Upgrade — spare MySQL DB

I’ve upgraded my account with Dataflame to give me a lot more space to host files when I make Librivox recordings.

The first four files of the Invisible Man are uploading now.

But a side effect of the upgrade is I am entitled to a second MySQL database on my website, rather than limited to the single one that sits behind in the background running the WordPress program that is this blog.

What shall I do with this unexpected richness of databases?

Something exciting and technological?  I could have my own wiki!  But I don’t know what I would use it for.  I could have a third blog (after this one and the blogger-based, sometimes fragile Jokes blog that receives all the e-mailed funnies I forward.)  I could set up a council blog or a ward blog aimed at constituents rather than my immediate circle of friends.  I could have a trial run to see whether I could make WordPress run www.gaynottingham.co.uk — a website I’ve neglected for a long time now.

Hmmm.  Think I’ll sleep on it.

Baron Niles

A new Lib Dem peer!

The “Elect the Lords” campaign is highlighting some dodgy statistics concerning new Labour and the House of Lords:

“17 out of the 22 individuals who have donated more than £100,000 to the Labour Party in the past few years have received an honour; all but one of the individuals who have donated more than £1m have received a peerage. This is unacceptable in a modern democracy.”

“In nine years, Tony Blair has appointed more than 300 life peers – 50% more than any other Prime Minister in history. “

At electhelords.org.uk they are selling virtual peerages at bargain basement prices in order to fund their campaign.

I am now Baron Niles of Nottingham. I’m still thinking about what my baronial motto should be. Any suggestions?

Spending the day recording

I’ve spent at least part of the day making new recordings of my next solo Librivox project “The Invisible Man” by H G Wells. I’m now about a quarter done.

After The Mysterious Affair at Styles was finished, I’ve been getting some rather touching and seriously flattering fan-mail.

I just finished to listen to the book and enjoyed it very much. You read clearly and you succeed to change the voices for different characters. I already gave the disks to a friend of mine who is addicted to audio books.

I just wanted you to know that your work is really appreciated.

I’m currently listening to The Mysterious Affair at Styles–bravo! You have a lovely voice, and what’s more, you’re an excellent reader. I’m thoroughly enjoying the book and look forward to hearing more of your recordings.

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed listening to your Chrisie reading – your Poirot in particular was excellent! Thanks very much. 🙂

Have just come back from a trip to Nantes in our Camping Car (we live in France). The family as a whole enjoyed your rendering of the Mysterious Affair. Both our boys (aged 9 and 11) are great Poirot fans and were completely engrossed in the story – they admitted it was harder listening and imagining than watching on the TV.

As they are both totally bilingual, they especially enjoyed your “Belgian accent”.

Stuck in bed, feeling miserable and sorry for myself, I’m now listening to you. I thought you would like to know your work is appreciated.

Thank you to all my wonderful fans. I really love getting e-mail like this!

They’re daffs!

We’ve been wondering for some time what the bulbs that are growing under our front window are.  Now they’re flowering, they seem to be a mix of ordinary and miniature daffodils, but there are some hyacinths in there too.  Lovely.  I was hoping for tulips.  I like tulips.  They’re very late — St David’s Day has been and gone and they’re not nearly fully in flower.

When not inspecting the garden, I’ve been wasting enormous amounts of time with some flash games on t’internet.  There’s a series of ‘escape from this room’ style games, starting with the Crimson Room and going on through Veridian to White and finally to Blue.  Apparently the ‘Pink Prison’ will be available soon.  Good puzzles to anyone with a sharp eye for detail.  I haven’t got through any of them without resorting to hints in various places.

They're daffs!

We’ve been wondering for some time what the bulbs that are growing under our front window are.  Now they’re flowering, they seem to be a mix of ordinary and miniature daffodils, but there are some hyacinths in there too.  Lovely.  I was hoping for tulips.  I like tulips.  They’re very late — St David’s Day has been and gone and they’re not nearly fully in flower.

When not inspecting the garden, I’ve been wasting enormous amounts of time with some flash games on t’internet.  There’s a series of ‘escape from this room’ style games, starting with the Crimson Room and going on through Veridian to White and finally to Blue.  Apparently the ‘Pink Prison’ will be available soon.  Good puzzles to anyone with a sharp eye for detail.  I haven’t got through any of them without resorting to hints in various places.

Bunny Brokeback

Alan has pointed us the Bunny 30 Second Theater re-enactment of Brokeback Mountain

It’s been a long time since I popped over to www.angryalien.com so there are lots of new movie parodies I hadn’t seen before, including Bunny Night of the Living Dead, Bunny Pulp Fiction and Bunny Rocky Horror Picture Show.

