with rocking out guitar. Seeing this back in 2002, I remember their friend Heidi Larsen doing all the speech samples ("Checkpoint!" etc) which would have been good to see again. They also did a medley of 1980s TV show themes and the biggest cheer from a lot of the crowd was for the MacGyver theme! They ended with a version of the Monkey Island theme and that was that - 10.30pm and curfew time.

I had a feeling it had been cut short and especially as their set was supposed to be an hour and a quarter, but seemed to fit into around an hour or so - and would have probably had time for an encore had things started on time. Plenty of us headed to the pub for the aftershow, with our wristbands on, and it wasn't a function room or anything, just the very same pub we'd been into - so effectively paying £10 each for having an extended bar session till around 2am, and due to not the highest turnout, it became that normal punters were let in as well to have a longer drink if they wished to. Not that a lot of us stayed till 2am mind you - a high number had left before 1am, and at around that time and with the bar prices being so high, we walked back and grabbed something to eat on the way back to the hotel, crashing out just before 2am.

All in all, the gig was a good gig, and certainly for any retro gaming music fan, lots of great music played, and indeed plenty of chance to catch up with a lot of people. I just wished that things had run to time so that the headline act's set hadn't felt a little rushed. Interestingly I caught up with someone I know from Sweden before and during the gig, and he'd paid extra for a balcony seat but had found the acoustics not so good up there - it was better sounding in the stalls. Again, tricky for the engineer to get right - do you please everyone or the majority if not everyone?

Friday 19th June - Back in Time Weekender, Day One

So it was a weekend where myself and three friends would be having a bit of a retro gaming music type weekend, and this would be involving a trip down to Brighton to see the Back in Time Live 2015 gig there. However, due to the fact that the accommodation was rather expensive, and that the trains down would also have been much more so if we went down on the Friday, we came up with the idea that everyone would meet at mine, we'd stay here Friday night and head down Saturday morning, so one less hotel night, less travel costs, and still to be able to go the gig (not cheap in itself, £35 for the gig ticket and then £10 for the aftershow)

I went into the city centre earlier on in the day as I wanted to get my hair cut, and the staff in The Northern Cutter did their usual ace work to make the hair look rather nice and neat, and also had a quick wander around a few of the shops as well to see what sales were on too. It was a nice relaxing way to start the day, and once I arrived home, I'd already got all the house sorted, so just wanted to do some final little bits of cleaning, washing and ironing, and had packed an overnight bag in advance of the trip down tomorrow, and printed off the hotel reservation, so all good there.

My friends arrived between 3 and 4pm, so even with a very sore throat and being hoarse at several points of the day, we were able to have a good natter and catch up, and also be able to watch Tipping Point and have a good giggle at just how excited one of the contestants were: not least when they were able to have a final effort to win the jackpot and got it with the final one - he went mental and we had to laugh at just how mental he had actually gone!

Later on I put a nice big meatball pasta bake in the oven for tea, and that was with some garlic bread, and that went down nicely - a nice simple thing to make and share, but meant it was less money spent at the time and more about us getting together and more chatter. Once we'd had some tiramisu for afters, we then headed off to the local ale house close to me so they could all see what it was like. They actually really liked it, and as the weather was dry and pretty decent we sat outside in the beer garden, and admired the ales and beer respectively whilst more fun ensued.

Later on we had a bit of a retro music session, listening to some clips people had put up on Youtube with their selections of favourite Commodore 64 music, which we'd debate by thinking "Really? That one?" and other such likes. For us all though it was clear that the main theme from Monty on the Run was a lot of people's favourites, which was produced for said machine by the legendary Rob Hubbard. I wonder though if many people still realise a lot of it is actually based on the "Devil's Gallop", the theme from the Dick Barton radio series? It's that one which is therefore tune of the day as it really shows how something old inspired somethingt which at the time was new, but now is thirty years old this year. Now that is a rather scary thought it has to be said!

Thursday 18th June - Throaty and Tired

The sore throat I seem to have been suffering the last three days or so has been getting gradually worse, so much so that I've not really wanted to talk lots and save the voice for the weekend really. Naturally I wanted to get some stuff around the house sorted for tomorrow, so once I got work out of the way, it was time to head home and look at seeing what could be done. In fact I knew where most of the stuff was, and I'd already washed all the bedding yesterday, so all good there.

I blew up the two air beds and then realised something, one of them was going down without any intervention. When I examined the back there was a hole in the underside, and once I'd attempted to try and stem the air flow and put some more air in with the footpump, the hole became a massive tear in the underside. Not good. Time therefore to head off to the local Asda close by to me and get a new one, which I'd thankfully seen the other day so I knew that they had them.

With that all sorted, and the new air bed blown up and holding well, it was time to get all the bedding put on and all the spare beds ready and made for when my friends come over tomorrow. It's going to be a good weekend and I don't mind one bit hosting at mine, it usually works out really well primarily because we enjoy each other's company, and because of some of our similar likes for old school retro gaming. What it does mean tomrorow is that all I should need to do is just get my hair cut in the morning (it needs doing badly!) and then be ready to rock and roll as they say.

I must admit though even though I do feel throaty and tired, it'll be the buzz and adrenlin (and possibly some coffee!) that'll keep me going a lot this weekend. I know too in a way that at least if I have some sort of bug I'll have got rid of it for when The Love In My Heart and I go away on holiday later in the year, so there is at least that to look forward to. I will probably dose myself up before I go to bed tonight and see if I can ward some of it off. I think there's some congestion that if I could get rid of, that'd help massively.

I had a good listen to some classic film soundtrack themes later, thinking the 1980s and getting into retro mode. Amazingly one of my favourites even then was the theme to "Weird Science", performed by the band Oingo Boingo, which of course featured the soon to be rather good film composer Danny Elfman. Yes, him. Cracking tune of course and proper 80s styled pop, so tune of the day wasn't a difficult decision really. The extended version as on the album it's from, "Dead Man's Party" is rather superb as well.

Wednesday 17th June - Lionesses Roaring

After a busy day at work it was very nice to meet up with The Love In My Heart, and for a very good reason too - because it was time to spend together before I had my friends over for the weekend. We decided that a little bit of shopping would be good and then something for tea, and so we ended up heading to Sainsburys in Cheadle and John Lewis there too. In fact in the latter what was noticeable was that just how many different Ted Baker items were in their sales, if the menswear for me and the handbags for her were anything to go by at any rate.

