Dear Diary... October 2022

Monday 31st October - Just Another Monday

It was a productive day today working from home, primarily as I knew that I wanted to get a few bits of work done that I needed to focus on, and that I'd be able to get up and go once I had a good shower in the morning. It did feel nice not having to get up so early to be honest, and that was a positive, and made myself some breakfast before I had a coffee and had myself ready for the day. I did know one thing I did want to achieve today, and set about some tasks in order to do that.

In fact, having caught up with Friday's work, it seemed that there was a new version of one piece of software out which did plug some security holes, and so looked at packaging that up ready for the next Windows 10 build task sequence change (which I'll road test tomorrow and put into the change first thing on Wednesday, thus giving some awareness to the masses too. That was easily sortable thankfully, and I was also able to update a bit of documentation as well which proved to be useful to do.

I did also make sure that a group of laptops that we had excluded from getting updates applied last week whilst the members of staff were at a major event were included once more, so that'll secure some more of those as soon as possible. It worked out better just to exclude those as requested and keep everything else nicely up to date, and it's not something we necessarily have to do that often. In fact as I know that process is robust, in theory we could do the same in the future as needed for others as well if we had to.

At lunch time I did head out to the local Sainsburys to get a few bits, and it was perhaps noticeable that since they've switched a few aisles around, it does seem less easier to find everything, and there's a concentration on some seasonal stuff, and of course that'll all be reduced to clear tomorrow because Halloween will have passed. With the Waitrose not that far away closing down soon, it'll be more footfall here, particularly with apartments close by such as mine, so you'd think actually getting in more stock instead would make more sense, right?

Anyway, I spent some time after work tonight and had a lovely chatter with The Love In My Heart, explaining how she'd had The Cute Little One to stay over the weekend, and her love from all things In The Night Garden. It was so nice to see that it's still a popular thing with children now, and I think her favourite is Upsy Daisy, alhough she does sing the Makka Pakka song quite a bit too. It reminded me of some of my favourite children's programmes as a child, and for me, the theme tune from Chorlton and the Wheelies is tune of the day instead, as Chorlton would defeat Fenella the witch and go "bye bye, little old lady!"

Sunday 30th October - Home for Halloween

It was a nice way to wake up with the clocks having gone back an hour, meaning that it was an extra hour of sleep, which I think I definitely needed after the lengthy but good day yesterday. We did have some coffee and some breakfast later on, and settled in to watch the goals from the EFL on ITV4, so we could see how some other teams did, including a dramatic 4-4 draw between Charlton and Ipswich, where four of the goals were scored in stoppage time at the end of the match. Mental!

I said my goodbyes later and headed off to get to the train station, and so board the 1212 departure to London Kings Cross. It was a relatively quiet journey until the train got to York and then the train did fill up somewhat with people having reserved tickets from there - primarily as is in non-stop all the way to London on Grand Central and that does mean I can pretty much speed there at maximum. I did thankfully arrive at Kings Cross on time so I was able to walk over to St Pancras station and to get the train home.

Once at home, I settled in and watched Strictly Come Dancing from last night on BBC iPlayer. In all the Halloween special did prove to be a little bit gimmicky: Claudia Winkleman had a nice black dress on but bright green heels to go with it, and that didn't work for me. Some of the dances were better than others in my view: in particular Tyler West with Dianne Buswell smashed it with their cha cha cha, and the drama of the rumba with Kym Marsh and Graziano di Prima dancing to Madonna's Frozen no less.

Still, it did allow for some good fun too with Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzman dancing to the proper old Scooby Doo theme (ie: Scooby Doo Where Are You? - so that has to be tune of the day) and for me the dramatic tango from Hamza Yasin and Jowita Przystal to Chris Issac's Wicked Game was also excellent too - a really good effort. I do think though that less themed weeks and more concentrating on the actual dancing would be better at times!

I relaxed later and saw the highlights of the Women's Super League football. I was glad Manchester City had overcome Liverpool 2-1 in a pretty tight game but performance of the day had to be Tottenham winning 8-0 at Brighton, a superb result. Manchester United and Arsenal kept up their 100% records, and due to the late winner at Reading, still no game in that league has been drawn yet, with some sides having played 6 games already this season. That's an amazing stat!

Saturday 29th October - Bowling and Beer

It was a relaxing sleep last night, and woke up suitably refreshed at my friend's place and it was soon time for us to have some sausage sandwiches for breakfast and be ready to face the day ahead. There was some tenpin bowling booked for later and my friend did promise that we'd go to some nice places to have some good drinks along the way too, and that would be good to enjoy. With breakfast consumed and me agonising over whether to drop Erling Haaland from my Fantasy League team or not, it was off to the bowling place.

In fact, for some reason they didn't have my friend's booking (as it had been made by phone and for some reason wasn't recorded properly) but we did manage to get a lane, and have the two games setup ready to go. Notably like a lot of bowling places now, the pins are on strings that get put back that way rather than a proper mechanical setup, which also means that the pins themselves feel more hollow and don't make that nice sound effect when you hit them otherwise.

It was good though nonetheless and the scoring was pretty good: one of the friends did very well in the first game with two strikes and a spare and won there, with me winning the second one in a close battle with another friend too - and it was down to the fact I had a spare in the ninth end and did a spare plus strike in the final, which meant that the points did rack up well. It was good fun overall still but I do wish the current trend of pins on strings would stop mind you.

After that it was a walk over to the pub, and one that had a number of local ales on. That was pretty good actually and the selection was very nice - my friend did say that he just wished that they rotated them a bit more, but the selection is always solid. Our next stop, as it happened, turned out to be what used to be a former salt mill, and it reminded me a little of the likes of Mackie Mayor in Manchester, with little stalls for food and a nice bar to get your drinks. I had this nice pale ale with a massive hint of orange, and really did hit the mark really well actually, has to be said. We also had tune of the day in here, Age of Consent by New Order, not often you get album tracks played and as at least two of us are big fans, we appreciated that.

A walk up a very steep hill ensued but when we got to the top we got to a little microbrewery with its own tap room - the sort of thing that I really appreciate too. We all had some good beers in there and it definitely was a case of that the owners would let you try a little sample if you weren't sure, and one of the sour beers we tested out definitely was very sour indeed - one that would be an acquired taste, but kudos to the brewery for giving it a good go. The atmosphere in here was really good too and it definitely felt rather relaxing and a good way to spend some time.

After getting some fish and chips and having that on the go as we headed up the hill to the next station, it was a train ride to another place, and indeed to follow the main road for a bit and then down a hill to a pub situated literally in the middle of nowhere (so it seemed) but it had proper old wooden panelling, good staff and some beers too. The next place after that did seem a little pretentious to me - the beer was good but it definitely felt the sort of place you'd want to go if you were hipster, so that fell a little bit short of the mark for me personally - but there you go, can't win them all.

The next two pubs though were both winners, for different reasons. The first had a really nice view from its elevated position, and indeed the beers were on top form, the orange pale ale I'd had earlier was on here too and that had to be enjoyed again. In fact here we started a knockout round of naming a Commodore 64 game with speech in it, and as it rotated around four of us, I did well and remained in with some more obscure answers such as Slimey's Mine, Cave of the Word Wizard and Barbie (yes, there was a Barbie computer game back in 1984!)

We headed down hill to the next pub and that had some good beers on, the staff were all in costume (because of Halloween) and the vibe was nice, it a bit busy. We carried on with the knockout round which I eventually won, but kudos to everyone for coming up with some corking answers - the likes of Beach Head II, Five a Side Soccer, Slapshot, Peter Shilton's Handball Maradona and others were mentioned, so they did well. We walked along to the final pub of the night and for me this beer here was a bit off, so I didn't drink it all, and we flagged down a taxi and headed back to our friend's place.

And with good timing too - as Match of the Day was on and I could see Kevin de Bruyne's winning free kick against Leicester City earlier, plus the likes of Leeds winning at Liverpool, which was the big shock result of the day. It was soon approaching midnight and so it was all off to get some sleep, but it had been a very good day indeed and one with lots of nice beer, plenty of good chat and conversation plus of course a chance to see some different places too, so epic win there!

Friday 28th October - Hit The North

It was nice to be off work today and with a good reason too, it was to head up North to see some friends and have a more relaxed weekend. After the month I've had at work and in addition a pretty long time of not seeing some people for obvious reasons, it was nice to be able to take some time out to do all that. And this did mean heading to Kings Cross station, and so took the train from East Croydon to St Pancras and made the walk across. I was half tempted to see if I could Seatfrog upgrade to first class, but no can do.

Actually though the Grand Central train I was on was very comfortable indeed, with masses of legroom and an onboard café bar where you could head off and get some coffee and other refreshments. I had brought a meal deal lunch with me, but having some coffee as well was the right thing to do, as I kicked back and listened to some tunes on the iPod to make the journey seem even shorter. In fact, as the train headed off the East Coast Main line and approached some coastline of its own, it was rather beautiful to be looking out of the window and overlooking the sea and arrive at the destination station not long after.

From there it was off to my friend's place, and there were some other friends coming along too, so it was good to be back together and to have plenty of chatter and catch up time. We did head out on a local bus and to a real ale bar not far away, where you do have to reserve a table to make sure you get a seat - you can get the drinks at the bar, but no standing there to drink them, it was all very civilised and relaxed, especially with some excellent tunes in the background including some Paul Weller, so You Do Something To Me has to be tune of the day - it's still a great one of his.

The vibe was just right in there, and we later headed back to my friend's place where curry was had for tea, and we then relaxed in another room where a projector was set up and had some kit in there to play all sorts of computer and video stuff, and that was pretty nice (and to see the impressive collection of Commodore machines there too, how I marvelled at some of them being not so easy to find either. On went some classic demos from back in the 1990s including the likes of Access Denied and Mathematica from the Commodore 64 demo group Reflex. On a big screen with a decent sound system pumping out the tunes, wow, looked and sounded ace!

