Back in the pool this morning after a somewhat indulgent week and a half. Still have some travel in the calendar but it is coming towards the end and I’m quite looking forward to a sensible few weeks before Christmas and its insensibilities. Weetabix and banana for breakfast and now a pot of tea in the office.
I’m now “waiting for the conference host to join” at a webrtc based video conf. He is late. I’m not willing to wait too long. He arrived. We had the chat.
Bowl of Heinz tomato soup for lunch with a chunk of cheese and my home-made bread. It’s stood the test of time. ie one night. I think I might have found my vocation:) Been somewhat told off by Anne for buying more flour when we already had loads in the cupboard. It was a spur of the moment purchase in Waitrose and I didn’t know what ingredients we already had. We didn’t have any yeast so that bit was worth buying. I also bought some seeds but found they were roasted in soy sauce so not appropriate. Ah well. Will eat them sometime. Anyway I’m going to be making a lot more bread. It’s a good skill to have especially if what comes out is high quality.
Had a nice 90 minute chat on the phone with Mair from Radio Cymru. Longer than planned but it matters not. Then did a short facebook live broadcast see it below. I think I’ll be doing more, maybe when there are more people around.
Just back at looking at a car for Anne. John needs to be insurable on it. Will need to look at it with Coops and also see who would insure it. The insurance is a job for tonight.
Featured image – pumpkins very kindly donated to us by Martin Britten from his allotment.
Clocks went back this morning. Yay. A relaxed start to the day although somewhat tempered by the fact that at 9.30am Anne discovered that John’s hockey meet was at 9.30am. He got dressed, ate a bacon sandwich and brushed his teeth within 5 minutes and we were out of the house. Those that had already arrived were huddled under the canopy of the university sports centre entrance to avoid the drizzle.
Got down to watch the match at half time. We (Lindum 6ths) were winning 2 – 0 v Hull University 3rds. The final score was 4 – 1 so nice to see us win. I’m getting to quite like hockey. Just waiting for John now and drop him off at home before nipping to the shops for a few essential supplies.
I note btw that the max temperature in Krakow next friday is 4℃ with a min of 0℃. I will be taking my thermals. I may even purchase a stout pair of shoes. My around town walking shoes are starting to come apart. Ve shall see.
Just back from Waitrose. Forgot my Waitrose card which was a nuisance as it meant I couldn’t use the scanners as I went along. Instead went into the self scan area at the checkout. Before going I’d asked John what sort of bread he wanted. Brown. Whilst pushing the trolley around the store I had a brainwave. I’d bake some brown bread. Got home and told John. “Oh” was the response:) I’m doing it anyway. Before I start on the sausage casserole.
For some reason I’m listening to the Birmingham v Aston Villa game on radio 5 live. They are billing it as “The Second City Derby”. What a non name.
Featured image – the ingredients for the sausage casserole: sausages, bacon, garlic, onions, mixed herbs, thyme, bay leaves, chopped dried red chilli, worcestershire sauce, dark brown muscovado sugar, tomato puree, tomatoes, red pepper, mushrooms, chicken stock, butter beans. I may have missed something but it matter not. The recipe visible is a red herring btw. I am not cooking chicken tagine.
It’s been a productive afternoon. I’ll posts pics of the bread when it’s done.
This video is far from the definitive version. I think I may have to do another in a more structured manner and using a fuller bottle of HP.
This video is fine and poses the question “What colour is the sky?”
Great to wake up in my own bed with my girl. I made the tea and at breakfast had a bacon sandwich with a glass of milk. Aahh. The mail included a replacement M&S credit card. Hmm. I’d only used it once because they had some sort of offer on that Anne wanted to take advantage of. Paid off the £10 owing and then cut it up and forgot about it. Called them up this morning and cancelled the account.
There is now a huge pile of washing from ten days away and a few jobs to do. The main one is to nip down to the post office to pick up a book that they tried to deliver. Jan Morris’ book on Trieste. John also brought me a book about the Gulags back from his trip to Leningrad and Mockba. Plenty to keep me going.
