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Thursday, January 25


I should probably have gone back to the house and started intensive work on the house. There's plastering to do next week (not me) and if there's wallpaper to be stripped, it should be done before. However, after I was fed, I decided to get my broadband to work. This was something of a challenge. The cable modem is not ready to go the moment it's installed. No, you have to do some sort of registration. Dull. I called support. They don't speak to me on my terms, but on the two occasions that I've called NTL support, they've had a very straightforward approach which even I can follow and they've solved my problem.

I'm probably a nightmare to give computer support to, since I can see more about the problem than the average user. As a result, I'm blinded to the help that a support team can offer me. I'm too busy formulating my own theory for what the problem is and how to solve it. In fact, there were two problems (by the time I decided to call for help - only one when I started), and both were quickly solved. The NTL installation engineers had followed my instructions virtually to the letter, except for a variation that they invented themselves, which I approved of.

Anyway, I messed around getting the broadband to work, which was complicated by the combination of a few short network leads and the fact that my laptop is knackered. The knackeredness takes the form of the screen not working when it is fully, or even slightly open. At the moment, I'm in bed using it, but the screen is at about 60 degrees to my legs, and the laptop is inclined such that my hands are straining at the upper rows of the keyboard. It's not easy to use like this. In other respects it works, but the emails from Dell and Dabs tell me that the cavalry will be with me (by cavalry, I mean new laptop, new carry bag and some blank CDs for backups) in the next few weeks. I guess I'll have to say goodbye to this machine someday. Sad occasion that will be too.

Given that I wasted some of the night on the broadband, I still wanted to achieve something, so I set about a "quick win". A quick win is an easy or quick task that you can do, preferably with an obvious effect. In this case, I set about removing the ceiling tiles in the downstairs hall. These are large pieces of polystyrene glued to the ceiling. They're easily removed with a wallpaper removal tool... with the exception of those which seemed heavily bonded to the ceiling, and the ceiling tile which proved, on closer inspection, to be a huge cludge of polyfilla with lines drawn into it to make it appear to match the rest of the ceiling. How poor is that!

I tidied up after my quick win, which was, at least fairly thorough. I missed a couple of bits behind the emergency lighting, which needed properly taking off, and I didn't have my ladder available to do it at that moment. I also didn't chip off the polyfilla tile, but I can now see what I'm dealing with on the ceiling, and it looks fine. I may yet be able to paint it. It might need a reskim, but that's not the end of the world.

Quotes for the central heating came too, which was nice.

After much nagging, I got a fairly scary quote for some work in Newcastle, so I rang an alternative workman. He rang me back promptly and seemed to be much more realistic with his attitude and pricing. I'll see once he gives me the second quote. Being a landlord is a sort of fun if you don't mind spending large sums of money. Thing is, I do. I'm feeling a bit like money is draining out of me like air from a burst balloon. Still, it's all in a good cause.

If anyone knows the cause, please get in touch.

Why can't I buy Bill Bailey's "Cosmic Jam" for like £10 when I'm apparently happy to spend nearly £500 on computery things in one afternoon. Major weirdness!

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