2.67 GHz Intel Quad Core with 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR RAM

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66GHz Socket 775 1066MHz 8MB (2x4MB(4MB per core pair)) L2 Cache OEM Processor
Arctic Cooling AC-FRZ-7P Freezer 7 Pro Socket 775 Processor Cooler
Antec P182 Gunmetal Grey Super Mid Tower Case - No PSU
Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATA II 7200RPM 16MB Cache - OEM
Western Digital WD2500AAKS Caviar SE 250GB 7200RPM SATAII/300 16MB Cache - OEM
Gainward 9500GT 512MB DDR2 VGA DVI HDMI HDCP PCI-E Graphics Card
LiteOn 16x DVD-Rom Internal SATA Black Bare Drive - OEM
LiteOn 20x DVD±RW Dual Layer & Ram SATA Black Bare Drive - OEM
Gigabyte GA-EP45T-UD3R iP45 Socket 775 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard
Antec 0761345-07660-9 - TRUEPOWER NEW TP-650 GB PSU 650W CONTINOUS POWER ATX
OCZ OCZ3RPR13334GK - OCZ PC3-10666 DDR3 Reaper 1333MHz Dual Channel 4G Kit 6-6-6-18 Heatpipe Heatspreader
Samsung SM2433BW 24” TFT Monitor 1920x1200 20000:1 300cd/m2 5ms VGA/DVI
Logitech Wireless Desktop Wave Pro - With New MX1100 Rechargable Laser Mouse

UPDATE: Now using two Samsung 24 inch monitors (as above) and the Apple Keyboard together with a basic Logitech mouse.

Five weeks to go

Everything is moving along nicely and we are due to move on the 28th August. I just hope the good weather keeps up for a while after we move in. I think some of the horror stories about the bad winters are slightly exaggerated but I still expect to get snowed in at some point, in fact I'll be dissapointed if we don't!

Got the new car to collect tomorrow. It's not a Subaru, an Audi or a Golf, which are the cars my son wanted. It's a boring Ford Focus. But it's brand new, it was a good price and they are damn good cars so....tough! To be fair to Will, once he had a good look at it and approved of the low profile tyres and the alloy wheels and the entertainment centre (you know the really important stuff!) he was really quite pleased with it.

The old MR2 is getting rested for the winter. Will is going to start stripping it down and we will be doing a full refurb over the next six months or so (money allowing, of course). Steering rack, track rods, reinforcing bars, brakes, bodywork, respray, new wheels, new steering wheel and some interior refurb and plenty of other things that we haven't even thought of yet. That's about £2.5k so far but, as all MR2 owners will tell you, the paying out never ends....


Prepare for boarding

Will's friends are coming up from Kent for a fortnight. Only three of them this time. They are great lads and I enjoy having them here. The energy levels in the house rocket! They arrive by plane (ooh, how awful, end of the world, doom, warming, CO2  etc. blah, blah, bollocks) on Saturday afternoon.

Will has spent the week washing bedding, shampooing carpets and cushions and generally cleaning and tidying prior to their arrival. Anything that gets a 17 year old doing that can't be bad.

The local shop keeper will be happy. They spent a fortune in his shop last time they were here, mostly on sweets, crisps and Irn Brew.

I'm hoping another one of Will's friends, now living in the north of England, will pop up for a few days. He was one of the gang until he moved up north to live with his father. His mother died last year and we haven't seen him since then. He's a nice lad and it would be great to see him again.

Sandra and I have been lucky with our children's friends. They have all been really great lads and the older ones have grown into good, decent men.

It's much easier for young people to stay in contact today than it was when I was growing up. Typically, you lost touch after leaving school and your friends went on to marry, have children and, often, move away from the area. Now they can stay in touch from every corner of the world and can follow each other's antics on social networks.  That aspect of the new technology is incredibly positive and only those, like me,who are old enough to remember the days before the internet, mobile phones and digital cameras can really appreciate that.


Man's best friend

This is the little Parsons Jack Russell that befriended us at Cruden Bay yesterday afternoon (yes, I know it looks nothing like a JR but the owner assured  me that is what it is!). Will and I went for a drive at lunchtime and ended up at this delightful little village on the coast. I love going there. The sandy beaches are almost always deserted and there is something wonderfully relaxing about listening to the waves crashing against the harbour wall. The little dog ran over to us before we could even get out of the car and stuck around for the hour or so we were there. He was a bundle of energy and a great little fellow. His owner is a regular there, so I'm sure we'll meet up again.

