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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Eleanor Blair's LiveJournal:

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Monday, February 6th, 2017
9:42 am
Complaint about the number 18 bus
Sometimes cycling to work is Not Fun.

complaint emailCollapse )

Edit: see comments for their response
Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
11:42 am
Work, and reviews
So, in October 2015 it was suddenly announced that there was to be a review of IT in the Engineering Department. This was met with some hostility, since we had in fact only fairly recently been reviewed by the previous Head of Department, but still, it went ahead, there were lots of surveys and interviews, and although we'd originally been told it would be ready around July it was finally published in October 2016.

The conclusion of the IT Review was that there was a perceived need for some Organisational Change, and they announced in late October that they had employed a Change Manager to produce a business case for the changes, and this would go to the Academic Committee (in a fortnight!) to decide. Obviously this was too short a timescale, and he asked the committee for more time, intending to produce a business case by January. Then in early December we had an email setting out a timetable:

Mid March - briefing paper summarising changes, and open meeting with staff
March 2017 onwards - formal consultation
Mid May onwards - implementation
Mid July onwards - Concluding the change period, and next stages.

So we've kind of been ticking over in complete limbo since then, although one colleague has quit and another is actively applying for jobs. We suddenly got some more rather unexpected news today though - the Change Manager has quit. He's working out his 2 weeks notice, and will hand over the business case next week. You couldn't make it up. I'm trying not to even speculate what the hell this means for us in practice.
Wednesday, January 4th, 2017
3:19 pm
Happy New Year

What is the state of the lnr? Read more...Collapse )

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
12:38 pm
Monday, December 12th, 2016
1:36 pm
Things

A short list of things

  • My mum's gall bladder is safely removed, hopefully good riddance
  • My phone has died again, and is on its way to Giffgaff to hopefully be fixed under warranty
  • I have a startlingly old-fashioned dumb-phone to keep me in calls and texts in the meantime - usual number
  • Am considering buying a new phone in the New Year anyway
  • I've booked the eye test Specsavers have been reminding me about since March - now only £7.50 instead of a tenner :)
  • I dyed my hair purple, coincidentally the same shade as 10 years ago, in just the week people are comparing old and new photos - it doesn't look quite as bright as it did on bleached hair of course
  • The Christmas tree is up and we have some lights in the garden too at Matthew's request, and a decorated office door at work
  • I have printed out the Christmas card list, ready to start writing cards, late as usual
  • I *think* I just did the last bit of present shopping, I gave in and did it online, couldn't face the shops

hair tree

Any phone recommendations welcomed - current phone is a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, and I like the size and the general look and feel and so on. I'd like something with a little bit more power (mostly for Pokemon Go). Looking to spend around £200 again sim-free, or find something on contract for around £15 a month since that's roughly what the Samsung has worked out as over 24 months (including a fiver a month on 500MB of data, and the occasional top-up for calls and texts).

And if you'd like a Christmas card and are not on my usual list then drop me a line with your address!

Monday, December 5th, 2016
4:43 pm
Cycling redux
Oh and here's the video we took of Matthew on his bike:

4:40 pm
Virgin Media
Is it just me or is this bafflingly hopeless?

Online chat transcriptCollapse )
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
2:30 pm
Exciting new things

On Saturday Matthew learned to ride his bike! He's been having a go on his pedal bike periodically since June, and was feeling a lot better balanced when holding him recently, so on Saturday we tried letting go for more than a brief second, and he was off! He had several goes on the way to the park and on the way back he happily rode several hundred metres all by himself. Absolutely brilliant.

And on Sunday Mike and I went to an *actual gig*. Terrorvision at Koko in Camden. This involved Matthew's first time with a babysitter - which was in the form of a sleepover at his former childminders, and being dropped off at home afterwards. We had an absolutely brilliant time - they played the whole of the Regular Urban Survivors album (it was a 25th anniversary tour) and then another set with loads of favourites, including Pretend Best Friend, Alice What's the Matter, and finished with Oblivion. Despite a dodgy knee I bounced my socks (well, tartan tights) off. And they finished 5 minutes before my alarm for the "We must go now or we'll miss the train", which was just perfect timing really. Tax the Heat as support were pretty good too, and we arrived before they started, so all in all it couldn't have gone much better. And despite tears when we left him Matthew had a lovely time at Hania's too - so it's all good.

Yay!

