March 2010 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

Parents’ Holiday in Northern England (31st March 2010)

Mum and Dad depart for their Easter holiday today. I’ll be looking after the house, myself and our 27 Guinea Pigs (6 adults, 21 babies). Friday and Monday are Bank Holidays so I will be off work.

2nd April 2010

Went for a pretty long cycle ride. Was the same area as my 8 mile ride 2 years ago but with a wider route and visited the landmarks in a different order. It was just what I needed!

  1. Nearby woods, quite damp but always familiar.
  2. Basingbourne Park, bright and open.
  3. Basingstoke Canal via Pondtail bridges, getting warmer and overtook some couples.
  4. Farnborough overflow, which wasn’t overflowing and the canal level looks lower than it should.
  5. Pyestock tracks, doing my favourite and most technical route.
  6. Fleet Pond, accidentally starting with the sunny field North-East of it. A most delightful navigation error!
  7. Fleet Pond embankment and picnic area, rode up (and down) some (very) steep tracks for the first time.
  8. Got up the most difficult track (which I regularly attempt) on the 3rd or 4th try.
  9. Fleet Pond shore, where some couples were playing with a dog so I just passed through.
  10. Pondtail woods, jumping from a tree’s raised roots over the muddly ditch and into the concrete end of the road, whilst carrying my bicycle!

Even though there was hardly a soul to be seen, the area is full of birdsong and plantlife. So much so that it feels less lonely than being at home, where there are neighbours a matter of metres away in all directions!

4th April 2010

Long phone call with Zoe, catching up on times old and new. Bit of a heart-to-heart as well, something I find difficult but welcome.

5th April 2010

Honey had died overnight or during the morning. No sign of marks or illness, seems she just keeled over. Was one of the oldest adults, perhaps even a generation older than Lad?

Honey had been climbing up the cage to be fussed over the past couple of and I’d obliged. Had also been giving them all some apple treats and a fresh hay bed the night before, so I guess it was as good a send-off as could be hoped. Now down to 5 adults but all 21 babies are healthy…especially their voices!

Vaccum cleaned the whole house, starting with my bedroom. Had the windows open since I was hoovering up lots of dust. Now I think about it, this was technically Spring Cleaning!

Mum and Dad called and will be returning tomorrow afternoon. I’ll pick up a Charcoal Grill take-away for us all, on my way back from work. Large Shish Kebab with a small amount of salad and a portion of chips has become quite a favourite for me.

Refuelled My Car for 3rd or 4th Time? (21st March 2010)

Went to Tesco in Aldershot. Remembered to do the filler cap, press the button on the pump and offer my Tesco Clubcard when paying at the kiosk. Still feels like a bit of an event plus I’m now competent at it. Neat!

The previously blogged refuelling was near the end of last year. That’s a long time ago. The one before December that was my first ever refuelling in October 2009, two months apart.

Have I missed a refuelling event from my blog earlier this year? Does it matter? To me, to a small degree, yes it does.

Cycled to Tweseldown & Beacon Hill (21st March 2010)

Several tough hills on the roads to reach and get over Tweseldown, then some more before I found a way into the MOD on which Beacon Hill stands. Got back home at precisely 6pm, very much by luck more than judgement!

Backup of Important Files (20th March 2010)

Decided not to socialise on Friday night this week, instead coming home for a somewhat early night. This allowed me a nice long sleep deep into Saturday morning followed by a slow breakfast. Lovely. The rest of the day was ahead of me.

  1. Published some new letters for Calthorpe Park School.
  2. Used Sage within Firefox 2 to catch up on feeds, forums and suchlike.
  3. Started remodelling and retexturing the East of Tiny Tiny Town Arena.
  4. Had pizza as a family lunch.
  5. Wrote a couple of e-mails.
  6. Defragmented the hard drive.
  7. Had dinner.
  8. Watched some TV.
  9. Compacted messages from Outlook. (Ideally would have done this before defragmenting but the message only popped up afterwards!)
  10. Preened.
  11. Went back to PC.

