The luck of the Irish 
It's St Patrick's day. And it's raining. At last. The whole North Island and large chunks of the South Island has been declared a drought zone. Bronwyn says she's come across paddocks with large areas completely bare, and dams run right dry. Fortunately, our dam is huge, and is only a few inches below the overflow pipe. And we're only down to 60% on the water tank. We haven't had a lot of rain, but it should be enough to get the grass growing.

Bronwyn has finished. Yes, there's still a few houses who weren't in, or haven't got round to doing the forms, or refused to do the forms, but she can hand them over to the district coordinator to sort out. This is a little tricky, because her district coordinator resigned last week after working far too many hours. So Bronwyn has been talking to the area coordinator instead. There's the handover next week, and she's got a lot of paperwork to sort out. You wouldn't think that it would be quite such a complex operation, but there's all sorts of things that might go wrong. Including the one house where Bronwyn got no answer, and saw some, um, paraphernalia on the table, and had a quiet qord with the police...

I've been really busy at work. And we've now got a big Australian contract which I've been doing in my spare time. Didn't feel well last week. I had to take some time off sick, and they just had to do without me!

Allan's sweetcorn is mostly harvested. We're onto the last third. He put an advert on Facebook and sold seversl hundred cobs. He stuffed a suitcase full of them and shipped them out around the lower South Island. I've got some stashed in the fridge and freezer. Meanwhile, I'm working on the carrot patch. Still plenty to go there, and at least it lasts longer than the sweetcorn does!

Rachael has found a new friend. Well, she knew her before, but now they ring each other up every night. Rachael got a story published a month or two ago about autism, and how she'd worked to overcome it. Charlie spotted it. Charlie has aspbergers, and had a really rough time at school last year. Meanwhile, Charlie's mum has left and gone to Tauranga, leaving her with her grandparents. So we've all been helping out. I upgraded their PC from a 2002 version of XP to something that generally works, and got her grandmother set up with an email address, which wasn't easy since they're only on a wet piece of string for internet, and rain has been hard to come by lately...

[ add comment ] ( 1016 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3 / 1340 )
A screwdriver in the dark 
Bronwyn's been struggling with asthma this weekend. Fortunately, she's finished all her deliveries, so it's all set for The Big Day on Tuesday. So long as the forms actually got delivered. Apparently some postman has been collecting the blank forms back out of the mailboxes, and posting them back to HQ...

Had some rain this morning. Didn't last long. Don't think we'll get any more this week. At least it pays to be complete tramps at this time of year. We've still got 75% left in the tank. I've been sticking the hosepipe at the base of the trees and leaving it on for an hour or two per tree to get them some water.

Last year, we had problems with the old filestore at work. It was a bit on the slow side. So someone offered to set up some storage space on his shiny new machine, and link it through to us. I had to get up just after midnight to switch it over. This year, I found out that this guy was charging us more each month than the old filestore was worth. Someone else offered to install a spare server he had, which had high speed disks and plenty of space. However, he decided that we ought to be able to fit all our servers into a half size rack. So in anticipation, he installed the thing in the small rack, with a cable to the main rack. Of course, our servers aren't going to fit in the half rack, and we haven't got the cash to buy shiny (and smaller) new ones.

He'd also installed a version of Linux that I'd never had experience of, and failed to get the network configuration working, thus leaving it unreachable. I ended up taking it back to the office. He'd also prevented anyone from reinstalling a different operating system on it; there was a password on the BIOS config. But I got it working, and put it back, in the main rack of course.

I got up at midnight again and tried to switch it over, but it had crashed that evening, and I ended up fixing the chaos on the rest of the system instead.

I went in again, retrieved it and gave it the old screwdriver-across-the-battery-contacts trick to clear all the settings. 'E wake up. 'E know nothing. I set it up properly, and then returned it.

Got up at three yesterday morning and switched it over. Fingers crossed, it's still running...

Four redundancies, and now the boss has resigned. And there's some talk about Due Diligence. We shall see...

[ add comment ] ( 2759 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3 / 1283 )
Working too hard 
Had a very busy couple of weeks at work. All the schools are back, and as usual, they've left things until about a week after the last moment, and we're now getting frantic calls because the parents want to log in, nobody's checked the school database and they assumed it would be done in a single click. Ah well. I guess it's nearly as bad as expecting teachers to spell correctly.

And it might get busier. We've just had four redundancies. I've been told not to worry, and that I'll probably be the last man standing. Not sure I want to be in that position; it's much easier sitting down. But I'm now taking on extrs work to make up for the guy who left our team. It's going to be chaos.

My manager finally got round to juicing some fruit and veg up for me as part of our plan to Get Healthy. However, today's juice was mostly orange and carrot, and it was rather strong. I'm hoping we can diversify a bit before my teeth fall out.