We also did have a little quiz later on too which my friend had arranged. One round was suitably pretty difficult, to get the game from the sound effects only. Some of them are iconic in some games and so they were guessable, such as the likes of Impossible Mission with the moving robots, World Games with the barrel jumping event and the rather unique robot sounds of Paradroid as you moved around. That worked out pretty well and it was good to also recognise some tunes being played backwards, including one that was very familiar to me!

Thursday 27th October - Changes

I decided today that it would be a suitable time to work on some changes, not just here in the Towers, but for some online representation. What I've realised is that it makes more sense where possible and indeed for some level of consistency is to have anything that ties back to the website in any way to be similar in terms of what the name and handle is. I had already kept the Youtube account the same with a view that if I ever did want to make a serious go of having a video channel to have content alongside the site, then I'd do that and keep it all at the same level.

However, I had changed the Twitter handle some time ago, primarily to keep an interest which I still have in the old 1980s 8-bit computers well and truly alive. That did mean on the one hand some were able to find me and follow which was all good and nice people, and that's a good thing. But on the other hand, it's been nagging me for some time that there's a level of disconnect between the two somewhat, so I thought it sensible to make a couple of decisions and to give myself a fresh impetus to do stuff.

So first things first, the Twitter handle, as of now, has been reverted back to as it was, so that was a relief to get that done - I'd been thinking about it for some time to be honest and that was a start. Second, I've removed all the content (there wasn't much content anyway) from the Youtube channel, with a view that I'll be making a fresh start on that and thinking about what I can do better - maybe some poetry readings, some musings that I can put together, even some 1980s Commodore 64 gaming content, you know, the stuff I like. That might prove to be a more worthwhile exercise, but we shall see.

The third thing, which will be a longer term project, will be to possibly look at redfining the site from top to toe, and giving it a general overhaul, maybe even going to a Wordpress-type setup instead. But at the same time I do like the fact I try to keep things accessible and easier to read for most people, and having a lot of that text based to help those with screen readers does help too, so definitely need to think on some design decisions and go from there really. Maybe even I'll look at jettisoning the old content entirely, and going from scratch in early 2023, who knows?

I think over time that as time is of the essence and that any spare time spent these days is to be appreciated rather than to be sat hunched at a screen, it's also a need to be out and about more. So definitely I've already decided from January that the diary isn't going to be a daily thing anymore, it'll be "as and when" I feel the need to write something about a time or a day experience that I may have had. Sort of less is more, if you know what I mean. And it's important too that the constants in my life that I do wish to keep, such as the love I have for The Love In My Heart, Brian the cat, The Cute Little One and family and friends remains that constant.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell, but it's something I've been thinking about doing for some time. Over time I may even remove the Twitter account, but we'll see. I think it's important for me to make the first step of changes (and cue the David Bowie classic Changes for being tune of the day) and with a rather good weekend ahead of me, I thought it sensible to get my thoughts in motion now, and then act on them with a clearer view and a relaxing time to really settle.

Wednesday 26th October - Taking It To The Maxx

It was a good day working from home today, and I was able to get quite a fair bit done in order to get some forward planning done. In fact, I did note that the update compliance for the October updates was pretty good, and I think that's because a number of them had recently connected online and/or had the MECM client upgrade, so were all ready to go and have any new updates downloaded and installed. I did have to exclude a number of machines due to some staff being at an event this week, but can add those back in next week and be all good to go, so that's something.

I did head off to the local TK Maxx on the Purley Way after work. I did want an in between jacket, sort of not massively thick like my green one is (which keeps me super warm in the winter and really does keep the wind off as well) but not mega thin either. Ideally I was thinking a lighter puffer style jacket in a darker colour and not green, and so a dark blue or a black would be the option. I did have a look in the Covent Garden one and although there were some decent ones, none jumped out at me to say "this is the one" (cue Stone Roses song of the same name.)

Anyway, I had a good look and of course, it's the same old adage with clothes these days: what one make constitutes one size is another by another make. Ideally of course that does mean that you do have to try them on, and at least with jackets that isn't too bad to do. I did see one that was good, but it didn't fit right, so sacked that off, and then saw another which had everything I liked, bar a little hood for occasional rain use. But, as I saw it on the hanger, I noted something around the collar..

And it was a little zip, where when you unzipped it, it showed a little rain hood. Maybe not a full massive parka hood, but at least something to keep the head dry. And once concealed back, it didn't make the collar chunky or anything either. And it had an inside pocket too (and I do like to have that for when out and about, for the likes of easy storage on the inside) so filled all the criteria. For thirty five pounds. Perfect. Especially as I still had a gift card to use for that place which meant effectively it was for free, and a definite win there.

Later on I relaxed after tea with a chatter to The Love In My Heart (and I could hear Brian the cat purring in the background) and tuned in to the Penfriend live online gig that Laura was doing. It was nice that it was either with an acoustic guitar or just a ukelele, and Laura interacting with us all and having a little Q&A along the way. Out of the songs played, I really love to this day Please Don't (that's accompanied me many times on a train journey) so tune of the day for me.

Tuesday 25th October - Upgrading Unusually

It was back to the office for me today, and plenty of testing to be done, and always better to do so where you've got a wired connection and indeed a faster wired connection at that. It does mean that I would be able to get some thorough testing performed, and indeed also road test to make sure that a restricted software policy for the Mac estate is going to work. In fact this did mean getting the Mac out and making sure that was already up to date before I then tried the next thing.

So MacOS Ventura came out yesterday, but due to the nature that it's always a catch up for various software vendors to make things work correctly, it did mean that we'd want to block the install from running (for now). In fact we'd had an advisory from two different software companies saying that there may be some workarounds which you'd need to perform to ensure things work. So effectively the policy will delete the installer if attempted to be run or detected present anywhere on the hard disk, and that did mean that even if it was downloaded via Software Update, it'd kill itself off, which it did.

And to prove that it was working, I added my Mac as a policy exception, and with that added that way it didn't kill off the installer and I could run through the first few steps (although naturally not the whole OS upgrade) - so it also means if we do need to have some testers on board, we can exempt them from that and they can be the beta testers for us, so all in all, that was pretty productive and shows it can be done with the right management and indeed the right information also.

I decided to treat myself with a coffee from Costa, and it was a free one because I'd bought one on Friday and so had an offer on the app to get a freebie during this week, and made more sense to do so now. I was pleased to enjoy the latte and make the most of the coffee, and crack on with some further testing of Windows 10 22H2 following the update, and that worked. I also noted that there was an in-place upgrade to Windows 11 22H2 so I tried that via MECM, and that worked pretty flawlessly. Obviously you need a right size hard drive and TPM enabled for it to work, but yes, it did.

So if you're using some virtualisation machines, such as say Hyper-V, then it's recommended to set up a Gen 2 Hyper-V machine, ensure the hard drive allocation is at least 64GB (I set it to 80GB) and that you've given it 2 virtual processors, 4GB RAM and also enabled the TPM option too, so you can have all the hardware present and then it'd work flawlessly. My host machine is already a 9th Gen Intel Core, so the root machine qualifies that the host it based on anyway, so that was at least something useful to know.

It proved to be a good day all round and felt rather pleased as I headed home via West Norwood, where I'd nip into the little Tesco and get some noodles, and have some stir fry chicken and mushrooms for tea, with some chow mein sauce, and that went down rather well. It shows that if you're able to use some fresh ingredients you can make something quick and tasty, and that'll keep me going now. As for tune of the day, well I ordered the new Blancmange album after listening to tracks online, one of which was Who Am I, which was a slow brooding piece. Can't wait to blast the CD out!

Monday 24th October - Boosted

It was a work from home day for me today, and with a good reason, I did have a medical appointment at lunch time so it meant I could go and fulfil that and be back in good time to be back at it in work. Thankfully for me the local GP is not very far away at all, it's literally to the top of my road, take a right then a left, walk uphill slightly and it's there. That's the place I'm registered with too so it means of course that at least it's easy access to any records for them that they need and all that.

But today was about the booster, as I qualify to get one for free and with any forthcoming waves of flu and cold as well as any COVID, I thought it best that I actually get vaccinated for this winter, having had the flu jab last week, and therefore protect myself. Obviously, others may vary in what they're able to get or whether they think it's right for them, but the decision was mine to make freely and chose to do so. I booked the appointment online and so it was off to the local GP at 1pm and to get the task done.

The staff on hand were all friendly and nice, and checked my name off as an appointment (and note they were also doing walk-ins too.) The member of staff explained to me what the new vaccine was, what variants it had improved protection against (which included Omicron) and also that I might feel some cold symptoms which can be warded off with paracetemol as needed. I chose to have it in the left arm (same as the flu jab) as if I thne get any form of numbness (which happens with any jab) it's not my main writing and carrying arm, so that would be useful. It was quick, painless and all good.

During the rest of the working day I sorted out some more applications to be packaged, including the new version of Microsoft Power BI desktop. I tended to add some notes in the application folders on the source server as to what switches etc were needed, and the key one here for a silent install is to make sure that the EULA acceptance is passed by ACCEPT_EULA=1 in the command line. If you don't do that, no silent install for you. I got that working nicely under testing and ensured the content went to all the distribution points needed and be ready to go.

It was also noticeable today that it was a one horse race to be the next Conservative leader, so Rishi Sunak it is. To be honest, it makes you wonder just how the folks that voted Liz Truss in didn't realise that her policies were just so bad for the economy, but here we are. That said, really we need a General Election instead and then the public can decide who should actually lead instead, not just pass the parcel on to the next leader. And as for a former leader, well a song about him by a band with plenty of swear words is tune of the day - as the sentiments within that ring true.

Sunday 23rd October - The Long Ride Home

It was nice for myself and The Love In My Heart to have a well earned lie in. She had been with her sister to see Robbie Williams at the AO Arena last night, and all appeared to be good especially the fact that he played some of their favourite songs (and of course there were some Take That songs put in there too, such as The Flood) so she regaled the tales of Robbie perhaps talking a little too much in between songs, and not always being so complimentary to Gary Barlow either, now there is a surprise!

