Dear Diary... June 2018

Saturday 30th June - A Classic and a Birthday

It was nice to spend some time this aftermoon heading off to my friend's place. I'd not seen him and his wife for a bit, and as the Argentina v France game was also on in the afternoon, a good chance to see a game together during the World Cup. In fact, it worked out well because it meant I could get a combined tram and bus ticket for today and that would be me all sorted. I therefore took the tram into Piccadilly and headed off for the 173 bus to my friend's place - didn't take too long but they're not that often so made sure I knew what time to set off.

It was good to have a good natter with them both and catch up: and sort out some networking woes that they'd had. In truth it was all down to a wireless extender, which, when you live in a bungalow, you don't really need (a point proven by the fact that the TV in the bedroom was getting full signal strength from the router in the front room) - and once that had been powered off and out of the equation, everything started working, including the main new TV that they now have. In fact as BBC were trying out World Cup games in UHD, iPlayer had support for it. He put it on that, and the whole game was perfect on that - which if his Internet and wireless network was an issue, we'd have definitely seen it.

So the game itself was excellent - best game of the tournament, even better than Spain v Portugal. France took the lead only for Angel di Maria to strike a superb effort for Argentina to go 1-1 at half time. Argentina then went ahead to be 2-1 up and that wasn't expected, but then again neither was the French equaliser from one of their defenders, a stunning strike. Then M'Bappe for France scored two goals to put himself well on the map, both good finishes, and 4-2. Just to keep it all tense at the end Argentina had brought Sergio Agüero off the bench and he scored late on for 4-3, and almost was on target again at the death. Would have been some effort if it went to extra time!

I headed back homewards on the bus to The Love's place, before getting ready and heading out on the tram, first to St Peter's Square, and then on the tram to Altrincham, getting off at Dane Road. One of my friends and former work colleagues was having a birthday do at Sale Conservative Club, and I knew it was a shortish walk from the tram stop. When we got off I noted two familiar faces - both former colleagues whom I knew well! That was quite good as it meant that I could introduce The Love and that broke the ice nicely before we got there - and saw my friend, who looked gorgeous in her dress, it has to be said.

It proved to be a lovely evening all round especially as I got to catch up with some old friends and work colleagues and have a good natter to them all. Everyone made The Love feel really welcome and a couple commented to me on how lovely she looked - and to be fair, in her new light green dress, she looked absolutely beautiful, classy and elegant. I know in reality that I am amazingly lucky to be with her and I don't ever forget that either. The night was good, drinks not expensive either and the time flew by as I spent time chattering to lots of people, which was good.

In fact the time went by too quick and it didn't feel like it was 11.30pm when we were leaving, but a few of us decided to leave together and head to the tram stop - from there we all got on to Piccadilly Gardens where one was getting the night bus, one a tram the other way, and one meeting a friend. The Love and I got the tram back to her place, and as we were both still reasonably awake we relaxed with a drink and watched old school Top of the Pops from 1985, which included at number one Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love For You". However, earlier on they had Bronski Beat's "Hit That Perfect Beat" which is still a tune, so tune of the day it is.

Friday 29th June - Clean Up Time

I spent some time today working on the final part of what I'd mainly changed and processed yesterday. So, I'd removed the Windows 7 driver packages and the Windows 7 task sequences, as both of these were no longer required. In fact removing the driver packages effectively means that for the drivers present in the driver store, they're disassociated with the driver package, but the driver remains in the store just in case you want to use it for something else. So I knew I had some additional stuff to do.

The first thing was to ensure that the category was effectively removed for each set, as normally when using the HP utilities it adds a category for you. With that effectively done, it was a case of then seeing which drivers had a blank category, and from that, copy the whole list including the folder source path into an Excel spreadsheet you can track what you've done, and for each driver with no category, check there's no driver package association, and remove the driver from the SCCM driver store. The reason you want the source path is that you can then remove the files in that folder path later. Nifty, eh?

I think it's pretty good though that it was a case of spending some time being meticulous. What it did mean was that the 1,600 or so drivers we did have are now effectively pruned down to around 900 and the driver store is kept all neat. It's also good that for each driver in question, any usage in a driver package or boot image is noted and it's therefore pretty easy to be able to remove accordingly. The Dell ones add multiple categories though so need to spend a bit more time triple checking them to be absolutely sure.

It was later on, once I'd performed some changes to do with ServiceNow and in order for things to work correctly for some of the forms, it was off on the tube to Euston Square and then Euston for the 1800 departure to Manchester Piccadilly. It wasn't that busy on the train, but due to the very hot conditions outside we had to go slow in parts due to the track being a bit warm and having some speed restrictions, understandable. We were going to make up most of the time but after Macclesfield it was stuck behind a stopping train to Stockport and Manchester, so it was a real drag.

The Love In My Heart came to collect me at Piccadilly later on and we headed off to the local Chinese takeaway near her place. I had the usual crispy shredded chilli beef in sweet and sour sauce with fried rice, it was as gorgeous as usual. The Love enjoyed her duck Kung Po too and after she had enjoyed Love Island (not my thing!) we put on The Last Leg, which was as good as usual (make the theme tune tune of the day). It was nice that Brian the cat was enjoying the cooler conditions outside and having a sit down and relax, he really doesn't like it too hot, poor thing.

Thursday 28th June - Pedestrian

I was working from home today, but I'd set myself a couple of change tasks to do that I knew was going to take up most of the day and so be able to crack on with a few things. That meant I could also take advantage of the cooler morning with cloud and a bit of wind and get some cooler air in the flat as I worked, which went pretty well. In fact it was good to be able to do so and achieve the first task of the day in the morning, with the second for most of the afternoon.

So, now we don't use SCCM 2007 any longer, and everything's moved over to Windows 10 with SCCM 1802 running happily, it was a case of going through the documentation and checking how the flow works (Microsoft have a good article for this). In effect if there are any machines that show in the SCCM 2007 system you need to do a client removal (did that one remotely) and once done,you can then slowly remove any collections, roles and so on, and all is good. Even better was that you could then follow the flowchart and get ready for the uninstall.

That didn't take as long as I thought either and I could see all the parts taking shape as I performed the uninstall, and so it removed any AD entries in System Management, and then removed any roles, and uninstalled the site server entirely from the server I'd logged on to, and so that was it - all gone. I must admit I was pretty happy all round to have got that done as it was one of my goals to aim at before I will leave the job in a couple of months' time, so one thing ticked off, more to go.

And the second of those was later today as I then set about removing all the now not needed Windows 7 driver packages and task sequences from SCCM. We're on Windows 10 now so no need to have them there anymore, and it's a double win because we claim disk space back on the SCCM server at the same time, so all good there. It was getting a tad warm in the afternoon so was glad to be able to get on with everything and keep relatively cool, then later head out and get some beer for the England game.

And in truth, that game was pretty boring it has to be said. Both sides were through and as a result they made lots of changes, not needing to really go for it either. England had a couple of chances but so did Belgium, and at the start of the second half they worked a good move well down the right and Adnan Januzaj managed to curl the ball home. Belgium won 1-0 to win the group and so face Japan in the next round, and England will face Colombia on Tuesday night. It was dull but I did have nice beer and did play New Order's classic "World In Motion" before the game so tune of the day there...

Wednesday 27th June - Germany's Going Home

It was another warm day and so glad to have air con in the office, let me tell you. In fact it was also in a strange way a good job that the train that arrived late was actually pretty empty when it got to East Croydon so I was able to get on and relatively speaking be able to get a seat fairly easily. There were delays on the way home incidentally, and everyone piled on the Brighton train, but I waited for a Gatwick one that was two minutes after, and the carriage was empty and it meant I got a seat happily too. Sometimes it's amazing how you can just take a few minutes more and have a much better journey overall.

Anyway, I was carrying out some investigations today, primarily due to the fact we'd observed still the odd issue with Google Chrome. In fact we'd seen something similar earlier in the week but wanted to pin it down, and I finally got somewhere with it. So, in the user profile, and when occasionally Chrome does a periodic check for either updates or it is doing a weekly scan, it's actually using %localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\SwReporter\<version>\Software_Reporter_Tool.exe do to all of this. It hogs the CPU, and the executable and DLLs appear to have been a part of ESET Anti-Virus (or made by them). Either way, not good.

I checked the logs file for the reporter tool and in fact it was actually not just checking the Google folders for Chrome, but it seemed like it wanted to check all the Windows folders as well. Seriously, what the hell? We've got anti-virus products in place to do all that work without Google launching another different product and thus get in the way . It also showed that our AV solution was also ramping up the CPU at the time, most likely in a race condition which I've seen before. Officially, meh.

Later on I was keeping an eye on the football and as there was wi-fi on the train, I could sense the little "Yes!" shouts from some people on the train. And with no wonder. Germany had gone 1-0 down to South Korea in stoppage time which meant as it stood both Sweden and Mexico would be through. Actually, when I got home I then rewound iPlayer back a bit to watch the last part of the Germany game, and they'd sent everyone forward including the keeper Neuer, he got tackled and then South Korea scored again to win 2-0! Excellent. That meant Germany finished bottom of the group and were on their way home.

Somehow there's a bit of schadenfruede in there: normally it's Germany lambasting England, particularly when we'd lose to them on penalties, and they'd always do really well in tournaments. So in the style of the classic Three Lions (tune of the day obviously) it's a case of "They're going home, they're going home, they're going, Germany's going home". Oh yes. Cheered me up no end as I knew that England had made it through easily with a game to spare and it was our turn to take the mickey for a change. Oh yes.

