Dear Diary... September 2004

Thursday 30th September - Time Goes So Fast..

It really does. It seems like only yesterday that it was the Summer and I was on my holidays, but I'm seriously looking at a flight away somewhere, maybe even around my birthday next year. With the British Grand Prix seemingly off the calendar for 2005 (boo all round) I had an idea to get myself down to Nice for a few days, and head off down to Monaco one day and walk around the streets that make up their F1 circuit. It's always been something I've wanted to do since I first got into F1 big time, to see how narrow the roads are and how much work you'd have to do to drive around them at the speeds the drivers do. And of course, the weather would also be pretty good, I think. Well, it's been mainly price that could have put me off doing so, but competition for budget airlines these days has never been more fierce, especially now Jet2 are flying out of Manchester to various destinations! I had a quick peek at their web site, and it seems simple enough - even an option to pick a month you want to go, and it shows you the cheapest fares possible either way, which is nice. Might have to consider that when the cold wintry weather sets in to at least have something to look forward to, but we shall see.

And it's now officially less than three months to Christmas, so I've actually started buying presents already, but with good reason: I reckoned it up and I have twenty nine people to buy presents for: a heck of a lot. I've already bought presents for ten people, so that's about a third done. Most of them thankfully gave me a rough idea of what they actually wanted, and I have a feeling that the overtime that I've done in showing the new first year students around the PC inductions might, just might, come in handy for that! Thankfully I've also been organised and done what I usually do - a nice big wish list. Now that might sound organised and boring, but it isn't. This way not only do you get what you actually would like, but also that no one can say that you don't know what you'd like. I tend to start off with one master list, and then split it up so that no one I send it to has the same list twice (well, that's the theory). And then of course not only do people get lots of choice, but they'll also have something to suit all tastes and pockets, money wise. Another thing I always consider is that it's not the cost that's important, but the thought that counts. If someone buys me a present for £1, I treasure it just as much because it's the thought - but on my wish list I always make sure that anything I put on there isn't extravagant or expensive either, making it pretty fair. You should try that sometime!

Sunday 26th September - Riding the 50 Foot Wave

Had a whale of a time Friday night, not least as the one I really adore (that's Kristin Hersh incase you wondered) was touring with her new band, 50 Foot Wave. Only slight downside was that it's in the Academy 3 (formerly the Hop and Grape). Now it's a nice small venue, but traditionally the sound system's been not so good down the years and I was a little worried. Last time I was in there I saw Jonathan Richman - which was a great gig. The acoustic guitar didn't sound so bad on that rig, but full on electric guitar? Something different. So after a quick pint of Worthington's (might as well take advantage of the reasonable prices down in the Solem Bar) it's up the two sets of stairs to the Hop and Grape to see the action of the support bands. Might as well get the money's worth, right?

And I certainly felt I did with the first support band, Hooker. All I can say is watch this space, with a bit of luck they'll go far, and deserve to. Their tight, compact, half hour set really got the audience rocking, and the three piece really worked wonders together. Lead singer and guitarist Zoe McVeigh sounds like a cross between Pj Harvey and Skin from Skunk Anansie, that sort of passion and anger all rolled into one, with a good ear for plenty of short and sweet tunes. And you could tell they were really giving it some and played as if their lives depended on it. Highlights of the set included "Dirty Mess" which built up from its bass and vocal start to an out and out 110mph rocker, and the addictive yet simple "Like It My Way". Both of which are on their six track mini album which I managed to buy after the gig - from someone I used to know at the college I used to work at (hi Angie) - and I suggest you order the album from their web site. It's well worth the five pounds just to hear six tracks of rawness and excellence rolled into one.

As for Amusement Parks on Fire, the fact I went back to the bar half way through their set and stayed there says it all. They were possibly the worst band I've ever seen (and I have seen some abysmal acts in my time) and their opening start just decided to go from bad to dirge. Yes, dirge. No idea of when a track ended and another one started, and the lead singer (and I use that term loosely) couldn't sing for toffee. If I was the promoter, I'd have put these on first and then Hooker, as Hooker were tons better (and that's an understatement).

