Dear Diary...

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

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Thursday 17th June - Click and Collect

It was off to the local Next Clearance store at lunchtime to collect an order I'd made the other night: a nice pair of slim leg Next jeans in my size for the bargain price of £11, which can't be bad really. And of course it meant it wouldn't have to trawl through the store to locate that - it'd be there for me to collect all nicely wrapped and secure. I must admit though that it is handy having the clearance store closer to where I live: as the main branch is at the other end of the main shopping street.

The rain in the morning had helped a little to make it less humid but still felt really sticky as I left the flat and off towards the North End for the Next clearance. They don't have one of the collection machines as they do in the normal one, it was just a case of taking the barcode from the email or the number in the text to a till and the staff would do the rest for you, and to be fair, they did, the staff were lovely and helpful. I got back and tried the new pair on, and were all good and comfortable. Shame now I didn't order two pairs for that price, but worth a go to check out how efficient the process was anyway and I got a good bargain.

It still did feel humid in the afternoon but after work I did tune in to watch the Denmark v Belgium game. After all that happened to Christian Eriksen last time out, 10 minutes came and the referee made sure he stopped the game and so the crowd and players (and the ref to be fair) all applauded for Christian, which was a lovely thing. Denmark had already gone in front in just the second minute, and Belgium did look poor in the first half and really needed a boost to try and turn this one around.

Unsurprisingly, this came at half time when Kevin de Bruyne came on for his first game since being injured in the Champions League final. He soon was dominating the midfield and had laid on the equaliser already before receiving the ball on the left side and smashing it into the bottom corner. He refused to celebrate though which I think was the right thing to do given the situation a few days back in the same stadium, and Belgium held on to win and to qualify for the next round.

It was a case of then later getting things ready to be able to pack the case and as I'm in the office tomorrow, it's on the way to head to see The Love In My Heart. My lateral flow test was negative (I'm still doing them to be sure that all is safe and well for trips to the office) and so that's always a good sign - and yes whilst I've had both vaccine doses now it needs time to kick in properly, so still being uber careful to be on the safe side. I did also listen to the Gary Numan Intruder album tonight and it is very good - in fact The Chosen is tune of the day as that could have come out of games like Quake quite easily!

Wednesday 16th June - Northern Soul Sweat

It was so humid today and the sweat was pouring off me during the day despite me doing all I could to keep the flat as cool as I could - it's a case of it all being well insulated which is great in Winter of course, but it would be nice if the place had aircon to keep things relatively cooler in the Summer - and even with the windows open it's just really really warm and sticky. More so today I think because I knew that there was going to be some potential thunder and showers later which might just make things even worse - but we shall see.

I did spend most of the morning and afternoon packaging and testing out an application, primarily because of a few things I noticed with it: first of all the fact that the small installer over the web just downloads the file as it goes, rather than be a full installer. However, running the executable with the /layout switch allowed for a fuller install to be downloaded, noting not just the main MSI installer but also a pre-requisite which was needed as well - but only if it's out of date as it was a recent 2019 Visual C++ library stack (and I always include them in our Windows builds for obvious reasons.)

I also noted too that it seemed to want to then update some more again when first run, so when attempting to run, I noted it downloaded an updated installer but the same style as the original, allowing me to get that new version all layout packaged and ready in the same way. Why the vendor just didn't make that version available in the first place, heaven only knows, but still, I know what to do for future reference which is at least something of note at any rate.

Also a nice 2-CD set arrived in the post this afternoon - the André Brassur Top 40 compilation, featuring 40 of his best tracks over a long spanning career. This does of course include the rather excellent Waiting For You (and the proper instrumental version at that) which is the theme tune of 70s classic The Indoor League with Fred Trueman saying "na'then" and "I'll si'thee" quite a bit. But there's many other good reasons for this, and considering how hot and sweaty it'd get inside Northern Soul clubs back in the day, it was a positive thing to note that two tracks well known to those are on here.

Yes, so you get both The Kid and Holiday here - which was a double A side single albeit with the labels mispressed as well (nice one CBS!) - but if you listen to both, they are both excellent. For me, the drums and the organ rhythm make Holiday perhaps the best of the two and therefore tune of the day but you'll love them both - and also other gems such as Mad Train, Early Bird, and the slower funk sounds of The Duck to name but a few. Well worth scouting out I reckon!

Tuesday 15th June - Upgrading Some Snow

And no, not snowing in June (way too hot and humid for that it has to be said.) No, it was off to the office today and indeed getting plenty done. It was nice to be able to be in the air conditioned office and actually be at a different desk but still have wired network connectivity so I can get all the things done that I wanted to do that I can't do at home off-premise, so can't complain at all really. In fact it was nice seeing some people from other teams and we were able to chat about the football and Euro 2020, and how for me Italy are definitely contenders (because obvious Roberto Mancini reasoning...)

So it was on with upgrading Snow Inventory after checking out potential paths to doing so and having had our custom report checked over to make sure all was well. In fact, I have to say that it went pretty well all round to be honest - and first of all did the Licence Manager part of the upgrade, allowing that to be able to get up to the version that our support partners are also running. Following that, it was then a case of upgrading the Inventory back end side to the newer version as well, and that appeared to go pretty well overall, with a case of it being able to do the upgrades sequentially and all pretty nicely.