Nonetheless I picked up some nice jeans in Sainsburys that were in fact a good price, and the fact I still had some money on my gift card meant another nice little freebie to have - not to be sniffed at whatsoever, let me tell you. The Love managed to get two nice little presents for one of her managers who was having a special birthday this weekend, and we both were pretty pleased on the whole with what we'd got. The Love and I then headed off and onwards to the pub.

Always nice to have a meal together, but for some reason the temperature in the pub was really warm. Even for someone like The Love who normally enjoys it being warm, she said it was a little too much. That said, the food was really nice and that coupled with a really nice pint for me meant happy days all round. The Love was relaxed and we both had plenty of time to catch up a tad too, always good to be able to really spend some time together.

The Love headed home later and I tuned in to BBC Three to see the England women's final group game at the Women's World Cup against Colombia. Based on some of the other group finishes, a draw would see us through at least in third, but a win meant we'd top the group or finish second, and preferably either of those would mean avoiding one of the top ranked teams in the next round. So as the women sang the national anthem with a huge sense of pride and with an attacking formation, it was time to go for it.

And go for it they did. A quarter of an hour gone, and Steph Houghton takes a free kick which the Colombian keeper Sandra Sepulveda can only parry out - right into the path of Karen Carney, who drilled it home from close range. 1-0. All good. England should have had a penalty later on for a deliberate handball, but later on, a free kick went to Toni Duggan, and her initial shot rebounded back to her for another effort which the keeper saved. However, the first shot had been handled by the Colombian defender, and this time the referee spotted it - penalty! Fara Williams stepped up and smashed it in for 2-0.

It got tense as the game went on, and a great piece of goalkeeping from Karen Bardsley kept the score 2-0 at half time. In the second half England retreated slightly and that wasn't so good to see, with Colombia coming at England in waves. When England did counter attack, sub Leanne Sanderson brought out a good save from Sandra Sepulveda, and it was made even more tense at the end as Lady Andrade lobbed the ball over Bardsley in the final minute of stoppage time for what was to prove to be only a consolation.

But job done - England won 2-1 for the second game on the trot, and are now in the last 16 to face Norway, and then the winners of Canada v Switzerland if they get that far. Colombia qualified in third but they now face the USA (ouch!) and France tonked Mexico 5-0 to win the group, and their reward was a game against South Korea, who had come back from 1-0 down to beat Spain 2-1 and finish second in their group. If they win, they get Germany or Sweden. I think I know what draw I'd have rather had, so well done you Lionesses! Tune of the day for this very reason is "Go! Fight! Win!" by Ash, with those three words being a good mantra for them I reckon. Will be of course watching them on Monday!

Tuesday 16th June - New Releases and Syndicates

It was noticed today that it seemed that Adobe had released their 2015 versions of Creative Cloud out there. For some of our sites at work, whom have paid into the Enterprise Term Licencing Agreement (ETLA) this effectively means that they are able to have that version as and when. In fact I fired up the Creative Cloud packager to create a new Windows install version for SCCM, and it now shows up all the 2015 versions of all the pieces of software. Wooooo. So I ran that and got the installer sorted, and I'll give that a test blast run over SCCM tomorrow and see what the crack is with it.

I had a nice diversion of sorts on the way home, and as part of some preparation for my friends coming over this weekend, in that the local Asda seemed to still have packs of Tassimo pods on as three for a tenner. Naturally with the Costa ones being a little bit more expensive than the rest, this made for decent value all round, and so I picked up two of the Americano, and one of the Kenco Colombian. I needed them too, I was running a little on the low side to be perfectly honest.

The Love In My Heart came over later for tea, she had been delayed by some work stuff, and I set about sorting out a nice tagliatelle carbonara with some added pancetta into the mix. That went down well, and we snuggled up together and watched the programme about the training of guide dogs. They were in the main behaving themselves but one of them wasn't really helping out the family's teenage daughter whom the dog was needed for, but the family decided to keep the dog as a buddy dog for the younger son, and had a better trained dog for the daughter, which was really good of them to to.

We then settled in to watch the third episode of The Syndicate, and I have to say that this series has been really good. Naturally having been to Scarborough several times, we both spotted most of the places along the seafront, but the acting has been top drawer, from Richard Rankin as Sean who had his secret revealed this week thanks in part to an investigative journalist blowing the lid, and giving him plenty of backstory, and Cara Theobold as Sarah really feeling the gamut of emotions as Sean was the man whom without realising it she had fallen for.

Indeed Lenny Henry as Godfrey, the gardener with Asperger's, has been really well played by him, with lots of little traits but also a real heart of gold in there, Melanie Hill as Julie having her real mother of the house and cook mode on when deciding to modernise the kitchen and try to see what that could do to keep the place going, and Elizabeth Berrington going through so much pain and emotion as Dawn, as her daughter Amy is missing and is doing whatever she can for her to be found. All brilliant and with an understated but authoritative Anthony Andrews as Lord Hazelwood, what more coudl you ask for really?

It's been enjoyable, and certainly I think there may be a few people wanting to visit Bramham Park in more detail (that's actually in fact Hazelwood Hall) - as it's just outside Leeds and not that difficult to get to. And not just for the Leeds Festival, but to be able to get a sense of the house and that feeling of walking in where those great actors and actresses have. Tune of the day in the meantime is apt considering, it's the original version of "All Or Nothing" by The Small Faces, which a reworking has been used as the theme tune for said show.

Monday 15th June - Seven Inches of Joy

I decided to spend a bit of time this evening with some vinyl singles, but all for a perfectly good reason. All my 7" singles are on a shelf close to the CD singles, and as of late some of them have been less easy to find, primarily because they aren't in alphabetical order. I knew of course it was going to take some time to sort them out, but it also meant I could play some of them at the same time. I realised too that I had quite a few decent singles as well, so always good to look after them.

As I started to sort them out, one single caught my eye - I have two copies of the Dickies' version of the theme tune from the Banana Splits TV show. There's the plain black vinyl of course, but they released it on banana yellow vinyl as well (obviously!) and so had to give that a whirl. It sounded good thanks to my Pioneer PL-514X turntable and my Onkyo AV receiver (it has dedicated moving magnet phono input, so all good) and reminded me of some happy times, so tune of the day.

