Sunday, 15 January 2012

A deep and crisp and uneven night!

Who were those characters "Deep and Crisp and Steven" that our children sing about in their versions of popular Christmas carols. A selection of which were performed almost nightly at our front door, supposedly for our benefit just a few short weeks ago. Have you noticed that the kids never get past the first verse and if needed the first verse is repeated several times until you submit. Its a bit like waterboarding with song!

But I digress.

We were out until quite late last night visiting friends. It was well after midnight when we eventually got back home. The roads had been gritted by the local council and so were not much of a problem. When we pulled up outside chateau "Wits End" the pavements were quite slippy with a deep coating of hoar frost. Being the nominated driver I was sober but the Memsahib had been sipping on the odd bottle or few of champers topped up with the odd brandy that were left over from the new years celebration. She blamed the icy pavement and drive for all the wobbles as we walked to the door!

We were out visiting because, yours truly had been roped in to perform the "last rights" on a sickly computer system. After about three hours of treatment the computer was resuscitated back on its feet and out of danger - the patient is now performing reasonably well. The computer had never been updated in any way since new. It was a case of Patch-Patch-Patch from the Micro$oft update site. It was also short of any of the usual anti-virus applications. A couple of free malware and anti-virus apps were installed and the computer left to scan the drives.

I noted that the computer was also connected to the Internet through a wireless modem. This had been plugged in when new and left in the default plug-and-play condition. I could see that several people in the neighbourhood were also enjoying the benefit of a free broadband connection.  After configuring the router with encryption and building a table of valid IP's that could connect to the router it seemed to be a job well done. I expect a few locals will be installing their own broadband in the near future.

When the scan was finished, the surprise was that there was very little in the way of unwanted junk to clear out. I would have thought that it would have been bombed out with a load of nefarious crap off the Internet over the last few years. Clearing out the temp files and other such detritus freed up almost 2 gb of disk space. It seems that apart from the occasional jaunt on Farcebook the computer was mainly used for storing family photographs. I'm going back to back-up all the photographs before the hard disk decides do die.

I was to be stalled by the Memsahib in my plan to retire to a nice warm bed. So there we were at 1:30 in the morning, togged up with my Russian hat, storm proof jacket, heavy walking boots. The wine fuelled good idea of the Memsahib also had her dressed in a similar outfit. We were going out again, this time taking the dogs for a run on the local fields. Even the dogs were toasty warm in their fleecy jackets. The grass was covered in a hard frost rime. There were also two sets of frosty footprints left behind in the grass marking out our progress. One steered a fairly straight course and another set that seemed to wander around a little, whilst tacking from side to side. I did wonder to myself which track belonged to me  - I will let you guess.

The stars always seem brighter and clearer on a frosty night and as we roamed around the fields, I was picking out the usual constellations in the night sky. Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion was very pink tonight, even to the naked eye. There is a nebula known as Messier 42, just below Orion's belt. The nebula is visible with the naked eye. It is seen as the middle "star" in the sword of Orion

There is a lot to be said for a blazing log burner when returning home from a late walk on a frosty night. I know that it is an attractive prospect, because I could not get near it for the sprawled bodies of dogs! As Samuel Pepys wrote in his Blog diary "and so to bed."


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