I have to say that once all of that was done, and me re-disabling the Active Directory discovery (as we don't do that for either the users or the computers because it could potentially locate objects in different OUs that are normally excluded, and would rather focus on machines only with clients as well as those users) and then checking over to make sure that the daily update job did what it was supposed to do, and get everything front end wise all ship shape. That worked, so that pleased me immensely.

I also spent some time later in the day being able to work on some documentation and also help formulate a plan of action all around some licencing things,so definitely for me one that I wanted to get sorted somewhat. It's always good to be able to concentrate and crack on of course, but you know how it is when you really are able to perform to the best. In fact, you may even remember the old late 1980s Gilette advert with the power ballad style, and that was The Best by John Parr (who also sang the iconic St Elmo's Fire film theme) so definitely for me tune of the day that one.

Later on it was onwards to the train home via Charing Cross to London Bridge and it did seem a little quieter on the commute which was something. I think with the nice weather people are electing to work from home so potentially they could be outside but to be honest I prefer the aircon and being able to get things done from an office environment - have to see how that all changes when we get the new booking system in place and make sure it all works really well, and for me so far it's all been good.

Monday 14th June - Humid Work

Working from home today was certainly a challenge. The air certainly seemed not as warm due to the lower cloud but what was apparent was the humidity around - more so later in the day as the cloud lowered and although there was some breeze, it really did feel a tad sticky. Later in the week should be fresher which will be nice of course, but definitely for me it's going to be of a massive benefit to be in the office and enjoy the aircon as well as getting plenty of things done as well.

Today was mainly about getting the June updates out to machines that needed them but also of course the first wave of major version updates, with those not having certain applications able to be done directly and those with Google Drive having a specific set of instructions and a task sequence to run (as if Drive is running it seems to stop in place Windows upgrades, rather annoyingly.) In any case all was well and it was looking like it was going well.

After work I did see some extended highlights of the Scotland game against the Czech Republic. I have to say that Scotland were a little unlucky in parts but the lack of finishing cost them ultimately - the Czechs were more clinical and they were able to put together a quality header followed by an audacious lob over the Scottish keeper David Marshall with both of their goals being scored by the excellent Patrick Schick. It does set up things for a Friday night showdown between England and Scotland though so definitely will be one to take note of!

Of course, and especially as it had been leaked to the media anyway, it was expected for England to remain at step three for the foreseeable future, the next four weeks at least. I wasn't surprised and to be honest it doesn't affect things massively for me - realistically, I know I can still go on holiday within the UK, and both The Love In My Heart and myself, as our support bubble, can see each other and do the things we need to do together as the one household, which really does make a lot of sense. Of course staying at that step does mean my Mum's holiday is all good to go too, so she was pleased at least.

It was a still humid evening tonight but did settle in for more of the Euro 2020 tournament with Spain against Sweden tonight. I have to say that it looked pretty hot in Seville and I'm sure that it was the conditions that would affect players more - but I do like the Swedish national anthem - Du Gamla, Du Fria, so that's tune of the day for me. Obviously with the likes of Rodri and Ferran Torres of Manchester City in the Spanish side, I did have some bias and interest!

Sunday 13th June - Vaccination's Coming Home

Of course today would be the England v Croatia match at Wembley, and due to myself and The Love In My Heart being out for lunch in the afternoon and travelling to central London and so on, I had set the game to record from BBC One so I could watch the game later on when I got home - and of course I could avoid the scoreline as the pub we had booked at for lunch had outside seating and so meant there were no televisions to be tempted to look at (although inevitably we'd probably know the score anyway, but such is how things happen!)

After The Love and I had breakfast and with the weather getting warmer by the minute, we got ourselves showered and changed, ready to have a quick walk around the local shops. The Love wanted to go in Flying Tiger and have a mooch around, and the reasonably sized USB desk fans were tempted to be able to plug in whilst working from home - although I am in the office twice this week which will be something to consider to be perfectly honest. Of course that means aircon, so obviously yaay. It was nice to walk around although it was pretty hot and sticky.

We got ourselves sorted later and headed off for East Croydon station, getting the train to Victoria with aircon (yaay) and then the Victoria line to Warren Street (ugh, hot and horrid) and then from there the walk over to the Crown and Anchor near Euston, one of our favourite places. An outside table had been reserved for us, the staff were as lovely as ever, and I soon had a St Austell Tribute to enjoy with The Love having the Camden Hells. I'd also had a text from the vaccination centre asking if I could get there any earlier, and so The Love suggested once we got to Euston to head straight on the tube and train to get to the centre earlier, which was very selfless.

Lunch was of course lovely - I had the steak and ale pie which was gorgeous, and that came with mash and some broccoli and peas in a nice buttery way, and The Love had the half roast chicken which was ace. In fact, we heard a loud noise inside the pub and that was of course England scoring, but it was relatively calm and chilled inside too and the aircon was on, so good to know really. In fact, we both had a Camden Hells later and it was just nice to be together and to be happy.

We walked back towards Euston and I gave The Love a big hug and said our goodbyes and headed on the tube and train towards East Croydon, getting to the vaccination centre around 5.40pm (my appointment was for 6.30pm but I think they were looking at closing early) and the staff in there were lovely and friendly. In fact, one of the staff was from Manchester originally and recognised my accent, so that was a positive really. I have to say that it did feel good getting the second vaccination done, my card is updated, and it's all good from now on. I have to be pleased!