While both bands were playing the audio rig was doing its best not to sound so good, and this was only exemplified even more when Kristin, Bernard and Rob hit the stage and started rocking the house at 9-45pm. A tight set again, with all the nice bits from their six track self titled mini album, and then some more. What was nice for me, as always, was the banter Kristin gives in between songs. Her and Bernard seemed to be enjoying themselves - and surely that's what it was all about? Definitely the crowd were into it big time, and then the guitars started to squeal a bit too much. Just showed up the Academy 3's awful sound system really for what it's worth - nothing. However this didn't detract too much from the performance. Rob really gave it everything on the drums - he was tired out to say the least at the end of it. Bernard was really running around the stage with the bass, hurling it in all directions and really giving the backbone for Kristin's guitar and really mean and angry vocals, which suits the 50 Foot Wave sound she's out to achieve - much more angry than before and a complete contrast of course from her acoustic stuff. Nice touch came though at the second encore (yes, you heard me right) - where she and the band played an electric version of her first solo single "Your Ghost" - and it sounded really different, yet fresh, given the full on electric treatment. You could tell by the fans' reaction how nice a surprise it was anyway, definitely made the night complete for me at least.

Oh, and Kristin looked gorgeous with her hair up and back - but then I'm biased, aren't I?

Wednesday 22nd September - May The Force Be With Me

Like a lot of people, I've been eagerly awaiting the release of the Star Wars Trilogy Box Set (known to people as proper Star Wars because they're the original three cinema releases, even if they are episodes IV to VI, supposedly) - and even if there's the odd cosmetic change here and there because George Lucas wanted them to be the "101% this is the way I would have made it if technology were there at the time" release, it shouldn't detract - too much. I'll have to let a real Star Wars diehard judge them, though. Possible review contender - anyway, back to the story. I got home from work on Monday and there was a note from the Royal Mail that they'd attempted to deliver a recorded delivery package but couldn't as I was at work. I knew this would be the delivery of the Star Wars box set I'd ordered from play.com - and so off I went to the sorting office Tuesday morning (mercifully for me only around 400 yards away from my house - pretty good eh?).

I asked at the window for my parcel, and the bloke behind the counter went to a large pile of similar-looking envelopes, most of which were from Play and Amazon no surprise there) - and there it was. I got home, checked the discs were okay, and played fine, and it was too soon to go to work before I'd go through them and give them a blast. I'll have to watch them at night with all the lights off, the full surround rig on, you get the picture, to really see how good they are. I'm sure though that no expense will have been spared to get the remaster cleaned up in terms of picture though. We'll see.

With lots and lots of students enrolling this week, it's been non-stop at work, and that's exactly how I like it at times - the day goes by without you even noticing it. Like today for example, I've been setting up a desktop PC for a member of staff who bought it for use at home, I've been repairing a faulty PC, and also having to check one of the PCs used for enrolment to see why the login screen didn't appear and continual "out of range" errors would appear on the monitor. Turns out that the onboard display adapter seems to be a bit finicky about going in its PCI slot, and a re-seat later seemed to have fixed it - for now. However, I'll just have to monitor the situation on that one and see what happens. Also I upgraded the JetDirect firmware on one of the colour printers - it needed doing and with relevant software, it's quite easy to do (thankfully!).

The weather has been back to typical Mancunian autumn though - rain, rain, and (yes you've guessed it!) more rain. It's literally lashed down pretty much since I got back from holiday, and I suppose after the early September sunshine and smiles, it was inevitable. It's almost like the weather has waited for all the students to come in to Manchester just so that they get the stereotypical view of the city raining all the time. It doesn't - it's just that they aren't always here when we get the glorious weather. Besides which it's pretty much raining everywhere else at the moment, a sign that the cold times are ahead. Must remember to start locating my jumpers and dig them out at some point.