After some breakfast and a nice relaxing watch of the Liverpool v Arsenal WSL game on BBC Two whilst The Love was getting herself sorted, and also fussing over Brian the cat (as he definitely wanted lots of cuddles and tummy tickles too), it was time to head off to do a little bit of retail therapy. We decided that going off to John Lewis in Cheadle made some sense, primarily to get some present ideas for future birthdays. However, they did have a Christmas display in the ground floor already (I mean, it's October, for crying out loud) and my Whamageddon already hit as said Wham classic was being played over the speakers in the store. Nooooo!

Thankfully, there were some nice cards and some gift ideas that were good, and The Love picked up a nice little present for one of her relatives, and I also tried out a posh bean to cup coffee machine and ended up with a free coffee out of it (and well why not?) - before then heading to Sainsburys and The Love picked up some Halloween stuff, some for work but also some for some of her relations too. We then headed to the Ashlea for some food, and the chicken and ham hock pie I had was lovely, as was the reminiscence of some tunes of which the lyrics were in an art print in John Lewis (including the opening lines of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, so tune of the day)

After some lovely lunch and some drinks, it was then off to Manchester Piccadilly. Because of engineering works, I needed to get the train to Birmingham New Street and change there for another train to Euston. Although trains were running to London via Birmingham, getting one of those would be full price (£68.60) but doing two advances meant you knocked that down by half, so definitely affordable instead. I got my seat at Manchester Piccadilly and was all set for the 1755 train to head off to Birmingham.

Except it didn't. As it transpired, one of the arriving trains that came had our driver on, and as it came in very late, he needed to (legally) have a break before he could drive our train. As a result, the train left at 1825, and at Crewe, I could see the train which was going to be the train I got at Birmingham moving off ahead of us. Thankfully the train manager was walking through the train and asked if I could just stay on this train, and after a ticket check, he was good with that. I was nice and polite as it's only fair, after all stuff happens.

Unfortunately, events were beyond some control which meant it proved to be a long journey, and no iPod with me as I'd forgotten it on the Friday morning (doh!) so when we got to Wolverhampton, the train diverted past Bescot Stadium to Birmingham due to a fatality near Dudley, so the main line closed there, and then at Rugby having to take the slower route via Northampton due to line damage between Rugby and Milton Keynes. As a result, I didn't get to Euston until 2245, and finally got home around 2345. A very long journey and with the engineering work being on all week, it won't be a pleasant trip down!

Saturday 22nd October – Right On, Brighton

It was a nice lie in this morning and The Love In My Heart was happy to rest for ages after a long week at work. Of course Brian the cat was wanting to be up and about, and when I went to the loo, he was after wanting some Dreamies of course (as he is prone to do) and he then went up to snuggle up to his Mummy on the bed, purring contentedly as he did so. I have to say he is so adorable when he does that and when we did get up later, he was happily following his Mummy to the chair and sofa and to sit next to her – being super cute as ever.

I got myself showered and changed and headed out to Asda, as The Love needed a few bits and it was easier for me to head over quickly. With that done, we had a really nice breakfast, with some hash browns, egg, bacon, sausage and mushrooms that set me just right for the day ahead. We did watch Football Focus together and there was a good feature on a women’s community team from Liverpool that brought people from all walks of life to play football and to escape reality if only for a little bit. That met with my approval, as did the rather good news that Manchester City’s women were 2-0 up at Tottenham (they won 3-0 in the end.)

Later on it was off to the Etihad with my friend as Manchester City took on Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League game. Considering trains were on strike between London and Manchester, and the distance travelled, fair play that Brighton brought a few fans with them, and saw a few of them near the stadium earlier. It was going to be a tough game as they’d had a decent start to the season and although goals had dried up a little, they still had a decent defence and was going to be a tricky side to beat.

As the game got underway, Ederson almost passed it to a Brighton player for them to score (bad move all round) but as it settled we got better with the likes of Bernardo Silva making some good runs. The ball was cleared from Ederson to Erling Haaland, he chested it down, muscled past one of the Brighton defenders, and then slotted home from a narrow angle to open the scoring. He had done well, and more was to come after the lengthiest wait for a VAR decision to be made (and after two minutes of open play) to finally decide Bernardo Silva had been fouled, City got a penalty and Haaland make no mistake whatsoever to make it 2-0 just before half time.

Brighton though did come back in the second half – and after a chance was spurned by Riyad Mahrez, Brighton went down the other end and Leonardo Trossard shot a beauty into the bottom left hand corner for 2-1. It was edgy for a while and it was only when City brought on Phil Foden did we exert some control again, and a lovely run and pass from Bernardo Silva found Kevin de Bruyne who shot into the top corner for 3-1 and that would be the end result. City played well enough but we were a little lucky at times too to be honest, but will take the three points all day long.

The Love In My Heart was off to see Robbie Williams later, so I had an evening in with Brian the cat, who was being adorable. I watched Strictly Come Dancing and saw that each of the songs being danced to were based on 100 years of the BBC. Will Mellor and Nancy Xu did their dramatic Viennese Waltz to the theme tune of Line of Duty, where the wonderful Carly Paradis wrote that theme (and is therefore tune of the day). Of course Will was in series three of said programme too, so something close to his heart that he wanted to perform (see also James Bye with Eastenders, Helen Skelton with Blue Peter) and it was all good, Nancy was as excellent as usual too. For me though my favourite dance tonight was that charleston from Helen and Gorka, was fun and catchy!

Friday 21st October – Planning For Future

It was a day in the office today so it was an early rise for me and to make sure that I’d be able to get the X68 bus. Good job I did because by the time the bus arrived at West Norwood it was pretty full and standing, and so was glad I had a seat as the bus headed through Brixton on the way to central London. I got to the office and it was nice just to be able to get a coffee and crack on with the working day. I had a busy day ahead and that did at least mean that I would be able to plough through.

The first thing of all was to amend the Windows 10 build task sequence so that the new Windows 10 WIM with the October updates were added, so that any new machine would have the updates added. I also added new versions of Chrome, Firefox and Slack as well, so that meant everything would be kept up to date in there. I always road test things too once the amendments have been made to the live task sequence (even though I will have done the same on a test one) and to be sure that all was well.

I did also formulate a double pronged plan for the future, so actually downloaded the Windows 10 22H2 ISO image and set about making a Windows 10 22H2 build task sequence. The good thing is that it’s a minor switcher update from 21H2, so if we wanted to upgrade it’d be pretty painless all round to do. In fact once I had duplicated the task sequence in MDT, and then ran with it with some alterations, indeed it worked out that I could have a 22H2 WIM and get that deployed and tested. I’ll need to basically update the ADK to Windows 11 22H2 prior to testing out a Windows 11 build, but there’s plans afoot for that too.

I was going to head to a pub near work for tea before I got the train tonight, but unfortunately that was full, so plan B came into effect, and I took the 91 bus up to Euston, and within the station I headed upstairs to the Signal Box pub. I have to say it was good timing because once I got a seat I saw it was hammering it down outside the front of Euston, so a good move all round I reckon. I did have the ham hock pie in there and that was rather lovely, with a pint of the Red Fox ale to go with it. This went down well and set me for the right frame of mind to head on the 2000 train out of Euston to Manchester.

I arrived at Manchester Piccadilly and The Love In My Heart came to collect me, and we were off to her place. Later on with a nice drink we watched a programme on Channel 5 about cover versions of ABBA songs, and I knew the Erasure EP of covers would be in there. I was however very pleased to see Blancmange’s version of The Day Before You Came featured (make that tune of the day) with Neil Arthur talking about it and the minor lyric amendments (Barbara Cartland is now mentioned for example) which went down well, along with Portishead’s rather moody and unique versions of SOS too.

Thursday 20th October - Resignation

I had ventured out into the centre of Croydon at lunch time, as I needed to get a card for one of my relations, as he and his partner had some recent good news to celebrate, so wanted to make sure that I sent a card and with them well. In fact, WH Smith was fairly quiet, but got a nice card and also a little loyalty card too where from the end of this month until October next year, you get 25% off any card you buy. That's quite a good thing that, so I will definitely keep that to hand and use it, and well worth it as the card selection is usually decent (for example they have Caroline Gardner cards and some by Sara Miller also.)

I got back home, having also got some lunch, and turned on the telly to see what was happening with the world during my break. I noted that Nick Eardley of BBC News was outside 10 Downing Street and indeed a lectern was being placed there, with an announcement that there would be a conference from the Prime Minister at 1.30pm. With all the absolute chaos going on and the fact that the mini-budget had been reversed so quickly to escape even more damage being done to the country, never mind last night's farcical scenes, it was clear that votes of no confidence had gone in.

The announcement, when it came, was thankfully brief and to the point. She had spoken to King Charles and had tendered her resignation as Conservative leader, and would remain Prime Minister until a replacement was found - which looks like a speedy election going through to next Friday, provided someone can get 100 MPs behind them in order to take over. I wasn't surprised in the slightest, it's been an absolute shower of horse manure for the last year or so and Liz Truss had just inherited the mess left by her predecessor - who they reckon wants to get back to power. What the hell?

It's been a mad few days which makes the country look like a laughing stock. One newspaper even had a poll of whether a lettuce would last longer than the Prime Minister, which meant the lettuce won (cue memes of Vote Lettuce appearing everywhere) and it really shows the shambolic state we're in. The sensible thing to do now is for King Charles to say "You've had your chances folks, I'm now insisting on there being a General Election and the public can vote properly who they want in power" and taking it from there, allowing the country to decide. That surely is the sensible option.

But when did common sense apply to politics? Seemingly never. And definitely for me it shows that no matter what, if your policies are such that you're putting the country on the wrong economic footing, it is of course going to bite back, and bite pretty hard. Advice was ignored, things crashed around them. Basic stuff which should have been noted. And indeed from her opponent in the race to number 10, the right cautionary tone, ignored. Classic case of doing what you want and then realising you've screwed up, which is why Don't Care by Obituary is tune of the day - need some metal after today's efforts!