Back in the UUUK the weather is autumnal. It’s jeans and jumper weather rather than the shorts and t shirt of Madreeed. That’s ok. I like the autumn. It’s cosy. I may even light the fire tomorrow afternoon. Just because I can.
Back from the trip to the post office. It was abandoned in its infancy because a traffic alert kicked in saying it was an University Open Day. It isn’t worth going anywhere near town on these days. The traffic is so bad. The Firth Road depot is bang in the middle of it all. Instead went straight to Waitrose to buy ingredients for the sausage casserole John and I are planning for tomorrow evening.
Anne has been out blowing the leaves away from the front drive. I think they end up in the green bin. I suppose I should know:) We have big leave issues in the back garden at this time of year. It’s a non stop battle. Dad has been sweeping up the leaves in The Grove in the Isle of Man. Mam used to do it but it is good that he now gets up and does these jobs. Innit.
More as it happens…
Just spent 45 mins or so sawing wood at the bottom of the garden. Unfortunately I’ve lost the main bit off the chainsaw so that’s unuseable. Probably a good thing as it’s dangerous but very handy when you want to slice through lots of wood in a hurry. Anyway I thought I’d prep some for tomorrow afternoon. It doesn’t look as if it is going to be particularly cold but it is in keeping with the feel of the season. A warming sausage casserole, perhaps with some nice crusty bread and a log fire in the grate.
Took John out to play footy in Welton at around 14.45. Picking him up at 16.45 then dropping him back home before meeting Geoff Thompson for a swift un in the Prince. We are off to Jezzers for an hour then the Tap and Spile.
The notable thing when taking off from Madrid airport is the ring of mountains that encircles the place. The curtains have been drawn between the cabins and I can smell food from the galley. I have an empty seat besides me so the flight is going to be as pleasant as a flight can be. Champagne will be consumed. As well as this laptop I have my Bose phones on and am listening to some jazz. I also have The Prado Guide purchaysed at the museum a week ago. A heavy book, both weight-wise and reading-wise, it is keeping me interested. I pretty much finished the History of Carmarthenshire book whilst at the RIPE conference. Read as much of it as I wanted to for the moment anyway. Need to see if I can now track down a reasonably priced volume two. The weather has improved considerably since the visit to the Prado. As I leave it is just like an early September day in the UK. So Madrid is about 6 weeks adrift of that. A menu has been distributed. One choice is salmon and triple cooked chips and fine beans. Struggling to see how triple cooked chips are going to do well out of it. Will opt for the Moroccan Lamb Tagine instead. Although this has been a week of over consumption I am looking forward to the taste of a proper bacon sandwich with a glass of milk for breakfast and a familiar beer early doors. As I recall we are off out to the Dawkinses for drinks early evening before heading to the Tap and Spike to see the Activators. Jezzer and Clare are going to a Halloween fancy dress party at the Burton Village Club. Rather them than me. Interesting landscape down there in Spain. Like a painting. Ridges, valleys filled with clouds. Dark ochre grey surroundings.
Guitar dances. Foot taps. Head nods. Words in front of me stay still.
Food arrives. Gin and tonic. Red wine. The evening starts.
I have a pretty tight connection in London. Flight lands at 18.10. I have hold luggage to collect. It is notionally 40 minutes by public transport to Kings Cross Station. The only direct train to Lincoln leaves at 19.06. I may make it or I may not. Fortunately my vast experience of the travel game resulted I’m my buying a flexible ticket so if I do miss the 19.06 there is another train to Newark at half past or thereabouts and my most gorgeous wife Anne has very generously offered to come and pick my up from Northgate Station. I am a lucky man.