I headed home and then on with the recording of the England game to watch. England did play pretty well and it has to be said that Kalvin Phillips was our best player, enforcing the midfield well and putting some good passes together and the through ball to Raheem Sterling for the goal was perfect, and was so pleased for Raheem to get it at a place close to his original home too - it meant a lot to him and the fans. Of course the fans were in full Three Lions voice throughout, and whilst it is too early to say that it could potentially come home, you do have to remember Croatia knocked us out of the World Cup semi finals in 2019, so no slouches, so the Baddiel / Skinner / Lightning Seeds classic is tune of the day for me.

Saturday 12th June - A Dress Fit For A Princess

It was getting the final bits done around the flat this morning - mainly changing the bedding and then having some toast for breakfast. The Love In My Heart was on her way down to see me for the weekend on the train, and it had been the first time for her to come to see me in months, primarily due to the current situation but also to be sure that it was easier for her to keep Brian the cat happy. Safe in the knowledge that she was on her way down on the train, I got the last bits all sorted and I left for East Croydon station to head up to Euston and meet her there - primarily as I wanted to show her the route I take to St Pancras to get the train to East Croydon if she ever needed to in the future.

We headed back to my place and it was admittedly quite warm on the way back, so we did freshen up and before heading back into Central London, it was round the corner to the Green Dragon pub to have some nice lunch together. They always have some decent cask ales on and so I had a nice dark mild along with a meaty pizza, with The Love having the fish and chips and a glass of wine. With the windows open and fresh air coming in as well as the aircon, it was nice, and the staff were as lovely as ever in there, so really did make me feel quite relaxed.

We had booked tickets for Kensington Palace, primarily to see the Royal Style exhibition which has the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales, so I knew that The Love wanted to see that, and would be a good way to spend the Saturday afternoon. We headed off on the train from East Croydon to London Victoria, and then changed there for the circle line (thankfully with aircon!) to High Street Kensington. From there it was a short walk over to the park entrance and heading across diagonally towards the entrance to Kensington Palace, and was in a queue ready for the 3.30pm admission.

The queue didn't take long to sort itself out, and we effectively checked in, and with masks on, we headed first around the exhibition which dealt with Queen Victoria as a youngster, which we had seen before in the previous visit but it was nice to head round thee again, and the same with the King and Queen's chambers. This time around when you went downstairs after seeing the Queen Anne Apartments, you were directed to an outside path which took you towards the orangery where the Royal Style exhibition was. It was a very nice open space inside there, and the wedding dress on display was simply stunning, and iconic. The Love was very pleased to see it and plenty of people were of course taking pictures (allowed as long as flash was off) and I must admit I did admire the fashion design behind that and other outfits.

Once we'd seen everything, we headed out of the Palace and had a nice sit down on the grass in the park with a nice cool drink from the ice cream van that was close by - not cheap I should add, but it was nice to be able to effectively relax together. We did also then head off down Kensington High Street, had a good mooch in HEMA and The Love bought a few items, and then also a good look in Oliver Bonas and also a really nice children's shop called Trotters - where The Love was tempted to get things for her ever so small relations. It was absolutely lovely!

After having some tea back at mine later on, we settled in and watched the Blu-ray of the film The Keeper - based on the true story of Bert Trautmann and how he became to be the goalkeeper at Manchester City following World War II. It was really good to watch and some excellent performances from both David Kross and Freya Mavor, but also John Henshaw as the coach of St Helens Town who definitely brought all the Northern side to the film - and with Dervla Kirwan as his wife in an understated but nonetheless really well acted role. I loved the football scenes of course but it was more about the love story too, so good to watch and enjoy. Freya sings the version of Abide With Me at the end of the film that is beautifully minimal, so tune of the day for me for that one.

Friday 11th June - Forza Roberto and Forza Vaccination

It was the opening game of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament tonight as Turkey would take on Italy in Rome. Of course as a Manchester City fan, and because of what he did at the club, and now he's Italian manager, naturally I would love Roberto Mancini to do well - I always thought that the City board were a little too hasty in sacking him, and the way he's rebuilt the Italian team to become contenders really does show a sign that he's lost none of his management skills either.

In other positive news today, I was looking to see if I could bring my second Covid vaccination appointment forward in any way - primarily because of the fact that when I booked both, the second one was at least 11 weeks later and a day not far off going on holiday. I'd much rather be going away knowing the second jab's had some time to work, and so I checked the NHS vaccination website, and it seemed that when doing a manage appointment it wasn't allowing me to put in the appointment number for rebooking, meh.

I did ring the NHS 119 number, and someone had said that it looked like my GP practice hadn't had the information from the vaccination centre, which did seem a bit odd at the GP practice are normally very good. I logged on to the Patient Access thing I have, and that showed the first jab all present and correct, so rang the GP reception to be sure. The staff were lovely and helpful and friendly, and they explained that they'd had a few similar instances. Interestingly she also told me that sometimes the NHS sites can be a little odd behaving during the day Friday so might be worth me trying later in the day.

The GP staff's hunch was spot on! I logged on around 6pm, and this time it asked me to put in the booking reference. Going through earlier in the day I knew there were appointments for Sunday, and so I had to cancel the one I had first, then rebook. I did that, entered the rebooking screen, and sure enough, Sunday evening at 6.30pm was doable, so got it booked. Happy days. That will mean of course I'll have some time before holidays to let it settle in, and on top of that the good thing is that I'll be fully protected as much as I can. Granted, both The Love In My Heart and I will still need to be careful of course, but both of us double jabbed will mean much less risk for us.