Tuesday 26th June - Haircut One Hundred

Where do we go from here? Is it down to the lake I fear? I've had "Love Plus One" by Haircut One Hundred in my head today for some reason, so tune of the day - primarily as I knew I ws heading off after work and down to Wimbledon Park to James Barbers to get my hair cut. It needed doing as my hair does grow pretty quickly and thick too, and with the nice weather (and with proper Wimbledon on next week) thought it a sensible time to get it all sorted. The one good thing is that most of the journey is via the District Line tube, where all the trains have aircon - and on such a warm day, let me tell you, that was appreciated.

It wasn't that busy in the barbers either and as ever the staff are brilliant, so had a good natter with the bloke cutting the hair about the weather and holidays - he'd been to a nice resort in the Dominican Republic and the first time all inclusive, and enjoyed that - and was surprised to come back and find it warm here too. I'd mentioned my recent holiday in Naples and how nice and warm that was, so all was good - and we also discussed the use of VAR and how maybe it should be tweaked so it's only one appeal allowed each half and it should come from the captain, bit like it does in cricket maybe?

It was good to get that sorted and popped into the local Iceland on the way home (and of course to cheer them on later against Croatia!) but the food store had a good deal on - three Dr.Oetker pizzas, a twin pack of garlic bread and a 1.5 litre bottle of Pepsi for a mere £5. Bargain. I went for the Pepsi Max ginger as part of that and it meant I could have one of the pizzas for tea and settle down to have a two screen view of the football again - this time with Argentina v Nigeria on the main screen with the superb Pablo Zabaleta being one of the pundits, and understandably nervous for his nation.

Nerves were soon dispelled when a good through ball was controlled on the knee by Lionel Messi and the finish was with suitable aplomb for 1-0, and at half time all seemed good. However, Nigeria had equalised with a penalty, and then had a couple of chances to go ahead. Also, Iceland had come back from a goal down to be 1-1 with Croatia. They needed to win by two clear goals as it stood but they were still in it and indeed going forward in an attempt to do so. Meanwhile Argentina brought on some subs and finally brought on Sergio Agüero after he'd been dropped to the bench.

Argentina pressed forward and a cross came in, but of all people did you expect Marcos Rojo to smash home on the volley in the way that he did? Absolutely not, a great finish, but now this also meant that if Iceland got a winner, they'd actually leapfrog Argentina on goal difference, and so news must have got to them as they went for it. Croatia, cool as you like, hit Iceland on the break and scored in the 90th minute. This still then meant Nigeria could equalise late on to change it all again, but it just about didn't happen. So Argentina manage to scrape through, and their game with France in the next round is going to be pretty intense..

Monday 25th June - Scorchio!

The weather to be fair had been nice all weekend, and seeing the weather even this morning when I left to head for the office also looked very nice. I was grateful for aircon on the train (and in the office) as outside was pretty warm to say the least, especially when out at lunch but also when heading of homeward a little later than planned. As the late Caroline Aherne would have performed in her infamous Fast Show sketch: "Scorchio". And indeed it certainly felt like that as the heat was on, and pretty much everywhere to be honest. Thankfully the dry heat has meant at night a good temperature drop meaning sleep was at least possible thankfully.

But back to today: for some reason we were getting in reports of some machines behaving slowly, which was odd to say the least. I knew that my colleague had authorised the latest batch of Windows security updates and they had pretty much rolled out either on Friday or this morning, so we started looking at that and wondered what was in it, and soon we sussed it. Effectively all the machines that we saw that claimed that they were slow were the same model, and the same model has an AMD, not Intel chipset in it.

And look what the first two paragraphs of June's KB were all about - although for Windows 10 LTSB in this case, all Windows 10 versions had exactly the same patch. My colleague tested some options out that were linked from that article, and setting one of the registry keys needed to be done, once that was done, everything was much better. We had of course already BIOS updated all the affected hardware too, so they were all hardware protected against some vulnerabilities anyway, but still. The fact it was such a slowdown and everything taking up 100% CPU almost straight away was pretty bad stuff from Microsoft.

I suspect we may see another patch version released at some point, as it looks like there has been some complaints, but we'll see. In the meantime we've added the settings for registry in a Group Policy that only applies to those particular machines, so that should sort that out overnight we think. It's interesting to note that it was a case of working through some options, then seeing what would happen after they were set, and working out a suitable plan of action. Another joyous (or not) reason that people are starting to loathe Windows 10 as much as they love it too..

Anyway, I managed to get home later on a hugely overcrowded train due to cancellations (maybe the hot weather was too much for Thameslink today) and then once home relaxed a bit and watched both of the Group B World Cup deciding games - Iran v Portugal on the tablet, with Spain v Morocco on the big telly via BBC Four. In fact everything changed in stoppage time - Iran got a dubious penalty and equalised, then almost won it at the death, and Spain got a goal in stoppage time so that they drew 2-2 with Morocco and won the group overall. Absolutely crazy. And good to see Pablo Zabaleta do such excellent punditry again - he was particularly scathing about all the diving about by players, play acting and in his words "acting like babies". Spot on Zaba, spot on mate. Tune of the day in fact is the classic Zabaleta chant, you know: "He is an Argentinian, he's harder than Jaap Stam". That he is.

Sunday 24th June - The Joy of Six

I had made myself a nice full English breakfast this morning, as I wanted to use the remaining eggs, bacon and mushrooms that I had to use before their use by dates - and I'd got some sausages yesterday. It was nice to get all that sorted and have a hearty breakfast to put me in the right frame of mind for the England game later on against Panama. On paper, we should win of course, but this is the England national side and anything can (and will happen). After Belgium tonked Tunisia yesterday though, what it did mean that a win would see us through to the next round with a game to spare, which is always good.

I ventured out for a little while into the centre of Croydon as I'd noted online that there was one local shop, actually more of a large grocery store, that seemed to have a really good craft ale and beer section. That was proven very true as I headed into Freshfields and it was rather good that they had such a good selection - lots of local ales and even some from further afield, but also craft bottles and cans too, and a really nice and varied stock. I was tempted to get loads but what I did do was get the First Chop Manchester Bitter and the Gipsy Hill Southpaw - and the plan? Have one for each half of the England game.

So the game got underway later on. I felt nervous as ever, but much less nervous after eight minutes. England got a corner, players were being hauled to the ground but no one noticed John Stones make his way into the box and he headed home a beauty in the bottom corner. 1-0, and off to a good start all round. England pressed and I thought it might be a case of when and not if we got a second goal. Indeed, a good ball forward found the impressive Jesse Lingard, who was bundled over for a penalty. Harry Kane was having the Panama defenders attempt to put him off, instead he directed it with pace right into the top corner for 2-0. Get in.

England continued, and to be honest, I'd have been happy with 2-0 at half time. England though fought otherwise. A one two with Lingard and Raheem Sterling saw Lingard curl home an absolute beauty - make no mistake, it was a class finish that most of the world's best goalies would not have stopped, so three to none there. England got a free kick, it was worked to Jordan Henderson, he put a cross in, Harry Kane headed across goal and although Raheem Sterling's header was well stopped, Stones followed up with a header himself and it was 4-0. Good to see such commitment and that pleased me immensely.

And that wasn't even half time! And we weren't even done before then either. England got a corner and as the ball came over a number of players including Kane were being wrestled to the ground, and the ref had had enough of the Panama tactics and pointed to the spot. Kane didn't miss, and so it was 5-0 at half time. Had I really just watched that half and seen five goals go in? Yes I had, and it was mightily impressive to be honest. Yes I know it's not the best team ever, but we've struggled in the past against similar sides, so always good to see us do well for a change.

And that continued, albeit with a lot slower pace, in the second half. A shot from Reuben Loftus-Cheek clipped the heel of Harry Kane on the way towards goal, and that deflection took it in for 6-0. Of course as the shot wasn't going in till Kane's intervention, that meant a hat trick for the Tottenham man and five goals in two games, meaning he now leads the Golden Boot race ahead of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku. Even with Panama scoring a consolation late on, I'd have taken 6-1 before the start of the match and so would have any England player. "Three Lions" was being played every time England scored, so understandably that's tune of the day. Awesome stuff...

Saturday 23rd June - Jubilee Greenway

As The Love In My Heart was meeting up with friends this weekend, we'd both decided to have a weekend doing our own thing, and so for me it was a perfect opportunity to keep fit and to do some more walking - this time with some more of the Jubilee Greenway. I'd done the first two sections a couple of months back and it was good to head out with the sun looking like it was going to come out and play, and take a nice walk alongside the Regents Canal for the most part. All I had to do was to give the white Adidas trainers a good clean (they're really comfy to walk in) and I must admit I did a good job on that.

So as stage three of the Jubilee Greenway started by Camden Lock, it was a case of me heading from East Croydon to Victoria, then on the Victoria Line tube to Euston (it was rammed) and then swap platforms at Euston for the Northern Line for Camden Town. Even at around 10.40am, Camden was getting busy nicely with lots heading off to the market. I headed for the lock and was ready to start the walk, except that I couldn't follow the canal path as part of it had been closed off.

I found out as I walked around the diversion route that a fair amount of it was closed off for building work and development of Camden Lock Village - which looked like posh flats which in all probability no one could actually afford who wanted to live there. That does get my goat about London - yes, it's a busy city which drives demand, but the housing and rental prices are madness, they really are, hence me settling in Croydon as it's far enough to be cheaper but near enough to still be able to use Oyster etc. I suspect it'll all go to investors who will then ramp the prices up..

Anyway, rant over, and once back on the canal path after diversion, it was a nice feeling of having the sun out and heading towards St Pancras, seeing the lovely lock and gardens there which really did feel idyllic, even with Eurostar heading out of the station as a backdrop. The old gasometers by the canal have also been made a feature of some flats here with them being round blocks inside the gasometers themselves, a nice welcome idea architecturally that.