Wednesday 19th October - Chaos and Mayhem

It was another day of being in the office today and that was also pretty good all round: it was a nice early set off and a case of getting the X68 bus again and definitely felt quieter on the roads too. I do think it may be even quieter next week as some schools will be off for half term - and that always does have an impact on the traffic anyway. One thing I did note today was that as the bus got to Waterloo, the number of people waiting for the bus was less too - backing up the theory in that Tuesday and Thursday tend to be the busiest days in offices now.

I had the common sense last night to be able to head to Sainsbury's and get the Kellogg's Variety pack of 8 small boxes of cereal for £1.50 - the boxes are of couse small to fit into the work bag, and once at the office, I've got access to the bowls and milk, and so can have some breakfast that way and it's actually a lot cheaper to be able to do that. It makes perfect sense of course and once that was had, it was time to get on with some application packaging and to update some of the apps that are used by some parts of the business.

The first one to look at was Anaconda, which effectively is a front end sitting on top of a Python install to be able to do some developer work. It's used by a good nunber of people, and there was an October 2022 release out, so was able to download the Windows installer, and get the right command lines for it, then get that uploaded into MECM and the DPs that way. For Mac, there was a nice .pkg installer as well which meant it was easily to be able to get readied for JAMF policy deployment, so again some good work there too.

I did work on a couple of others, mainly Windows only, including Feishu, which is in use in China and has an application installer similar to Slack where you run the deployment installer and on next login it then installs for the user, and also Cyberduck, which some use as a transfer client. The interesting thing on that is that someone has paid for a site to look like the official site, but isn't, and unsurprisingly, the executable happens to have malware from reports I read online. Going to the official site shows that the proper installer is around a tenth of the size - and I can work on the Mac version of that tomorrow.

Outside of work and after a meeting this afternoon, keeping an eye on the news shows the utter chaos and mayhem that the Government appears to be in. The Home Secretary Suella Braverman resigned, after realising that she had sent a confidential document from her home email (so a potential GDPR breach right there) - but in her letter she did not hold back and criticise the Prime Minister, so that went down like the proverbial lead balloon, as you can well imagine. Chaos and mayhem, as Pop Will Eat Itself once sang, so that song is tune of the day.

Not just that, but later on there was a vote on whether to resume the rather dodgy practice of fracking for shale gas, and the vote was basically doubled as a confidence vote for Conservative MPs, so vote against it, you lose the whip and cannot be an MP for the party. Then it seemed to be that you could vote freely, but cue scenes of pushing about and apparent bullying before the vote went through, and even some MPs of that party saying that the scenes were a disgrace. Honestly, I can't see things carrying on as they are and it's only a matter of time before an election must happen.

Tuesday 18th October - Building Blocks

It was up early and off to get the X68 bus to the office, and the first of two days on the bounce of being in there. I must admit it was nice to be able to just relax and enjoy the scenery on the bus as it headed along towards Brixton from Tulse Hill, and the tree lined streets of the A23 from Kennington to Waterloo are always more appealing. I did get to the office and get myself some breakfast, and settled in to a different desk than I would have normally booked, but had a good view out of the window to serve as a suitable change when I needed to face away from the desk and take a screen break.

It was a positive start to the day once I got a wired connection sorted (good job I know where the cables are) and from there this meant that I could do another test post the current migration, in that to make sure I could boot to my virtual machine after amending the MDT task sequence for creating the Windows 10 WIM image, and then running it. It was a little slower than it had been before, but as they often say, slow and steady wins the race and sure enough it was able to produce a nice clean WIM image. Happy times.

I then put that into the Windows 10 build task sequence along with a couple of other applications that I had packaged up, and all appeared to be well there too, so that meant I could raise a change for later this week to ensure that we'd be able to get that sorted so anything new will be nice and secure and up to date. I thought it best to get that sorted because I could then look at the Windows 11 22H2 image creation, although that does mean I need to update the Windows 11 ADK as well, so that's something to plan ahead for a change.

It's definitely been a good day all told, and knowing that Crystal Palace were at home tonight, meaning that the X68 would be impacted heading homewards, I decided instead to head down Fleet Street and past the DC Thomson London offices - which has a nice picture of the Beano and Dandy characters viewable from the front windows. It certainly put a smile on my face to end the working day as I headed over to City Thameslink in order to get the train homewards.

Once at home it was good to kick back with some music and indeed the new Altered Images album Mascara Streakz. It's been really nice to hear Clare Grogan wax lyrical about how she's really felt this was the album she wanted to make for ages - and so it has proved too! It's nice that there are some gorgeous guitars on the album and really makes it sound uplifting but not forgetting some of the hook lines that made their pop side so lovely - so tune of the day is Glitter Ball, absolutely joyous!

Monday 17th October - Rock Star Ate My Hamster

I had a busy day working from home, but also had some parcels delivered today which had been delayed due to the postal strikes at the back end of last week. One of those happened to be a new shirt that I had ordered from Joules, primarily due to the fact that I had got some Delay Repay money back from a delayed train and that the shirt was on offer for another 15% on top of the already reduced sale price, so definitely made that one affordable and was nice to get it too.

The other package had two more Codemasters games for the Commodore 64 - the first of which was Prince Clumsy, which would later be re-released on the 16-bit formats as The Sword and the Rose, and is the final one I needed to get of the five to complete the short lived Cartoon Time series. The others in those series, in case you wondered, are Frankenstein Jr, Wizard Willy, Olli and Lissa 3 and Little Puff in Dragonland. Prince Clumsy plays okay but certainly appears to be fiddly when jumping - and can be a little difficult in places and too easy to lose you energy, but it's perfectly acceptable.

Then it was on to the single cassette budget re-release of what was their second game on Codemasters Gold originally (ie: at £9.99) - Rock Star Ate My Hamster. As you can probably guess, it's a play on words and also a game where you get to manage a rock band, get them to record an album and release that and singles, play gigs, practice, take part in publicity stunts, and try to get to the top of the singles and album charts along the way. And it's essentially reminiscent of the Chris Sievey coded game, The Biz, if you've ever played that one.

Anyway, having picked such illustrious stars for the band such as Dorrissey and Lumme (!) off you go, and get practicing, doing a few tours and getting yourself noted before then getting a phone call to sign for a record deal. Only then can you actually look at getting a single and album recorded, where you get some silly names suggested for album tracks, or you can decline them and make your own titles should you wish (within reason, we're not talking Morrissey-length song titles here folks, as you'll see later when you watch the chart rundown and see if your single has made it..)

It is an interesting game - even if it's not the best, primarily because of the almost random nature of the way the publicity can also be negative, so for example one of the band was killed in a terrorist attack (I mean, for 1989, that seemed a bit extreme) and that also you would soldier on with the remaining members. So if you lose all your band members: game over, and if you also don't hit the target over the year of an album and singles topping the chart, that's game over too, so you really do have to think a bit whilst playing.

I did have good fun with that and then retired to play some CDs, and this time around it was Meitz with the album Vertikal. He's actually Volker Meitz, who used be a well regarded demo musician on the Commodore 64 scene under his handle of PRI - and the signed copy I have of the Vertikal album was dedicated to me from him that way. In fact, Get On Up from this album is tune of the day - it has such a great vibe to it, and the middle section sounds like it could really be from a C64 demo too!

Sunday 16th October - Strictly Servers

It was a different day today for me, primarily as I needed to sign on to work for a few hours with two of my colleagues and re-attempted the migration of one of the servers that hadn't worked as planned on Friday. We did come up with an alternative plan - in that we'd actually set up things differently and then move the server over. That basically meant that on top of that we'd make sure all the services were stopped prior and that it'd be a case of making sure it was as much "as it was" beforehand.

It looked promising during the afternoon and so it proved later on, as we could see all of the relevant parts of the server come up as is, and when we checked the SQL Server Management Studio, all the SQL databases were in fact present and correct, and I could connect to the site with the admin console in MECM and see the bits I needed to see. That was indeed promising, and it was then a case of testing out a number of scenarios to make sure that I would be able to make sure stuff worked.

I had some test criteria along the way, so for example testing out the likes of client deployment, software deployment, any installations and removals of applications along the way, as well as making sure content was correctly sent to each distribution point without issue. All was good, and it really showed that the care taken this time around, even more so than previous, was being proven the right decision. It was nice to at least be involved and actually work well with two colleagues I highly regard as being super professional and getting the job done, which is what we want.

I spent some time later on watching Strictly Come Dancing and the results show. I have to admit that I did think Will Mellor and Nancy Xu were in danger after their rumba, and it definitely kept the suspense until the last two with one pair being in the dance off. In the end if was Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova against Kym Marsh and Graziano di Prima in the dance off - and sad as it might be for all the Bros fans out there, Kym Marsh was better, and all four judges agreed with that.

The standards though this year are really good - no one apart from Tony Adams has been that bad to be honest, and there's been some excellent performances - the Argentine Tango by Fleur East and Vito Coppola to a slowed down version of Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones (make that one tune of the day) was excellent, and the consistency of Molly Rainford with Carlos Gu is well noted too - she's been great all the time. I quite liked the fact too that there was a real sense of togetherness with all the dancers.

Saturday 15th October - Stunning Silverstone

It was an early rise for The Love In My Heart and myself this morning, as we were finally getting to do one of the things that we'd wanted to do for a while, since The Love's sister very kindly got me a ticket for my birthday. It did mean an early leave from my place to make sure we got the necessary transport though, so it was up, ready and out by 0830, with a stop at Costa in East Croydon station for a bacon sandwich and a coffee to have as we took the Thameslink train to St Pancras - as no trains to Victoria this weekend due to engineering works happening.

We then got to Euston and I got us the necessary train tickets and we headed along the line up to Milton Keynes Central, where it would be a change of mode of transport from train to bus. We did have some time for another coffee before the bus arrived, and then it was on the X91 bus, which would take us along the A5 out of Milton Keynes and towards Towcester, past the old and abandoned racecourse for horse racing (the steeplechase jumps are just overgrown hedges now) as it now hosts greyhound racing instead. It also took us on a little tour through the suburbs of Towcester too before we headed on the A43.