I felt in a bit of a retro mood Monday night so I dug out a video tape with old episodes of the TV show Never Mind The Buzzcocks. The last couple of series have been really poor: and it's all Mark Lamarr's fault for being self-indulgent far too much and letting the questions last a subordinate amount of time. Watching one episode from an old series just proved that: it had Tony Wright from Terrorvision and Bob Mills teamed up with Sean Hughes, and when they guessed the lyrics to Roxy Music's "Virginia Plain" it was just classic, not least as they were enjoying themselves at the same time. Cue Tony: "You lookin' at tea?". The cameraderie back then was lots better. Another one I flicked through had Toyah on, and the other team in the intro round had to do the intro to one of her songs - which she then looked over embarassingly to the other team at! Ah, those were the days...

Sunday 19th September - If A Picture Paints A Thousand Words..

If it did, then I'd be pretty much laughing. Whilst away on holiday I managed to pick myself up a print by the artist Rosina Wachtmeister (whose work I have all over the house). This one though was unusual as it doesn't feature her trademark of cats, but was a pretty nice picture anyway. And as they're getting ridiculously hard to get hold of, I decided the best course of action would be to pick it up. Of course, the idea being that I'd get a frame when I returned home and hang it up in the bedroom wall.

I nipped into the city centre this afternoon, and thankfully the art place I normally go in, located in the Royal Exchange complex, didn't disappoint. A nice aluminium frame with a back that just needs a single nail in the wall for the picture to hang up correctly (none of this tying pieces of wire round two loops that then go over nails in the wall malarkey for me) and although not so cheap at £10, does look a bit classier than a clip frame would in the bedroom. My other Rosina pic is in this nice wooden frame (which has a proper clip back, no hooks) that I got from another art place, total of £25 for the whole thing though but that was well worth it! I guess as well they at least break down the walls in the house and give me something to look at and admire as well as any guests who come over.

Also today there were two trees opposite where I live being felled. The reason? Well a few weeks back when the weather was very windy, one of the branches of one of the trees blew right off and snapped, landing (thankfully) in some open space and not in the road or towards my house. I think they've been scheduled to come down for a while, and now there's only part of one of them left (which I think will go down sooner rather than later). They actually warned all the people living nearby to move their cars out of the way just in case, which was rather good of them to do so. But it does look a bit bare now without them, and in summer when they're in full bloom it definitely won't be as nice to look outside the front window. Ah well.

Also been watching the Paralympians do their thing at the Paralympic Games this weekend, and I have to say, some of their performances in the pool really showed how bad the able bodied swimmers did. One of them broke the world record in the women's 200m individual medley, and you could tell she'd given 100%. The bloke who won the men's 200m individual medley also said he was completely knackered and couldn't give any more. And that's what it's about - giving your all and trying your hardest. For those not used to the Games, the times may seem a lot slower, but it's just as competitive, and if anything, more friendly as well. All the competitors appreciate each other a lot more out there, it seems, and there's plenty of cameraderie as well as serious competition. And the British Team have been winning a few gold medals too - good on them! BBC's coverage has also increased a fair bit this year which means hopefully more people will take an interest. I for one am really looking forward to the 800m on Friday with Danny Crates. I last saw him run at the Olympic Trials in Manchester where he competed in the heats against the able-bodied runners. They let him run to try and help him run faster and get a world record in his class, which he did. Afterwards all the athletes came over and shook his hand, said well done, and really were genuinely pleased. It's good to see that there's no boundaries with athletes like that - if you're good, at whatever level you're at, you're good.