After heading under the path to Granary Square by Kings Cross, the canal path heads towards Islington, where you need to divert over the long tunnel, so this takes you past a church and onwards through Chapel Market in Angel, and then on the other side you head down towards the canal again, and that's around a half mile long tunnel in all. From here the canal winds its way towards Haggerston with some nice canalside cafés with people having food outside, and also plenty of narrow boats moored along here, including some in Kingsland Basin as well.

Once under some more bridges and taking a right turn under the A106 with some graffiti, you follow the canal path a bit further past some more disused gasometers and then after going under another bridge, a right curve turn takes you to the end of section three. I had two choices: do section four, which goes through Victoria Park and onwards towards Stratford (and also means I re-do parts of section fourteen of the Capital Ring again) or take section ten which goes down the canal to Limehouse Basin. I decided on the latter.

And actually that was a good decision - you follow the canal for a while on the edge of Victoria Park, with a barge selling real ale along the way, and then you follow the curves of Mile End Park which takes you past the art pavilion, and over the Green Bridge over the main A11 road which is a much nicer way to go - you wouldn't think you were going over a busy road either. It was more curves in the park which took you past the athletics stadium in there, before rejoining the canal and heading South.

It was nice to see a bit more of an urban feel as the Regents Canal headed South and eventually after heading under the DLR tracks, I'd arrived at Limehouse Basin. I followed the pavement signs for directions (a feature of the Jubilee Greenway) and this took me to the other side of the basin, over a canal bridge, and eventually to a swing bridge which leads to the River Thames. Nice. And a posh Gordon Ramsay restaurant at that which I decided was definitely not for me, instead heading back to Limehouse DLR station and hopping on there to go to Cutty Sark station.

This meant I could effectively be in the pub, have some lunch and watch the Belgium v Tunisia game, which proved to be cracking, goals galore and a 5-2 final scoreline, meaning if England win tomorrow, we're through automatically with a game to spare. I then headed back to London Bridge from Greenwich station and hopped on a train homeward - although as the train did mention it was stopping at South Croydon I decided to stay on the train and get off there instead as there was another Italian deli I wanted to check out called La Spezia.

And that was well worth it actually, not only was the atmosphere nice and cosy in there, but they did have a Birra Moretti blonde beer in bottles, so another one I can get that would be good. Granted it's not the Grand Cru (if I ever see that it is so mine!) but nice to see - and I did have a pistachio ice cream from there which was stunningly nice, so must remember to pop in if only for ice cream sometime. In the meantime, tune of the day is the excellent "Happier Than Sunshine" by Swing Out Sister - definitely a highlight from their Almost Persuaded album, which you should really busy as soon as possible...

Friday 22nd June - Pluses and Peroni

It was a productive day at work today, albeit with not many numbers in the office. I'm all for flexible working and the allowance to work from home is always useful (for example if the trains are bobbins, or if there's something you need to wait in for such as a delivery etc) but I do sometimes think that at my workplace there's just a few too many working from home on the Friday, and not spreading these days out during the week. On the flip side that does mean that there's less distractions which allows me to get on with plenty and be able to be really productive and concentrate on tasks in hand, so definitely a case of positives as well as negatives too.

It was actually good to look at reviewing a few things in ServiceNow and effectively working out an effective plan for the stages in workflows. I think that although there's a few stages which are defined and all fine, it may be more beneficial to add to the default stage set and add the stages we want, and ensure that for each of those pieces of the workflow, they have a suitable stage name etc. This also means that for requests, the stages themselves are a lot clearer to see and are able to work nicely. You can reimport the stage set into an existing workflow, which allows for extra additions, but also if you have a new workflow created, this actually uses the default stage set so you've got them there ready for creation, which is definitely a plus thing.

Talking of pluses, since I'd been away with The Love In My Heart to Naples, I've wanted to get some bottles of the red Peroni beer, which for some reason you can't get over here (normally it's the Nastro Azzurro instead, which is okay but doesn't taste as nice in my view.) I'd done some research and there was a lovely Italian deli not far from the office which I thought I'd go and explore in my lunch break. It was busy, and those having lunch in there looked like they were having some really nice fresh pasta dishes too, so definitely noteworthy anyway.

So, I took a look at the Italian food in there, all very nice, and plenty of nice wine too. And then I saw the beer section, and yes, red Peroni! I was happy to see that and just needed to check on the price, and once I knew that, I made sure I had four bottles and took them to the counter to take away with me to have for the football. Although only the smaller 330ml bottles, a mere £1.40 each wasn't too bad really, and I'm sure that I can enjoy one of those watching the football and definitely think I was back in Naples with The Love.

I spent the evening watching one of the World Cup games, and it was a good game too - Serbia v Switzerland. Serbia took the lead early on through Mitrovic, but in the second half Switzerland came back into it, with Granit Xhaka smashing one home from distance, something he never does for Arsenal ever, and then almost right at the death it was a goal from Xherdan Shaqiri that decided it and a 2-1 win. That also means now that Serbia v Brazil is effectively winner takes all for qualification - so that's going to be interesting to say the least. Also really liking the fact that BBC are having Pablo Zabaleta as a pundit - he still IS the man!

I also settled down later to watch The Last Leg, and after that it was on to iPlayer from tonight's BBC Four to re-watch the 2015 documentary with Kate Mossman, "Girl In A Band" which I'd seen back then. Again it was a fascinating watch not just for the insight from the likes of Brix Smith Start, Kelly Deal, Miki Berenyi etc but also having one of the first real women who made a difference in rock and roll, the bass session guitarist Carol Kaye. You name any hit album from the sixties - she most likely played on it - including the Mission Impossible theme - yes, the bass is hers! Tune of the day for such an inspiring and understated woman - so glad to see her get due credit in this documentary.

Thursday 21st June - Kristin Hersh in Midsummer

It was a really nice day weather wise, and perfect for the evening I had ahead. I was heading off to the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the Southbank Centre to see Kristin Hersh live, which was part of this year's Meltdown festival curated by Robert Smith of The Cure. For me, and as a long time fan of her work, seeing her in this setting would be lovely - I'm used to smaller venues when I've seen her as of late which I love, but the hall would be just the right size for a larger stage and for her voice to project across the whole hall.

With the weather being good it was a case of after work heading to Blackfriars and then walking along the South Bank, passing the Oxo building and then the former ITV South Bank studios, followed by the concrete blocks of the other side of the Southbank. It was good to head along the river and enjoy the view and the sunshine, and thought about a few things. I carried on walking and I'm pretty sure Kristin Hersh was walking past the other way, on the other side of the pavement. It was good though to at least know she was here and ready for tonight's gig too, so a perfect time to get tea.

And for the first time in absolutely ages, I went to Wagamama. They used to always do some good discounted deals and so I'd go on occasion with The Love In My Heart, but not anymore. Still, it was good to have a seat by the window and to be able to people watch as everyone walked along the South Bank. It was also nice to have the Kirin beer, and to have the chicken katsu curry, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Still the nice panko chicken and crispy, the same lovely sauce and rice, and just a really nice portion all round. Excellent. And to top that off, they still do the coconut reika dessert, ice cream with coconut flakes and a mango sauce. And yes, it is still utterly lovely.

It was then into the Queen Elizabeth Hall and got to my seat - it was close to the back but with the steep rake in the QEH, it was an excellent view anyway which meant also that I had a little bit more room too. Nice. In fact so was the support act Matt Holubowski. He was humorous as he played his songs with a really nice voice too - the excellent "Exhale-Inhale" being a highlight for me, but with one of his band playing accompaniment of either keyboard or strings, it really did come across nicely. I'll have to check out more of his stuff and see what I like - but a welcome surprise nonetheless.

On came Kristin Hersh, and it was a rather magnificent set, spanning most of her solo career and then some. A nice instrumental intro break from "The Key" set things off before going headlong into some beautiful pieces. I was most pleased actually to hear the superb "Flooding" which still is utterly heartbreaking, and "Gazebo Tree" always makes me smile hearing that - it just has a wonderful lilting guitar throughout. Later on she was joined by Martin McCarrick on cello, and that just added volume to the wonderful sound, and really gave everything depth too.

So lots more of songs I really love, and mainly album tracks, so the likes of "Your Dirty Answer", a nice nod to Throwing Muses with the classic "City of the Dead", and of course "Your Ghost" which had plenty of whoops in the audience as she started that one. I also really enjoyed "Mississippi Kite" as well. But then she pulls out "Sundrops" and wow, that was utterly spellbinding, so tune of the day easily. Having Martin on cello just reminded me more of the "Strings EP" version, with all the emotion and feel intact. It was a proper lovely moment that, so thank you so much Kristin!

There were also plenty of other lovely moments, including "Cuckoo" early on, and then the encore (two of them actually) where she belted out two Throwing Muses classics, "You Cage" and then the B-side "Cottonmouth" which for me is by far most under-rated TM track out there. The lovely "Sno Cat" also sounded so wonderful in the setting too, so I was very very happy with all that. The time had gone by way too quickly and with a new album out in October, I'm hoping it won't be too long before I'll be heading out to see her again.

Wednesday 20th June - That Slow Dog Is Here Again

It was good to have an enjoyable evening tonight, in fact the first of two gigs in two days, and just the way sometimes that these things work out. For me it was good that the weather was nice and warm but had clouded over a little so the sun was a little less intense, and that meant at least that it'd be bearable on the way to the gig and on the tube. Then I remembered: no need to get the Central Line - I can hop on from work and take the Hammersmith and City or Circle Line to Shepherds Bush Market! And that was exactly what I did.