It wasn't just punk though, indie pop got a distinctive look in with Pete Green's excellent "Platform Zero" EP, which I enjoyed again hugely. There's some quality tracks and the cover is actually an art work depicting a famous platform zero, in fact not too far from me in Stockport station. Naturally one of my favourites is the classic "Best British Band Supported By Shockwaves" which of course is a very unsubtle dig at the way some music awards lost their way to the corporate sponsorship deals. Indeedy.

So what else then? I realised that I have eleven of the twelve singles released in 1992 by The Wedding Present, and just therefore need number one to complete the whole set. For me, that would be pretty good all round and of course I've kept the other ones in really good condition due to the fact that there was a 2-CD set released with all the single A and B sides, so no need to play the vinyl. Although I did of course then play some classic late 1980s The Darling Buds, as I seem to have two identical copies of "Let's Go Round There" - so thought play one and keep the other neat. I do also have the fold out EP version which has the "flip flop" version of "It's All Up To You" as well..

I guess for me though there's a lot of power in the 7" single that still draws many a fan in, though, and after the sort out I realised I also had the original and the re-release 7" singles of Renegade Soundwave's ace "Biting My Nails" as well as their classic "Probably A Robbery" too - with the ace line of "If you want my advice get it all above board, just pop into Lloyds and get yourself insured!" Quite. I also realised too that I had some NME flexidisc freebies from Suede and Manic Street Preachers, plus the fold out poster 7" of Cabaret Voltaire's "Hypnotised".

In fact what surprise me most of all was how many early Ash singles I must have bought down Power Cuts when that used to be open in Manchester. Checking the collection, I have "Jack Names The Planets", "Petrol", "Girl From Mars", "Angel Interceptor" (and the promo 7" blue vinyl version too), "Goldfinger" on gold vinyl, "Oh Yeah" on glittery silver, and on top of that the regular and Japanese style obi versions of their ace "Kung Fu" single as well. Yes, all ace.

Sunday 14th June - Sundays - An Art Form

It was really nice just to be able to have a relaxing Sunday with The Love In My Heart, and that was pretty much what we wanted to do - have some chilled out times before our holiday, so that when we do go away, we're all really in the mode to go and enjoy ourselves but be relatively just calm and content, all at the same time. Today we'd planned to head to the Manchester School of Art degree show - something obviously close to my heart because it means walking around seeing some inspiring work, notably photography and stuff like that. For us both it's a good afternoon seeing what's out there.

The Sunday afternoon is usually pretty quiet too which means that you can go around at leisure without being disturbed too much - so we headed into Chatham Building and around the Foundation Art and Design exhibition work which showed some promising talent, and indeed those who were going to be heading on to universities for their degrees in the main. There were a couple of really good sets of illustrative imagery, and one of which caught the eye as a wonderful little story book, definitely one to watch in my view.

We then headed around the Benzie Building which is the new building and a really good exhibition space at this time - with Filmmaking plus Film and Media Studies on the third floor, Graphic Design and Illustration with Animation on the second floor, plus some cracking Interior Design and Three Dimensional Design on the first floor, all really well presented with some excellent attention to detail. Naturally with The Love being a fashionista and us having both been to the fashion catwalk show a few weeks back, it was good also to see the likes of Textiles in Fashion on the ground floor show what they do also, and several really nice pieces of textile including some lovely scarves, massive cushions etc. All spot on.

I have to admit though that walking over to the Grosvenor Building and down into the space where photography were exhibiting, I thought that the space they had wasn't as in a good location as some of the other courses. The photography work itself was a really good standard, with thought provoking series of images (the mother and daughter one particularly was a real moment in time set) but it felt almost distanced, like a different show. I felt less like that with Fine Art, particularly with the pieces in the main Holden Gallery and one really clever dark room with light projections on to LED bulbs.

Overall though we both enjoyed going round, and plenty to see and lots of pieces you think are really spot on. Bear in mind that two of the fashion desginers won awards at the Graduate Fashion Week (including the gold award) and there's a lot to take in - the winning designs are in the fourth floor Benzie Gallery, and we enjoyed seeing those again after seeing the catwalk show last month. It's on till the 24th June, so you might want to take some time out and head around it if you can.

Afterwards we stopped off at Sainsburys in Fallowfield as The Love needed to get a couple of nice birthday cards (she succeeded) and we then headed over to The Beer Studio, which was rather nice and quiet. It seemed a lot nicer inside after being revamped after being previously called The Whitworth, and they had some decent cask ales on too, so I had a drink and a good catch up chat with The Love. It seems very relaxed in there too, with music not too loud and a really nice vibe. We then moved on later to The Greenfinch in West Didsbury for a spot of late lunch which was also very nice.

Back at mine we then watched on All4 something The Love had watched most of last night - a look back at the 1990s in terms of music and culture. Naturally this did include the likes of Blur v Oasis, the whole Madchester thing, and The Word with the annoying as hell Terry Christian (he's a Marmite person, you love or loathe him in equal measure) and the fact that so many bands went on there - including a classic Nirvana performance and L7 with their pants down doing "Pretend We're Dead" for example - make that tune of the day. It was of course pretty good to see some of those faces, and Louise Wener from Sleeper and Skin from Skunk Anansie too. Double yaay there.

The Love headed home later on as England were on against Slovenia and after a rubbish first half, England got better and from 1-0 down went up 2-1 with two superb Jack Wilshere strikes, amazingly his first two goals for the national side. Slovenia did capitalise on some sloppy defending to equalise with six minutes left, but then England went forward and Wayne Rooney scored the winner, and 3-2 it finished to England, 100% record in the group with six wins from six. Wayne also equalled Gary Lineker on 48 goals for England, joint second highest scorer ever and one behind the great Bobby Charlton at that.

Saturday 13th June - The Pride of Lionesses

It was a wet start to the day today, but that didn't detract me from heading out into Stockport. In fact I was going to look around several shops to see what clothes I could get for the forthcoming holiday, but the branch of TK Maxx I went in was a bit disappointing when it came to the men's department, so thought that it wasn't worth it in the end. However I did need to head to Home Bargains / Quality Save in the same precinct, so it was good to not only get a few bits for around the house at a cheaper rate, but also get some nice different ales in as well, so all good there.

I also ventured into a few other shops in the town centre as well, and you could sense that with more potential shops opening that there was a slight upturn. In fact near where the buses head through the centre and close to the hill to the markets, there's now a section uncovered with railings around that show the River Mersey flowing through and underneath the centre. I think also that with a new cycling hub being built and some of the car parks being rebuilt as something else, it's looking promising.