And then we would arrive at our destination: Silverstone! Home of the British Grand Prix, and since it opened in March 2020, the Silverstone Museum, which is what we had tickets for. We got ourselves in and headed up to the first floor to start the exhibition, which showed you a history of the place itself, along with the fact that drivers used to head to the White Horse pub in Silverstone village, and have their tales of victory told over a few beers, which of course wouldn't happen these days. There were plenty of interactive displays to see, and you could also wave whatever flag you could find and be a marshal, so of course the chequered flag had to come out there.

It was also good to see that there were a number of exhibits based on the fact that the circuit was basically built on an airfield, detailing the fact it was an RAF base to begin with, and some former officers included William Grover-Williams, who would win the first ever Monaco Grand Prix (pre-Formula 1 era) back in 1929. It was good to see the historical nods to that to be honest. Downstairs they also had an interactive part where you could choose the race and then record your commentary, Murray Walker style, and then have it played back to you, which The Love didn't realise when her "What are you doing?" question was played back. Oops!

Of course, as well as having some exhibits on show detailing the engines and the parts of modern motorsport including an original Ford Cosworth DFV engine that revolutionised F1, to see some of the old cars so well preserved here was also a treat too. We go to see lots of the original bikes ridden by Barry Sheene, a bike that was ridden by Valentino Rossi no less, as well as Formula 1 cars that had been driven by David Coulthard, Daniel Ricciardo, Sir Jackie Stewart, Jenson Button (his 2009 Brawn no less) and best of all, red 5, the 1992 Nigel Mansell Williams FW14B. Epic stuff.

There was so much to see and take in and to be honest you could easily spend all day in there if you wanted to. The last part of the exhibit was special, it took you in an immersive cinema experience as you were introduced to the grid and had handy hints on how to handle the circuit, and then the race itself, with commentary from the late Murray Walker along with David Croft and Martin Brundle as you were a first person perspective behind the wheel with cars and bikes amongst you recreating classic moments of the circuit in days gone by, and that was rather good if a little unnerving as you looked up and enjoyed the experience.

After having some nice lunch in the café, we then noted the outdoor heritage track trail but also access to a viewing stand where you could actually view cars going round Silverstone itself. Well of course I was going to have a bit of that, as it was the historic car racing HSCC Finals Meeting, which meant lots of classic touring car and historic cars racing round the National circuit. As the viewing area overlooked Luffield corner, we could see some incidents there, more so in the Ecurie Classic race where there was no quarter asked or given, so definitely one to enjoy there!

We then did the heritage track walk, which took in the likes of the old Priory corner (the 1997-2009 version, last one used) and the view from there to the old Brooklands corner, and seeing the Historic Formula Junior cars leg it round at the same time, so that was good. We did see the fact that there's a slope up towards Priory as we headed down the track to Bridge, where there was a good mural of Lewis Hamilton and indeed seeing the bridge itself explained why that and the corner went to history - the walls of the bridge were not protected and MotoGP and motorbike riders were concerned for the safety aspect of that.

It still did show though the evolution of the circuit over time and it was good to be able to see that. We did venture back over and watch more of the classic car racing: the Guards Trophy this time which had two drivers per team and a compulsory change over half way through - and some spins off at Brooklands and Luffield where we saw the marshals do some excellent work throughout. Time went by too quickly and we had a good look around the shop before heading back to the bus stop and to take the X91 bus back to Milton Keynes Central - which did go through Silverstone village on the way back, so that was nice.

Once at Milton Keynes, The Love was going back to Manchester Piccadilly on the 1750 train and we said our fond farewells with a hug and a kiss, and I then headed back to Euston on the next train out of there before walking over to St Pancras for the train home. It had been a long day but one which I thoroughly enjoyed, and it was a really special thing to see some actual racing as well as historic parts of the F1 track - and tune of the day simply has to be The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, which was in my head all the way home as I reminisced about the days of Nigel Mansell.

Friday 14th October - Friday Feeling

It definitely felt like that Friday feeling (if I still did eat chocolate then a Crunchie would of course be required here) and it proved to be a long day at work, primarily because of the fact that although my colleagues did attempt a server move and migration, it appeared not to do what it was supposed to - and we think we have an idea why. The problem was of course that moving some data over was inevitably going to take time in an attempt to get things right, so needed to bash some of our heads together and get a new idea, which we have.

It did mean before I left to head up to Euston to meet with The Love In My Heart that it was sensible to send some communications out accordingly, and that I did, making sure that everyone was aware that things were down for the weekend whilst we did some sorting out - and as a result I'll be checking in with my colleagues as we need, to be sure all is well. It's not often I have to do some out of hours stuff to be fair, and I'd rather get things done properly and make sure we know what the state of play is prior to Monday.

So with that in mind it was off to Euston, and thankfully, all was well with the trains so The Love was on the 1515 from Piccadilly and arrived on time. It was lovely to see her and with a new warmer coat on, and looked delightful. I had the common sense to book somewhere for tea, and we headed to The Crown and Anchor where we had a table reserved - and that along with a nice pint of a co-op beer between Magic Rock and Wiper and True went down well.

The table next to us had been kind enough to tell people it was reserved, and they got chatting to us later as they were off to see Roxy Music at the O2 which I am sure would have been excellent. Of course as The Love adores Bryan Ferry and I remembered the band first time around (Dad was a massive fan) than it was a good base for conversation, and the fact one of the blokes was from Manchester, he recognised our accents and he explained he lived not that far from where The Love lives now, so that was nice. It made the evening even nicer to be honest, and I had the fish and chips whilst The Love had the chicken schnitzel, both of which were fab!

We got the tube and train back to mine later and we settled in for the evening after a quick stop off at Waitrose to get a couple of bits. I did have a nice beer from the Badger Brewery - Milk Made, which was a stunning milk stout that you do need to check out. We ended up seeing Gogglebox and inevitably, conversation turned to how bobbins Tony Adams was on Strictly Come Dancing, but also some good series to get the comments on from the regulars also. As for tune of the day well with all the chat about Roxy Music earlier, it would be remiss not to have the likes of Remake Remodel played tonight (and apparently, it was!)

Thursday 13th October - One Thursday Evening

It was a good and productive day working from home, but also a day where I knew I'd be heading off for the evening for a gig - the first one I've been to for some time. I've generally held back a little bit primarily because of the need to rein in some things finanically (at least until a couple of things kick in) but also because I'd rather still get boosted and have some more confidence of being in close proximity with lots and lots of people - and that will happen soon so I will feel a little better about that.

So it was off to West Croydon train station and was doing a crafty bit of train manouvering to save some Oyster fare cash. So if you start from there, change at Norwood Junction, hop to to Thameslink and then get the purple train (aka Elizabeth Line) to Tottenham Court Road, that fare is a lot less, because the start and end destinations are TfL stations and no interchange at train stations (Norwood Junction if TfL too incidentally) so there you go. Doing that is £3.40 as opposed to £5.40 offpeak if I started at East Croydon. And because Farringdon train station is at the West end of the Elizabeth line station, I can get on, off at the West end of Tottenham Court Road and out by Dean Street, much closer to the venue. Winning!

It was nice to walk up past the old office on Newman Street and then to the King and Queen venue, still mad busy with workers outside having a post-work pint or three. I got myself a drink and headed upstairs to the gig, and it was so nice to see the likes of Mark (MJ Hibbett) as well as his girlfriend Charlotte, Frankie Machine, Steve, Susan and a few of the regulars there, so that was good. Pete Green came along too as he was playing tonight, and a joy to see him - not done so in ages, even pre-pandemic because of gig timings, so that was rather delightful to be honest. It felt like everyone needed an emotional release after having to have the Totally Acoustic nights curtailed, so much joy and happiness would ensue.

Pete Green kicked things off tonight and he was on really good form. Even better was that he played one of mine and Mark's favourites, One Monday Morning (make that tune of the day) and that was a highlight of the 2007 tour the two of them did - and I went to all three nights of that.) He also did some early EP stuff including I'm Gonna Stay With Her, and album tracks including Tangents, Don't Marry An Anarchist, the delightful Get Drunk With Me Tonight and another of my favourites, a new album track, If I Just Do Nothing. He also did some poetry readings from his new book of poems (out this weekend, folks) and so all was good.

A quick nip to the bar for a pint of the might Tribute later and it was on with MJ Hibbett, whose new album, The Unearthly Beauty of MJ HIbbett is out now - and if you act quick, get a physical USB stick version. It was of course good to hear tracks from that, such as Bad Back, Agile (the lyrics of which I utterly agree with) and the delightful It's Hard To Be Hopeful, and the witty I Think I Did OK, most likely making sense after a night of having too much beer. Those were all good fun and the new album very much is about short and sweet songs instead of lengthy epics, so that gave everyone a good taster.

But of course it wasn't going to be a MJ Hibbett gig without some of the classics, so he had opened up with The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (Group B), and then to 20 Things To Do Before You're 30 (and everyone joined in with the "What a T**T!" line), It Only Works Because You're Here (still a classic), and even some more early stuff such as Clubbing in the Week, and The Lesson of the Smiths, with a mention of how it was a snapshot of what he felt when he wrote it compared to the Morrissey of now - you'll know what I mean by that.

It was rather joyous and wonderful to be at a gig where everyone was just here to enjoy it, appreciate being back for musical reasons and to sing along where they felt like it. I think it also showed that sometimes the smaller more intimate gigs are the ones where you feel such a good and positive connection. I virtually floated back on the trains home (albeit this time off at East Croydon) and it proved to be a wonderful evening, so more of the same please!

Wednesday 12th October - Midweek Meandering

Back to working at home today and that proved to be pretty good on the whole. I had planned to spend most of the day documenting all the policies that we have in our Mac management system, together with any packages and scripts referenced by each of those policies. What this would then mean is that any thing which isn't referenced effectively is surplus to what we need, and we could then get rid of it. It's always sensible to keep things tidy as you go and to be honest, this has needed doing for a while but needed some laser focus to keep it all properly on track as well.