Once the tube line goes above ground from Paddington onwards, it is a rather sobering sight as you head towards Latimer Road and see the exterior shell, covered up, of what was Grenfell Tower. I took a moment to pause and reflect on the events of a year ago and think that sooner rather than later, justice should be served and those that need to be rehomed are done so properly. That put things into perspective as the tube headed onwards and before I knew it, I'd arrived in Shepherds Bush.

I headed to one of the pubs close by to have some tea - and as well the football was on the telly, so I was able to have a nice mixed grill, a beer and on top of all that see the first half of the Spain versus Iran game. It was a case of everything but score in the first half for the Spanish, with David Silva being particularly productive (good to see that his form for Man City this season has continued) and Isco also carrying on his own form from earlier in the tournament. In the end Spain did squeak through 1-0 but it was a case of being a nervy affair all round really.

I headed back to Shepherds Bush Empire in good time and the downstairs standing area was pretty busy. I got a space on the right hand side not far from the bar (wasn't paying £6 for a pint though) and the aircon unit was also on so felt some nice air blowing along which meant I could pogo nicely should I need to. There was no support and everyone had turned up on time so the excitement was building well. It was the band's first album for twenty plus years and so having heard some of that new album stuff, I was up for it.

So on came Belly, and did the set in effectively two halves of around 45 minutes in each with a break in between. What I didn't expect early on was to have "Dusted" originally from the Slow Dust EP which was very welcome to listen to, along with the likes of "White Belly" also. Naturally when later on we had one of the singles "Now They'll Sleep" there was unbridled joy, which increased more when the closer to the first half "Gepetto" was played too. I still like that single now so was very good to hear that again after all these years.

The second half also was a very good set, with new album Dove tracks sounding rather majestic, especially "Shiny One" and "Faceless". Possibly the loudest the crowd went, and the most pogoing, happened when "Slow Dog" was played, it's still a bloody brilliant track and so tune of the day for me. It was a real sense of joy around as the chorus was sung en masse too. We also had the likes of "Feed The Tree" too which was another cracking single back then which was all good - and the encore had "Full Moon, Empty Heart" from the Star album to finish off. All in all, excellent, and yaay!

Tuesday 19th June - The Heat Is On

It's on the street.. apparently. But I had noted that it was starting to get much warmer over the last couple of days which effectively meant that I was wearing short sleeves and taking the time out at lunch to find a nice little shaded spot to have some lunch too. In fact work was progressing nicely all round as I was going to spend some time on maintenance and showing a few more things to people. I sorted out some ServiceNow admin time as well and wanted to be sure that early tomorrow I could go through things with one of the managers there so that they had suitable access when needed, important also for talking through some things together.

I had also noted with my colleague that an increasing number of people who were using Power BI were doing so to view dashboards. As I had recalled, the feature to view that was removed in the free desktop version last year, and as such a Pro subscription was required. It was probably good to head it off at the pass so we mentioned that it may well be that some who have said licence don't realise that they're not making the data available correctly to those that need it - and that there's other ways of visualising that without the need for said dashboard.

I also spent some time testing out some application packaging that I had done with a colleague - mainly for three admin based applications some of our IT teams wanted to use. On the whole it went well - especially as each of them actually have an MSI install (easy peasy) and one of those needed an additional requirement and that was also an MSI install as well, so all good there to be perfectly honest. Nice when these things work out the way that you want them to.

I headed home later and it was good to be able to spend some time sorting out all the washing and so on that needed doing. It was a great weekend having The Love In My Heart here, and I think for me that it meant I was a bit more chilled out as I was getting through the week, so making sure that all was tidy and neat and kept that way was a sensible thing to do. I must admit I was checking to see if there were any tickets for Nine Inch Nails later in the week, but no.

Still, in preparation for this week's gigs that I am going to, I decided to play some Belly and also some Kristin Hersh along with a bit of Throwing Muses thrown in (seeing as Tanya Donnelly and Kristin Hersh herself were both in said band of course.) The Anthology compilation is a perfect intro for those who want to get into the band, even though it's more of a classic track selection than a singles compilation (hence no "Dizzy" or "Not Too Soon" for that reason). It does however have the brilliant "Fish" which deserves to be played loud and proud, so tune of the day for me there.

Monday 18th June - Last Minute Heroics

Naturally after work, the top priority was to get home and to watch the Tunisia v England match at the World Cup. All the other games had been a good watch all round, but there's always something different about watching England there. Although the men's national team haven't performed so well for ages, and in truth the women have done tons better (and if they qualify for France 2019, I'm tempted to head over) it still was a case of seeing what would happen. So with food had, and a cold drink at the ready, time to blast out New Order's "World In Motion" (tune of the day of course) and be ready to go.

England started off brightly enough, with a couple of chances going close, but then we got a corner. The ball came over and John Stones headed towards goal, the Tunisian keeper did well to keep it out to be fair, but the ball went straight to Harry Kane, and as we all know, he doesn't miss from there. 1-0 to England and a mere eleven minutes on the clock, a good start that. We kept going and a number of chances went awry but I felt that we needed to take one or else we'd pay for that.

And pay we did. Tunisia got a penalty although it did look a bit soft, and how that was given and others where Harry Kane was basically hauled to the ground every single time by the Tunisian defenders was beyond me. It was ludicrous especially when the likes of VAR was supposed to eliminate this doubt. Still, they scored the penalty and it was 1-1 at half time, and didn't really deserve to go in at the break level. Mind you it also shows that you have to take your chances.

The second half was more Tunisia cynical fouls and less about them going forward. England pressed and huffed and puffed but wasn't getting anywhere. Subs came on and to be fair both Marcus Rashford and Reuben Loftus-Cheek both made good efforts to turn the game round, making some good runs and looking lively. It was a case of keeping going and, being a Man City fan, I've seen so many late winners and thought that we might just sneak one if we put the right ball in.

So as the four minutes of added on time were announced and commenced, the corner came in from Kieran Tripper, headed on by Harry Maguire and it went to Harry Kane, and he doesn't miss a header from there. The captain scores the winner, and 2-1 to England! He went mental and rightly so (and in fact I did too) and it showed a real strength of resilience to keep going. Granted it wasn't always pretty second half, but we got the three points which is more than can be said for Brazil or Germany for example. Thing is now that if we do beat Panama we'll most likely be in the second round before we have to face Belgium, so that's a good thing...

Sunday 17th June - Viva Mexico!

It was a nice long lie in for The Love In My Heart and me this morning, I think for different reasons we both needed a good sleep, and as we both were up early yesterday and had been out all day, it was just good to have hit the pillow and gone to sleep. I know for her that she won't have had Brian the cat waking her up with his purring so that's a plus of course, but also it goes to show just what was needed. I did get up and start to get the full breakfast on whilst The Love rested, and with some posh sausages, bacon, eggs and mushrooms it was all good.

In fact it was just nice to mellow out in the early afternoon and I saw a chunk of the Serbia v Costa Rica game on the telly. I was biased towards Serbia as a) I have them in the sweep at work and b) former Man City man Aleksandar Kolarov is their captain, so knew what he was capable of, especially from free kicks. And you can guess what happened - Serbia get a free kick, he takes it, bends it beautifully and it's 1-0. A well deserved win for them and puts them in a good place with Brazil and Switzerland to come later on.

Later on The Love and I headed off to East Croydon station and we got the train to Victoria, and then the tube to Warren Street so we could head across to the Crown and Anchor pub for a spot of Sunday lunch. We did well to get a table as some were reserved and as 4pm approached with Germany playing Mexico, the bar area was packed and busy and indeed a number of the Mexican fans had appeared, cheeks painted with the flag colours and some with their shirts on.

We had lunch in there - I had the fish and chips as there was no pie, and The Love had the Sunday roast half chicken. It was nice enough and the fish was massive, and I even had some of the Camden Pale Ale later as I'd had the Redemption on cask which was nice enough, but just fancied something different. Mexico then headed forward and scored a well taken goal and the roof almost came off the pub, it was pretty mental really. I was pleased though as you can imagine, as, well, it's not Germany innit?

I had a nice long hug with The Love at Euston to make sure she headed home later on the train, and then I headed off home on the tube and train and managed to get back with a good ten minutes or so left , and Mexico were still winning. Wowzers. I wondered if they could hold on, and they did - with ease actually. It also makes you wonder why Germany didn't take Leroy Sané to the World Cup considering the great season that he had with Manchester City (and not just me as a City fan thinking that, lots of others too) and so they self inflicted that defeat really. Viva Mexico though, and tune of the day is the excellent version of the Morrissey classic "Every Day Is Like Sunday" (or as it's said, "Cada Dia Es Domingo") and sounds spot on - even the video was filmed at Salford Lads' Club for proper Smiths/Morrissey love.

Saturday 16th June - West End Live

It was nice to have The Love In My Heart down with me this weekend, and so I spent some time this morning sorting out the flat, changing the bedding and making sure all was good. I did nip out to Tesco in Purley and got a few additional bits that we needed, but all was good there. I also made sure that I had all the nice things ready for tea for later and breakfast for Sunday, and then settled in to see some of the early part of the France v Australia game before heading off to East Croydon station to go and collect The Love.

It was lovely to see her of course and she looked lovely as ever - and once back at mine we freshened up a little and The Love changed her top to her really nice blue one that I adore her in, and so we were back off to East Croydon station, and headed to London Bridge, down the escalator, across to Platform 8 and straight on a train to Charing Cross. Result. That worked well, and we were soon at Trafalgar Square and ready to head over to West End Live, a free event which showcased a number of shows and musicals across a whole weekend.