Back to the football tonight, and before the game started and the opening ceremony was in full swing, Andrea Bocelli comes on to the pitch and belts out a cracking version of the classic Nessun Dorma (make that tune of the day) - and memories of Italia '90 came flooding back - the days when England had a battling side that had Gary Lineker up front and the late Sir Bobby Robson as manager too. It certainly did show the passion when the Italian national anthem was sung too, with it being positively belted out by the players - spot on. Why can't England do more of that I wonder?

Thursday 10th June - Not News, Not Interested

It was back to the office today and indeed a nice albeit cloudy day outside, so the air conditioning in the office to avoid the muggy weather conditions was more than welcome to be quite honest. I made the usual switcheroo at London Bridge, and once at Charing Cross it was a nice little walk around Leicester Square and then onwards to the Pret near the office to get a coffee and a breakfast roll too - a good way to start the day. Must give a shout out to the lovely staff at the Pret near the office who are always friendly and are kind, and that really does get the day started well with some nice people. Kudos to them all.

It was a busy day of sorts today, primarily building a revised Windows 10 20H2 WIM with the June updates included. However, Microsoft's guidance for this update insists that you have to have the May update installed first as a pre-requisite, and during testing with MDT, this was exactly the case - if you just added the June update, it didn't apply, and further, you needed to include the May update, invoke a restart and then do the June update, and then it all worked perfectly with no issues.

I had also noted a rather not so nice thing with the June update anyway - the horrible News and Interests thing in the taskbar. It truly is awful. Why, Microsoft, just why? Thankfully I've raised a change which means in the corporate environment we can make sure that isn't enabled via Group Policy, and I've applied the relevant registry fix on my home machine to ensure it doesn't appear, but why not have it disabled by default with an option to opt in, rather than it take up screen estate every time you hover over the taskbar? Absolutely poor from Microsoft, that.

Anyway, I was able to sort out a few issues today as well on behalf of our Service Desk Team, so was good to be on hand to assist and also to work out what was happening with a few things across the board. I did also work out a plan of action for the June updates, and to slightly delay the mass rollout due to a massive event we have on shortly - so don't want to be doing anything to disturb that whatsoever, and everyone agreed it was a sensible plan from me, so can't argue with that really.

I also had a nice trip via the Pret near Charing Cross on the way home and treated myself to the mango and pineapple smoothie, which is part of the subscription I have, so a nice cool freebie to have on the train homeward. I must admit too it was nice to get home and sort out a few things - so all the new CDs all nicely sorted into alphabetical order in the CD racks, as well as sorting out the bookshelf to get rid of any clutter as well - just had to really be a little bit ruthless. As for tune of the day I had some classic Juliana Hatfield on whilst cleaning up so the excellent Universal Heartbeat is a winner - after all a heart that hurts is a heart that works.

Wednesday 9th June - Smelling of Roses

So it turned out that the concierge of the apartment block we're in was on the case today, and with a very good reason (I like him, he's ace.) Near where I live there's actually a building being constructed, ironically on behalf of the local council's flat and house building scheme, which being a not very well run council, effectively they've subcontracted out to the nth degree. This will have a number of flats and towers above the block I am in - however, thankfully it's not in the way of the view of the windows from the front room or bedroom, which is something at least.

However, I had noted that at occasional times at night during the last week or so, there's been people from Thames Water heading out to look at a drain not far from the flats, and indeed spend a fair bit of time there. At the same time coming down the lifts towards the ground floor, there did appear to be a not so pretty smell, which possilbly could be drainage but also sewage too. It wasn't nice - and can't smell it from the flat thankfully as it's high up enough and I have the windows open anyway to let fresh air in (as after all you're supposed to these days, right?) I suspect the drains run under ground but clearly have got into the lift shafts in some way too - so not too good really.

Anyway, the concierge was on the case, and informed the residents mid afternoon that the lifts were being shut off whilst some contractors were on site to look at pumping out the sewage water from the blockage, and also jet washing the whole thing as well to hopefully eliminate the smell. I did respond to ask what had gone on, and the concierge told me that the new building constructors had blocked all of the local drainage, which is why Thames Water had been around recently. It all makes sense now - it's only been in the last week or two as the building has got gradually larger that things have gone a bit awry. So, usual subscontracting to idiots who don't know what they're doing, and it's our block that gets affected by their incompetence.

In all seriousness, I'm seriously thinking of forging a complaint to the council. Thankfully for me I'm able to head down the lifts and out of there without too much affect, but if you say lived on the first or second floor, you'd be more likely to be affected by that and do start to worry about if it was something you had done in the flat. It also shows that if you do subcontract to the nth degree you get people who don't know what they're doing (similar to the Serco and Deloitte test and trace scandal) - so it's a case of making sure that it doesn't happen again now - but the good thing is the concierge has been proactive - and it's one reason I've been happy to stay where I am to be honest.

I also attended a mandatory little training session with our Cyber Security folks today. I did suspect a few weeks ago that they had sent out a mock phishing email and I had reported it to them knowing it was odd - the good thing was I wasn't the only one, and they showed that a significant number had done the same. They went through some useful reminders for tell tale signs of phishing attempts in email, and a useful acronym to remember for anyone, FLAG - which each part stood for the likes of something in one of those emails - so fake sender, links, attachments and grammar for example. Makes perfect sense to be honest.