Let's just start again

I'm slowly recovering from some kind of nasty bug which has really knocked the wind out of my sails since the new year. The great thing about getting over 50 is that the NHS starts taking your complaints seriously. In fact they become very proactive (sorry, hate that word) about testing and prevention. I have nothing but good things to say about my experiences with my GPs over the years. And on the few occasions a hospital consultation has been required I have been pleasantly surprised with the efficiency of the service.

Having a couple of very attractive female doctors doesn't hurt either!

Anyway, with luck I should be able to crank up my postings to a more respectable level again soon. You have been warned ;)

Bon Appetit!

We have friends popping over for dinner this evening. It's a retro meal. Avocado mousse with king prawns.  Salmon with currants, ginger and butter in pastry.  Raspberry and passion fruit Pavlova. All made from scratch, of course. It's a really easy menu with no last minute rushing around required. My days of 'competitive' dinner party cooking have long gone. I want minimum hassle, minimum kitchen time and maximum socializing/boozing. Cheers!

Bloody 'ell

Test confusion 'risk to patients'
Many junior doctors do not understand common hospital laboratory tests and are putting patients at risk as a result, biochemists have claimed. The Annals of Clinical Biochemistry reports that 18% of more than 80 junior doctors surveyed were happy to order a test they could not fully interpret. The Association for Clinical Biochemistry blamed poor teaching of the subject at medical schools.
It's not just junior doctors. I listened to the practice nurse at my GP surgery inform me a few weeks ago that my blood fats results were not very impressive. It appeared, according to her interpretation of the results that I had liquified lard coursing through my veins whereas, in fact, my results weren't just good they were bloody fantastic but the nurse had got her HDL and LDL cholesterol mixed up. I had a quiet word with my GP suggesting a little re-training might be in order as this nurse was probably frightening the life out of patients on a daily basis.

Where's my walking stick?

I drove to the hospital earlier today to drop off a bunch of flowers and a get-well card for the elderly gent who collapsed in the station yesterday. I wasn't expecting to be allowed in to see the old guy, but to my surprise one of the nurses said it wasn't a problem and ushered me into his room.

He was sitting up and looked quite chipper. His main concern was his 'staff' or walking stick which had gone missing and the fact that they had cut his clothes off with a pair of shears in the emergency room, where he had gone into cardiac arrest a second time. He was pissed-off about that. I resisted the temptation to tell him that he should be happy to still be with us, clothes or no clothes, given that the grim reaper had him by the short and curlies a couple of times, but I held my tongue.

His wife was with him and she was finally able to solve the mystery of why he hadn't wacked his head  on the ground.  I had been able to grab him in time and lower him gently to the floor, avoiding a nasty bump to his bonce.  I shook his hand and wished him well and we had a little chat before I made my excuses and left. It was good to see him looking bright and perky. With luck he should be around for a few more years. He came so close to checking out. It makes you think...

On the way to the exit I spotted a very old and frail looking woman in a wheelchair just outside the main door. Her drip was on a stand next to her and she was enthusiastically puffing on a cigarette. Driving out I noticed the sign, 'Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. This is a smoke free zone'. You've got to laugh!

ER at BR

I was at Aberdeen railway station earlier this evening  when I spotted an elderly gent appear to stumble. I grabbed him just as he started to collapse and quickly realised that something was seriously wrong. A couple of coppers came over and we got him into the recovery position just as a young woman arrived and announced that she was a doctor! She started to loosen his clothing to try and make him more comfortable. Of course, being an old timer, he had a shirt and tie, a pullover, a vest, a jacket and an overcoat. While she was trying to undo some of these garments the doctor realised that the guy had stopped breathing and so we turned him on his back to begin mouth to mouth. He almost immediately arrested and we struggled to get his clothes quickly undone. I did my 'Trauma' bit by ripping his shirt and vest open and the doc gave mouth to mouth while one of the officers did cardiac compressions.
I can do CPR but there were others about who were probably more proficient than I am and, to be frank, the scene reminded me of my mother's heart attack in the street when heroic attempts at resuscitation completely failed to save her. I didn't feel like going through that again. I stepped back and looked at the guy, probably in his eighties, and thought to myself 'I don't think you're going to make it, old timer'. Another member of the public took over the compressions and after a few minutes the patient started breathing and his pulse returned. Just at this point his wife appeared.  She had arrived at the station to collect her husband only to find him lying on the ground surrounded by strangers.  Fortunately, by this time he was breathing on his own and lying in the recovery position with an ambulance on it's way.  I said my goodbyes and left.