Later on at home I was having a pretty relaxed afternoon, and just made sure everywhere was all clean and tidy for when my friend was coming over later. I must admit that it was good to have sorted out all the bookshelves last night as well, much more organised and tidy and I think it'll work out to be the right move. It also means I can find the books I'd like to read easier, and my Rare Record Price Guides now have a shelf to themselves all sorted neatly by date. Impressive stuff.

My friend came over and we saw the remainder of the France v Colombia Women's World Cup game, with the French losing 2-0, and put some pizzas in the oven for us both. That was nice, and then put on Rock Band 3 on the Wii as we rocked out, firstly with me on drums and belting out the likes of Blue Monday by New Order, and later on Cool for Cats by Squeeze, and ending with some vocal harmony work on Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode (make that tune of the day) followed by finally Tainted Love, the Soft Cell version.

So on to England's women's team against Mexico, and a must win game for the Lionesses. And in the first half, a rather frustrating time of it all. Fran Kirby had a shot on target but was easily saved, Fara Williams had a long range lob just over the bar, and Eniola Aluko had a really good run and shot from the left that rattled the bar. I was thinking that one of those chances needed to go in, but nothing was doing and the longer it remained 0-0 the more it would be nervous.

With coffee and cake it was then time to see the second half, and again England pressed forward, making an enforced change at left back with Alex Greenwood coming on. That actually improved us hugely with some surging runs down that side, and although initially a puzzling change, with Karen Carney on for the impressive Jill Scott, there was some more penetration, and it was that which led to England going for it. The ball broke from a challenge by Toni Duggan, Fran Kirby stepped past a defender and then poked it into the bottom corner and in off the post. 1-0 England, get in you Lionesses!

That steadied everyone's nerves nicely and England pressed on, and once Greenwood combined with Duggan down the left, the ball was put in perfectly for Karen Carney to head it past the Mexican keeper and make the game safe at 2-0, which was most pleasing, and we both enjoyed that one. We didn't enjoy late on a defensive howler from the Manchester City keeper Karen Bardsley which left in the Mexican sub to make it 2-1 and nervy at the end, but a win's a win, and all set up nicely for the Colombia game on Wednesday.

Friday 12th June - That Friday Feeling

It was a busy Friday and not that many of us around either, so we really had to priortise in a lot of ways today. The good thing was that it was a case of pulling together and making things happen to the best of our ability. It also meant that I had a fair bit to juggle, but do that I did and managed also to ensure that suitable testing was taking place on a number of things I was working on. I also did a fair bit of liaison to ensure that some of the newer software we needed was also approved for ordering too, so all good there.

It's also been good to speak to one of my colleagues as they've been tasked with doing some work on a piece of software for one site that's being upgraded. The good thing is that it's one less thing for me to worry about and so I spent some time this afternoon working out a suitable plan of action for them to look into and how to work on several things together at the same time which will be a needed pre-requisite. I think too it'll be a good initiation into the upgraded position he now has.

Interestingly, I also took a look at Opera Web Browser, which is at version 30 (they're getting as bad as Firefox and Chrome for version numbering to be honest.) Thankfully doing a silent installation is a piece of cake, with several startup switches for the installer command to do all its work for you. Many of them are necessary so it doesn't take over being the default browser, doesn't decided to do all sorts of other stuff, and installs for all users on the machine. It's a lengthy command in the end but it does work, so all good there.

It's also been a case of me reflecting on a few things at the moment and working out what the next move career wise is. I'm in a situation at the moment where I know that I can only progress in certain ways where I currently am, and that does somehow make me wonder if a change of scenery might be the best move. I also know that I have some good skills, not just technical but soft skills as well, and part of me is also thinking that sixteen years in one place is a long time, long enough to contemplate moving.

I've also entered the EuroMillions lottery for tonight, with it being such a high jackpot and all. Naturally when you enter you do have a little think about what you would do if you actually won the whole thing, and there'd be plenty I'd do naturally. I actually would consider if I won enough to move permanently to Monaco in a really nice posh apartment that has a guaranteed cracking view of the race track, so when the Grand Prix weekend is on, invite a few friends over, and just look out from the balcony. Job very much done. If only...

Tune of the day in the meantime is the rather good "Visions In My Head" from Obituary, it's on their latest album "Inked In Blood" which mainly was funded by fans of the band. Naturally it's a full on metal assault, but this one has control as well as power, with some chugging riffs and dirty guitars and maybe a little less of the lyrics on the likes of "death" and "arise" and more of some real meaning, which to be fair the band have had since their excellent "World Demise" album from 1994.

Thursday 11th June - Warming Up Nicely

I spent a fair bit of time today evaluating our new Windows 7 core image build that one of our central teams had provided. I make a habit of checking these things out and usually to the good of everyone, not just me of course. It did mean that the existing issue log grew quite a bit primarily because of the fact that I'd spotted several things which either needed clarification or needed to be fixed in good time. It's good though having something like that to record the issues in, as you can see what has been done before so as not to repeat something existing being reported.

In fact it worked pretty well, not least because I could see if any of the other applications we needed to install would work on top of the existing build. So for example, I'd finalised a new updated package of Adobe Creative Cloud for Enterprise, adding all the latest updates in one fell swoop as well as adding bits that we're now licenced for and that don't need an annoying Adobe sign-in, such as Muse and Edge Animate. It made perfect sense all round to blast that out, and it worked really well.

Later on I got homewards and did a fair bit of ironing and washing before The Love In My Heart came over. I had opened some of the windows to let some fresh air in, as it was pretty warm and sticky outside on the whole. I indulged her with some Emmerdale whilst I set about making the tea: some nice chicken in a madeira mushroom sauce, along with some mash and some peas and carrots too. I also tried to time this so that it would be ready after Emmerdale had finished and that Top of the Pops was on BBC Four.

It was another good episode from 1980, foresaking the awful Liquid Gold song at the start, their follow up "Substitute" which had the same instrument sounds as "Dance Yourself Dizzy". Thin Lizzy were on, always good to see Phil Lynott rocking out, and for The Love, Roxy Music in their more smooth phase, doing "Over You". Give me Brian Eno and the knob twiddling weirdness any day, but that's me admiring their art rock a lot more.

The undoubted highlight for me was Stiff Little Fingers, a proper band at that of course. "Nobody's Hero" was done with such punchy punk aplomb, with Jake Burns belting out the vocals properly. Tune of the day therefore a very easy decision, especially when you consider that the theme from M*A*S*H was number one - which I can see was a good TV theme and all that, but it makes you wonder how much people weren't seeing the other good music out there. Rant over, sort of.