And after work, a perfect time to wind down with some classic The Wonder Stuff and the Hup album. It was actually one of the first albums on CD I purchased in late 1989 as I really liked the singles up til then (which I'd track down courtesy of Vinyl Exchage over time) and from there it was a case of listening to this a fair bit on what was then my new Sharp little system of top loading CD, twin tape deck and radio, which saw me well for many years. The whole album is pretty ace, but the opener 30 Years in the Bathroom really set the scene well, and matched by the closer Room 410 too - that is tune of the day, but I have the promo CD for the album with the extended version of that, which has plenty of samples which weren't cleared in time for the record release - and it was fab!

Tuesday 8th June - Off to the Office Bar Billiards

It was off to the office today and it was actually going to be pretty warm all round, so definitely good to have all the lovely aircon around for sure. I set off from East Croydon and did the usual switcheroo at London Bridge for Charing Cross, and soon had the nice walk uphill towards the office. In a good way though at least it does mean a downhill walk for heading home later on. I also managed to get a nice coffee from the local Pret on the way in, so that was me all sorted for a busy day ahead to be honest.

In fact, I spent some time today sorting out a revised driver package for one of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon models, after it transpired that one of the attempted builds failed due to the fact a hash value returned incorrect. Normally it's either a case of resending content, but if that fails either remove and then send, or in my case (as there were some updated drivers anyway) create a new package, which will send over to the distribution points overnight and so be then able to crack on with getting that replaced in the build task sequence.

I had actually been testing the build anyway after I'd raised a change to add the new versions of both Adobe Reader and Firefox, and all appeared to be well there without any issues, so definitely a positive on that score. In fact the Service Team staff needed some help with me being in the office, so I was able to sort out a few things for them in person and so be on hand. I also had to wait for a contractor in the afternoon who was working out a plan for a uninterrupted power supply for our video team folks. I went down at the time - no one there.

It was at this point I did a Gene Hunt and trusted my hunches - what if he had gone to the other building at the side and tried to go into the reception there? Sure enough he had, so was able to get him and head him to our floor and then from there he was all good for anything needed. I suspect too if it's somewhere you've not been to a lot it can get confusing if the sat nav or Google Maps tells you one thing when in fact it's most likely going to be another, such as it is.

After work I decided to head to one of the pubs close to the office, as rumour had it they had a bar billiards table. They do, but unfortunately it couldn't be played according to the landlord because of the current situation, but the table looked to be in good nick so will have to channel the inner Taffy John when able to. I did have a very nice pint of stout in there though and so thought about the whole Indoor League theme and wondered if Fred Trueman would turn up with his "na' then!" catchphrase (and of course make the André Brasseur theme tune Waiting For You tune of the say again.)

Monday 7th June - Planning and Waiting For You

It was a fairly good productive day of working from home today, although the temperature did creep up during the day so my cunning plan of having the blinds half open to keep the sun out but allow the windows to be open and let fresh air in did work pretty well, it has to be said. I actually was spending time today on some cleaning up of resources where possible and also raising a planned change for tomorrow so I would be able to add some updated applications to the Windows 10 build task sequence.

One thing I did spot was that there were still some PCs with a piece of security software on which we decommissioned some time ago - I suspect they were offline during the deployment period, but may also have had the old tamper protection password as this was changed along the line. I did already have a task sequence in place to remove if the old password was set, so checked on some machines I'd add to the collection, and they all came back with a nice result today - I think there's only around 6-7 machines left now so it was a worthwhile exercise to be able to get things sorted there.

I also managed to spend a bit of time on working out some issues where for some reason one system wasn't talking to another, perhaps because of some manual alterations on one side, and raised that with my manager so he could take a look. In another positive move of sorts, I also had raised further the need to increase some licencing and it looked like it was being taken seriously, so movement on there too. I do like it when plans come together, it has to be said.

A clip of Indoor League that I watched online over lunch reminded me of the theme tune: which is Waiting For You by André Brasseur (and therefore tune of the day - it is somewhat iconic). Interestingly, the single version has vocals as performed by André - and there's a live performance of it online to see as well - but the instrumental version appears to be on the album and I'll have to try and get a copy of that at some point so I can own the proper theme. I have to say that it was enjoyable to be able to play that and then sing along a la Frank Skinner doing the Indoor League theme too!

I must admit though that it goes to show that sometimes there's different inspiration for instrumental tracks to be used as television series themes - depending on what library music you had or indeed the eclectic taste of television producers. After all, considering André is Belgian, and the likes of The Kid and Holiday were semi-well known on the Northern Soul scene, picking out such a track as Waiting For You wasn't perhaps the most obvious choice, and yet it really does suit it all well. Go figure!

Sunday 6th June - Sporting Sunday

After all the South Coast touring yesterday (and it was rather hot on the UV scale) I thought it'd be sensible to stay in and relax somewhat, complete with a day of sport planned on the telly. In fact my Sainsburys delivery came around 8.30am this morning, after I'd had a text to say I was in the 8-9am slot for the saver delivery. In fact that was good because it meant I had the likes of crumpets and some butter, both of which I needed, so I could have some breakfast along the way. And well, why not?

So after spending some time in the morning watching the F1 qualifying from Azerbaijan, so I was up to speed with how things were going, it was on with the actual race itself. And it was pretty dramatic all told. The usual first lap of intense overtaking attempts of course, but even after that, both Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez got past Charles Leclerc, and started putting pressure on Lewis Hamilton in front. A lot of teams went for tyre changes to the hard tyre, and with Red Bull going early they managed to get both Verstappen and Pérez in front of Hamilton, which was pretty handy.