I hope the old timer recovers fully. He's over the first hurdle - about half of all heart attack victims die before even reaching hospital - but he's certainly not out of the woods.  I tried ringing A&E to see how he was but I gave up after several attempts. Aberdeen's main hospital and you can't get anyone to pick up the bloody phone at 8pm on a Thursday evening!  Jeez. Not that they would tell me anything. They'd probably quote 'Data Protection' or Terror legislation or EU rules or some such bollocks.

If I was religious I'd say a little prayer for the old timer but I'm not so I'll just have to hope the guy makes it and manages to stick around for a bit longer. Life is sweet, after all.

(Update: Visited him in hospital a day later, where he seemed fully recovered)

Farewell my lovely old fella

I had to have our much loved old cat, Jim, put to sleep this afternoon. It completely broke me up.

He was a great survivor and had a very happy and contented life but in the end there was nothing more we could do for him and I wanted him to have a peaceful and painless death. The veterinary staff were wonderful, as they always are on these occasions. I brought him home and cleaned him up ready for burial tomorrow.

For years he had suffered from a chronic sinus infection which meant he would sneeze a lot, usually covering everything close by in foul smelling snot. He had improved quite a lot in the last year or so and his sneezes were not as explosive. After the vet had checked Jim’s heart to confirm that he had died he went out of the room to collect a large cloth so I could wrap Jim to take him home. While he was out Jim let go one last sneeze! It was a reflex, of course, but - through the tears - it brought a little smile to my face. I shall miss him a lot.

A real car again

Took the Astra back to the garage today and reclaimed my old MR2. It was damp, noisy and bloody uncomfortable but oh, what a joy after driving that old-aged pensioner's carriage around. Things actually happen the moment you press the accelerator, not 3 seconds later. You don't have to wait until the road is clear for 3 miles before pulling out. It doesn't feel like it's going to tip over when you go round a corner. OK, you can only get two people in it and a very small amount of luggage. That's a problem? The Astra was comfortable, easy to get in and out of, commodious and pretty well drove itself but it was DULL! I've driven like Jesus for the last seven days and I've decided I much prefer something a little more devilish under the bonnet. Vroom! Vroom!

361 days to the sales

I've never understood the January sales, (which used to start in January but got earlier and earlier until they now begin immediately after Christmas - or even Christmas day on the internet). Why anybody would be eager to be up and waiting outside a shop at 9am on Boxing day morning just to save a few bob is completely beyond me.  Haven't they spent enough before Christmas?   And what is it with sofas?  Every other ad on TV seems to be for a furniture shop or warehouse (and DFS, of course). Then there are the Christmas 2008 shoppers. People buying up gift packs from this Christmas which haven't sold and are now on offer at half price or less. Is there anything sadder than hearing someone utter the words - "Oh yes, I do all my Christmas shopping in January" ?


360 days to Christmas

Woo! Over for another year. Lets see: Harry's luggage was lost and didn't arrive until Boxing day. Tom was unwell when he arrived and then had the worst two days of diarrhoea he's ever had. The cat decided that this was the time for it to begin it's final exit from this world. Louise put her neck out and had to find a physio during the Christmas holiday. Will doesn't eat beef and was going to have chicken for Christmas lunch only nobody bought any so he had two well-done sausages instead and now has whatever Tom had.

Merry fucking Christmas!

UPDATE: This is me being cynical. It was wonderful to see my daughter and granddaughter for Christmas, I just wish we'd had more time together and not been surrounded by step-brother sickness and a dying cat! I'm seriously thinking about spending Christmas in some snow covered resort next year. In fact Louise and Marli went to Lapland a couple of years back and had a great time. I need to check it out.