The champagne has been opened. No pop. It’s a screw top. Safer. Innit. Boring though. I bet in the old days of BOAC they would have dished out the real mcoy. I quite like champagne. Decent stuff. This stuff is ok but nothing special. We usually go through between 60 and 80 bots at my xmas bash. I like that. Decadence. This year it isn’t my bash anymore. It’s a LONAP bash. What I was wearing when the titanic went down. I think champagne fits this as a “hey if I am going down I may as well not know anything about it and champagne would help with that”. The party the end of the universe. Or iceberg. Take your pick. A penguin suit would be appropriate, seeing as there is an iceberg involved though it was the wrong sort of ice. For a penguin it would need to be the Southern hemisphere. There is a knack to holding a party. It is a knack that I possess.
Whist I think of it you should know I am typing this on a MacBook Pro. It was the top of the range when I bought it a few months ago at around £1500. The top of the range is now £2300 thanks to the fall in Sterling against the dollar. Good job I already have one. Thanks Brexiteers. Thanks a bunch. £100 got us 95Euros from the cashpoint last week. It wasn’t so long ago it would have been 120 Euros. I am bitter about this. It isn’t that it is really affecting me. It’s just stoopid. It’s the economy stoopid. Good job the laptop will last me a fe years, I reckon.
Another (admittedly small – 187ml) champagne has magically arrived at my seat. good oh. Keith Jarret is playing the piano just for me. It’s pretty laid back stuff. A snare, hi hat and a double base to accompany him. The audience claps appreciatively.
An hour or so to go. It’s a relaxing enough trip. It’s been a good time away overall, with Anne for the first bit then the pretty exhausting conference schedule. It’s great when Anne and I go off on trips together. I am smiling just thinking about this. She has spent the last 24 years staying at home looking after 4 very demanding kids. Now her rewards are starting to come.
This guy is hammering the keys, whoever he is. Not looked. I bet pianos don’t last long with him. You can perhaps shut your eyes and imagine lively music with a strong piano line.
Ooo. Biggles up front has just said we expect to land at 17.55, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Still plenty of time for things go wrong but a good sign. I doubt his name is Biggles btw. That was just me being naughty after gin, red wine and champagne. Stay tuned.
Made the train with zero seconds to spare – they reopened the doors for me. Thanks to Matt Walster for the taxi share to Stratford International. 9pm pickup Lincoln Central.
Homeward bound this evening. It is still morning however. Had a bit of baguette with jam and butter for breakfast together with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup of tea (2 teabags in small teapot).
Checkout time is noon. I’ll be checked out before then and into the last conference session. Don’t need to leave until 2 ish assuming traffic is bad and it takes 45 mins to get to the airport. Flight is at 16.45.
Currently sat in Geoff Huston’s talk on IPv6 performance. He is always very entertaining. V6 is a lot less reliable than v4 in many parts of the world. By the looks of it. I’m checked out. Duffel bag in the care of the concierge. Heavy.
People have started to leave. I see flight paths appearing on Facebook. Taxi to airport with Rob Lister and Paul Thornton. I drew the short straw as they were going to T1 which came before T4 so I got dumped with the taxi fare:) The Iberia lounge is rammed and seriously needs some detritus collecting. At least they had cheese and ham sandwiches on offer which I was pleased to consume with a small bottle of water. Now have 90 minutes until departure. You are almost certain to get a lot of drivel out of me in that time.
Upon reflection RIPE73 was a successful conference. We will discuss it further at the LONAP board meeting next week but I think we got some good exposure.
The lounge has started to empty out. Must have been a lunchtime rush hour!
Featured image is the bottle of Tokaji we had last night. V nice.
Skipped breakfast this morning although I did nip down for a quick reviving espresso which is something I don’t normally do. Had a phone call with Mair from BBC Radio Cymru to discuss my forthcoming appearance on the Betti George show so thought I’d better be as awake as poss. In the end all we did was schedule an hour for a chat on Monday afternoon.
Last night Rob Lister and I went for dinner with Stefan from ECIX. Foie gras and steak and chips. Followed by more drinks back at the hotel. Urgh.