After The Love headed home later on I settled in to see the remainder of the Germany v Norway Women's World Cup game on BBC Three. I saw the first half highlights where Germany were all over Norway and maybe should have been up more than 1-0. The phrase "game of two halves, Brian!" springs to mind though as Norway made a change, were a different side and looked more likely to score. And score they did too - with a rather excellent free kick from Maren Mjelde to boot that would have graced any tournament with aplomb!

Wednesday 10th June - Testing Times

Actually, the first email I opened this morning was some good news, even if it might not have been what I expected. After experiencing issues getting the SCCM task sequence for Autodesk Building Design Suite Ultimate 2016 to work, I emaled Autodesk support, told them what I had done (same way that I packaged 2015 in fact) and they were not only able to replicate the same behaviour, but see that it was a potential issue and something that they needed to look into. So sort of success in a strange way.

That meant I could crack on with other things, and got the Entertainment Creation Suite package for the network licence finalised, so that the task sequence could work very nicely, and indeed that was the case. In fact it worked nicely so I put that out for others to test, and on top of that I also sorted out the standalone and network versions of Maya 2016 plus the standalone version of Sketchbook Pro 2016 too. Added bonus really. I've also now set off an AutoCAD 2016 installer running, so hopefully I may have some success with this in the morning too.

When I got home later, it was time for a bit more testing of stuff. Since I'd changed broadband provider I'd not tried my AV receiver to see if it could stream tracks from the PC via some nice DNLA work. It did though seem that for some reason that the receiver just wasn't picking up the right IP address that it needed to. A quick factory reset sorted that out, which did mean I had to reset some of the settings back to what I had before, but no biggie as I knew what all of those were (thankfully)

Once I made sure some folders were added to the library on the PC, it was all good to go and it meant I could effectively play all the MP3s from those folders directly via the AV receiver. Worked pretty well too, and even more so when I could also then play streaming video from the Blu-ray player (also supports DNLA too) and then output the sound via the receiver. To finish, I wound down with the Super Audio CD version of Mike Oldfield's seminal "Tubular Bells" which was a rather nice listen, so tune of the day there for me.

It was also good to kick back and watch Finding Nemo on Blu-Ray as well. One of my work colleagues had mentioned that they wanted to decorate one of the children's bedrooms in the style of said film, and of course that reminded me of the film. Naturally it's still rather great, and I might need to make some time to don the glasses and watch the 3D version to really be immersed properly, and of course see Mr. Ray sing along as the class takes place in the ocean. Simply ace.

Tuesday 9th June - The Pride of Lionesses

No rest for the wicked (well sort of) as I made sure I headed home in good time to get on BBC2 for the Women's World Cup as England entered the fray today, in a really tough encounter against France, who are very highly ranked in the world indeed. I know that their qualifying campaign was just as impressive as England's was, and having seen them play during the 2012 Olympics and at some tournaments since, I knew there were plenty of danger women: not least Gaëtane Thiney, Eugénie Le Sommer and Louisa Nécib.

England of course had several Manchester City Women's players in the squad, so really wanted to see them either start, do well, or preferably both. As the starting line ups were announced, I thought we may have gone a little too defensive in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with four of the City players starting: Karen Bardsley in net, Steph Houghton in defence (and captain), Jill Scott and Lucy Bronze in midfield, with Toni Duggan on the bench. Up front was the impressive Eniola Aluko from Chelsea, who's really played well for the national side too, so a sensible choice really.

It was a tight game really, France looked better on the ball but England kept it tight and really didn't give them that much space. In fact the only defensive mistake they made was attempting to pass the way out of defence, the ball was stopped by Gaëtane Thiney, and she then laid it on for Eugénie Le Sommer to rifle home a drive past the hands of Karen Bardsley for 1-0 to France. I was a little gutted really as I thought we deserved better, not least as the lineswoman didn't see the ball earlier had gone off for a clear England corner.

The women's team battled and fought like lionesses, and were unlucky in the second half not to have a French red card due to a bit of elbowing in the face from Camille Abily, which I thought should have been given. We put on Toni Duggan up front, and a couple of chances came England's way, but too often the final ball wasn't just quite there. However, we only lost 1-0 and many might have expected us to lose by a lot more than that, and I think it's a good springboard to win the next two group games and progress (hopefully) - and so positive too to see so many people cheering them on at home and online.

The Love In My Heart came over later for tea, and I made us some steak with some diane sauce which went down pretty well. Unbelievably there was an episode of Don't Tell The Bride that she hadn't watched, and so we settled in for that as the groom attempted to get part of Shoreditch looking a bit nicer, and on top of that arranging for some dancers to do the move to Michael Jackson's classic "Thriller" (make that tune of the day) and then really making a pigs' ear of the dress as well. Oops.

We also then watched The Syndicate, and it was a better episode than last week, primarily because the story started to unfold more nicely: how the stately home was being stripped of its prize assets by stepson and mother behind the father's back, and how the workers wanted to protect it, the arrest of the gardener for the supposed abudction of one of the daughters, and gradually everything unravelling a little bit. I think though for me the star turn is Anthony Andrews as Lord Hazelwood (most of us remember him in Brideshead Revisited of course!)

Monday 8th June - Diversions Day

It was the first day of diversions for the bus into work, although I think the bus driver sort of forgot and went his usual way towards the Royal Infirmary, before realising that he couldn't go down Oxford Road any further due to the fact that the road is completely closed off. And I should add, with good reason too. The road is closed at the Manchester University shopping precinct (as was) as the large bridge that crosses over the road here is in the process of eventually being demolished. The first stage of this work is to make sure everything's prepared well for when this happens, and they can't do that with the road open.

Getting in this morning wasn't that bad, but when it was leaving, it seemed that everything was heading down Booth Street East to Upper Brook Street, and then along there and resuming the normal route in some way. For the bus I get, it just heads straight down Plymouth Grove on its way home. However, no one had thought about re-arranging the traffic light timings so that the traffic would flow, did they? So it was a fifteen minute crawl along Booth Street East tonight. Joy and rapture, ahem, not.

Anyway, later on once I got home I decided that there was a spate of ironing which needed to be done (which was done) and then settling in to keep an eye on the Women's World Cup, and tonight on the BBC Sport website (and the app on my TV too) Sweden versus Nigeria. I thought it might be a good game as Sweden are a decent time and I wasn't massively surprised when they went 2-0 up before half time. They were playing well but Nigeria did look dangerous on the break.