We did see that the entrance had a massive queue at one side of the square, and so we walked to the other side of the square, where there was actually no queue at all! So we got through really quickly and managed to get on to the square to see the cast of Mamma Mia do their thing and sing some Abba classics. A lot had come just for that and so were leaving, which meant that we actually were able to head forward and get a good position towards the centre and with a decent view of the stage. I headed across to the bar and managed to get some Pimms for The Love and find her again - pretty impressive stuff.

In fact it was a lovely afternoon all round as the rain held off, was a bit cloudy in places but it at least was dry. There were lots of other musicals represented including Thriller Live with plenty of Michael Jackson classics belted out (as you do) and the likes of Six, with six sassy ladies being the former six wives of Henry VIII bringing a contemporary modern twist on their tales, liked that a lot. Even more excellent was the Knights of the Rose, which had classic rock numbers done by the cast including the London 2012 Olympic anthem, "Survive" by Muse, so tune of the day there for that one, most excellent all round.

Later on the event turned from musicals to actual music too with Nadine Benjamin singing a couple of opera numbers, Matt Cardle (he won X Factor ages ago apparently) doing some songs, and then Collabro on (they won Britain's Got Talent) to end the day with some renditions of theatre or film musical classics done with the four of them vocally spot on including the likes of Circle of Life from The Lion King and even Let It Go from Frozen (which understandably a lot of people sang along to - and that was an understatement!)

We headed off just after 5pm having spent the afternoon there and walked down the Strand, turned off and followed the roads to the Porterhouse pub near Covent Garden which we both like. Amazingly I managed to find us some seats and a table, and they even had the classic St Austell Tribute on cask. Epic win all round I think! It was good to chill out there with a drink and a natter together before then heading off to Charing Cross, doing the train switcheroo at London Bridge and getting back to East Croydon at a pretty good time all round.

I made us some chicken forestiere complete with vegetables and dauphinoise potatoes, all very nice, and once we'd had that we settled in and watched Paddington 2 on Blu-Ray. I have to admit that I really enjoyed it, Paddington was as charming as ever and the likes of Julie Walters, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes were all ace, even Hugh Grant as the bad guy in it was enjoyable. The ending was a happy moment of beauty that I must admit had me in tears of joy thinking "Awwww that was so nice" - and it was. Well worth watching in my view and so deserving of some awards down the line too.

Friday 15th June - Achievements and Absolute Belter

First of all, I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself today, as I managed to not only analyse and resolve a problem that was bugging a few users in ServiceNow and make a massive speed improvement, but also was able to manage to get some efficiencies along the way whilst doing so. If that's not a result, I don't know what is. It was mentioned to me that for some reason one of the forms was taking a while to load, whether it was a blank form to be filled in via the Service Portal, or when viewing it as part of the requested item when the form became an item to be requested.

I had replicated the behaviour yesterday so I thought to myself "right, disable each of the questions on the form one at a time and see if the speed improves any as you go", so the sensible thing was to do that in the development instance first and see how that went. I soon found the answer - it was a question with a lookup table that effectively checks for what IS team is going to be the owner of the server that was being requested. At the time a look up of the assignment group field as specified via incidents in the incident table would work. However, on further checking today, as the incident table is part of the task table, and it's attempting to locate those records within the whole task table and all the tasks associated (over 3 million items at last index count) to get that information was taking an age.

What I therefore needed to do was to think of another way to get the same information, and had a really good thought - so the groups table has the groups, and some of those group types are assignment groups - which is pretty much what we want. So, instead I made the lookup see the user groups table, and the field name, and then did a nice little reference qualifier in the ref qual field which basically did a bit of Javascript filtering to check for the user group type being assignment. That done, I did a road test - and wow! The table loaded much quicker (less than one second to render the whole page instead of at least 15-20. Yes. Result, folks.

So with that in mind it was time to effectively put in an emergency change and then carry out that work on the live instance, and that worked well. One final thing I had to do was that for some of the requests, the IS owner field became a sys_id of the group instead of the group name, so I allowed editing of the read only fields, and then amended those accordingly so that they could be at least set the right way round (I knew what the sys_ids were so I re-matched them with the drop-down) and that worked nicely. Winning!

Later on I got home and settled in to watch the Portugal v Spain match at the World Cup. I have to say that I did have some divided loyalty being a Man City fan, as David Silva plays for Spain, Bernardo Silva plays for Portugal. Then again I loathe Cristiano Ronaldo, so it was an easy decision to cheer Spain on. What I didn't expect was that the game was one of the best games not only of this World Cup but any World Cup. Seriously folks, not since Italy's epic 3-2 win over Brazil in 1982 have I seen a more entertaining World Cup game at this stage.

Ronaldo (who else) started it all off with a penalty, and Spain took some time but got going, and a long ball found Diego Costa who manhandled Pepe off the ball before slotting it in low and hard for the equaliser. Amazingly the normally reliable David de Gea allowed a Ronaldo shot to squirm past him right on half time for Portugal to lead 2-1 at the break. Honestly, I would not have expected that and the only excuse I can possibly think of is as that other players were slipping a lot on a much over-watered pitch, whether that had anything to do with it.

Spain came out battling in the second half and a well worked free kick from David Silva found its way to the head of Busquets who headed across goal for Costa to get his second. Spain then scored a thunderous strike (and his first in internationals ever) from Nacho, which on most days would have been good enough to win any match, only for the Spanish to concede a free kick late on and who else but Ronaldo score from it. To be fair, it was very well taken and fitting of an equaliser at that stage. It was his 51st career hat trick and the 51st hat trick at the World Cup finals, some symmetry that. Tune of the day for me is "How Did This Happen?" by Bodega, pretty much the title sums up my feelings on that game but also because it's a bloody good tune anyway, one of my singles of the year thus far.

Thursday 14th June - Let Russia Entertain You

It was good to be working from home and getting a shed load of things done today, and that meant I could concentrate on some tasks in hand where I just needed to do so alone and without any interruption, the main body of which was effectively part of the decommissioning process for the old SCCM 2007 server. So it was a case of being able to concentrate on that, and bit by bit, remove things no longer needed. So for example, all but two machines are now on SCCM 2012, so with discovery turned off, I could in effect remove the remaining records, and then any packages etc. It worked out pretty well.

Late afternoon of course was the start of the World Cup in Russia, and as I'd found out earlier in the week, it turned out Robbie Williams had been invited to do a musical set at the start. He started off with "Let Me Entertain You" and decided to show the Russians the single finger as he sang through it - maybe not the smartest move and made him look a bit of an arse to be quite honest. He then had to duet with a Russian singer for "Angels" although without a home crowd to sing the chorus for him (as The Love In My Heart will testify to doing so when she's seen him) it meant he had to do some of the work on this one...

Still with the opening all done, the propoganda from Putin over, it was on with the football, and I'd finished work by the time kick off arrived, so all was good there. It was a pretty one sided affair for the most part as although Saudi Arabia looked like they could at least go forward a bit, their defence was a bit suspect, and were completely static when the opening goal went in from a header and had no response to a clever little dink over two of them before the finish was slotted home for the second either. Russia also scored a cracking free kick late on and the goal before was also a quality finish, and 5-0 could have been much more as well...

I did notice a few things about ITV's coverage (apart from the fact I know BBC will be tons better) - in order to get some credibility, they have Gary Neville in the studio. However, they still insist on having Glenn Hoddle as co-commentator which inevitably meant me watching it with the sound off to be honest. I just can't stand his inane comments, and I don't think I'm the only one. In addition, they seem to have attempted to poach the likes of Ian Wright over as he used to do BBC quite a bit (as did Lee Dixon also) - but was more impressed with the assessment from former Croatia and West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, he seemed to have his head screwed on really. He even correctly bigged up Nicoas Otamendi when talking about Argentina, good man.

But talking of the World Cup, I do remember some cracking alternative anthems, both of which by Pop Will Eat Itself. In 1990 their epic "Touched by the Hand of Ciccolina" had some excellent nods to a former porn star and actress with the carefully placed commentary during the interlude being rather well put together, and all very Italia house styled of the time. Argubaly better than that though was their 2014 effort "Reclaim The Game (Funk FIFA)" with Brazilian rap artist Bnegão as well, and really did challenge the status quo of the corruption of FIFA complete with ace chorus, so tune of the day there.

Wednesday 13th June - Packaging and Practice

It was good to take some time out this afternoon with one of my colleagues and go through some of the tasks that you would do when looking at packaging, including some recommendations for best practice and also being able to determine how it all comes together when looking at those. In a number of cases we looked at today, it was mainly that we didn't have to do too much stuff with the MSI itself, apart from create the occasional MST transform with Orca so that for example the likes of a desktop shortcut wouldn't show (as we try and avoid those if we can) and also to check everything.

In fact it was a pretty good way of demonstrating what to look for, what can and can't be done, and recommendations for doing things the right way. I've seen too many people edit and re-save the original MSI via Orca for example (bad... always use a transform, folks) so to pass on the knowledge and experience is a definite plus as far as I'm concerned. It's also been good for me because it means that I've also been able to get through some mentoring skills too.

I also worked on a plan of action for later this week and early next week so I could go through some of the more advanced SCCM bits with a couple of colleagues so that they're able to see beyond the basics of what you can do. For me as well it'll be a big positive in order to have to think on the feet and devise something useful that I can use again for training purposes. I am keen on getting people to learn stuff as for me it's part of what I do, giving skills and being able to pass those on is a positive, especially when you can actually show what you can do too.