Wednesday 15th September - Grinding Onward

Three days back at work, and my brain is hurting big time. So much to do before term starts, and so little time to do it. On top of that, there's also the small matter of when term does start showing some of the students what to do in the dropin rooms etc, which will be something I suppose. And it's a chance to earn some overtime to save up for Christmas presents and the like, not something I take lightly. I've already ordered a few presents for people (as well as the proper Star Wars Trilogy on DVD for myself as well, play had a 5% off offer going on and I wasn't turning that down somehow) and so made a good start in terms of present buying. I guess it's thinking in advance and trying to ensure that by December everything's done and I can just sit back, relax, and have a nice time. Even if I have to work till 2pm on Christmas Eve this year. Ah well.

As you'll notice, I had a nice time away, but also I caught the sun quite a bit too. Even with sun factor 30 and some after sun for later on, it was quite warm all week. The weather in France was even more so - shade and any breeze were lacking and so it was a case of me trying to find any shade so as not to really suffer badly, and I think I might have done. Certainly I've felt the need to drink a fair bit more water when I get back, and I just hope that the skin hasn't dried out too much. Must give it some moisturiser at some point just to be on the safe side.

Sunday 12th September - Homeward Bound

Bah! Why do holidays have to end so quickly? Back homeward on the slightly delayed bmibaby, but the people at the place allowed the cases to be put somewhere safe and so I found a TV set to watch the F1 before I left - good race and if only Button had been quicker, he might have won, you never know. Still, Jersey airport was tiny, and it was surreal having check in and the departure lounge just there together without any security checks before you go through the gate to the planes themselves. And flying back in to Manchester, what do you see - rain! Nice to see some things don't change. But at least the weather had held, and the holiday was good - and much needed. Don't really want to go back to work, but there you go.

Saturday 11th September - I Want To Ride My Bicycle..

Off to Zebra Hire and to hire a bike for the day. The prices were pretty reasonable, and the longer you hired, the cheaper per day it became. The whole day was £10, which wasn't bad, and you paid a refundable deposit of £20 per bike. The helpful staff even helped set up the seat at the correct height for you as well as pick one that you'd feel comfortable with. The one thing Jersey has for cyclists are lots of cycle routes which are nice and safe, as well as green lanes where they and pedestrians get priority over other road users, refreshing to see. Anyway, cycled mostly along route one (although I didn't go around the whole island as that would be too much hard work) from St Helier to St Aubin, and then after spending a little time around St Aubin's Bay, off on the next leg from there to Corbiere Lighthouse on the far left of the island. This was 3.5 miles, and the first 2 miles or so were a gradual slope uphill. My legs felt it big time! However, when I got there, there was an ice cream van and so a cone of strawberry Jersey ice cream felt well earned. Cycling back, especially downhill, felt much easier and it meant I'd done a total of fourteen miles in all. It felt good.

Afterwards, decided to treat myself to Shaun of the Dead on DVD as it was cheaper here than anywhere else, and so Woolworth's got the money from me and a DVD was mine. Also managed to pick up some little presents for people I wanted to bring something back for, and then chilled out in the evening with a gorgeous Italian meal at La Gondola - well worth checking out if you're in St Helier. The starter of garlic mushrooms with parmesan was divine, and their spaghetti carbonara was simply sublime. Oh, and not forgetting the tiramisu, wow, that was something. Ended up having a pint later on, but really disappointed at the severe lack of proper draught ale and no Boddingtons!

Friday 10th September - Way out West

Off to the West of the island today to check out St Ouen's Bay, and also the likes of Jersey Woollen Mills, where they make the proper Jersey jersey (if you know what I mean). You could see part of the making process, but the prices for them were highly steep, so it was over the road to Jersey Pearl, which stocked the pearl made and found around the island. It also stocked a replica of the dress that Princess Diana once wore (it was covered in a total load of pearl and weighed very heavy) amongst other things. Down the road from there, towards L'etacq, was Treasures of the Earth. The exhibit was nice, and you didn't pay till you came out the other side and went into the shop. Very trusting though, I mean anyone could have gone in, gone half way through and come back out without paying if they were clever enough. It was well worth it to see the world's biggest amethyst stone (simply awe-inspiring) and then the foot of the mammoth and the skeleton of the head of the triceratops, which was again something well worth seeing. Got a bit cloudy in the afternoon but mainly chilled out before taking a stroll out towards the top of Fort Regent, a rock that basically splits part of St Helier in two (unless you go through the road tunnel at the bottom, which was very popular). There's a leisure centre at the top and unless you drive you'd need plenty of exercise to get up there, never mind do your own thing!