Thursday, October 20th, 2016
10:38 pm
Things

Sertraline dose at 50mg a day confirmed by rather nice Dr O'Leary, who wants me to come back in a fortnight to check I'm OK, and has given me a leaflet on the local (self referral) therapy options. I mentioned that I'd heard depression and low thyroid function are sometimes linked, and he said that since I *am* responding to the Sertraline that's not very likely to be the cause of it in my case, but that he may as well test. He said he'd also check calcium levels, so I mentioned the parathyroid issues from a few years back and he's also going to check parathyroid levels. So back in a week for blood tests with the nurse too. Since it's half term I'll take Matthew, will do him good to see non-scary needles not hurting mummy.

Matthew's pre-school photo proofs were finally available yesterday, and on review one of them was nice enough to get prints done. Though I've gone the route of ordering a digital image from the photographers with a licence for personal use (though they retain the copyright), and ordering some prints from Photobox. I should get round to getting some other prints done too as it's a while since we did any.

And the IT Review at work is officially published today! The day after we met the person who will be in charge of managing the changes needed to implement it, without anyone saying a word about the fact that's what was going to happen. Proposing a reorganisation which should be neutral as to staff numbers, but it all has to go through the University's organisational change management processes and more due consultation and so on and so forth. So we're still very wait-and-see and still fairly cynical, but it's not as bad as it could have been. It's online here: http://www.hr.eng.cam.ac.uk/2016-it-review (not sure if that link is valid outside the University).

And I've just spend a pleasant evening pootling about with Mike in our little Minecraft work playing with making my redstone powered secret doors work better. Now at least you can always get *out* of the secret room :)

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016
10:29 am
Dear Eleanor
Stagecoach replied:

Read more...Collapse )

I'm not sure how I was supposed to know about their app (it's not obviously advertised anywhere), and they don't say whether it's any better at distinguishing not-running buses from no-live-data buses.
Monday, October 17th, 2016
4:02 pm
Dear Stagecoach
Subject: Missing number 10 bus on Saturday

Read more...Collapse )

We did actually have a lovely day out, but it was *rather* more expensive that we'd anticipated. And the thai curry we ordered for takeaway when we got home was reasonably tasty, but a little late, a lot cold and very overpriced too.
Thursday, October 13th, 2016
10:13 am
Out of Sertraline error, redo from start

Stopped Sertraline 22nd Sept, mood crash 6th October, and continued bad over weekend, so on Monday I booked an appointment online for Thursday morning. Or I thought I did, got to the GP today to find I must have failed to click the button, not on system. But they're doing me a prescription for the meds and have rebooked me for a week's time - and the medical centre pharmacist rang me up to double check too. Of course after I left it occurred to me it didn't actually have to be with that *particular* doctor (the GP who I've been seeing about my depression retired over the summer, so I don't have a new regular one yet), but a week is probably OK to give the meds time to start to have an effect maybe? I can always ring up if I need one sooner.



Otherwise Matthew has *completely* settled into pre-school and never cries when I leave him any more, and I still find this astonishing every time I leave :) We've been having fun threading conkers on strings, and doing lots of painting and playdough. Work is quiet, *still* waiting to hear the results of the IT review, which the Academic Committee finally saw last week. I'm listening to more music which is good, playing pokemon which gets me out of the house for a nice walk round the village in the evening, looking forward to seeing a couple of NCT group friends tomorrow and one of Matthew's pre-school friends is having a halloween party soon which should be fun too.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
11:53 am
All gone!

Took my last Sertraline last night. I slowed the tapering down a bit over the summer, but I've been on 50mg every other day since we got back from holiday and I'm doing OK - hopefully will continue to do so! I'll be watching out for wobbliness the next few weeks.

Matthew is settling into pre-school and work have confirmed they don't actually need to do the full flexible working request thing in order to change my hours. It's a bit of a mad dash, and I won't get my Thursday mornings off to myself which I was kinda looking forward to, but I think it will work. Two days in a row now we've had Matthew let me leave without clinging and tears, so I've been very impressed. We had a lovely time at the park afterwards yesterday, though we're doing a lot of quiet telly watching in the afternoons as he's pretty tired.