I did also work out whilst documenting that another issue someone raised. It transpired that the user had requested a temporary admin granting (via our Service Desk) in order to look at a piece of software, but the real reason was that they were uninstalling it with a view to having it reinstalled. It though was for one of the finance systems, and so had to remove the configuration file for that (which I actually think was faulty instead, potentially) and then enforced some of the MECM policies to the machine so it would be available to reinstall for the user and this time - all good, thankfully.

I did head out for a walk at lunch time primarily to Tesco, as they have the good flavoured water that The Love In My Heart prefers (she doesn't like Sainsbury's one for some reason) - and as she was heading here this weekend it made more sense to be able to get what I could now, along with some wine as well. I didn't need to do a big shop due to where we'll be over the weekend, and we'll actually also be eating out Friday evening in one of our favourite places, so another good reason, I think, to keep things pretty minimal to be honest. I did also get a birthday card for one of my relations as well, so double win.

What I did do later though was to kick back with some Pop Will Eat Itself. Someone online had reminded me of the fact that their early years were definitely more grebo (notably the Box Frenzy album to some degree) and apart from the controversial choice of covering Beaver Patrol by the Wilde Knights (check the lyrics to that and you will see) there is the absolutely iconic There Is No Love Between Us Anymore, which effectively slams in some samples from the Righteous Brothers into a massive hookable melody and drum, and Clint effectively saying the one main lyric a the right time. Still awesome and therefore tune of the day.

Lastly it was good to have a good natter with The Love In My Heart, and I could hear Brian the cat have a contented purr next to his Mummy, so much so that I could hear it on the phone. He really does like to be content where possible and for me it shows just how much he feels at home. I must admit that I'll miss him this weekend, even if he does decided to head on the sofa and snuggle up to Mummy, because he's become part of the family and absolutely adorable with it!

Tuesday 11th October - Absolutely Autumnal Brilliant

I had a busy day in the office today and it was good to get plenty done, including packaging up a new version of a client for MacOS that effectively needed to be turned around quickly after I received the correct version. It actually appeared to work well and that meant that I could see how it would operate with a connection added (as it needs one) and that seemed to be relatively painless. I did take some time to document the instructions as well just to make sure that all was well with it and doing what it should do.

When I got home, I did note that I had some packages that had arrived in the post, which is always nice. One of them was a nice Fred Perry shirt that I had managed to acquire for a reasonably low amount on eBay, and it definitely was a darker colour with some nice tartan check, so all good there, but also there were two packages, containing three games in total, and one of which I'd ordered off a seller in the Republic of Ireland, and he despatched it safely and securely for me. More on that one shortly.

First up were the two games in the other package, which are actually related to each other. So, the first was a double cassette game in the corresponding box - Jet Bike Simulator, one of the Codemasters Plus range (no poster or stickers with this though, they had long gone). In effect you had the standard level on side 1, the expert level on side 2 with the opening set of courses - and additional courses were loaded in on sides 3 and 4 accordingly. They did the same with Professional BMX Simulator which had worked well, so if the formula isn't broken, and all that...

Notably Jet Bike Simulator has speech in the game too - it announces Codemasters and the name of the game, and even doing a pause game or quit had some speech as well. Now, Championship Jet Ski Simulator was released later on and in effect it's the budget re-release, with only the standard and expert courses on each side of the tape, and no speech either in the game, so pretty cut down. It does at least have the same David Dunn title theme which is half decent, but a game somewhat spoiled by the controls being not as responsive as they could be - and that went for the mid price Plus original too.

With those two done, it was on to the package from Ireland, which was Stryker in the Crypts of Trogan, one of the later Codemasters releases and pretty hard to track down, so glad I got this at a very fair price indeed. It's done by the same team who had done the Switchblade conversions to the 8-bit machines for Gremlin, and you can tell, a very similar look and feel graphically, although here it doesn't seem as clear for some reason. The music by Andy Wynd is good though (make it tune of the day) especiallty the in-game piece, and really does set the tone, even if it is quite a diffcult game and needs some precision jumping and use of weapons. Nice, and more for the collection too!

Monday 10th October - The Poppies Strike Back Again

It was a day of working from The Love In My Heart's place today,and she was on an earlier shift at work but needed me to be at home anyway as she had some of the maintenance people to repaint part of the bathroom ceiling in the flat that needed doing. I had got up and made some breakfast when the folks turned up, and did all their preparatory work at first to make sure that the surface area was smoothed out, then arrived back with the white paint and gave it all a going over. I must admit it was just fine to leave them to it, but think it was better for The Love so she could at least be in work and not have to take any time off herself.

I also had Brian the cat run and hide for a bit before the people headed off, and then he decided to surface, head out to the pouffle and settle in there for the day, apart from some time when he lay on the floor and looked at me to say "please play ball with me" and so I rolled and bounced his favourite ball to Brian, and he was happy to paw it away or roll the ball around his belly with his paws and then swipe it away - he does have good ball skills which I am sure some football teams might find to be quite useful at the moment, it has to be said.

In terms of work it was on with rolling out the MECM 2207 client en masse to machines after the initial testing proved that the client was perfectly fine - and it did at least mean that everyone would then be up to date. The other key would be that I could see then which ones hadn't received the last two clients on the bounce and see if those could be chased up, and I suspect some of those might be ones which I've been chasing after for other reasons, so if it all correlates that will make sense.

I did get something purchased today, and not before time, and on founding member Graham Crabb's birthday too - the single Chihuahua by Pop Will Eat Itself. It's a bit more of a brooding bass monster in places with Graham almost going more spoken word with the vocals than he may have done before: apart from the Je Suis Crabbi solo stuff, so definitely tune of the day for me. It does take a few listens for it to sink in though: so don't expect it to be as immediate as The Poppies Strike Back previously, you've been warned!

It was sad later to say a fond farewell to The Love In My Heart and Brian the cat as I was heading back on the train to London Euston. Thankfully the train was relatively quiet and that did mean I could relax with some tunes and be able to zone out. It was one of the refurbished trains where the seats are maybe less comfortable, even though it does appear to be a more shinier newer experience. It does mean though three unreserved coaches (C, U and G, as G is now standard instead of standard premium) so gives more chance to get a seat if you need. I kicked back, relaxed and arrived back safe and sound.

Sunday 9th October – Three Trains

So after having had a nice sleep and getting ourselves up, I checked the trains and found out that our 1212 train back to Manchester wasn’t actually going back to Manchester after all. Instead it was terminating at Carlisle, so we would need to get another train from Carlisle to either Lancaster or Preston, then one to Manchester Piccadilly. It wasn’t ideal, but at least it meant that we could at least get home at a reasonable time. We got ourselves showered and ready and it was a fond farewell to the Linton Collection apartment that we had stayed in. It wasn’t the cheapest place to stay but it really was lovely and I can recommend it highly.

We headed out to a local pub where they did some breakfast, and so with a nice coffee to go with a full breakfast, that would set us all up nicely for the day ahead, and it was good to relax with that. We did also have some time to head into Flying Tiger in the shopping centre close to Waverley station and The Love was able to get a couple of bits for work on discount too, so definitely well worth that. We located that the train out of there was at Platform 13 and so made our way towards there in order to make sure we could get on without any problems, and get the seat we originally had, so all good.

The train sped through the countryside and through some pretty wild rain in the Scottish Borders before then arriving at Carlisle on time. I was hoping for a reinstatement, but not this time, and so we waited further up Platform 4 for the Avanti West Coast service from Glasgow, and we’d head on there to Preston (as the train from Lancaster which started at Ulverston was being terminated at Preston) – because I had noted on their app which carriages were quieter, we were able to get a window seat for The Love in Coach D with me sat next to her, so all good there.

At Preston we needed to head from Platform 6 all the way to Platform 2 for the 1519 train to Manchester Piccadilly, which had started from Blackpool North. Thankfully due to other cancellations around their network, Northern did see it fit to have this as a six carriage train (two lots of three) and that meant we got a seat too without a problem as the train went and stopped at smaller stations going towards Bolton, then Salford Crescent and Deansgate, where we got off there instead and headed over the bridge to the tram stop to get the tram homewards, saving us some time at least.

Once we got back to The Love’s place, we fed Brian the cat who was happy to see us both, and it was then time to watch back Strictly Come Dancing on BBC iPlayer, as we had been out on Saturday of course. I have to say that for the movie week, there were some stand outs, one of them being the charleston from Tyler West and Dianne Buswell, which really did score superbly. I also liked Will Mellor and Nancy Xu’s dance to a track from Dirty Dancing, and not the usual one either, it was Cry To Me by Solomon Burke (make that one tune of the day) and good to see the likes of Helen Skelton, Ellie Simmonds and Molly Rainford do well. I do suspect all the Arsenal fans are voting for Tony Adams without seeing his actual dancing, or lack of.

Saturday 8th October – Jack Vettriano and St Andrews

It was an earlier rise for The Love In My Heart and myself today. We were off to Kirkcaldy in Fife in order to see the Jack Vettriano: The Early Years exhibition at the Kirckcaldy Galleries, but as today was another day of train strikes, this did mean that although Scotrail themselves were not on strike, Network Rail workers were and that meant no trains. I had worked out an alternative route which involved some express buses and a East Scotland Dayrider on Stagecoach, costing £9.50 for the whole day each. That actually, as the day transpired, turned out to be very good value indeed.

We headed to Edinburgh Bus station after getting a nice cheese and ham toastie from Black Sheep Coffee for breakfast, and it was on to the first bus of the day – the X61, which went to Dundee via Kirkcaldy and Leven. It was on with a nice view from the right side and we headed out of Edinburgh along the A90, and then took the old Forth Road bridge, the middle of the three bridges (the new suspension bridge for the M90 was on the left hand side and the rail on the right) and after a couple of stops at park and ride places it was off the A92 and towards Kirkcaldy, arriving at the time at the bus station. From there it was a very short walk to Kirkcaldy Galleries.

