Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Monkey see, monkey do

Having not played chess in a little while, and noticing Rosy had an account, I'm now playing chess on Gameknot. So, if you fancy a game, search for Adriand. That's me that is.

It's not like I do anything intellectual with the rest of my life, is it?

Sunday, 25 September 2005

I'm back

We've regained internet access at home since moving about four weeks ago. That was in Emma's summer holiday, since when she's gone back to school to teach (avoid murdering whilst hoping they pick up some maths) the kids.

We've moved to South East Manchester (just past a "Welcome to Stockport" sign), which means the car insurance got cheaper, it's easier for Emma to get to work (round the M60), and I've got a five mile cycle to get into uni. Nice house with two bedrooms, one of which is Emma's study, and a garden with a shed. My shiny new bike lives in the shed. I treated myself to a new one, as I don't think it'll get nicked from here, and I'm cycling over 50 miles a week. My last bike was stolen from outside the old flat while I was on Skye at a maths conference. Slightly irritating as I'd only had it for 3 weeks. We've got a groovy metal staircase arrangement which someone with a spanner could easily booby-trap.

I'm writing up my thesis, which is painfully slow, to submit in January. Got 60 pages done so far, most of which will need some rewriting, and it'll probably be about 100 pages when it's done. It's currently sporting the catchy title "Real K-theory of Thom complexes".

Emma's (as I said) back at school, and seems to be managing very well with workload, and difficult children. I'm slightly worried about the increasingly sneaky methods of class control she's employing - it's contributing heavily to the "all Emmas are evil" hypothesis.

Hmm. That'll do for a general catch up. For more detail, however:
Thanks are due to Nick for helping with the move.
For details of (the end of the) housewarming party, try here.
Went to see the Sheffield Wednesday vs West Ham game with Pete. I feel I should point out that David Graham (not Brunt) hit the crossbar from 6 yards out, a strike which would have leveled the game to 3-3.
Watched the Luton vs Wednesday game round at Pete & Rosy's and then watched the Goonies.
That's covered up to Friday night nicely.

For her first day off in two weeks (yes, that includes weekends!) she headed off to Taekwondo, while I met up with Jon, a friend from school & university who I've not seen for a couple of years. Unfortunately I seem to have reached the time of life when some work is required to keep in touch with people. Otherwise I only see them at weddings. Humph.
Met Jon in town; his wife Liz had a GP training/conference thingy in Manchester, hence the visit, and we got some lunch & played some pool. Nice to catch up. Jon headed off a bit earlier than planned (conf. finishing early to avoid traffic from the Man Utd *spit* game), which meant Emma wasn't able to see him.
Instead, myself & Emma headed into town for an evening of food & film. More precisely; Pizza Hut and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. I'll have to admit to being a fan of both Roald Dahl and Tim Burton, and I loved the film. Emma's decided (as she does regularly) that I'm weird. I was particularly impressed with the Oompah Loompahs' song/dance routines following the dismissal of one of the vile children. Having re-read that, I think Emma may be onto something.
2nd Saturday with Mark and Monica
We got off to a good start and arrived at the Eden Project before it got too busy, I found the tropical biome too humid so I moved through rather faster than Mark and Monica, although I was able to read most of the information. While I was waiting for them to finish, I went through the warm temperate biome which was far more comfortable and frankly I found it more interesting. We had lunch and walked uphill through the outdoor section, and I was able to contribute extra information beyond the info on the plaques. We didn't spend that much time there both Mark and I were a little tired and the Eden Project was filling up fast.

After a bit of a break I decided to drive home to return the car, on Saturday night rather than Sunday morning, however I ran into several road closures, the diverting me onto the M5, rather than the A30, and a sign informed me that to get past the closed section of the A303, I should continue up the M5 and get off at Junction 25 and head down the A358 to Illminster. The problem came when I got off at the correct junction and couldn't see the A358 signposted, thinking I'd got off at the wrong junction I continued north on the M5, but by the time I realised my mistake I was getting close to Bristol. I resigned myself to taking the M4 back, which added an extra hour to the journey time.

I was just pulling into a services when I received a text from Dad, I called back thinking that they were in England, however I was wrong, and made it a short call. I was just leaving the car park when Dad called me to ask me to fill up the car, I asked if he wanted me to try and get the Saturday Times, but I had no success in finding a copy, even "24-hour" Tesco had closed by the time I got to Camberley, I had to buy milk from the petrol station for breakfast.

Still it was a nice trip even with being frequently dazzled by the headlights of 4WDs in the mirrors.

Friday, 23 September 2005

2nd Thursday Out
Decided to go to the Somerwest World (Butlin's) at Minehead, reasoning that Butlin's always has a good fun pool if nothing else and there's always the beach and town if I got bored.

My first mistake was to take the scenic route along the A396, nothing but winding country roads and one very strange junction that confusing enough that I took the wrong road twice before getting back on course. Then got stuck behind a white van, who in turn was stuck behind a learner on a moped and hence limited to 30mph. The only wildlife I saw were a load of pheasants all over the road in both senses of the phrase "all over the road", thankfully I managed not to kill any of the stupid birds but it was a close thing.

On arriving at Minehead I got a little confused about where to get the day pass and where to park eventually I got a very good parking space and went in. Somerwest World had changed an awful lot, the funfair was as cheesy as I remembered but the real shock came when I got into the main indoor area, just a food court with a row of shops. Beyond that it was a mixture of good and bad news, the good news was that the fun pool had greatly increased in size, the bad news was that none of the amusement arcades had anything other than slot machine, shooting games and driving games none of which appealed to me. I was hoping for a good shoot-'an-up or at least a skill-based game like Puzzle Bobble.