Thursday 9th September - I am the Crazy Golf Legend

Off to the Living Legend for most of the day - it's a weird thing. It hosts an exhibit about some of the history of Jersey, with a show that has moving images and also an odd effect - real water being splashed around this amphitheatre to simulate a shipwreck in high tide. No wonder everyone got wet! It also has a craft village that had various little stores, most of which were having a sale on as well. Plenty of people picking up bargains there. And then the thing I really came for - the crazy golf. Knowing my prowess at the game occasionally, there were two courses and your admission paid for a round on either course (£5-20 a round otherwise though - ouch!). Still, it was good fun not least as I managed two holes in one - one on the third and one on the ninth where precision timing was the order of the day. If I get one I'd consider myself doing pretty okay, but two? Wow. Par was 55 (most holes except the fourth were a par three) and I managed to hit 51, so I was well chuffed. At the end of the course, if you got a hole in one on certain holes you could actually draw from a lot of balls, and if the number drawn matched the number you got a hole in one on, you won a prize. I drew number ten. Damn!

Spent ages getting back into St Helier though as the Battle of Britain air show thingy was on, making it almost impossible to get around the town due to the mass of traffic. Ended up walking a couple of miles down country lanes to get the bus back, but that was nice as the weather was pretty good anyhow, so no biggie really. Also decided to check out the Waterfront complex, which was fairly new. They had this sand sculpture by it, which someone had done and I dropped some coins in as a donation, as I took some pictures of it. And the Waterfront itself? Well, apart from having a pool, an overpriced "the" café bar, and KFC and a cinema, it had Pizza Hut! So straight in there for munchies, hehe.

Wednesday 8th September - French Heat

Off on a ferry today (well, one of these Seacats) over to Saint Malo in Brittany, about an hour and a quarter's ride from St Helier. It takes cars as well as passengers, so if you went on foot you had to wait for all the cars to load first. The ride was smooth, and I was glad I snagged some croissants for breakfast before they all went due to the mass rush at 9-30am! Landed in France around 11-30am French time, and in the distance I could see what looked like an old fort. In fact, this was the ancient wall around the old part of Saint Malo, and well worth investigating. Walked around the whole of the outside wall, where you could see little islets and forts out to sea as well as the old church. Indeed, part of the castle battlements at one end had been turned into a hotel - bet that'd be an interesting stay.

Decided to head down the beach and seek some shade by the sea wall as the heat was intense - around 34 degrees it was which is way too hot. The beach was nice and clean though, as was the sea. However, France in general must learn one thing - it must start catering for vegetarians properly and not rely on an Italian restaurant to do the job for them. Lots of places insisted on being almost all meat based, and I could imagine a lot of people being disgruntled. Also, a lot of the eaterie places shut around 3pm - which I guess is part of the culture but when you're a tourist destination you'd think business could be had by the bucketload if you opened all day? Anyway, what was there was nice and historic, and the town's got a fair bit going for it - certainly worth it for the day trip at least. Got back around 6-30pm into St Helier and chilled out.

Tuesday 7th September - Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

Hatched a plan: to go the Potteries in the morning and then the Zoo in the afternoon. This was made possible by the fact that one of the bus routes on the island, the 8b, only runs once a day Monday to Friday at around 2pm from Gorey Pier all the way past the Zoo and on to the Living Legend. So a leisurely morning spent pottering around the Potteries, where you could see everything being made, glazed, kilned etc. Even the potter's wheel made famous by the TV show The Generation Game was there, and someone actually doing it properly. The lunch in the café that they had was good too: nice mound of pasta with mushrooms, highly recommended. Then before I knew it, a walk down the beach to Gorey and on to the 8b to go to the zoo.