And so they proved, and within ten minutes from the start of the second half they had taken two decent efforts to make it 2-2, and the never say die attitude was really good to see. Sweden did edge back in front and most teams would have just accepted defeat, but not Nigeria. They kept pressing for an equaliser and with three minutes left to go they got one, and hugely well deserved as well if you ask me. Definitely the best game of the tournament so far and really good to see a team pushing it. I didn't stay up for the USA v Australia game but imagined that the USA would want a winning start where possible.

I also spent some time listening to the new Ash album a bit more tonight as well - I have to say it's really back on form for them. What I really liked about them circa 1995/1996 was they had a knack of writing short snappy indie pop songs such as the likes of "Kung Fu" and "Girl From Mars" and they've gained that back in abundance here, with the superb opener "Cocoon" really going to feature heavily I think - a definite tune of the day for me no question.

Sunday 7th June - Walking In The Sun

The Love In My Heart and I had a well eaned lie in and later on I made us some breakfast, and just pottered around the house for a ltitle while as I'd got myself up and ready, and The Love resting nicely. I did see some of the England v Ireland football game but I have to admit it did look pretty dull, and the excitement was lacking. I turned over for the athletics to see that Mo Farah wasn't taking part after all, which must have been a disappointment for many people who made the effort to come along. I suspect this was more due to the recent allegations with his coach.

As the weather was nice we decided to head out for a walk, and so it was a relatively short trip out to Didsbury, where The Love parked up on Stenner Lane and from there we had a gentle stroll around Parsonage Gardens with most things in bloom. Notably there were two notices up as people had been stealing plants from their gardens, not very nice to see that to be honest. I also saw that lots of people were out going for walks and we soon headed down to Fletcher Moss ourselves.

We took in a circular route so started off with the tree lined path that takes you towards the River Mersey, and then followed the path through Millgate Woods and on the other side of the park, towards the back end of Millgate Lane. From there it was down through Stenner Woods and out towards the park, almost starting back at the willow trees we'd been to earlier. It was nice to be honest just to take it easy and walk at a slower pace but good nonetheless to be able to have some nice fresh air.

Once we'd done that we thought that with the weather still nice we'd go for a drink, so we headed to one of the local pubs and sat outside with the sun occasionally making an appearance in between a few clouds. It was good too that the ale was on good form: I had this really nice amber coloured one called the Wiccle Waller, which really did quench the thirst nicely. In fact we were both chilled out, and sat outside in the back at mine later which was also rather nice.

I think sometimes it's just the little things that you do when you're together make it all worthwhile, when I look back and think of it as seven years plus now that has to be a positive. Such is my upbeat mood for the two of us at present, with a holiday to look forward to, that tune of the day is "Bring Back The Summer" by Ash from their new album Kablammo! It's actually really catchy and just has that kind of Beach Boys-esque Summer vibe to it, and the title says it all when you have not so good days during this time of year. Yaay them effectively.

Saturday 6th June - Market Bargains

After spending most of the morning sorting out all around the house, and indeed doing a shed load of washing as well, I headed out to the local market which was on today. There were as usual several really good stalls selling all sorts, but what was most notable was that the CD and vinyl stall that's often on was selling a lot of 12" singles in three boxes. I had a good look through there as I thought I might be able to find something which was pretty good, and hoped for a bargain or two at £2 a throw.

And find I did, actually. I first of all spotted The Human League's "The Sound of the Crowd" 12", which has the full six minute version of the song on it, and so that was good. I also then saw the iconic "Shall We Take A Trip / Moody Places" double A-side 12" from Manchester band Northside, the first track being the theme for Granada Soccer Night for ages. Add to that it was also the original Factory Records release as well, just had to be done really.

Best of all though, and a vastly under-rated tune in my view, was finding the 12" of "Probably a Robbery" by Renegade Soundwave. The original is a classic song as were lots of the RSW stuff back then, but even better, this was the US import 12" so three versions of that track on Side A, and three versions of the just as ace "Space Gladiator" on Side B. Tune of the day was a definite when I played the A side back home, with its classic lyrics: "If you want my advice, get it all above board, just pop into Lloyds and get yourself insured!" for example.

Later on The Love In My Heart came over and we watched the qualifying from the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. I was gutted that Jenson Button didn't even take part due to some electrical failure in the car during free practice three, but for me Lewis Hamilton was also on top form and he took pole really well. The other shock was Sebastian Vettel not getting out of first qualifying with his Ferrari either. I made us some beef bourbignon and some fresh vegetables on the side, and that turned out rather nice as well.

After we'd seen the lack of wins from the lottery draw, it was then on with Grand Prix on Blu-Ray, which The Love had got me for my birthday last month. She ended up having to order it off a seller on Amazon who was shipping it from the USA (thankfully the Blu-Ray release was region free, so all good there). I'd not seen the film in many years but knew it was pretty epic at almost three hours. And The Love actually really enjoyed it too, and we were comparing notes to Monaco back in 1966 compared to Monaco now, and it's a very different circuit - the tunnel is much less long for example.

What was notable of course was that James Garner not only did all his own driving, but a lot of the proper F1 drivers who took part in the scenes said that was easily good enough to take up motor racing as a career if he didn't fancy doing the acting anymore (in fact he took up other formulae once the film was complete). All the camera shots are particularly great of course, and delves into the life of a driver and the very spectre of death that was hanging over the sport due to its unsafe nature (the lack of barriers for example) that reflected well in some of its scenes too.

Friday 5th June - Rosylee for Tea

It was a busy day again today, not least as I was chairing the team meeting for the team. In essence it was actually not too bad because there weren't many of us in anyway - I think it helped the time go by much more quickly. I think too that it was also a case of waiting to hear what happened in terms of how the grade 6 position within our team would be after interviews. There were a lot of people waiting to hear what the state of play was, and so tenterhooks was the order of the day.

It was good to be out on time tonight and get home too, and then get myself ready to go out later on. I was meeting up with The Love In My Heart and a couple of friends and heading out for a meal in the evening, so was good to be out on a Friday night for a change. In fact the weather was still set fair so I decided to put on my new green Hammond and Co check shirt and some nice jeans, me easily sorted. I met The Love at Piccadilly Gardens tram station, with a shed load of people heading off to Heaton Park to see the Courteeners, and we made the short walk to Port Street Beer House.