There wasn't much on telly on tonight (primarily all saving their stuff for the World Cup I expect) and so delved into what I had recorded on my Freeview HD box and what I could see online too. In fact, I went back to the final episode of series three of Line of Duty, which has been one of my favourite things on the telly these last few years. The dramatic hour and a half long finale had you on the edge of your seats back then as it unfolded, and the questioning scenes are pure drama all the way through to be honest.

I think what made it work wasn't just the great actors in there (Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Craig Parkinson to name but four) but the way that there's a real sense of being on edge all the way through as the scenes unfolded. The excellent title theme by Carly Paradis is also epic with just the right amount of piano in there and works superbly because of it, so tune of the day it definitely is without question - so good when you have quality stuff all round.

Tuesday 12th June - Nice in Nice

Needless to say, both The Love In My Heart and I are rather pleased that two of our friends have finally decided to follow our recommendation and spend a nice week in the French Riviera. It's been good that they've liked Nice thus far and today have ventured out to Monaco for the day, visiting the palace and even having a changing of the guard take place when they were there for that! For different reasons, The Love and I have adored it there and the city itself has a real charm, from the Promenade des Anglais to the Vielle Ville, the port, the Cours Saleya flower market, just lots of lovely stuff all round.

It made me think of a couple of years back when Nice was affected deeply by an attack on Bastille Day where a driver decided to mow people down using a truck. It was horrible to see that on television at the time, especially as the truck ended up not that far from one of the hotels that The Love and I had stayed at just a few months before that, celebrating a nice five day long weekend there together. It also made us both wonder why you'd want to even consider attacking a place that generally has a very relaxed, chilled out and peaceful way of life, that really does make the most of the magnificent sunshine and views across the Mediterranean.

Of course seeing how lovely it still all is there does make me have some serious wanderlust and want to go back, especially as we both know how lovely it is. I think for me that being there as a base and being able to head off easily to the likes of Éze, Monaco, Cannes, Antibes, Villefranche-sur-Mer and so on is just rather lovely all round, not to mention Nice itself with lots of its lovely things to do there. I for one love their velo bleu cycle hire scheme - it works, it's cheap and most importantly, it has reliable bikes at all times with a simple dock and undock as you need.

Back to normality (boo) and today was another good day of planning. I'd implemented a couple of nice wins in ServiceNow, so that on one form where you need to specify a four digit PIN for the multi-factor authentication, there's now a verification rule in place for the field so anything other than four digits won't be accepted, warning the user accordingly. It was quite easy to achieve with a client catalog script once I'd mastered the way that the regexp works, but good to know that it does all work correctly without any issues. I also managed to do a form redesign too which worked well and so has nice UI actions attached depending on the values you select. Nice!

In the meantime and in preparation for the World Cup, it was time to blast out what's in my view the best England football record ever. And no, not Three Lions (that is a credible second though) - it is of course England with New Order's "World In Motion" so tune of the day. It has the iconic John Barnes rap, some classic New Order synth and bass and Barney's singing on decent form, and a real catchy chorus and final hook of "Arrivederci, it's one on one". I do have the promo only "Remixes in Motion" CD single too on Factory, and just seen the absolutely ridiculous price someone has it on for on Discogs. Wowzers...

Monday 11th June - Planning Action

It's always good to start the week off with a clear plan of action as to what you're going to achieve, and how you're going to achieve it. And one of those key tasks is that I'm working together with my colleague on doing as much as I can to pass over some of the packaging tasks that I'm currently doing so that she can get it done once I've left and in the new job. There's a number of plus points in that not only is my colleague more than willing to learn all the stuff needed, which is good, but also that it's a good development and mentoring exercise for me anyway, so another good skill I can add to the CV. Epic win.

In fact today was spent looking at how we currently do Adobe Flash Player - mainly now how we handle the Firefox plugin side of stuff. In fact, because Windows 10 does Flash Player updates for IE11 via WSUS, in effect that means that we don't have to worry about that, and Chrome has its own PepperFlash plugin for those that need it. Naturally there'll come a time when Firefox won't support it anymore, or indeed Adobe cease making it (apparently 2020 is a due date for this) but it's good to be able to have that info to hand and take it into consideration when passing that on.

It was also good then to look at some of the potential knowledge base implementations that we want to do with ServiceNow. By default, the Service Portal will look at the public knowledge base, but if you have access to the knowledge module, you can view any internal knowledge bases too, so I documented the way that those rights for read and create can be determined in the back end, as well as being able to add categories and so on. I know there's some new Knowledge modules too but implementing that might be a change too much. I'll see how that works out first and go from there.

I did have to stay late though as we had an issue that needed some assistance from me. In fact it worked out well as a way to develop a possible solution to that issue moving forward, and also showed that in fact some of the restore options work pretty well. Always good when we're able to demonstrate that things work properly and that there's backout plans on the table. I think for me personally that you do have to be able to have plans in place for eventualities where things don't always go according to plan, and shows a great deal of thought into the process as you need.

In the meantime, with the warm weather being nice, it was good to have the windows open and relatively relax tonight once I got home, sorting out the shopping via Ocado for later in the week too. Tune of the day is the rather uptempo "Dominator 2 - Alactrity (In Game Theme)" by Matt Gray from the fourth disc of the Reformation box set. It makes up part of a soundtrack if the sequel to said game had been released and shows off all the class talent he has as a producer and musician too - some darn catchy parts in there to be honest!

Sunday 10th June - Shows and Sunshine

It was a nice relaxing breakfast for myself and The Love In My Heart, and we had a lovely orange juice with that and with Brian the cat wanting to have a play outside and resting his little self, we thought that with the weather being nice that we could be out to make the most of it. I did want to head to see the MMU Manchester School of Art degree show. Naturally I always took a look at it when I used to work there but as a photographer myself, I always like to keep abreast of the shows and see what's inspiring people to show off their best pieces.

As per usual, The Love parked up at the University car park close to the Dental Hospital, as that's a mere £2 for the whole day at weekend. We went over to the Benzie building and to the top floor, making our way down and observing the likes of Fashion, Foundation, Illustration with Animation, Interior Design and Graphic Design. All the work was really nice and it was also noticeable how some of them were inspired by both the music of the city and of the recent history, some of which chose to remember the one year of the Manchester Arena attack with some inspiring pieces all round.

The Love always admires the Textiles in Practice and Three Dimensional Design stuff especially, as the textiles are often nice pieces which would inspire an item of clothing with that design. In fact we saw one chair upholstered with a really nice pattern design that looked really good, along with some lovely patterns for scarves and other light materials. I liked some of the furniture designs too - plenty of practicality but also very well built too so that's definitely a plus.

After seeing all the show we headed over to one of my old haunts, Sandbar, for a drink. The star anise porter I had was good, but interestingly the place now is completely cashless, so you can't pay cash for anything in there - it's all on card. Whilst I can appreciate why, it's a bit of a faff if you've drawn some cash out already - must remember to note that for the future really. It was good to sit in the sunshine and chatter with The Love and see the changing face of Oxford Road and its surroundings over the recent times.

We headed off to The Gateway pub later for a spot of lunch and I had the steak, eggs and chips, and we had just about finished when the rain was starting to come down, so we went inside and had our drinks in there - good job we did as it was absolutely hammering it down for a small while before it stopped. It was of course sad to have to say goodbye at the station later, but it was a lovely weekend again and The Love gave me a nice kiss as I headed to Piccadilly and on the train homewards - and with the iPod on, the excellent "Paddington" by Blancmange is tune of the day.

Saturday 9th June - Barbecue and Beer

We had been invited around to my sister's place later in the day, and were waiting to hear from as to what time the new washing machine for The Love In My Heart was being delivered - her old one had conked out just before we went on holiday to Naples, and so today was the earliest day we could get it delivered with someone in. The text arrived for The Love, and it stated between 1 and 5pm. As the afternoon do was starting at 1, I said to The Love that I'd go whilst she waited in, which she was fine with. That meant lots of fussing and attention to Brian the cat for me this morning...

I then headed off to the city centre later on the bus, and once in Piccadilly I walked back up Oldham Street and had a good time browsing in Vinyl Exchange and had plenty of nice CDs and vinyl to peruse too. It was pretty good to be there, then head up to Beermoth and check the beers out there before then walking down Market Street and heading off to Fopp on Brown Street and having a good mooch round there, before then walking over to Princess Street and getting the 50 bus off to my sister's.

It was a nice afternoon all round actually, and good to catch up with my sisters, my brother, plenty of other relations and also some friends too. The barbecue was on and the weather was decent, and some lovely burgers were to be had of course. In fact the kiwi and lime cider, and it was cold, was pretty nice all round also, and the afternoon really went quickly as the sun shone brightly and got everyone feeling nice and warm and all Summery. It was just nice all round, and later on The Love had informed me that the new washer had been delivered (right at the end of the day) but good to see everyone also and natter away.

I headed on the bus back into the city later as I knew that with a second night of Taylor Swift at the Etihad, it was going to be busy near The Love's place. I got off near the art gallery and walked down Mosley Street, and a braiwave hit. I thought "well seeing as The Bank were selling St Austell beer bottles the other day, maybe they still will be" - and they were! So I thought it would be good to get a couple to take out and to take homewards, so it was the Ruby Jack red ale and the Mena Dhu stout. Result!

Later on The Love made some lovely tea, these full chicken kievs with a really nice side of dauphinoise potatoes and some carrots and broccoli, gorgeous. We did see Pointless Celebrities and unbelievably Jedward won, which we couldn't believe. They thankfully didn't win the jackpot, but still. We were later on able to listen to the likes of Taylor Swift and Charli XCX who were playing at the Etihad as the sound carried across, but at the same time we had our own blast of retro by playing some of the 80s music that was part of the Top of the Pops: 80s special on Yesterday.