Bronwyn's been out most days handing out forms for the census. Every form has a code number on it, which she has to carefully note down in her book. She has nine different sets of forms, and nine different sets of pages in her book, corresponding to the different areas she has to cover, and she's not allowed to mix them up. She has to keep an eye out for houses that didn't exist for the last census, and many are down long winding driveways up in the hills. There are also an assortment of difficult customers, angry dogs and drug dens to deal with. But she's been making good progress so far, and met her target last week. Nobody knows the district as well as her right now...

Allan's sweetcorn is ready. Apparently he's not planning to sell it, despite having spent a grand on seed,irrigation equipment and a pump. He just doesn't have the time. So we're going to have sweetcorn coming out of our ears. Carrots are pretty much ready too, and I picked our first watermelon yesterday.

And I had a quick chat with the Prime Minister on Saturday. He was opening the new surf and community centre at the beach near us, and the brass band was playing there too. Didn't get much of a conversation. Had more fun discussing the scene with a couple of police officers. They were there on duty until the PM left. It occurred to me that if it was Britain, there would be secret sevice agents everwhere. "Ah", said the policeman. "how do you know they're not here?". He then turned to his colleague and said "Where is he, anyway?" and they went off hunting for him in the crowd...

Still no rain. At least we have a large lake to draw from. The ground is bare and dusty. One of the sheep keeps climbing through the fence and mowing our lawn for us. At least it sticks to the grass...

[ add comment ] ( 1039 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 2.9 / 536 )
The secret tunnel, and the bucket of A4. 
I've been borrowing a Samsung tablet from work. It's got a GPS function, so I took it up into the bush and I've been trying to map out some of the areas we've never been in. Today, after thrashing through a hundred metres of dense undergrowth, losing my pencil and bumping into the old (barbed wire) fence, I discovered a large bucket. It was well and truly buried in the darkest corner of the forest, and according to the label, it used to hold 20 litres of mayonnaise. Odd. After a bit more thrashing I found a track, and a label marked 'A4'. There are bait stations right through the bush to control possums, and I'd discovered the fourth on on line A.

And a secret track I didn't know about. On Rachael's suggestion, we left the bucket upturned on a tree stump for the next intrepid traveller, and marked the spot on the map. I'd lost my pencil, so in true explorer style I used some of the blood from the cut on me knee. There was another label pointing to another track which allegedly led to A5 and then on to the B line, although the track was impossible to spot. We left that adventure for another day...

It rained on Monday. Got about 4cm. You wouldn't guess it now. It's all dried up again!

[ 2 comments ] ( 24167 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3 / 1361 )
We've had a quiet week, so I might mention a bit more of the fun last week. I'm just about recovered. Mummy says I'm too old to be doing rock concerts on the night shift. Went to a few of the later bands as well. The arena was pretty well packed to the back, but round the far side it was possible to wheedle your way up to the compressed throng of bodies. Not sure why they call it a mosh pit. There's no pit, just a patch of trampled and dusty Waikato grassland. A lot of people were complaining of dust in the lungs. Fortunately I wasn't close enough to get caught up in that. Either that, or by 11pm they were too tired to kick up the dust! Afterwards, there remained a dedicated crowd of hangers on at the front, hoping for a souvenir drumstick or two, plus a pile of discarded water bottles and jandals (flip flops). Obviously jandal flinging must be in this year.

Fantastic light show. No idea how many there were, but must were motorised, and could swing round to focus back and forth, and change patterns. Plus a few floodlights lower down, and a graphical display at the back. It made the performers look a bit on the small side!

Got back to the cafe and was going to help pack down the enpty boxes. I usually use a key to cut the tape. Ah. Er... where's my keys? On a hunch, I headed in the other direction. Yup. Still in the ignition.

On the last night, half the youth group turned up near the cafe, and I wanted to buy them a few hot chocolates. Except that the whole site was running off smart cards attached to our wristbands. There was one kiosk for topups, but it didn't do eftpos at 1am. Fortunately there's a permanent ATM on site, so eventually I managed to charge up my wrist and buy some hot chocolates. As the night wore on, and the crowd thinned, but we were still mixing full jugs of chocolate, I took to siphoning off the last cup or two, and depositing it on the table for my friends to fight over. No point wasting good hot chocolate...

Girls are back at school tomorrow. I'll have to get up early for once and take Rach to the bus. Ug.

Bronwyn's got a job doing the census in a month or two. She's got a patch covering the farm and half the village, so she knows most of the houses. She's had to sign the official secrets act, and the completed forms have to be kept in a locked cupboard. Hmm. We don't have a lockable cupboard that big...

Might even get rain tomorrow. It's been long enough. It's dry and dusty out there. The garden hasn't done a lot for several weeks, although the watermelons are showing promise. Apparently they live in the desert. I remember we had quite a few in Botswana. Allan's sweetcorn is not far off harvest. Mmm...

[ add comment ] ( 1517 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3 / 1337 )

<<First <Back | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | Next> Last>>