Saturday 31 December 2011

Another dog

Ladysolly and I were walking along the footpath on our way to a cache, and we encountered a dog walker, with dog. The dog ran up to me and started its aggressive barking thing, so I just stood still and waited for it to go away, or for the owner to do something.

The owner, of course, called and yelled, the dog took no notice, and I carried on standing there, keeping an eye on the dog, because I don't want to be attacked from the rear.

Eventually, the owner reached where I was, and I told him "I think you should get your dog under control."

I was really surprised by his reaction. "Someone should get you under control!" he retorted. Huh? I was just standing there, not moving. Not shouting. Not being aggressive. "He's never done this before," he continued. I didn't tell him that the last time I heard that, it was just after I'd been bitten by an Alsatian. "You must have done something for him to react like that!" he said.

Well, I hadn't. I'd just stood there, waiting for the dog to go away, or get put on a lead, or something.  But in his mind, his lovely furry friend had never barked at anyone before, therefore it must be my fault.

Eventually, he walked on, still unable to get his dog under control, and for a while afterwards, his dog was rushing back to have another bark at me, and I could hear the owner calling futilely to get him back.

I suspect that this is an accident waiting to happen.

Thursday 29 December 2011

Wantage Wander

Down to Wantage with ladysolly today. Not a great many finds, but a good day out, and we managed to finish just before it rained.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Eine kleine schloff

Down to London today to see daughter.1 and grandchild.1, but I was so tired from yesterdays caching that I fell asleep on the sofa. I got another Christmas present - a teeshirt, saying "Black belt geocacher", which I'll be wearing proudly at some future event. And we discovered that 7-month-olds like chasing spots of light on the carpet, just like kittens.

Also, I took my new Kindle there, loaded up with various free (and legitimately so) things from Gutenburg. And I found out two facts - 1) I find reading on the Kindle rather a good experience, and 2) there's a lot of *good* free stuff on

And I've found that I can put MP3s on to the Kindle, and it plays them well. And I have a rather good collection of MP3s.

Tuesday 27 December 2011

A trip to Worthing

But first, a series of 18 caches plus a bonus just North of there, plus a couple of diversions to pick up three extras. That took me up to lunchtime, then I relocated to another ring of 13. And then finally to Worthing, to pick up a puzzle I'd solved, then on to Shoreham, for a night-time bike ride along the sea front. I watched the sun go down over the sea while I searched for a stubborn micro, then trundled east then west for another dozen caches.A total of 54 finds, no DNFs, and a very nice day out.

I wore the boots I used on the Essex Death March, minus the gel inserts, taken out because I think they made the boots a tidge too tight, and I was right, they felt maybe half a tidge too tight. So I think they're good for, say, 8 miles, but not 14 miles. But then, I'm not good for 14 miles either.

Monday 26 December 2011

Lunch with the family

Lunch with the family at an eyewateringly expensive place at St Albans, costing approximately one iPad. I'd just as soon have a hamburger. But they're all foodies.

And when I got back, I noticed that another 250 attempts had been made at access without authority. Unsuccessfully, and from a botnet.

A tablet for Christmas

Hurrah, a tablet for Christmas! It's an 8 inch Android, it does two-fingered gestures, it cost £69, plus another £23 for a 32 gb memory card. It can use AndroidMarket, and I'm planning to use it as a book reader, web access and ssh terminal.

I also inherited daughter.2's Kindle, which she's had for a year and never used. I've put four P G Wodehouse books on it from Gutenburg, and it only took me an hour to work out how (I email them to after telling it to allow stuff from my email address).

Meanwhile, in the season of goodwill to all, some scrote has made at least 500 attempts to access one of the web sites that I do security for. Unsuccessful. From 500 different IP addresses, so he's using a botnet. I forgive you, scrote.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Hurrah for BT

Last night, I was disconnected for several hours, which might not sound like a big deal since I was fast asleep, but for a business that relies on other people accessing my network is a big pain. Apparently, BT were doing tests.