Now normally I don't always like zoos, but the famous Gerard Durell formed this one, and his notion was clear in that he wanted to ensure animals that were close to extinction were able to breed and stay alive. The Andean bear was one of the stars: he was being playful but also enjoying the freedom he had in his open space, and interacted so well with his handler, which showed the trust that they earn. The little creatures that shared his space and were whizzing around their ropes dotted around the trees were also cute, but some of the lemurs that were highly endangered were also really nice, they looked at me with a smile as I walked past. Awww. And also, they're breeding here, so at least it meant that they'd be kept alive and well. Highly enjoyable and lots of information about conserving wildlife throughout which made you wonder how cruel people can be hurting lots of these poor innocent beautiful creatures. Went out for a curry in the evening, and while not a patch on the Curry Mile back in Manchester, was not too bad anyway.

Monday 6th September - I'm The King of the Castle

Arrived in Jersey yesterday after a short flight over from Manchester with bmibaby (which was almost an hour late because of previous flights the plane had undertaken - bah!). The place is pretty nice, and the bed is comfortable. Breakfast is also nice (well, the croissants I had were at any rate). With it being the first full day, a chance to familiarise so it's a short walk into the centre of St Helier and wander round the shops and that. Going into HMV was an interesting experience - as VAT doesn't exist on the island it's basically a 3 DVDs for £17-02 offer instead. However, Woolworths up the road was cheaper for DVDs as a rule, so it was good to compare prices. The indoor market is also very nice, with lots of stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables with a really ornate fountain in the middle, a nice touch. The Post Office actually did a good trade in postcards and after picking twelve of them for just £1, I paid for those and the stamps, and surprised myself with the change. Not least as Jersey still use pound notes that took some getting used to!

Off in the afternoon to Gorey, a little village to the east of the island, that has one rather good feature - Mount Orgueil Castle. The castle dominates the skyline as it's set on a large hill, and it's a fair amount of climbing just to get up to the entrance, never mind anywhere else. But patience reaps its own rewards, and the historical features of the castle (including an old crypt and the master bedroom of the living quarters) were very well preserved. Looking down from the top on to the harbour there was very rewarding to get up there in the first place. Also the castle's having a bit of a historical dig going on to find more artefacts and the like, but done in a way so you can still enjoy touring the place. Certainly the weather was nice enough to do it, and that was the tone for the week - nice weather all the way through.

Sunday 5th September - Calamity James Strikes Again

Sometimes I really wish he wasn't playing for Manchester City. Every time a cross comes over and he looks a bit shaky, I just think if City are going to lose because he'll make a silly mistake that'll cost us. No doubt as well for England he's done that, and last night, well that was no exception. David James, the England keeper, somehow let a shot through his body that even I'd have saved quite comfortably to be honest. I can't defend him, even as a City man. He could well have cost us a win in Austria that we needed to get our World Cup qualifying campaign off to a good start, and even at this early stage of qualification, we now have to go to Poland and win to ensure we're back on track. And that isn't going to be easy. It frustrates me so much that he can be either brilliant or utter baloney, and there's never an in between. I wasn't exactly sure of Sven's tactics either, at 2-0 up we should have not gone all gung-ho looking for more, but played exactly the same as we'd done to go 2-0 up in the first place, and not been too bloody complacent - that also cost us dearly.

Mind you, I seriously thought that Shaun Wright-Phillips was going to get his England debut, but with Steven Gerrard back fit it wasn't going to happen (and fair enough, as it meant Beckham could do his thing on the right - although he ended up having a poor game). However Sven, next time don't be afraid to take off any player who is underperforming. Surely at 2-2 we could have gone for it and put SWP on? I'm sure he would have linked up with Jermain Defoe to provide the winning goal we so desparately needed. Still, not happy. We should have won, and didn't, and mistakes cost us. I'm sure if we don't win against Poland on Wednesday night then at the next Man City home game, the away fans will gave James a right bollocking. And on last night's performance, understandably so. No use defending the indefensible.