Our friends joined us soon afterwards, and we'd managed to get a table by getting there earlier. It was busy, and a large group of people who were on a table nearby were fairly noisy as well, so it was a vibrant atmosphere. The ale I had was actually very nice, and possibly the longest titled I'd had in ages - Sunday League Relegation Play-Offs at that. It was a dark ale with a kick of orange in to represent the half time oranges you may have in Sunday Leaugue football, and I have to say, it was stunningly lovely. Wonder if I can get some bottles of this?

We then headed over to Rosylee in Stephenson Square for our 8pm table booking, and it was not really that full. A shame really, because based on the food we had and indeed the service from the staff, the place definitely needs to be more full to be honest. Maybe because it's a little bit out of the way on the other side of the Northern Quarter was the only reason I thought, but nonetheless, all was good. We had a nice comfy booth to sit in, and the table was plenty enough. In fact the only difficult decision was actually what to have!

In the end, I went for the soup of the day (carrot and ginger) to start - it had a nice kick of the ginger, enough without overpowering the carrot, all nicely blended and with some bread on the side too - all good there. The fish and chips, served in a wooden rectangular basket, was good, the fish especially nice, maybe could have done with some more chips though. The Love though went for the chicken skewers with a chilli glaze, and they came with some chips and some roasted vegetables, and served on a flat wooden board. I'm sure the likes of We Want Plates would have been horrified though! I had the lemon posset for dessert, and that was beautifully light, and served nicely with some little shortbread biscuits too, so all good there to be honest.

Once all done there we headed over to Gullivers in Oldham Street, and being a JW Lees pub meant decent real ale, and in fact they had one of their new seasonal ales on, so gave that a blast (as you do). The Victory at Waterloo was very palatable indeed, and the jukebox in there was pretty decent, so I put five tunes on, the best of which as one of my friends likes them as much as I, was Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" (make that tune of the day) - I also put on The Cure, Violent Femmes, Fleetwood Mac and David Bowie, so all round happy times I think!

Thursday 4th June - The Show Must Go On

And no, not a reference to the Queen song either (even if it is pretty good) - it's all the work that we undertake at this time of year getting everything ready for the Manchester School of Art degree show at work. Effectively there's quite a few things to move, so for example the printers in one building that are normally in open access areas go into storage, and so this time around we'd agreed storage locations, and made sure with a colleague this morning that we got all of those moved accordingly.

Then once that was taken care of, we made sure later on that some of the PCs from the first floor of the building were moved out and into storage as well as also removing some from another floor, which we knew were going to be replaced, so effectively writing them off and getting them where they need to be in order for a recycling collection to happen. And then to finish all of that off, getting six iMacs secured and into place, and on the right plinths to be showing work off. In fact it was great to have several colleagues mucking in and helping out, really has been a team effort today.

I had reserved a book at Waterstones, and in fact one that was going to prove useful come the holiday for The Love In My Heart and I, and so I walked from work into the city centre, passing St Peter's Square where there were protests outside Central Library about the lack of the Peace Garden in the square (primarily to make room for the expanded Metrolink tram stop) and also passing St Ann's Square where the tented protest for the homeless people was continuing at pace there, and then on to Waterstones itself, where the book was collected and paid for. And if you do click and collect, same price as on their web site - now that is a result isn't it?

I walked through the city centre and headed off to Fopp and perused the CDs that were out there. What I did notice was the new Ash album, and thought "oooh, they've not released an album in a while" - and indeed there was the 2CD limited version. And an album too that had been on my birthday wish list - 8:58 - the project by one former half of Orbital, Paul Hartnoll. In the end and knowing I had a Fopp gift card from my friends for my birthday, plus having also been paid recently, I thought "yeah, why the hell not?" and purchased it forthwith.

So that was two new CDs to listen to once I got homewards, and I had a good play of them both tonight. The 8:58 album was also the limited 2CD release with instrumental versions on the second CD plus a bonus track, and the first CD had the conventional album. Whilst a little disappointed that there was a reworking of an older track from his solo album as himself (one with Robert Smith of The Cure as vocalist) what was more interesting was a very different take of The Cure's "A Forest" with the ladies from The Unthanks providing the vocals - really breathy and uncomfortable with the electronica, yet somewhat appealing too.

On with the Ash album, and seeing some of the tracks being pretty short reminded me of their short sharp punchier stuff when they were starting off, and in many ways there's several songs which really do throw it back, such as the first single and opening track "Cocoon", which sees them playing ace and Tim Wheeler in bloody good vocal form - tune of the day that one without a doubt and definitely kind of makes me wish I was seeing them live again sometime soon.

In fact it reminded me of one of the first times I'd seen them live back in 1995 at the Boardwalk in Manchester (anyone remember that?) and Girl From Mars had just come out as a single that week (which charted) and also the atmosphere was really good, the band played well, and "Kung Fu" went down superbly. The abiding memory isn't of the gig though, it was playing table football with the band afterwards and getting duly panned in the process, but it was good fun. Ah, only to be twenty three instead of forty three again!

Wednesday 3rd June - Wednesday Warrior

There was so much to do, so little time today. Or at least it felt like it, with lots of things going on, and a lot of us divided up into several different tasks that we were all undertaking. It did feel like on occasion just getting the proverbial breath back was possible. In fact I even decided that it'd be a good idea to head out for lunch, grab something and ended up joining one of my colleagues in the local park close to work for a natter. In fact that proved to be pretty productive really, got lots of fresh ideas due to that.

And so I had a brainwave - we had a 2TB hard drive that was mainly Mac formatted, but it was only using up about half the space. So, what if I reduced the size of the Mac partition down to say 1.5TB, and then set up a 500GB Windows NTFS partition which I could then use to store all my extracted Autodesk downloads ready for another packaging attempt? It seemed to be a good idea and put that to the test later - partitioning was taking time on the Mac side but was worth it. I had a feeling the small SATA laptop hard drive I'd salvaged from an otherwise dead laptop might have been faulty itself, so worth a go on another drive.

Before I set off to Mum's I set off a removal from the distribution points of all the old content, just to be absolutely sure that everything that I needed to do was done, and done well. I had a feeling that it might be best to do that and get what I could sorted there, so all good I thought. In fact, it was also good because it meant I could effectively get things on the go a little tomorrow, and with the weather set a bit nicer and more fair than it had been for the last few days, it was off out of the office.