But I think my favourite was Chebacca and Darth Vador with bunny ears in Bunny Star Wars.

Don’t miss the “DVD extras” interview, and if you’ve never seen any Bunny 30 Second Theater before, it all began with the wonderful Alien.

Welcome home

Last day in conference uneventful. Saturday night, I got a second early night. I was (and am still) feeling full of flu, not at all sociable, and not particularly hungry, so I got a sandwich and an early night. Well, that was the plan, but I got gripped by my book and didn’t turn the light off til gone 3am. Which meant doing anything other than breakfast and the leader’s speech this morning was out of the q.

Ming was much better than I expected: confident, witty, comprehensible, lots of sharp political points. The speech sounded like it might be better than some of the material that has already been circulated. Somehow in the hall I ended up sitting next to someone who had a typed copy of the speech in front of him as Ming was delivering it. A few years ago, it could have been me: there used to be a conference newspaper that we produced twice a day during conference. Riso would lend us a duplicator to print it on. The last edition was usually the leader’s speech in full, laid out and printed in its thousands barely 30 minutes before the speech began. There was a race against time to typeset, print, collate if it went onto more than one A3 sheet, so that we could hand it out to delegates as they left the hall after the standing ovation.

Afterwards, left the conference centre and bumped into Wendy Johnson and the devastatingly handsome group of men she often has with her at conference, including the Very Lovely Mike. Wendy says Rob says by text message Wendy and Mike were in a cutaway-shot on News24 chatting during the leader’s speech when they were supposed to be applauding. VLM v kindly says he used to like my hair, but I don’t otherwise get enough of a chance to talk to him this time around.

Well, there’s one reason to go to Brighton…

Uneventful journey home, driving through bright sunshine. M1/A1 almost all the way, easily home by 3.

To find, on my desk, drowned in the dregs of one of the coffee cups, a dead spider. Urgh. Report this to P when he comes home, and much handwringing ensues. “Oh no! Is it Horace?”

Apparently the spiders in the house have names. Names that are not “Yargh, where’s the hoover?”

Horace, it transpires, has been living around the landing/bathroom for a few weeks. We check the ceiling. Horace is fine, but he’s moved across the threshold into my room, and found a friend. It’s a third, but similar spider to both of the others that’s wound up dead in one of my mugs.

Tonights episode of CSI:NY didn’t help: it was all about eating creepy-crawlies. Including tarantula tempura. Urgh. My stomach is feeling distinctly unsettled.

Finally, while both of us are in the house together, pluck up the enthusiasm to go into the attic and look for the wasps’ nests. When we had our loft insulated, the surveyor warned us there were six small tennis-ball sized sacs where wasp queens were over-wintering. If we get rid of them now, it’s a simple case of knocking the nests into bags and binning them. If we wait later in the year, they will become active and much more dangerous.

I hate the attic. P, who doesn’t have a head for heights, hasn’t been up there at all. It’s completely unlike the attic of my parents’ house, built in the 90s, with large rafters and a fitted light. It’s dark. Splinters come off the roof beams. The rafters are barely a foot apart and not very deep. The space has hardly been used for anything in the 70 years this house has been here, so it is beyond filthy. There are weird wires dangling around (an antenna?) It has now been insulated, and the insulation material is prickly asbestos. Worse, it has just been laid on top of the rafters, so you can no longer see where it is safe to tread and where not.

We heft a large MDF board into the attic to lay on top of the insulation so that I can crawl to the nearest visible tennis ball. I have to crawl holding a fluorescent tube in one hand like a light sabre. When I finally get there, I can see that the nest is very old indeed. It’s probably been there undisturbed for a decade. It’s broken around the middle and empty. After the effort of getting up there it’s a bit of a disappointment.

I give up trying to get to the other visible one. It’s completely the far side of the attic. If it too isn’t long since dead, pest control can come and deal with it if it becomes a problem. As for the other four which the surveyor saw but I can’t make out using my tube light — we’ll just have to hope that being smothered in asbestos has done for them.

Bah. On with the week. And on with trying to shake the nasty suspicion that the spider was in the coffee all along, and didn’t drown in dregs after I put the cup down…

Not sure…


Not sure…

Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

… I like there things you call “mornings”. Although I could get used to Full Yorkshire Breakfast,

The snow has melted from the roads but there is still plenty on the paths. People have trampled the verges where the crocuses were.