Friday, 11 March 2011

Ups and Downs

On the up side this week I was on a training course learning about the programming language for Microsoft SQL Server; we have 4 servers running this at work and people have occasionally asked me to do things on them which I have done but it has always taken me longer than I would have expected.

The course was terrific, I learnt loads and now feel pretty confident that I will be able to satisfy any requests that my madcap friends at work land on my desk.

On the down side the course was held in a building just outside Euston station which mean that I had to use the tube each day to get there and back from Waterloo; it only takes 10 mins but the tube is my least favourite form of transport. Although the course started at 09:00 each day (apart from the first where registration started at 08:00) I continued to get there for 08:00 – which meant I avoided the crush of rush hour.

The finish time of 16:30 was a factor in my not being able to use the usual trains to return home, and even coming back to a different station and catching a cab I ended up returning home 30 mins or more later than usual.

My fellow tube sufferers were a pretty standard cross section of working stiffs in London apart from one dude on Wednesday; he was wearing a suit and tie, carrying an electric blue briefcase and had a bowler had painted to match. The real killer detail was that he had a “face pack” of matching colour on his face and hands; I have no idea what was going on but was impressed by the sang-froid of my fellow travellers who acted as though nothing unusual was going on!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Hot Lava Java

On Monday of last week I made a very interesting discovery in my local supermarket; I was looking for ground coffee to fuel the start of my working day and they had none of their Fairtrade strength 5 on the shelves.

What they did have was Taylors of Harrogate Hot Lava Java which is a mind blowing strength 6! A blend of Java Arabica beans and Indian Robust (which deliver the high caffeine content) not only does it deliver what it says on the packet but it is very flavour full to my taste buds.

At the end of the week I returned to buy more but there was none to be found, last night it had returned so I bought 2 packs to keep me going.

A must buy for lovers of strong tasty coffee.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Nothing To See Here, Move Along People

I have been busier than a very busy thing at work for the last 6 months making changes to our application and wrestling with the quirks and eccentricities of the software that we use. The current score is 3 to 2 in my favour but that could change rapidly – especially if I have to use functionality for the first time.

Call me old fashioned but there is no substitute for a reference manual for a software application, one where all of the commands (and their purpose) are defined. If it also supplies examples of how to put them together to achieve specific goals that is a real positive.

What I face is a help file which does none of the above.

Still things are looking up, I delivered my second release of our application on the last Saturday in January and nothing has gone pear shaped (as yet) and after 10 months in the job I am starting to get a feel for when the underlying software is not going to play nice.

This week I received official confirmation that I had successfully completed my probation period and am now a permanent employee; which in these troubled times is a good place to reach.

In other news I was diagnosed with bad cataracts in both eyes last September (which explained my blurry vision for the last year or so) and after much faffing about/deliberation they finally decided to replace the lens(s) with ones that will almost correct my short sightedness rather than fully correct it. This took around 6 weeks but I finally had the first operation just over 2 weeks ago and what a difference.

Less than 24 hours after the op the vision in my right eye had come back into focus, colours were amazingly vibrant and the world is a much clearer place. Had the post op assessment on Tuesday and they were pleased with the recovery – looking to schedule the second op sometime in the next 4 weeks and I can hardly wait for it to be done.

It was a strange experience to know that your eye was being cut into and the old lens taken out but there was no pain and the procedure took around 30 minutes to complete.

I had my spare specs modified to replace the right hand lens with clear glass but found that using them was causing some double vision to occur so I stopped wearing them after the first week. Now for the first time since I was 7 years old I am not wearing glasses, the joy of waking up in the morning and not having to scrabble around for them before getting up is a fantastic feeling.

Will need to get another pair to fully correct the short sightedness but cannot have an eye test until 4 to 6 weeks after the second op; my consultant told me to get a cheap pair made up to correct -3 in both eyes but this is going to prove tricky. In the nanny state of England optical dispensers cannot supply glasses without a written prescription that is less than two years old; will try mailing the hospital to see if they will send me something which allows my local dispenser to meet my needs.