At about 6:45pm I remembered I’d been meaning to do a backup for ages. Found the power lead for the external hard drive and by 7pm was transferring files. Somehow it seemed like a perfect time to fit this errand in, as my weekend looked nice and clear.

Folders Copied to External Hard Drive

Mothers’ Day Eating & Driving (14th March 2010)

  1. Drove to Zoe’s new place in Ash Vale to collect her. A mild, giggling panic to clear some fizzy drink she spilt whilst getting in. It hasn’t stained.
  2. Drove us to Tesco in Aldershot for last-minute Mothers’ Day shopping. Found some Daffodils and adorable butterfly wrapping paper.
  3. Drove back to where I live, at home with mum and dad. (That might be changing, though.)
  4. Replied about viewing a flat next week. (See what I mean? Exciting times!)
  5. Drove the family to The Hatchgate.
    1. I had the 8oz burger with cheese, bacon and tomato. Comes with a small but flavoursome salad and a bowl of chips. Shared the chips but polished off all the rest of it by myself! So soft and just the right temperature...delicious.
    2. For dessert I had the Sticky Toffee Pudding, after considering the Chocolate Fudge Cake. I remembered enjoying one of them before and, upon the first bite, quickly confirmed it was the Sticky Toffee Pudding.
  6. Drove back to Ash Vale so Zoe could stop at some shops.
  7. Turn around and dropped her off at home, saving her location into my car’s SatNav. (Dad’s given me his previous TomTom. I’ll migrate to that…somewhen. It’s super-intuitive.)
  8. Drove mum and dad back home.

Mum was able to chill out for most of the day, as it should be. We went and squeaked at the Guinea Pigs. There is now a huge herd of babies!

Incidentally, the concrete slabs of the patio and path were replaced by off-the-shelf bluish dappled paving a week or so before this.

Blocked from my Websites & E-mail (13th March 2010)

Was unable to view any of the websites or e-mail address for myself and my host. Very important as I’m trying to arrange viewings of places to rent in London. It was like this for over a week!

Thankfully one call to my host was met with a quick solution. Seems the server blocks access to machines which request the same page too many times. I’d had the GTA 2 landing page set as my browser’s homepage, so that matched the symptoms.

My host took my IP off that list for me. Now all is well again and my access back!

Affected Websites

Tried Thai Food (12th March 2010)

Had the Char Grilled Duck with some Jasmine Rice and loved it! Chose the Homemade Lemonade to drink and that was really tasty…tasted like Summer, now I think about it.

Zoe’s Birthday Lunch & Moving House (7th March 2010)

We arrived at her place in the morning. Dad and I started by moving the fridges, a chest of draws and a TV down the crazy-steep stairs and into the truck. Mum took her car as well and we filled both vehicles!

Drove the short way to Zoe’s new place and unloaded the things which be staying there. The rest we brought home to go in storage.

The Wyvern is where we went for lunch. I ordered the 8oz Sirloin Steak and had it cooked Medium. Previously I would always order Well Done. But then I remembed the company’s delicious Xmas lunch last year, so decided to try something new.

Glad I did. It was outstanding! Reminded me of why I love steak. It has actually been a long time since I’ve had steak at a pub.

Interestingly, I had also had steak at Zoe’s birthday 2 years ago!

Lost my Blood Donor Pin (5th March 2010)

The pin from my 10th blood donation (Bronze Award) was attached to my coat but has dropped off at some point. It had a fairly involved clasp mechanism, not the usual spike resting in a hoop. I’m sad to have misplaced it, hopefully can get a replacement at my next donation.

Plans for Moving from Hampshire to London? (5th March 2010)

My 1½–2-hour commute to and from London every workday has lost much of its charm. Still a chance to do a bit of walking, people-watching and loping up escalators two steps at a time. But most of the time is spent on semi-comfortable seats. Often with selfish men’s elbows jabbing into my already scrunched-up frame.

Moving to within walking distance of work has several “push and pull factors” in its favour, in the GCSE Geography vernacular.