These conferences are a bit dull from a diary perspective. It’s the same thing every day. Conference talks, coffee break chats and then eating and drinking. Tonight is the Grand Dinner at the Madrid Casino. It’s very nice. I’ve been for a gala dinner there before. At another conference:) Not going to this one though. Have a better offer. See featured image.
Oh and we have our first rental booking for annesvans. More in due course (it’s late)
My belly is full. The food at the RIPE73 lunches is perfectly acceptable with plenty of choice. I tend to have salad but these are still quite substantial. It’s been a busy morning of chatting to folk and doing my little videos and now I’m just sat in the meeting room using the wifi before the next session starts. At that time I will move to the terrace as I’ve some work I need to get on with.
Last night was relatively quiet. A few beers and then a pizza in the place over the road to the hotel. Skipped the social bash which was in a nearby night club. Not my thang really. Got up at 9.30 in time for breakfast before it shuts at 10 I think.
Now outside by the pool. On one of the loungers. Shoes and socks off. As you do. No knotted handkerchief though. There is plenty of shade under the tree.
Another memorable night out last night as guests of our friends at INEX. Very pleasant company. Basically a wine and cheese evening at a caff called Casa Gonzalez. The waiter struggled at times to keep up with the orders for new bottles of wine. Hey this is the internet industry we are talking about:)
Otherwise spent the day at the RIPE meeting. Putting up posts on the LONAP Facebook page. Chatting to folk at the conference. Etc.
My pink and grey linen jacket made a bit of a stir. I may well wear it again tonight. I have the blue flowery one for the dinner on Thursday.
Sat outside on the terrace above the pool. There is no indoor pool and the weather hasn’t been massively conducive to swimming outdoors. It is forecast to improve tomorrow. The terrace was v busy when I got here but now it has gone quiet. Everyone has finished their fag and gone back in. Quite a pleasant place to do a bit of work. Shorts and LONAP t shirt.
Slightly bleary eyed start to the first day at RIPE73. Someone was having a loud conversation in Spanish in the room next to us at 1.30am. I had to stand by the connecting door and say shhhhh equally loudly. Fitful sleep after that until we decided to get up at 6.50 for Anne to leave at 8am for the airport.
The breakfast room was surprisingly busy at that time of day with what looked like several coach loads of tourists forcing us into the overflow section around the bar. Whether it was just too early for me I know not but none of what was on offer looked particularly appetising. I had some croissants and fruit and yoghurt. Note the photo showing carrots next to the baked beans!
Anne got away on time and I went back to bed. Now all signed in to the RIPE73 conference and now doing stuff. This week will be all about social media. First vid has gone live on the lonap Facebook page. See below. Also we are looking for more page “likers”and followers so feel free to take a skeet and share here. This also being Spain the timings of the day are skewed to take into consideration local practices. The conference starts at 10am and lunch is between 1.30 and 3pm. In fact the first plenary today isn’t until 3pm so I’m a little early for the craic. 646 folks signed up for this conference. That will be a lot of cups of coffee during the course of the week And a lot of beer.
btw can you tell which is the real me in the photo in the lift? Was taken last night. Couldn’t have been this morning as a) I’m not wearing my lonap shirt and b) the lifts were all heaving as the people from the breakfast room began to take their luggage down to reception to catch their busses.
Another wet day on our feet in Madreeed. Apparently they have had five months without rain so it is badly needed. Can’t begrudge em that.
Late up agin and consumed a very fine spanish omlette for breakfast with HP sauce.
Metro’d it to la Latina for the El Rastro flea market. See vids below. Then Metro’d and walked to the Naval Museum. Not a mention of Francis Drake although Nelson was credited with killing off the Spanish navy. Lots of walking.
Lunch in a caff called MasQMenos fwiw. Iberico jamon y brie sandwich rustico.
Walked back to the Intercontinental to pick up our stuff then taxi to the Melia Castilla which is going to be my home for the next 5 day’s RIPE conferencing. Will be able to unpack and find out what exactly I forgot to pack when coming out last Wednesday:)