We had a coffee in the nice café and did spot some of the Jack Vettriano prints on display with a view to being able to purchase them, mounted and/or framed and all limited editions to tie in with the exhibition. It was then upstairs for the exhibition itself, which was quite interesting for me and really good for The Love In My Heart. It detailed Jack’s early work when he used his birth name of Jack Hoggan, and how he would take inspiration from a number of artists to develop initially, and including some replicas of the original works replicated for reference. That was fascinating, but even more so was his original rejection letter from the Edinburgh art school at the University, complete with coffee cup stain.

We also got to see some of the originals of his work as he changed his name to Vettriano, based on the grandparents in his family (like a number of Scots, there’s often some Italian descendants) and from there and the way that his art developed into some of his most iconic works including The Singing Butler. It was great to see a number of them on display and there was one recent work also there for a good reason – the background was a local now demolished power station a few miles from Kirkcaldy, where Jack spent many years, and part of the reason why the exhibition was there. It is on until 29 October, so you might want to make the effort to get there before it finishes.

With some lunch consumed in the café we did decide that we could head out to St Andrews for the afternoon and so waited at the bus station for the X60 bus to arrive. This did take us along the Fife coastal route with some lovely scenery and sea views along the way including the likes of Leven, Elie and the rather beautiful harbour at Anstruther where the bus managed to get through despite the narrow roads into there. We did get into St Andrews later than scheduled but having a window view of all of that beautiful coastline actually made the journey well worth it, and really was lovely.

Once in St Andrews, we followed the road round to the Old Course and the iconic 18th hole and the Valley of Sin, before walking past the University and cutting through to the high street. It was lovely to mooch in a few of the shops and really did enjoy the feeling of being somewhere nice and coastal, and when I checked the bus timetables, we could get the X59 back to Edinburgh via Glenrothes, and no coast, so a lot quicker too. That did allow us some time to have a really nice drink in Brewdog first of all followed by a walk over to a really nice fish and chip shop where we could sit in and have some lovely haddock and chips with a beer too, and the fish was absolutely stunningly nice.

It was really good to walk around the historical parts of St Andrews too including the iconic fountain in the high street and then off to some of the ruins around the place. In fact the time went by very quickly but it was really good to be out and about, and because of the golf I had to imagine the iconic Brian Bennet track Chase Side Shoot Up, which is used for the BBC golf coverage and therefore tune of the day. It was a definite positive in order to see all of that and the fresh sea air definitely was a lovely feel. The good thing was that we were able to get back to the bus station in good time for the 1835 X59A bus, which would make a small diversion into Cowdenbeath on the way back.

The bus back was quieter and in some darkness along the likes of the A91 and A92 roads before hitting Cowdenbeath and picking up a group of blokes on their night out, and we soon were heading back over the Forth Bridge to Edinburgh, where at the West End off went the blokes and straight into a local bar, and we got off at the bus station before heading back to the apartment, where we did have some drinks and wine in the fridge and could relax and chill out, having had a wonderful day and really did make the most of a no train situation, covering around 120 miles plus on a day ticket that proved to be well worth it.

Friday 7th October – Edinburgh Calling

The Love In My Heart and I had a good sleep and then was up ready to go for the weekend. We were off to Edinburgh for a two night stay and to finally head off to see an exhibition that had been postponed twice in 2020 and 2021, so it was of course good to have that to look forward to. I had at least managed to book the trains on Transpennine Express and indeed at that the trains were running, so we headed off towards Manchester Piccadilly and ready for the departure to Edinburgh Waverley.

I had also managed to get us a good deal when booking the train too – when I did book it and with Two Together Railcard discount, standard class was £29 and first class was £30, so it was a no brainer to book that. We got on fine at Manchester Piccadilly and got our reserved seats, and before long we each had a coffee and some snacks to keep us going, and had a top up of some mineral water just before Carlisle. We did have another option for some more coffee if we needed, but we were all good. The staff were spot on and that certainly made the journey a bit more lovely.

It was raining in Edinburgh when we arrived but didn’t have far to go in order to reach North Bridge and to the Linton Collection apartments where we were staying, and we had number 19 in the West Wing, which was a very large studio. It had a massive bed, nice kitchen with everything you needed including fridge, combination oven, hob and sink, and so on, and a gorgeous bathroom with a heated towel rail, waterfall shower and all the lovely toiletries to go with it. In fact, it was also nice that there was a sofa, a table for two for eating if you wanted to eat in, and a massive window looking over the city.

We had headed out for some lunch at The Mitre round the corner and had dropped off our luggage in the luggage store, and had checked in to the apartment at 3 to see how lovely it was. We did later on check out a really nice makers market close by in a little tower on the Royal Mile, and also walked over to St Giles Cathedral, where the plinth where Queen Elizabeth II had been lying in state was still there in the cathedral, and to see that for The Love and to imagine so many going past was certainly a moment to have a pause for thought whilst there.

It was then braving the rain a bit to find a pub to stop and have a drink, and then headed down to Princes Street and turned off there for a pop into Oliver Bonas to have a good mooch around there. I also did head down Rose Street and to Fopp and did get myself two new CDs, the new albums from both Pixies and Altered Images. In fact, Glitter Ball from the Altered Images album is tune of the day and it definitely shows how much Clare Grogan and folks really have made a rather good comeback. We headed back towards North Bridge and then to the apartment.

Later on we would get ourselves changed and ready and would head out for a nice meal in the evening in Lucken Booths, which was located on the Royal Mile opposite St Giles Cathedral. I had some really nice chicken with some haggis and potatoes and tenderstem broccoli in a cream sauce (which was called Border Chicken) and The Love had a hash bowl with potatoes, vegetables and bacon which looked really good. I was also able to have the mango ale from Innis and Gunn as well so that really did help to have a wonderful evening with The Love looking beautiful in her dress too.

Thursday 6th October – System Upgrading

It was off to the office today and for plenty of work to be done before heading up to Manchester to see The Love In My Heart for an extended weekend. As such what it meant was that I was glad to get to the office early before the masses would attempt to get in following the rail strike yesterday. As it transpired the X68 express bus was of course busier than it normally was, but I was all good to get a seat, and to get to the office with a well earned coffee too. I had one main task to do today and so it was cracking on with that.

I was planning to do the MECM system upgrade to version 2207 prior to some migration server work next week, and so was able to do the pre-requisite check first in order to ensure all was well. It pretty much was but did notify me that two of the servers (the ones used as distribution points) needed to be upgraded from Windows Server 2012 R2 – that was already in the planning cycle and so what was found here was actually what I’d already identified as a piece of work to be done. So that was a positive to get all sorted, and it was now a case of being able to crack on.

As usual, it was a case of then following the usual checks and balances, so making sure that the logs were checked over, and once it stated that the update had completed, making sure that all the site components loaded correctly and without issue, which were all fine. I did need to make sure some content was distributed over to the points to be sure once done, but all worked nicely and was then able to apply an extra patch to the site server which ensured that the client deployment was correct and secure – it’s a small minimal patch but made sense to apply it more to be compliant too.

I do always check that I can get a Windows build performed without any issues afterwards, and indeed that any applications or software packages can be distributed and installed correctly. On top of this I did also check that the new client distribution would work correctly prior to any roll out of clients en masse, and that was fine. Definitely for me it was a good day and as I headed off to Euston later in order to get the train up to see The Love In My Heart, I did feel positive that things were working correctly and without issues, so always like to take some leave with a spring in my step.

The train I was going to get had been cancelled so got the one after and it was thankfully not too delayed in the run up to Manchester, with some nice music from the likes of Yellow Magic Orchestra making the journey less distant, with their Behind the Mask single being tune of the day as it’s always one to have a perfect mix of synthesizer and vocals along the way – more so when it was redone by the likes of Greg Philliganes and later Michael Jackson as well before Eric Clapton did his version too – so be it.

Wednesday 5th October - Moving On Up

Well, what an absolute shower of excrement it was at the Conservative Party conference. The powers that be decided that they would decide to use Moving On Up by M People as the walk on music for Prime Minister Liz Truss, and without the permission of the band to use it either. Mike Pickering, one of the founders of the band, was not happy at all and basically as it transpired they weren't allowed to put a cease and desist on so that the music could not be used. And of course that wasn't good.

Indeed, Heather Small's son is in fact a Labour councillor, and he was suitably miffed, rightly so. Also, whoever decided to choose this track clearly didn't pay attention to the lyrics to find out that the meaning was somewhat less than being uplifting per se - it's actually about leaving someone behind, moving on out, and time to break free, nothing can stop me. Of course you do kind of wish that some of those idiots who are ministers and now want to blame the media for the 45p income tax cut reversal, despite their own MPs in their droves thinking it wasn't a good idea, and almost tanking the economy for other reasons, would just do one, quite frankly.

That said, as a Mancunian, I do take pleasure in M People at least being remembered for the great band that they were in the 1990s especially. Mike Pickering is a diehard Manchester City fan (a proper Blue) and of course DJed at the world famous Haçienda in Manchester also. Top bloke, and of course the singer Heather Small and her rather funky hair stood out well, and a cracking voice too, so with all that in mind, I'm picking another of their songs to be tune of the day - the very early single How Can I Love You More, which I remember hearing on radio on first release in 1991, before a 1993 re-release.

In any case today, I headed out at lunch time to make sure I had some bits from Savers for a forthcoming weekend away, I needed to be sure I had all the stuff for the wash bag (ie: more razor blades, as I'd ran out, shower gel, deodorant, all that sort of thing.) It was good to do that and get some lunch, then get through the rest of the day by road testing a few things prior to some serious work tomorrow in order to make sure that the MECM instance was ready for upgrade, so all good.

I also raised a ticket with our software vendor as after I'd upgraded the databases on the inventory system yesterday and redirected them, it seems that when you use one of the admin consoles you then end up looking for the old database instance, which is hard coded into the application and cannot be changed. I did set up a new connection and made that default, which does appear to work, but it annoys me that the old version for whatever reason isn't able to be removed or modified, surely this would make more sense when you're doing this sort of work? The mind does boggle at times.