And we just had a lovely weekend in the Forest of Dean - Matthew loved playing with granny and grandad (favourite games involved rather a lot of running round the living room). On Saturday we visited Dewstowe Gardens which has some amazing grottos/tunnels, and the Caldicot Castle which was full of medieval re-enactors. We watched some dancing and Matthew was thrilled to have a go at archery (with help from mummy too). We didn't manage to hit the target but we did get a couple of arrows to go impressively far. The bow was bigger than he was! And on Sunday we had a lovely explore of Puzzlewood, before Mike and I sneaked off for a wedding anniversary lunch at the pub and Matthew took granny and grandad to the park and out for an icecream. Sounds like they had a lovely time :)

I'm sure there was something else I was going to talk about but I've completely forgotten it :)

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
2:12 pm
A week passes :)

So, in Matthew's first week of pre-school he cried *after* I left on Tuesday, not at all on Wednesday (and greeted me with "I didn't cry this day" when I picked him up), and when I tried to leave on Thursday, but in each case he got over it more quickly and really enjoyed himself - going for a lie down on the sofa apparently helped. Today he cried again when I tried to leave, but I preempted it a little by suggesting he go straight for a lie down, and he let me go without more protest :)

Friday we had a nice mummy day with Kreepie Krawlies and lunch at the deli, and on Saturday we visited the village fair (Fun Weekend) at Little Shelford and Matthew spent some of his pennies on the stalls and wasn't interested at all in the falconry display but did want to know when the new playground equipment they're raising money for was going to arrive (is it here now?). It was a bit soggy but the rain had let off a bit by then so we had quite a nice time. Sunday was glorious though and we spent most of it up at Wandlebury and the Gog cafe, and picked lots of blackberries on the Roman Road.

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016
10:15 pm
First day of playgroup

Matthew went to Rainbow! We went there on foot/balance bike, and arrived 10 minutes or so early so hung around outside and said hello to a few familiar people. Once we went in we found where to hang his bag and coat, where to put his snack and lunch, and who to sign in with, and I stayed and played until 9:30 before gently extracting myself to say bye bye with a kiss.

I pottered off for a restorative cuppa at the Deli, then hit the new charity shop (in the former bike shop) and bought a greetings card, a battered 7in single, a Roald Dahl book, a Thomas floor jigsaw and a practically brand new pair of lace up DM shoes - for a sum total of £12. Then I went home and pottered about sorting out photos from my phone (very overdue), and had some lunch.

Around 12 I got a notification on my phone of a voicemail - our signal is very erratic! It was Rainbow calling to say he'd been quite upset (and cross) for a while, but that he'd now gone to sleep, and they'd see how he was when he woke. I rang them back and he'd woken up again and was just about to settle down for his lunch. He had a much happier afternoon and when I walked over to pick him up he ran over with a big grin when he saw me, but was happy to try and play more and show me what he'd been doing and said he was going to come and play again tomorrow. We shall see how he is in the morning! He said the best bit was the toy digger in the garden.

We picked up an icecream on the way home for a snack, and enjoyed some telly and his new jigsaw and some dancing to my new record (which skips a bit), and had pizza and garlic bread for tea, before mummy and daddy watched some ancient Doctor Who (there's no cycling on today until too late) and then played some Minecraft. Matthew had got us back into it rather :)

Monday, September 5th, 2016
3:12 pm
More childcare

So in my last post I said I thought I'd *finally* found someone for the short term to look after Matthew after pre-school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from next week. (I've got the rest of this week off for settling in purposes). And she was coming to meet us on Friday. Guess who didn't show up on Friday and hasn't replied to my email since? She always did seem a bit reluctant (and expensive). I guess she really *didn't* want it.

Instead I've had a chat to the pre-school and to work, and I've put in a flexible working application to change my hours temporarily from 7.5 each on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday to 7.5 Monday and 5 each on Tues/Weds/Thurs, and hopefully work will agree since it's the same number of hours just re-arranged a bit. He'll be doing three full days of pre-school instead of 2.5 and I'll drop him off and pick him up, so at least he doesn't have any more people to get used to!

Now work just have to *agree* to it, but my colleagues are OK with me just getting on and working that pattern in the meantime, given I'm employed as an Officer and it's generally the policy that we work the necessary hours to get the job done and I can actually do some aspects of my job better for being in on more days anyway. Hopefully HR will be fine, and it'll just be a case of hammering out details.