It was nice to spend some time at Mum's, although it had to be noted the front room was out of bounds due to the decorating going on - mainly painting at the moment with all the panels on one half of the room done, and nice and white indeed, with the wallpapering to be done sometime soon by my sister. It was nice to have a coffee and catch up and chat, and even a little piece of a Swiss roll that she had in as well. I think it was also good just to be able to spend some quality time there before heading homewards.

Back at home I had a good chat with The Love In My Heart, and then I also made sure that I had some quality down time to myself, so on with Monopoly via the Smart TV. It actually works really well with the normal remote control, and shows what can be done with some sensible design and input. Kind of wish that you could select the standard UK board as well as the US board, which is the default here. Still though it is all good fun, especially when you have three computer opponents and they're all bidding against each other for some properties, or arranging some swopsies.

I think too that I've learned over time it's important to get the time where possible to wind down nicely and just have that away time from working, so I can feel refreshed. I need to nip into the city centre tomorrow, so a new CD or so might be purchased at the same time as well. Talking of CDs, I did also have a good play of the new Paul Weller album tonight too, and I have to say when we head off to London in December to see him, it's going to be pretty ace I think. Make "Long Time" tune of the day - it is just over two minutes, and bloody rocks!

Tuesday 2nd June - Through the Wind and Rain

I woke up this morning, with the wind and rain still not brilliant, with the news that Charles Kennedy, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, had died. Actually it was telling that a lot of former political adversaries were unanimous in praise of his work, and indeed many of us who didn't want the UK to go war in Iraq were those who admired him for having the guts to stand up to the Labour and Conservative masses, giving an eloquent speech as to why in fact they were wrong. And the 2005 election results had the party at over sixty seats - still their best showing to date, and mainly on the back of Kennedy's strong leadership. I think there's something notable from that - a good leader with a strong conscience and one who is an excellent speaker really does give credibility to any party.

It was also a very windy and rainy morning of sorts too, with the wind from last night still battering everywhere, and the rain coming down in various scattered showers. I think the supposed meteorological claim that the 1st June is the start of Summer might occasionally need to be revisited. Ironically this time a couple of years ago The Love In My Heart and I were in Cornwall for the week, and that was around the only place with decent weather, and it was pretty sunny all round. Everywhere else - chucking it down, like it is now.

The sad thing is I can remember when June actually used to be nice weather everywhere and the sun came out, but that seems much less so now. I look to where The Love and I will be heading on holiday, and that's a steady 28-29 degrees every day with some really nice bright weather. I certainly will probably have to make sure I take plenty of sun cream and other things when I go away, but I know also I've got some nice t-shirts and shirts as well as even some new shorts, and it has to be better than here that is for sure.

Anyway, I had a couple of thoughts about the Autodesk packaging woes, and concluded that it may be the hard drive that I've got in an external caddy that might actually be at fault. I'll see if any distribution of the Autodesk stuff works tomorrow once I know that the content is up on its distribution point, but if that then fails, I can only think that it is that. If on the other hand it's successul I can then estimate it to be a network issue which was the cause of it when it first was going to its distribution point when the content was being uploaded.

As for tune of the day somehow the Pixies' "Stormy Weather" from their 1990 Bossanova album seems quite apt, with the one key line throughout the song with some grunge guitars is Black Francis going monotone "It is time, it is time, whooooah, it is time for stormy weather" and that's your lot. As I'm writing this the rain appears to have relented slightly but it's still pretty horrid out there, definitely not one for the faint hearted that is for sure. In fact the whole of that Bossanova album is pretty essential listening, definitely worth a purchase.

Monday 1st June - Packaging Processes

The working day was split into two distinct halves today. First half of the day was the morning, with the engineer from our wide format printer supplier arriving on site. It looked very much like that they had the mainboard which we had been waiting for, as well as some other parts as backup just in case it wasn't the mainboard that had failed. I met him and made sure that he was able to walk up to the printer and get cracking. Hopefully by changing the mainboard alone it may be enough, but he also had the spool spindle with him as well as our existing one had malfunctioned.

A couple of hours later and the engineer called me and asked me over to give the device a check over, make sure that the network address was correctly populated (which it was, thankfully) and then it was a case of ensuring that the printer was tested. I used two of my own images (one of Great Portland Street at night with light trails and one of the Chinese Garden at Biddulph Grange Garden) and they both turned out rather nice, nicer than expected actually. So that was all good to go.

The afternoon was then spent re-looking at Autodesk Buiding Design Suite 2016. It seemed that the initial packaging attempts might have failed, so I decided to try it again and just do the network deployment, not attempting to do the two deployments in the same folder. This time around I decided (which I was going to do anyway with the next suite) that documenting the steps with screen shots would be a good idea, notably to make sure it was easy for others to do next time around. That worked out pretty well on the whole and it meant I could then set it off early afternoon as I knew it took a fair bit of time.

And fair bit of time it did, around four hours in all, good job I set this off in good time I think. I did of course note that as the first important point to note in the documentation, stating clearly that you are much more preferable on a wired connection, and on top of that, allowing enough time for things to play ball correctly. I do have another idea in the offing it fails this time around, but it looked like the content had gone to our SCCM server correctly, so it was a case of then getting it up to the distribution point without issues.

I allowed that to set off before I headed home, and with some bad weather forecast later, I nipped into the local Asda on the way home and managed to locate where they had the umbrellas thanks to one of the very nice store assistants (thank you for being so helpful!) - and it was then a case of choosing a decent one, so a plain black one did the business, and made by Totes too, so pretty decent to be honest. This proved to be a wise move as the heavens opened as I approached the last leg on the way home and started to hammer it down.

In fact the rain was here to stay most of the night, and coupled with some pretty gusty winds it was pretty bad out there. The wind combined with very heavy rain meant a massive amount of pattering on the windows outside and I wouldn't have really liked to be caught up in that. I did however decide to see some of the Channel 5 documentary on the Midland Hotel and that was quite interesting - not quite sure the new look afternoon tea went down too well apart from the "celebrity" that was Jane McDonald though.

In terms of tune of the day I've been giving Slayer's back catalogue some of a spin after listening to "Implode" a few times the other day - as a taster for their 2015 album. Naturally some will point to the likes of "Raining Blood" and "Angel of Death" as their classic songs, but I'd like to add the title track to their 1990 album "Seasons in the Abyss" to that list - it's six minutes plus, has a really good instrumental intro before it then kicks backside with some rhythm and crunching guitars. Maybe not as fast as a lot of their stuff, but really good because of it. Ace.