So today, I called up my provider to see what was going on, and apparently BT want access to my equipment (the BT router). So I said yes, OK (I'd already told them this yesterday). And an hour later, I got a call from the BT dispatcher, telling me that a man with a van would be calling within 30 minutes.

30 minutes later, a BT van drove along the lane, stopped, turned, drove back, stopped, looked at a telegraph pole and drove off again.

I gave it another 30 minutes and phoned to see what was happening.

After another 30 minutes, I was disconnected again. So, another phone call, and I was told the BT man is at the exchange, and did the disconnect for tests. And then the BT engineer himself called me and told me he'd be round in 15 minutes. Which he wasn't.

Eventually, a man from BT turned up, swapped out the BT router, told me that they couldn't check the lines up the pole because the pole was unsafe (hadn't been checked since 1997), and left.

Right now, everything seems to be working fine. Fingers crossed.

Friday 23 December 2011

Getting stuffed

I was getting about 10% of the bandwidth that I should get. Plus intermittent disconnect. And this is a Megastream, a guaranteed, high-cost leased line, not one of your cheap broadband rubbish things. So I called my provider, reported the fault, and was told it would be dealt with same day. That was at 1:30 pm.

Come 10:30 pm, nothing seemed to have happened, so I called them again. They said they'd sent me an email (nothing had arrived). The email was asking me to perform a test that they'd asked me to do on the first call, and which I had done. But the person I was speaking to, hadn't noted that I'd done it.

So, for 8 hours, nothing happened, because they thought they'd emailed me to ask me to do something, and they thought I wasn't responding.

Of course, when the problem is internet connectivity, it's not too clever to send me an email, because the email might not get to me because of the problem that I just reported to them. And it didn't occur to them to phone me.

So I got them to send me a test email, just to make sure that they have the right email address, and that worked fine. So, my best guess is they didn't send me the email they thought they'd sent - wrong email address, or forgot to hit "send", or something.

So at 10:30, I gave them the "annoyed customer" conversation, and they've said they'll look into it.

By the way, we had the same problem a few weeks ago, and I thought they'd fixed it when an engineer went to my local BT exchange and waved his magic socks or something, and suddenly I was getting 100% of the bandwidth that I should get.

But now we're back to 10%, plus intermittent disconnect.

And it's Christmas.

Which means all the engineers are getting stuffed.

Just like I am.

Death march in Essex


A great outing, my thighs might never talk to me again.

We arrived at the event, and had an excellent breakfast at the local cafe, who were very surprised at the number of people (20-ish) who turned up. Then the early group set off, and then the late group, 11 of us, followed half an hour later. That was good - a single big group would have been too big.

It was then cache cache cache cache ... until number 61, which was at the cafe, where we all sat down and had various edibles. Then cache cache cache cache. Round about number 75, I was running out of steam, which was about what I'd expected, but there were still 30 more to do. After that, it got progressively more difficult for me, until by the time we reached number 104, I could barely stagger along.

The injury tally was, jollyjax fell badly once, Heffalump fell into brambles (ouch ouch ouch), and I fell onto my bum, and bounced straight up. The track was very slippery and muddy, although I thought that most of it would be bikable even in the condition it was in today. In summer, it would be a dream for biking.

Thanks a lot to Mel and Ray for meeting us at the start with coffee and cakes, and for meeting us at the other end with cars, thus making it easy to get back to the start. And then we had another coffee-and-cakes with Mel and Ray, plus (in my case, as I wasn't driving) quite a lot of metal-bijou's Sloe Gin (also thanks for organising it), which revived me enough to make it possible for me to get into the car so I could be driven home.

And the fun of the day wasn't in the caches, which were pretty ordinary looked at individually, but in the overall experience, which will take me at least three days to recover from.

Thanks to metal bijou for getting it organised.