The race though did turn on two crashes, both caused by tyre failures that weren't easy to explain: Lance Stroll careered off down the high speed straight in the Aston Martin, which brought out the safety car and some good battles on the restart, with Sebastian Vettel in the sister Aston heading up to fourth place. Then another tyre failure but this time a much more dramatic one for the championship: Max Verstappen on the same straight. The race organisers red flagged and went for a restart that way, so that teams could change tyres to be safe - a point suggested by Red Bull so all teams had an equal chance to do so and not risk any issues.

With that done, Hamilton attempted to brake late on the restart to get ahead of Pérez, but went straight on, and that was drama, and he ended up 15th overall. Pérez stayed ahead but the battles were all behind, with Vettel claiming second and Pierre Gasly's stock increasing once more as he battled with Leclerc and got the final podium position, superb stuff from him. Sticking at Alpha Tauri at a team he's happy at works wonders - and it'll only be a matter of time before he gets another win. Lando Norris was a good 5th for McLaren which wasn't enough for him to keep 3rd in the drivers' championship (Pérez's win saw to that) but still a good recovery effort. Some race that was!

Another race of a different kind later was over on BBC2, with Louise Minchin presenting the Triathlon World Series event from Roundhay Park in Leeds. For more safety reasons, the park was the main venue for all three parts, and after the swim and some disqualifications for missing the buoy, it was a cycle race with a couple of hills and Sam Dickinson of Great Britain went ahead so he was first at the transition stage prior to the run. But the run belonged to Alex Yee of Great Britain - he had finished fourth in Yokohama, and his form continued here with a superb run to destroy the field and claim his first World Series win - and massively deserved. If I was the Olympic selectors, it'd be him and Jonny Brownlee on the way to Tokyo.

The England football match against Romania wasn't great to be honest - it was pretty dull and actually kept switching over to Channel 4 for the F1 highlights because Mark Webber and Billy Monger are always good - and they both really did have a go about the tyres too, quite right as well. Marcus Rashford scored from the spot for the only goal of the game, and could have been 2-0 had Jordan Henderson not decided to take a penalty himself and miss - not a good look that insisting on taking it when other players had a chance instead. But still, it was a relaxing day of sport, and I do wish Channel 4 would be able to bring The Chain by Fleetwood Mac back - it is the proper F1 theme and tune of the day.

Saturday 5th June - South Coast Crazy Golf Tour

I had got my Southern Daysave ticket the other day with today in mind, and so would be able to travel across the whole of the Southern rail network for £21. It is of course an offpeak ticket which means that you're able to use it all day on the Saturday and so not be time limited as you would be in the week, where travelling to and from central London and East Croydon doesn't work. A Saturday or Sunday does at least also allow for an earlier start before 10am too, so if you were heading on a longer journey, you can set off earlier and go from there, and so had a sort of route planned.

First off then, it was off to East Croydon and nipped into Pret for a coffee and a bacon and egg roll - the coffee of course free with the subscription, so there's something. Once done, it was on to the first train of the day - the 0903 to Hove. In fact it was a pleasant and quiet journey and the train was soon curving right from Preston Park and on to the South Coast line, and arrived at Hove. The walk through the centre and down to the seafront was very nice actually, and showed what a nice place it is. And at the seafront, plenty of people taking a jog along the promenade and heading towards Brighton down the road.

It was also for me the first crazy golf course of the day - and a relatively new one, Jurassic Beach. 18 holes which the owner explained he built himself, and it looked in pristine condition and played really well - the turf was right, the obstacles were fair, and I got a respectable total score of 43 for the 18 holes - well worth the £7 price to be fair. In fact he said I'd gone round pretty quickly (I was on my own) so he allowed me to go round again - this time I got 39 for the 18 holes and a hole in one as well to boot, so pretty happy with that all told. It was really good and a nice course to explore - if you're anywhere in Brighton or Hove, do check it out. It is good.

I had a nice walk down the seafront then it was back to Hove station via the very nice shops on George Street (nice record shop too even if it was all classical music in there) and then on the next train to Littlehampton. It's quite a nice seaside town with a harbour too (the River Arun divides the beaches into East and West) and I knew there were two crazy golf courses there - so got towards the seafront promenade and walked down there towards the first one - the Buccaneer Bay Adventure Golf. There's 9 very long holes for the £5, but they are pretty good and popular with families too. In fact I did get a hole in one on the 7th hole as well which pleased me immensely!

Once done, it was along the seafront, queuing for some chips for lunch (the fish and chips places were generally pretty busy due to the nice weather and very bright sunshine out) and so then on to part of the Harbour Park amusement complex - the Sharksville Adventure Golf. It's £3 for the 9 holes and if you have a wristband for the whole park, it's included too. The holes were nicely built with some good obstacles to get past and even a nice water feature in the middle of the course which the holes wind their way around. It certainly felt warm here with the elevated position, so back out with the sun cream of course!

With all that done, it was back along the harbour front and past the lifeboat station to Littlehampton station, and managed to head on the direct train to Bognor Regis - in effect a shuttle service via Ford and Barnham. In fact, it's one direct service an hour, otherwise you change at Ford or Barnham to get there. It was one of those small class 313 coastliners with no aircon though, so did feel pretty hot on there as the train headed around and wound its way down from Barnham over to Bognor Regis with the end platform 3 at Barnham resplendent in the sunshine too.