I had a go at the Test The Nation popular music quiz on BBC1 last night. Was pretty good fun, although the wide variety of music tastes and questions would mean that not everyone would have necessarily got all the answers right. And some of the questions were only easy if you knew the background behind the song, which, although fair enough, would mean that if like me you just listen to and enjoy the music for what it is, made it slightly more difficult. Mind you, I did get a massive 59 out of 70 (around 84%), which wasn't too bad at all. I struggled with the fourth round but in most of the others I only got one or sometimes two wrong.

I suppose I haven't lost it just yet, although interestingly listening to some of the tunes in the first round made me realise how old they actually are in terms of where I was when they were released. Like Firestarter by the Prodigy: always reminds me of walking the last eight miles or so to Phoenix Festival in Stratford upon Avon, in searing heat, because all the roads were gridlocked to the event and people couldn't get in for hours. Even more strange: as I walked down to the site, I could hear and see the main stage long in the distance, and one of the headliners of Thursday night were playing. It was the Prodigy, it was Firestater, and it kicked ass even from that distance. I even missed David Bowie's set as well. Bah! Not to mention the sunburn I got during the weekend, although it was worth it to see the likes of Fun Lovin' Criminals, Lush, Terrorvision, Skunk Anansie, Alanis Morrissette etc etc.

Wednesday 1st September - Sometimes...

You just wonder. Why do you spend so much time on fixing a problem when the answer is actually staring you in the face? I did that today at work when I was working on a laptop, getting it ready to be a master image for all the other ones we plan to have in one room. And every time you restarted the PC, it went to the logon screeen and showed the username of the last logged on user. Frustratingly I spent about an hour and a half trying to fix it, before realising that it was the Windows Group Policy setting which wasn't doing as it was told, and so after doing all the software installations I needed to, I went back in the afternoon, unregistered the workstation and deleted the group policy folder, let it re-register, logged on as a restricted user and let the policy kick in, and it worked. Every time. Result! My guess is that the Group Policy was a bit knackered and so needed to be rebuilt in order to have the correct options in the registry which delete the users on logout. Works like a dream now, and hopefully I'll have it all finished tomorrow and ready.

I also had to do a little bit of shopping in town after work, and it's amazing what you can note when shopping around for various items. First off, is it me, or is it that there's two types of shoppers in the local Primark? There's the ones who buy one or two items for less than ten pounds and consider it a bargain, then there's the big shoppers who literally fill a basket full of stuff and spend around sixty to eighty pounds and end up with a raft of items for themselves. Like today, in the queue there was someone and the basket was bulging with all sorts of stuff. I guess now that the autumn and winter stuff's started coming in, everyone's buying ready for the colder season. Except for one small moot point: September's actually a nice month as far as the sun is concerned, and that means reasonable temperatures all round. All this week in Manchester's going to be around 20 degrees, which is more than nice enough for the time of year. Maybe next month it'll start to feel a bit colder, but this lunch time was pleasant enough to say the least, taking a breather and also just relaxing with a grape Looza drink (non alcoholic too, they are gorgeous if you can find them!)

Also a nice package arrived from the wonderful people at Play - which had a couple of DVDs I ordered for my brother for Christmas - both in the anime genre. I thought while there was an offer on for them I may as well order them and get two for the price of what I'd normally pay for one - meaning he gets more for Christmas as well. Actually, that's just one advantage of starting the Christmas shopping early. Yes I know it's months away (well, almost four) but I worked out how many presents I had to buy for this year and I was genuinely scared at how much I'd end up spending. So if I start now then I should be able to do one or two presents a week and that way get everything that I want for people. My sister's already given me some ideas what to get her and her husband to be, and everyone's been quite good with me. Even started thinking of my own wishlist as to what I'd like!