Tuesday 4th October - Moving Things

So it was another move across of sorts today, as we were planning to take the databases for our inventory system away from a central datacentre database server and move them as part of a larger project to another server that could host it. In theory, this would be doable as I had raised a request for information from the vendor concerned, and they told me the exact process what needed to be done in order to have the services as needed stopped in the meantime whilst the migration happened.

I had those all stopped and ready to go, and then my colleagues then made sure that the database was detached from one of the servers, the backup having already been taken, and then from there the restoration to where we would originally place the database. However, upon doing that, and based on the size of those databases, it was worked out that the cost for hosting that over the years would be pretty expensive, and not worth it just for that one database, so an alternative plan was needed.

It was decided that because we had already got a SQL Server licence for the MECM server, that it would make perfect sense for the databases to live there, and with good reason: it's on SQL Server 2019 and it's pretty efficient all round too, and that does mean that when we do look at a migration of that, it'll effectively mean that we can get what we need done in one fell swoop. We shall of course work out how that's going to pan out effectively, but that at least did work.

Once the databases were over, it was a case of changing the necessary configuration for the inventory system, point it to the correct database server and instance, and once that was done, it made sense therefore to test it out, and do a send an inventory to the server - that worked and I could see it reporting all in without issue. That was good thing, and I was definitely able to sort the remainder out without any problem, so it was all hands on deck and making sure that everything ticked over nicely.

I did end up staying a little late to check a few things but headed back home on the X68 fine, and after having some tea, settled in for the evening with some music, namely the classic Kill Your Television by Ned's Atomic Dustbin (so make that tune of the day) - this was always a fave of mine back in 1990 and I prefer the original Chapter 22 label single release rather than the re-recording when the band signed to Epic for their God Fodder album. And... Rat from Neds has teamed up with Laura from Penfriend (formerly She Makes War) for a co-op band called Obey Robots, you can pre-order their debut album from here - and so you well should!

Monday 3rd October - Documenting Day

It was a day of working from The Love In My Heart's place today, as she was heading off to work on an early shift which meant me and Brian the cat had the day to ourselves. In fact Brian was being very well behaved indeed and was just sat on the pouffle for most of the day, going for an occasional stretch when he needed to but always with a view looking out of the window, watching the world go by, and not even flinching when I did get a coffee on and had a nice break during the day with a well earned brew. Sometimes he's just so utterly adorable and these sort of days are one of them.

I did spend some time today doing a monthly task (thankfully I also documented this for reference too so anyone can pick this up) and it's getting the records from one system to another via an import file which has to be laid out in a way that's acceptable to the system it's going in. Most of it I've managed to get into a good place and does at least allow me to be able to get most of it nailed pretty quickly. Because of the nature of the file that's needed to be imported, it has to be operated with Excel - Google Sheets for a number of reasons cannot cut it, but it is a fairly painless task to get done.

I think that's one thing that I've always noted: that documentation is always important. It also serves as useful evidence for me that if anyone asks me a question, there is a reponse of "Have you referred the documentation and checked it?" - and that's not being mean, but if I've taken the time out to document a process or a method, then it's there for referral so you can understand what's going on and then if you're still not sure, ask the question. Too many people these days expect everything to be handed to them on a plate to be perfectly honest.

I did also particpate in a meeting later today where we've been able to show some good progress on some targets that we were set, and indeed I've got a thought about some of the ways that we can improve there too, as I'm a firm believer of that you can't rest on the proverbial laurels and should always look to improve whatever you do, and get those likeminded involved to do the same with you. It also meant that the documentation I did for chasing some of this did prove worthwhile too.

It was time to head for the train later on and because my 1855 was cancelled, I was allowed to get the 1812 instead, and it was a sad kiss farewell for The Love In My Heart at Piccadilly. The train was pretty busy but I got a seat (hard to find because almost all of them were reserved and it was only a 9-car train.) I kicked back and relaxed with some Kraftwerk, and perhaps aptly, the title track of the German release of Trans-Europa Express, so make that tune of the day.

Sunday 2nd October – Hat Trick Heroes

Of course, it was the Manchester derby today and a massive game in prospect. City versus United for the bragging rights and a whole lot more. In fact, with United having won the last four league games they were on reasonably decent form and so with them having dropped Harry Maguire (take note Gareth Southgate) their side did seem better. As I saw the team news earlier on it was sad to see that Rodri would be out as his midfield enforcing would be very useful, and also that John Stones’ injury from the England game on Monday would mean he’d be out, so it was Akanji and Aké in the centre of defence – as no Rúben Dias either.

I went to meet my friend and we headed over to the Etihad, a mixture of excitement and worry to see what would happen. It’s the usual nerves on derby day anyway but I think because Arsenal had won yesterday against Tottenham, it was even more the case that we needed to win. We got into the ground and got our seats, and I headed off to get myself a coffee before kick off to ensure I was all good to go. I did feel the atmosphere build nicely inside the ground and the volume ramp up as the start of the match approached. Could City do it, or would it be a case of slipping further behind Arsenal in the lead?

It didn’t take us long to find out. City pressed down the left and Diego Dalot was booked in the first minute for fouling Jack Grealish. City kept at it, not relenting, and a good move down the left found Bernardo Silva, whose cross was met superbly by Phil Foden and it hit the roof of the net for 1-0. Cue delirium in the City stands and a really good start to get ahead. And in the last twenty odd derbies, the team scoring first has usually ending up winning, so the first goal being crucial is even more telling today to be fair. Excellent!

City kept pressing and forced a corner with Kevin de Bruyne forcing a good save out of David de Gea with a long range shot. The corner from de Bruyne came over, Erling Haaland headed it and the United defence tried to clear it, but the referee’s watch had beeped to tell him that the ball had crossed the line, goal given, and 2-0. Another sublime cross box pass from de Bruyne found Haaland stretching for the ball and slotting it into the bottom corner for 3-0, and a really good finish. I couldn’t believe this, it was a dream surely? Pinch me. No, this was really happening.

Better was to come before half time too as another surging move from City meant that de Bruyne found Erling Haaland on the left. He sprinted down the left and although he could have shot himself, he played the ball across the six yard box right into the path of Phil Foden who wanted the ball more, got it, and slotted it in. Four! Four goals to nil. This was absolutely mental and City were just on fire, with United playing particularly badly it has to be said – no shape, no ideas, no leader either, just Bruno Fernandes whining every few minutes.

I suspected that our level would not be the same second half and we would be in cruise mode, and so it proved a little bit. Antony took the ball on the volley, headed in from the right hand side and smashed a good shot past Ederson for it to be 4-1, and to be fair he was the only United player who actually looked bothered to do anything. City pulled their socks up and went for another session of going forward, and a good move down the left involving Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Gomes resulted in a cross met perfectly by Haaland for yet another hat trick, and 5-1 to City. Happy times and for my Fantasy League team, a definite bonus!

More was to come though as Jack Grealish found Haaland, and his pass to Phil Foden was onside, and Foden smashed it home for 6-1. Definitely onside and the only thing that had to be checked was if the ball had gone out of play earlier, which it hadn’t, so the goal stood. City subbed four players and it was disjointed after that,which sadly let Anthony Martial in for a close range header and then later a penalty which he took himself. Not ideal to end up 6-3 but to be honest, I’d have taken a 1-0 win before kick off and have the likes of Supra’s version of Blue Moon (make that tune of the day) blasting out in my head as the boys in blue ensured Manchester is blue.

Saturday 1st October – A Mixed Bag

It was nice to have a lie in of sorts this morning, with Brian the cat being all snuggly. In fact, when he got up this morning he was waiting at the cupboard where the washing machine is, as he knows that is also where his Mummy keeps the Dreamies. And sure enough, when I headed to the bathroom and exited, he was there giving me a gentle little miaow hinting at me to hand over some well earned Dreamies to him. Too cute to resist of course, and he happily purred next to Mummy afterwards before we got up and had some breakfast together.

I did head over to Ashton-under-Lyne on the tram as I wanted to check out Rewind Collectables and Games, and primarily to see if they had anything new I could get in for the Commodore machines. The selection was still decent, and I could have picked up some games for a pound each if I didn’t already have them but was good to be able to at least see the stock was a decent level. I did also head into Home Bargains and get a few bits as well as being able to get a couple of beers for later tonight when I’d be chatting with some friends online also.

Later, The Cute Little One came over along with her Mum and The Love’s sister, so that was nice. The Cute Little One was being adorable, wanting to play with the stacking shapes, read some books and also indulge in a bit of Hey Duggee as well. I did take her to see Brian the cat who was sat by the window, where we said hello from a safe distance and waved so as not to disturb him too much. As we left, she said “Bye bye” and waved at him which to be fair was a pretty adorable thing to be quite honest.

We did head to my Mum’s later where she wanted me to check over some of the paperwork that she had been sent with regards to the house. I did spot a couple of things which were incorrect and so was able to point those out – so she could go back to the solicitor and make sure they were corrected. She did admit she had not spotted that and would have assumed that it was correct because it wasn’t a spelling error that she would know of. It was also good to see that she was really being positive anyway and I think certainly having had the time to get things sorted for her as of late definitely is appreciated.

It was then off to get some food and drink for a late lunch / early tea, before we would settle in first for The Hit List, with me not being so sure about Rochelle Humes’ outfit, and then on to Strictly Come Dancing for a little while for me. I was impressed with Will Mellor and Nancy Xu, they were good, and the waltz with Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzman was also superb, gracious. I didn’t get to see Tony Adams making a Horlicks of the Charleston later, but apparently it wasn’t very good, and I do suspect the Arsenal fans might vote for him in their masses for him to be retained.

Later on it was a good online chat with some of my friends, where we pondered over a number of things and also remembered that there were some game tunes which were covers of older songs – one of which notably has massive nods to the Dick Barton radio series theme, so that has to be tune of the day – it’s instantly recognisable when you play it of course and reminds me of a halcyon day when radio series were the thing to listen to back then if you had drama and suspense involved because there wasn’t that much of it on television at the time.