The pool at least made the whole trip seem worthwhile, wave machines flumes, jacuzzi and so on. I went for a short swim to warm up before I went on three of the four flume, the one I decided to pass on was the "Black Hole", I don't mind going fast, but I do mind when I can't see! The best flume was like the log flume at Alton Towers, except with rubber boats instead of logs, with flaps on the underside of the boat so water jets could push the boat uphill. The other one I liked was a pretty standard flume except at the end there was a large shallow bowl with a hole at the bottom. So if you have seen the "black hole"-simulating charity boxes you'll have an idea about the result. I got dumped down the hole face-first, being more than a little top-heavy, great fun. Unfortunately there wasn't much else to do so I went out of the place had had lunch on the beach using the blanket I'd brought. I went for a walk along the sea front and was starting to get tired so I returned home by a less scenic but much faster route, stopping off at St Loye's College, since I'd not been back since I started working for David, the room was massive now with the original three rooms merged into one large room, but now with 20-something students with only 2 instructors, yipe. How on earth do they manage to teach that many people in clock repair?

I got home and soon discovered that the reason for feeling tired was that I'd caught a cold. I went into work today but by half past two David decided that I'd best go home and recover. I just hope I haven't caught that nasty cold he brought back from his holiday. I'm hoping to go the Eden Project tomorrow, but I've warned Mark that I might not be up to the trip. I don't think it likely that I'll miss the trip but better to warn him than for him to find out on the day.


Monday, 19 September 2005

Sunday Trip
Only Mark and Monica came on this trip to Dartmouth Castle, in hindsight Ben and Zosia got the better end of the deal. We took a wrong turn and I had to turn around using a dirt track entrance. We later discovered had driven to the wrong side of the Dartmouth's bay and had to wait for the small car ferry to get across, Monica had never been on a car ferry before.

Dartmouth is an old town with small winding roads, something that I could have done without after a long confusing journey, at least we got there. Mark and Monica seemed to enjoy the castle, redeveloped several times for the changing circumstances including WW2. I took more interest in the building stones and wildlife.

On returning to Exeter we had Sunday lunch at the Malt House, my treat as I felt that after the journey we deserved a treat.

Saturday, 17 September 2005

1st Saturday with Mark, Monica and their friends, Ben and Zosia.
A bit of a late start and signs to Paighton Zoo dying out, then meandering through Paignton's city centre, still we got there in the end.

It then got a bit rushed as we attempted to find the baboon's enclosure in time to see them being fed. Needless to say, we didn't make it in time, in fact we only got to the baboons in the last third of our stay. We did get to see the pelicans being fed with the seagulls attempting to steal a meal.

There was a bit of excitement a bit shortly after we passed through the area with the free-ranging goats in the "animal encounters" area. A peccary (a small pig-like animal) had escaped so everyone was asked to go to the restaurant\bar while they caught it. Not the most enjoyable part of the day I must admit, but how often do you get to be around when something like that happens?

I started to get a little tired about half-three, thankfully we'd seen just about everything and even though I suggested they continue if they wanted to, I headed back to the car, since I could just read for a bit while I waited. However after Mark's friends, Ben and Zosia, had bought some animal masks, they turned up after a relatively short time, followed by Mark and Monica, who took a little longer to find the car.

The return journey had only one delay caused by me misreading the signs and going back into Paignton again, (sigh). After dropping off Mark and co, I went home for a bit of a break, then went shopping at the big Sainsbury's. Mostly to get the things that I can't get at the one in town, but also just because with a car I can do a big shop and not have to carry it all the way back.

Friday, 16 September 2005

From the translators' preface to the NLT Bible, which I was perusing this morning - probably not too far off verbatim:
In order to ensure a translation free from personal and theological bias, a wide range of Evangelical scholars were consulted using the best exegetical tools.
I mean honestly. A thought-for-thought translation of this might read "Oh crap - we've reached the bit of the preface where we're meant to prove how unbiased we are and we've only consulted ourselves. Let's just borrow the accepted format for stating this and hope no-one notices the flagrant inadequacy of what is actually stated."

Personally, I think people with a bit of education should probably lean towards formal equivalence translations more; get as close as is reasonably possible to the original texts.

Thursday, 15 September 2005

1st day of holiday, not very nice weather today, decided to go to Plymouth.

I arrived a bit before the National Marine Aquarium opened, so I watched the sea for a bit. Saw a pair of seahorses courting, found out that the Mediterranean Sea was formed when the continental plates of Africa and Europe met and was originally closed at the Straits of Gibraltar.
Went swimming at the Plymouth Pavilions, spent a lot of time sitting in the shallow end, just relaxing.

Wednesday, 7 September 2005

Today was very encouraging, a gentleman came into the shop and asked for "the lad who's always reading outside before the shop opens". Turns out that he teaches adult literacy and had found my love of reading quite encouraging in his work, he's also a 60-words/sec speed reader like me. Both embarrassing and flattering, but isn't encouraging others part of Christianity? It's nice to rediscover even when you're enjoying yourself, God can still work through you.

I'd almost forgotten how encouraging David is as an employer, thanking me when I reminded him about his breakfast. David: "What would I do without you?" Me (smiling):"Miss breakfast." He really seems to appreciate me taking extra care of him when he doesn't have Trevor or Norman to help in the shop.

Matt has kindly offered to work this Saturday so that I can visit Nan and the Fornis on Friday afternoon, and on Saturday make the long trip back to Exeter, possibly with enough energy to make a trip out on Sunday after church.