Cautiously looking forward to his first day tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
4:45 pm
Other things

Amy's graduation/birthday party was lovely - friends, cocktails, cake, dancing to cheesy 80s nonsense with like minded people, dressing up and getting to be a goth for the evening :) I took lots and lots of photos of the dance floor which are mostly awful, though one or two look like they have really cool filters applied. I failed to get any decent photos of my with my Siouxsie wig on which don't contain other people's small children, but did take a selfie with my own purple hair and one which Matthew photo-bombed. Nailed it?

Original: http://www.mojo4music.com/media/2014/09/Siouxsie-Sioux-MOJO-cover-shot-770.jpg
Original: http://boxxmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Siouxsie+and+the+Banshees.jpeg

Right now I have a box of dates brought back from Algeria by Hania. She had to cut them from the branches for me to fit the box, and they're still on little twigs. They are *amazing*.

2:48 pm
And relax?

It's been a funny old summer. Since I last posted we've spent 5 weeks without a childminder - one of those was on a fabulous family holiday to celebrate mum's birthday, but the others we've muddled through with Mike taking some days off and me taking others - ending up with me working just one day last week! During that time I've been increasingly desperately looking for childcare for when Matthew starts pre-school next week. This week he is back at Hania's for today and tomorrow and I think I may have *finally* found someone, though she's expensive and definitely only wants to do this for the short term as that many fixed hours makes an awkward dent in her availability for full-time jobs. We meet her on Friday anyway :)

Anyway, despite that stress, we did indeed have a brilliant week away at the start of August - we were staying in an amazing hobbity house in Somerset, within view of Glastonbury Tor. We had some lovely days out at the beach and Wookey Hole and we visited Em in her lovely house and had afternoon tea in the garden. We had a fab lunch out on Mum's birthday and a BBQ in the garden in the evening - there were lots of presents and cards and singing of happy birthday and both light up LED balloons and giant ones spelling 60 and it was a really lovely day. Mike and I took some long walks after Matthew was in bed and saw owls and deer and BADGERS in the lanes around the house. And we all enjoyed the hot tub in the garden and the swimming pool for guest use just up the lane.

The exciting news since then though is that I'm once again an auntie, with a brand new baby niece. Her name is Lillian Grace (after great-grannies on both James and Em's side) and she's beautiful, and I hope to get a chance to gurgle at her over Skype before very long. I suspect we shall be visiting Somerset again before too many months have gone!

Other than that the summer has contained lots of parks - especially Coleridge Rec with its splash pad and "wolf slide" and the ever popular ice cream van. Mike and Matthew had a trip to the zoo, but I don't think Matthew and I have managed anything more exotic than an afternoon at Funky Funhouse and a visit to the children's fair on Parker's Piece. There's been lots of sunshine and we even put up the tent as a den in the garden and had a barbecue on the firepit this weekend for the first time in a vary long time!

I'm taking Tuesday and Wednesday off next week to help settle Matthew in to Rainbow. He'll be going 9-3 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (when we're both at work) and 9-12 on Thursdays - so I'm going to have to find a way to amuse myself those mornings. I'm thinking of some refresher driving lessons so we can consider occasionally hiring a car. If we get all organised with childcare we're hoping to have a weekend over in Lydney to visit Evan and Gina before the end of September - and then possibly up to Mirfield at the beginning of October for a bike ride if we're lucky.

I'm *so* looking forward to once we're actually settled into a new routine with this term, and then I can relax? Yeah, right :)

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
2:22 pm
Phew

It is *amazing* how much more relaxed I feel now our mail server is working again!

Boring technical detail: Read more...Collapse )

I still have a few bits of housekeeping to sort out. And this all needs to be properly documented and in some cases packaged, and added to kickstarter post-install scripts. But it's good to be back. And boy have I learned a lot in 3.5 days!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
12:34 pm
Race for Life

So I signed up to race a 5K in aid of Cancer Research, and a team of us at work are also raising money for Bloodwise, who work with blood cancers in particular. Donation infoCollapse )

We're running to support our colleague Rachel F who is still being treated for Leukaemia (though she hopes to be back at work soon) but also in my case for Rachel C aka rmc28 (who is thankfully in recovery!), and for all my family and friends who have ever been affected by any sort of cancer. I don't much like the PINK of Race for Life, or the combative tone of "fighting" cancer, but I thoroughly support the idea of research towards better treatments and support for those who are suffering.

I've not really done any sort of running before, but I've managed 5K while out doing a bit of practising, so hopefully I can do it on the day :)

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