It was a walk through the shops and down to the seafront at Bognor Regis, walking along the promenade towards the small pier and then opposite the fourth and last crazy golf course of the day - at Waterloo Square. It was £5 for the 18 holes and included the likes of a windmill, helter skelter and all the more traditional features. It played fairly too - I was close to a hole in one on a few occasions but didn't manage it, in the end having eight 2s on the bounce and scoring a decent 43 for the 18 holes, so no bad thing really. The final hole to hit an inside ramp then seeing the ball come down the helter skelter was fab! Definitely for me one I'd go back to and play a number of times.

With my crazy golf odyssey done, and some lovely ice cream from Pinks ice cream parlour with lovely friendly staff and rather wonderful cherry and raspberry ripple ice cream, it was time to head back to the station and took the first train up to Barnham, which allowed me time to then get the train to Portsmouth Harbour. A bit of retail therapy was in the offing for later in the day and so headed from the station (where you can see a large boat moored too) and then on to Gunwharf Quays outlet village, and this was actually pretty nice. It had plenty of outlet designer shops along with some more household names, and lots of eateries by the harbour, all of which were pretty busy.

Whilst I was tempted by a couple of items, one of which was in the Fred Perry outlet, I was also noticing the large queues, even at 5pm, to get in some of the shops and the restaurants were all busy, so thought it better to have tea at home and so headed on the 1811 train back from Portsmouth Harbour which was pretty quick and from Barnham went all the way direct to Horsham, where it coupled with another train and sped onwards via Crawley and Gatwick Airport to East Croydon, arriving just before 8pm.

I'd got my money's worth on the train, but definitely was glad of the after-sun when I got back as the arms appeared to have caught the sun a fair bit, despite the sun cream at factor 50! Tune of the day is the excellent Everything Looks Normal in the Sunshine by Penfriend, as it did appear people were enjoying the weather, and socially distancing, so masks on in arcade, waiting turns for crazy golf and so on. It did please me to be out for the day although I suspect in the morning the arms might be bit redder than I'd want and they won't thank me for a long day in the sun!

Friday 4th June - Back To The 90s

I had spent a bit of time Wednesday night sorting out the end of the week quiz for the team and colleagues, and didn't mind doing another one back to back from previous. It's always been a good way to end the week for all of us and does at least mean that we are able to wind down nicely before the weekend, plus it does keep us all motivated too as something to look forward to doing once all our work is done, which does make a lot of sense of course. With that in mind I had some ideas planned and so cracked on with the thoughts and questions the other night.

I did also have plenty to test today, and managed to work out a sensible way to get an offiline installation package sorted out for our antivirus solution. I noted from their documentation that you could actually run an install and use an option for a localinstallsource, and if you ran that with the folder empty that you specify for that source, it populates during installation. So that then means when you're effectively going to run that on another machine, that source of cached files is already there, minimising the amount of time you spend downloading from the cloud sources of said product (and with good reason).

I ran a road test on that, and that seemed to work pretty well, so I'm going to look at introducing that for one of our sites, because then content can download from their local distribution point via MECM and hopefully make for a more reliable install full stop for them. I can then update the source periodically (there's a way I can do this) which should at least mean that in future there's a positive way forward, that's at least the plan anyway but I'll see how that works for them. Our information security folks were also onboard with that and really appreciated the explanation of how it was done too.

So on with the quiz then, and it worked out pretty well really - I had three rounds, with the first being themes from computer and video games on the 1990s, and some classics in there to boot. I have to say that I was surprised people did well even if it was familiar titles. I did film quotes for the second round and then for the final one, introductions to songs from that era. One of my colleagues is a big Oasis fan so was mega surprised they didn't get the intro to Cigarettes and Alcohol (even though he got Oasis of course) and had a mental block, which to be fair does happen in quizzes. It was all good though and our colleague from Salt Lake City won, and won pretty well too.

Later on I had a lovely chat with The Love In My Heart and I spent some time watching the likes of Celebrity Gogglebox, which this time around happened to have Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards! As you can imagine, Micah's laugh was pretty infectious all round, and also intriguingly was Anne-Marie with Sir Tom Jones (both judges on The Voice, so probably know each other well now.) Also Shaun Ryder and Bez from Happy Mondays (make their version of Step On tune of the day) were on, although you have to say that Shaun doesn't really look good these days!

Thursday 3rd June - That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles

It was off to the office today, so the usual London Bridge switcheroo on the way to Charing Cross. I must admit it did seem a lot quieter in the morning heading in (although later it would be busier but that may be because I left a little earlier) and of course the nice walk around Leicester Square and onwards to the office always feels a fair bit nicer with less people around. I think it definitely shows who is heading into work at that time - and I did feel pretty confident that it wasn't just me who felt more confident about being safe in there.

As it turned out, the office was supposed to be full today, and certainly all the desks around me were very busy, but it was also the case that a few didn't turn up and cancelled their booking - but a bit late to cancel on the day if someone geniunely had a reason for wanting to go in. Officially, that's a bit meh, but there you go. In the meantime I had managed to look at getting a few things sorted with some of the laptops that were needing an updated MECM client amongst other things, and also was looking at packaging a piece of software that our service team had alerted me to.

My colleague was also in the office today so we headed out round the corner to the local Pret, so got my coffee and one of the very lovely staff there asked if I'd like a cookie, and politely declined, but then was offered it on the house! I didn't expect that and it was a really nice thing - the staff are nice and I'm always nice back to them because it's the right thing to do. But I do that because they are keeping everyone going despite them having to be out every day managing their own risks too - which I respect a lot. It made my day.