In fact that was really entertaining to be honest, lots of classic tunes from the 80s that we both remember well, including the likes of Sister Sledge, Jennifer Rush, Billy Ocean to name a few but also plenty of stuff we both liked also including A-ha's classic "Take On Me" (make that one tune of the day) so that was good - and even Lisa Stansfield's classic "All Around The World" which is a proper tune too. That set us off nicely for the rest of the evening and with the fireworks exploding over the Etihad, a nice way to end the evening.

Friday 8th June - Wise Move

I thought about whether I should take the weekend case with me to work, despite the train being at 2040. I knew though that the trains had been particularly bad going home under this shambles of a new timetable, and as such thought that at least if I had the case with me, I could always then go and have something for eat and a drink and then head to Euston in good time from work instead of heading home and back. I decided to take the case and managed to even get a seat on the train on the way to work.

The day was a productive day as I had some work to do on the ServiceNow system but as one of the things I needed to do was to test out a way that we could do a positive change on a form, and it involved some new things for the form, it was good to get the second line team lead involved and take her through what it takes to do some of that work, and give a better understanding of the system for more than just me. In fact that was my whole reason of documenting a lot to be perfectly honest.

At around 4.45pm I checked the trains - and wow, a very good job I decided to take the case with me. Every single train from the station near work to East Croydon were cancelled for the next two hours. Wow, that's absolutely disgusting. I would suspect that if I had attempted to go home I'd have had to seek some alternative routes and take ages on packed trains. Thankfully as a few people from work were heading to a pub close by I joined them there later for a bit, and with a particularly cute cat in the pub itself, that was quite nice anyway!

It was also nice too later as I headed over to Euston and to the Crown and Anchor pub. Of course, having proper Cornish ale was just the job - Proper Job in fact, and that went down very well indeed. It was still nice weather and that of course meant that it was busy, but got a nice seat anyway and I perused the new menu, primarily because I wanted to see what was on for when The Love In My Heart and I were able to go there next time - so still a nice pie, still good fish and chips, and lovely beer to. In a word, epic win!

The train was reasonably quiet as I headed up to Manchester on the 2040 departure. I had a really nice calm time and listened to the likes of the excellent "The Fall" by Blancmange from their Semi-Detached album (make that tune of the day - it was a lovely listen) and it certainly felt good to see the sun go down as the train sped through the countryside. The Love was waiting for me at Manchester Piccadilly and we took a while to get back to her place as lots of fans of Taylor Swift were exiting the Etihad Stadium and so the traffic by there was pretty hectic to say the least. It was good to snuggle up later with her and Brian the cat.

Thursday 7th June - En-ger-land!

For the first time in ages when the England national men's football team were on the telly, I decided to watch. Granted though this did mean that the game was on ITV which means of course one thing, watching it with the sound off. You see, they see it fit to still have Glenn Hoddle to be the co-commentator and pundit, and I've never to be honest forgiven him for his comments when he was England manager about people with disabilities. I'n not repeating what he said, but simply that it cost him the job back then and really should have not been employed in football again to be perfectly honest.

That aside, it was good to see that the England squad chosen by Gareth Southgate is a good mix of youth and some more experience, but with more the emphasis on those who want to play for their country. Certainly for me what got me into both the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1996 was the fact that the England team was decent but they also played as a team - look how much it meant to Gary Lineker when he scored against Germany, or Shearer and Sheringham putting the Netherlands to the sword in one of the finest England games I've still ever seen over the years.

So England went ahead with a belting strike from Marcus Rashford (which again will leave Man U fans puzzled as to why Jose Moaninho doesn't seem to like him for some reason) and bossed the game pretty well with Man City's Fabian Delph feeling right at home in Leeds (he is from there) and even did the Leeds salute to the crowd as well, which would probably get him some brownie points! It was good to see that the team kept going and a second goal from Danny Welbeck meant that a 2-0 scoreline was good - could have been better, but you take a win and no injuries in the preparation for the World Cup.

Certainly it does seem like there's a hunger amongst some of the players and maybe they've learned something from the women's team, who apart from being one of the best sides in the world, play as a team and have a real sense of togetherness when they play too. I've certainly noted that over the years myself and I'm sorely tempted to get some time off next year to head to France when the Women's Euro 2019 is on (should England qualify which I think that they will do of course!) so good to see that there's a bit of positivity on the men's side also.

Interesting to note how many of the press commented that not playing the game at Wembley equalled a much better atmosphere. In fact when Wembley was being rebuilt and other grounds used instead, it was tons better generally because those in other parts of the country could see the team play. Something to take note of and do more of in my view - certainly for me I'd like to see the likes of the Etihad, Anfield, Villa Park et al get some more games that way. In the meantime, New Order's classic "World In Motion" is tune of the day complete with John Barnes' classic rap!

Wednesday 6th June - Recharging

It was good to process the photos from this time last week, thinking back to the wonderful time that The Love In My Heart and I spent in Sorrento on our tenth anniversary together. I know I can look upon that day with much fondness, just being together, having a nice wander around all the little shops, the lovely beach and the little piers with their bars, the harbour, and the lovely weather throughout. It really was a special time and when I saw how much blue sky and sunshine was there when we were, it truly does feel special to be honest.

I think too that the holiday for me was what I wanted to recharge the batteries, but also to be sure that I knew that I had made the right decision in terms of the job and in terms of the career move. I must admit that it has been good that everyone's been supportive and one of the senior managers said to me today that they'd always support people leaving for a career move and for the right reasons, which is definitely a plus point. And to be honest it is exactly that. I know it'll be a change in some ways because it's a different profession I'll be working in, but the same principles of being good at what you do will still apply, of course.

It has also been a good day to get things done, so managed to get the final main batch of HP desktop BIOS updates out there, and that went pretty well apart from one or two which had stalled on the BIOS screen. These were mainly because they'd either had a keyboard unplugged or the display port cable unplugged, so rather than count down to apply the update and do so, it was a case of them being waiting for the key press to happen. It was good to nail those as much as possible and get them done, and overall that means we don't have so many left now, so a positive thing really.

I think too for me I've also managed to really sort a plan of action in my head of things that I need to do before I leave, and am having a meeting with my line manager tomorrow to get some discussions going. For me, it's good to box as much stuff off as we can, so it will definitely be a case of working a sensible plan but also one that's achievable too. I do want to leave on good terms with everyone really and that's the way that it should be - and of course the fact that lots of people do appreciate the work that I do says a heck of a lot actually.

I spent some time tonight listening to some more Kristin Hersh back catalogue stuff, and it was nice to concentrate on the vastly under-rated 2007 album "Sing Like a Star" for tonight's listen, with the album opener of "In Shock" being ace of course, but for me the highlight is the next track, "Nerve Endings" with its guitar and later strings taking you to some far off place in Americana, just blissfully heading down a long road in the evening. It's got that feel to it and definitely is tune of the day for me, well worth checking out if you have the chance to do so.

Tuesday 5th June - Strange Angel

I had an email from PayPal today reminding me that in order to ensure one of my subscriptions remained valid that I needed to ensure that the details were correct. Naturally I ignored any links in the email just in case and logged on to my account, just to be sure that the email was genuine, and looked like it was. I sorted out what was needed and all was well, and had observed that it was the subscription for Kristin Hersh as one of the "Strange Angels" who donates every three months in order for her to continue making music and to get listener perks such as exclusive listens to new tracks before anyone else. Well worth checking out actually.

So the name: why Strange Angels (or often shortened to just Strangels?) - it's because that was the title of her second solo album, released in 1998. It does have one of the fans' favourite solo tracks of hers (and mine too), "Gazebo Tree" (so make that tune of the day) which just has a simple and wonderful quality to it, especially with just her and an acoustic guitar just really setting the scene for a late Summer evening somewhere as the sun goes down. It's that sort of quality really.

For me it's been well worth the investment too - it's allowed me to get a closer insight into the music and performance. I still haven't yet taken advantage of the perk of having a guest list spot at a performance, primarily as in some cases that's involved also getting into the rehearsals and I would feel kind of overawed. For me, there's a number of reasons why she's one of my favourite musicians, and a lot of it is an emotional connection to the music which speaks to me on a number of levels. I do enjoy having a nice first listen of some of the new stuff too and it's allowed me to have some advance orders of some stuff, so I own a first run edition of the Toby Snax children's book she did, with a hand drawn illustration and signature inside!

I also connect with other musicians similarly who I feel make the effort to connect with their fans in a different way too: part of the reason for example I'll regularly big up She Makes War is because I know that Laura makes some quality music but also she's a really warm and nice person when on stage, making you feel really pleased to be there, and also those that respect her music also don't have their phones out recording the gig, and just listen. Nowt worse than having everyone talking over someone especially if it's an acoustic set...

And yes, it's a connection that is often overlooked. For me, I've grown up listening to Kristin, either as part of Throwing Muses first off, and then her solo stuff, then her more pop punk stuff as 50 Foot Wave, but enjoying all of that musical journey is certainly one which I've adored. And long may it continue - in fact seeing her at the Southbank Centre later this month and her half-sister Tanya Donnelly (a former Throwing Muse) with the band Belly the night before - happy days!!

Monday 4th June - Back At Work

It did feel slightly surreal being back at work after such a wonderful week off with The Love In My Heart. At the same time though it was also surreal that in a way I wasn't sure if anyone had been notified about the fact that, before I had left for the holiday, that I had handed in my three months' notice to my line manager. It seemed that nothing as yet had happened as he'd had a word with me asking me if I had changed my mind or not, and I hadn't, so an announcement email went around to notify people that I was indeed leaving.