Later on also I headed towards Charing Cross and used the subscription app to get a smoothie, the berry blast one at that, which was lovely. Even just as lovely was popping into Ludoquist on the way home, as they also sell some nice beer to take away (cans and bottles, natch.) The member of staff knew their beer and dug out some nice dark porters and stouts for me and we even chatted about the Westerham beer which you can't seem to get right now, and he explained it tends to be seasonal so is more likely to be available in the Autumn. I know they'll get it back in so will have to pop by when it happens, but such lovely service here too - keeping it local is the future!

I also sorted out the pictures from the Edinburgh visit, so they're now up on Flickr if you want to take a peek - and it reminded me of the last time The Love In My Heart and I visited there back in 2009, as well as a brief day jaunt in 2015 when I did a number of acts in the Edinburgh Fringe in a single day before getting the train back home later on, such as it was. From that day, I remember seeing She Makes War (as was, now Penfriend) doing a show with the song Delete being the highlight so tune of the day for me most definitely. It brought back some happy memories too.

Wednesday 2nd June - Muggy As A Muggle

It was sticky and muggy today and a day I could have been in the office, but am attempting to balance the days in the office with the days at home so it's around a 50/50 split. To be honest, I'd much rather do all five days now but have to think about giving other people the chance to go in if they wish to (only fair) and with tomorrow pretty much full to capacity at the moment, it was only right that I tried to do one day in, one day at home to have a sensible balance between the two. I must admit the air con would have been nice to have today though!

I did though book something for the weekend - a ticket you have to book 3 days in advance, so needed to do it today. It's the Southern DaySave, which allows for unlimited off peak travel on the Southern network for the pretty decent price of £21.00. Bear in mind I could go as far as Southampton Central or Portsmouth and back all the way up to Milton Keynes if I wanted, and it's not that bad. In fact, there might be some South Coast hopping on as there looks to be some nice crazy golf courses in Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Hove. I might travel light sans camera though.

I had a walk over to East Croydon in the lunch break primarily to get some fresh air (not that it was, pretty muggy to be honest) but also to collect the ticket from the ticket machine, and so I could just turn up and be ready on Saturday. Some website literature said you only had to order 3 days before to collect from a Southern station, some other parts said you had to collect as well, so thought it to be the better option. I must admit though it was a nice little walk anyway and around a mile or so both ways, so that's something. It did feel pretty sticky!

In the afternoon I spent some time writing up some documentation but also I had volunteered once again to do the quiz for the Friday afternoon, so thought of some ideas to do with that and after work I was able to think of how I'd structure it. On the whole it appears to be going well and it'll be ready for Friday for some pretty good quizzing. I must admit that people do like the ones I do, so it does give me a nice sense of wellbeing and being part of the team as well so a definite plus for me that.

I also spent some time tonight sorting out a food shoppinh order for the weekend (cheers Sainsburys) and it's always good to be able to see what you can get. In fact a nice freebie was a 750ml carton of the Innocent smoothies, and thought it worth trying out. I did that the other week with the Elmlea vegan cream which actually wasn't too bad, so worth always giving things a go and seeing how they work out for you. I also spent some time tonight listening to the rather good Penfriend album Exotic Monsters, so Seventeen, complete with its rousing choruses, is tune of the day.

Tuesday 1st June - In The Air Today (and Tonight)

Even though I had got back quite late last night, it was good to be able to be up and early and ready for the day ahead in the office. With the weather forecast to be pretty warm too, it was good to be there because the office has air conditioning and really does feel a lot better being in there than being at home in a sticky spot that does tend to get a lot warmer in the afternoon when the sun comes round. Of course, leaving reasonably early does of course mean that you tend to avoid the direct sunlight until later in the day - well that is the theory anyway.

In fact, I had noted a gradual returning of staff to the offices as well - most of the service team colleagues were in today and nearby so they could bounce ideas off me if they needed to which worked well, especially when later on we found that a Google Chrome extension was in fact the cause of why someone's saving of their passwords was failing miserably. Odd, that. Still it did mean I was able to be on hand which did make life a lot easier than working remotely too, so was definitely something that was good to see.

One main thing I did get sorted today was not only to parse the output from JAMF of the way that the extension attribute collects Google Chrome extensions, but then I documented how to process the CSV via Excel so the PowerQuery and PowerPivot tools can be used to actually transform the data in the way that you want. It works well and does at least mean I was able to get those output as well as a representative sample for the Windows machines that were online, and produce some useful info for our security teams. Definitely felt positive.

I headed out at lunch time and it was pretty warm, so it was out for the meal deal and back in again to the lovely fresh aircon, oh it was so nice. I didn't want to leave later to be honest, but did have a gentle walk around the back of Trafalgar Square and down to Charing Cross, where I diverted via McDonalds to get a little wrap of the day for tea - something simple and not having to think too much about either. Later on it was a case of doing the switcheroo on the train at London Bridge, and thankfully a nice air conditioned train this time around as well - also a bonus.

Later on I had a good chat with The Love In My Heart, and she had said it had been warm and muggy in Manchester too, so that made two of us in heat, although the office definitely was the nicer place to be, it has to be said. I do like the fact that I have the option now and am of course really careful to distance etc because that's the right thing to do. Tune of the day in the meantime is the old Don Henley classic The Heat Is On, because it was on, and on the street too!