I must admit that it was a difficult decision to make, especially as I've worked with a number of very good and talented people over the last couple of years, and they've really made me feel not just welcomed, but valued as well. I do see the new job that I am going to as a new challenge which will use my existing skills and also be a nice fresh start in order to really get my teeth into. No decision is ever easy in that regard but on balance I know I've made the right one, and it did allow me to enjoy my holiday even more too.

It was therefore quite good that a number of people were congratulating me on the new job but also seemed genuinely gutted that I was also leaving, which was good to see. I think that it shows the real sense of respect that I've earned over time and for me that was also good. Naturally I only felt it fair to mention before I went away on holiday so that management could start their necessary recruitment processes and so that no one was left in the dark - always best to be professional in that instance.

And actually, it was the first day of a new job for The Love In My Heart today too. I have to admit that when she chatted to me on the phone later, the sense of being much more comfortable and happy in the new role was certainly well worth noting. For me, I know that she worked really hard to land the new role but also that it was nothing more than she deserves: one of the things that really attracts me to her is that she has the same hard working ethic as I do, so we both do encourage each other to do well. I think for me too knowing how she was getting through the day, having a line manager who wanted to have a coffee with her first thing and make her feel settled in, all these things matter hugely actually.

The day went by fine but of course the trains were anything but fine. Plenty of cancellations either way this morning and late trains which actually meant I could board one almost as I left work but was pretty busy as well. It's been a shower of rubbish for my routes and for Northern Rail sufferers up North too - and yet the Secretary of State for Transport (that's #FailingGrayling in case you wondered) clearly doesn't have a clue about it all and is keen to blame anyone but himself for what's going on. That doesn't wash with me or many many other commuters and in my view he has to resign, and soon.

Tonight I decided to give a long listen back to one of my favourite albums, and one that makes me feel really emotional whenever I listen to it: Kristin Hersh's "Hips and Makers" from 1994. There's so much outpouring with its acoustic guitar and Kristin sounding the right side of her voice giving way at any moment in time. Even now "Close Your Eyes" with its middle pause where she sings "Stop! You ruined all my memories" gets me. Every single time. Tune of the day wasn't difficult let me tell you.

Sunday 3rd June - First Class Finish

The Love In My Heart and I got ourselves up after Brian the cat was having his stretch and wanting to have some Dreamies and some food as well as a walk outside. He was really back to his soft normal self and that was nice to see - even if we did have a tabby cat visit last night where Brian was on edge a little. We had a bacon sandwich for breakfast and was able to relax a little bit together with some escapism telly including a bit of Escape to the Country. I did feel sad because it would shortly be me heading home.

The Love dropped me off at Manchester Piccadilly station and we had a few nice warm cosy hugs before I left, and it really did feel emotional. I think because we both really had had such a lovely holiday away together, and that we've spent so much time together and that it becomes harder to part as we're off back to work for the week. I must admit that it was good that I was heading back home in first class, and that meant less hassle generally carrying the case and that.

It was off to the first class lounge in Piccadilly first, and that was nice to have a coffee and a biscuit with the air conditioning on, and felt really relaxed to watch some telly on BBC News before making my way down to Platform 6 before boarding the 1155 train to Euston via Crewe. As ever, being on first class was lovely - especially as I had no one sat opposite me in the 1 and 1 seats by the window, some nice coffee and sparkling water, and a nice pastrami and cheese sandwich too - a definite step up from Virgin's other weekend offerings.

The train arrived on time in Euston (it did state it would take longer, two hours twenty or so) and then it was on to the tube to Victoria and then on to a train to East Croydon. The train was in, got my luggage and me sorted, but then was waiting there for no reason - it turned out a train in front had broken down so had to go around it before it got to Clapham Junction. Oh the joys of Southern Fail, again, that's one thing I certainly haven't missed that's for sure.

I did catch up on some telly I recorded over the holiday period including Peter Kay's Car Share final episode, with the song that he sang to woo Kayleigh back (I think it's called Come Back My Car Share Buddy, but either way it's tune of the day) - it really was lovely and The Love had mentioned to me she thought that Gary Barlow had certainly written it. I can see why, it had all those hallmarks (and even Peter superimposed on the Take That Back For Good video over the top). It was a nice ending to the series although a little flat for some reason...

Saturday 2nd June - Manchester In Motion

It was nice to have a relaxing morning with The Love In My Heart and Brian the cat, all relatively chilled out and generally allowing him to have a run about on the decking outside, stopping him climbing the fence over, but he seemed a lot more settled back into routine now, especially as he snuggled up on the corner of the bed and wanted nothing more than a tummy tickle from his Mummy. Aww. It certainly reassured The Love especially, and for us both it was good to have a nice night's sleep in The Love's own bed after a week of being away, lovely though that was.

The Love's father and elder sister came over later on, and it was good to have a nice chatter to them both as well as being able to show them some of the pictures we'd taken when away. The Love was particularly pleased that they had heard of places like Sorrento and could see, as we did, how beautiful the whole place was. In fact I think in a good way we were in a good place in Naples itself - anywhere nearer the train station seemed a lot more urban and not as nice, definitely.

Later on The Love and I decided that as the weather was still nice that we'd head out for a drink in the mid-afternoon, and so it was off to Wine and Wallop in West Didsbury. I got The Love an Aperol spritz (nice to see the bar staff putting lots of prosecco in that!) and they had the Titanic Brewery's awesome Plum Porter ale, so needless to say that was mine and it was gorgeous. We got a nice table outside and chilled out in the mid-afternoon together before heading off to Tesco to get a nice little meal deal for tea.

Once back, we had tea later on and it was gorgeous: gammon with a honey glaze that just melted off the bone nicely, with some nice roasties and The Love had got some carrots and peas too, so all was good - as was the raspberry cheesecake I had afterwards with cream. We settled in to watch the British Soap Awards, and The Love was particularly happy that Coronation Street won a number of awards including the prestigious Best Soap one. I was also happy to see Floella Benjamin (one of my all time favourite presenters of Play School as a child) hand an outstanding achievement award to Rudolph Walker, aka Patrick Trueman in Eastenders. Yeah man, as he would say in the soap.

Later on the channel Dave had a run down of 47 best and worst football related songs. It was quite entertaining to see the likes of Jonathan Pearce, Steph McGovern off BBC Breakfast and others talk about some of those songs which were either decent or really bad ("Diamond Lights" by Glenn (Hoddle) and Chris (Waddle) springs to mind.) It was ace to see Osvaldo Ardiles' two granddaughters sing the second verse of "Ossie's Dream" with him and all three do the "In the cup for Totting-ham" line with gusto. Ace, that. I was so pleased that New Order's "World In Motion" was at number 1 though (make that tune of the day) as for me it's still the best footy record ever, and complete with the classic John Barnes rap, which he was on for of course..

Friday 1st June – Flying Home

It was a nice final evening asleep in the Mercure hotel in Naples, and it’s been a very nice and comfortable base for us for the last few days. In essence being close to the castle, the Royal Palace and the seafront as well as the bustling shopping streets of the Via Toledo and so on has proved to be a well worthwhile location – I can highly recommend that to anyone visiting the city, especially as the airport bus drops you off pretty near to the hotel, and that was where we headed off once we checked out in order to get the bus to the airport. Getting on there meant we got on first, and good job, as the central train station stop was packed!

It was a slow journey out of the city centre purely due to traffic and parked cars, and once on the dual carriageway out of the city it was better, only to be slowed by the roundabout for the airport turn off itself. Still, we got there in good time and the airport bus does at least drop you off very close to the main check in desks. We had a bit of a queue to check in with Lufthansa (no fast check in desks here) but was all relatively smooth, and we made our way through security and to the departures lounge for a cappuccino and some chill out time before heading to the gate.

A bus took us from the gate to the plane, a nice Airbus A321 but with the classic old school Lufthansa logo on the side – very retro. We were delayed slightly out of Naples but the flight took you across the bay before turning back to the North and off to Frankfurt, where we had the quickest and easiest change over – exited gate B10, through passport control, and on to gate B22 for the later flight. Easy. In fact we had time for a drink in there and so we had a nice German beer in between flights – well, technically we were still on holiday so would have been rude not to.

Due to a number of connecting flights into Frankfurt being delayed, our flight to Manchester was delayed as it had to wait for passengers and one member of cabin crew to board. Despite that the plane did speed North westerly, and actually made up a quarter of an hour to land on time in Manchester Airport as we passed over Stockport along the way. Both our cases were together on the carousel in baggage reclaim and once to the train station, we got on the 1819 train (good job we did because of cancellations with Northern Fail the next train was 1847) and back to Piccadilly followed by a tram to The Love’s place.

Later on we picked up Brian the cat from one of her relations, and in the cat carrier he was having a good meow all the way back – I think the motion of the car freaks him out a little. Once back via the local Chinese, we had a lovely meal for tea including the crispy shredded beef in sweet and sour sauce and chicken Kung Po, and with Brian now nicely settled, it was a nice time to relax together and watch Gogglebox, with plenty of nice moments being captured by the commentators, especially when they were seeing the escapologist on Britain’s Got Talent.

It felt nice to be back in Manchester but admittedly we both were feeling tired after a day of travel and we had had a wonderful holiday away together. The nice thing is that we know in future we could go back there and explore some more in the future, or use it as a base and travel to other parts of the country, possibly Salerno, Pompeii and Positano. In the meantime, tune of the day is the rather nice “Almost Persuaded” by Swing Out Sister, which I was listening to on the plane and reminded me of walking along the seafront in Naples with The Love In My Heart.