Jan 12 2009

Belated 2009 Greetings

Category: Friends,Personal,Weather,WiFi,Windows Mobile,WordPressChrisM @ 3:36 pm

Wow, no posts in almost 12 days. That has to be improved upon, sorry. The (somewhat predictable) reasons for my online muteness were recovering from Christmas, seeing in the New Year, travelling around meeting friends and family, some of whom we hadn’t crossed paths with in a couple of years, friends coming over to sunny Wales to see the house for the first time, oh and also maintaining, repairing and improving four different PCs. Getting used to Vista from a technical support point of view has taken time, but I at least no longer involuntarily shudder when I hear the OS’ name 😉
After flashing my TyTn II (Kaiser) to a custom WM6.1 ROM (it was working boringly reliably, something had to be tweaked/modded 😉 ) and getting TomTom, music and voice commands to work whilst in the car, I installed Ubuntu onto Ira’s laptop (dual-boot obviously, didn’t think the love of my life would appreciate me nuking her Windows install), finally got around to properly securing the wireless network at home in Clydach, got the PCs all happily working as far as UPnP was concerned. This needed to be sorted as the internet radio I recvd. for Xmas could also play files on the LAN, and I was having issues just using normal folder sharing on a couple of the Vista machines.
Ante natal classes have been an interesting and mostly informative process, it is hard to believe we are now probably less than a month away from seeing our daughter’s face for the first time 🙂 We now have a lot of the items new borns need, and even the pushchair/pram/car-seat optimus prime styled transforming thingy has turned up. Ira has done some more photo shoots with John, obviously centred around the theme of pregnancy/new life etc. See previous posts for the last published examples – though hopefully John will get around to adding new posts to his blog, and new photos to the gallery soon. Which reminds me, don’t forget to check out ConJoinery if you are in need of carpentry or joinery skills… when Con came over here for a few days, we got around to setting up a quick blog to promote his work, and showcase previous projects. It obviously still need more content, but the basic framework of WordPress 2.7 and useful plugins are in place.
After all that I finally noticed that this site is once again down to a PageRank of 0 (see many previous posts regarding Google and post links-for-money issues. Anyway, I now know why there is a lot less work around again. From n/a to a 2, then up to 4, spanked by google down to a 0, recovered to 2, then back once more to 0. As the only thing this alters for the worse is the potential income for this domain, I’m not crying into my cereal. The unique visitor numbers per day has been steadily bouncing between 250 and 600 a day, even when no fresh content has been added, so I know the search engine traffic, and regular repeat visitors have carried on regardless. It is a little strange to find out which of your posts are popular, and the search terms people googled to get there. If you’ve not already enabled AWStats on your site, it might be worth popping along to your CPanel interface and turning it on…

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Oct 16 2008

Bruising Season Already?

Category: WeatherChrisM @ 5:19 am

Just took a break from posting by have a cigarette on the balcony. Mixed in with the usual array of speeding cars, people who don’t seem to mind driving with just one headlight barely working, and quite a few with no rear lights at all, I saw our old friends the gritter convoy. Spread out in a diagonal line that just overlaps the three lanes in either direction, they usually appear when the snow is on its way. Yippee, lovely snow, beautiful trees and entirely new landscapes are visible out the window, with all the familiar landmarks taking on a new appearance, covered in a crisp white layer. Alternatively, the pessimistic side of me thinks about all the frozen pavements, motorists sometimes unable to stop at pedestrian crossings, even if they want to, and bruised bums from landing oh so elequantly after a dainty pirouette after finding the hidden black ice patches. Whether we will actually see snow so soon remains to be seen.


Jun 10 2008

From Boiling To Freezing

Category: Personal,WeatherChrisM @ 12:02 am

Today finally saw the temperature drop a little. The last couple of weeks had seen daytime temperatures hover between 28 and 36 degrees centigrade, where as today was a lot more comfortable, only just break the twenty mark.
Sadly, the last couple of weeks have been missing one heat element – hot water. Because other people in the blocks of flats around us have not been paying their water bills, the company has run out of money to buy fuel (I went to a residents meeting with Ira last week – doubt the others will be paying any time soon). This meant no hot water for showers, washing up etc. Whilst the kettle works fine for mixing in with the cold water for rinsing the dishes, taking a cold shower, especially for washing your hair, is getting a little frustrating. Luckily, Ira’s parents and Dave both have working hot water, so offered their showers, but for now, I’m just taking the opportunity to leave the air con off for a bit longer by chilling out in the shower instead 🙂


Apr 15 2008

Here Comes Spring?

Category: Kazakhstan,WeatherChrisM @ 6:49 pm

OK, so it is 15th April, and quite a few weeks ago, all the snow and ice had already melted in this town. By last week, temperatures had recently just hit the low 20s (centigrade). Then today the weather turned on us – it is currently snowing quite heavily again, enough to settle on the ground.
Hopefully the weather will improve by Saturday afternoon, as I don’t want our flights out of the country to be delayed at all, in case we miss our connecting flights from Germany…


Mar 12 2008

More Pics From UK Storm

Category: WeatherChrisM @ 8:34 pm

Before I forget, I came across the following pictures over at the BBC News website. Thought you might like to see them?

Weston Super Mare Tea On The Beach Storms Wind Rain Britain March 2008

Basildon Essex Storms Wind Rain Britain March 2008 Summer House

Caerfai Bay St Davids Pembrokeshire Towering Waves Storms Wind Rain Britain March 2008

Borth Ceredigion Beach Storms Wind Rain Britain March 2008

So, no great surprise that none of my friends got round to reading the previous posts yet, but I see most of them on messenger, so I’ll assume no one’s house or car got trashed by falling trees etc.

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Mar 11 2008

Family All OK

Category: Personal,WeatherChrisM @ 2:29 am

Realising that the likelihood of anyone commenting on the post re. Britain’s weather any time soon was slim, I decided to check in with Mum & John, Dad and Nick. All were OK, though John did get a bit blown around by the wind. Probably because he went down with another photographer friend to the Swansea coast to see what pictures jumped out at them.

Trearddur Bay Storms Wind Rain Crushed Car Tree North Wales Britain March 2008

OK, so that isn’t actually Swansea, its in North Wales, but I couldn’t find any decent shots right now; John’s will probably be published on his blog sometime soon. Anyway, really glad our family seem fine, hopefully friends are OK as well.

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Mar 10 2008

Rain And High Winds Hit Southern UK

Category: Friends,In The Media,Personal,WeatherChrisM @ 10:44 pm

How are people? For those readers not in the UK, the south of the country is currently being hit by quite a bad serious of storms. Click on over here for a BBC report on it so far.

Lyme Regis Getty Storms Wind Rain Britain March 2008 Lyme Regis Getty Storms Wind Rain Britain March 2008 Pembrokeshire Storms Wind Rain Britain March 2008

Winchester Storms Wind Rain Crushed Car Tree Britain March 2008

So, if you have a moment (and electricity and a working phone line 🙂 ), leave a comment, let us know if your area was affected by the 80mph+ winds or the rain and resulting flood waters.

Cheltenham Race Course Damage Storms Wind Rain Crushed Car Tree Britain March 2008

As you can see from that last photo Cheltenham’s famous race course was hit by the winds, with some of the temporary structures in place for the National Hunt damaged. Swansea was also effected, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and phone around friends and family…

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Nov 09 2007

Skating On New Ice…

Category: Kazakhstan,WeatherChrisM @ 12:27 am

As I previously mentioned, today we had the first proper snowfall of this winter. It has settled on the ground, and in places already formed quite impressive drifts. I remembered to dig out my hat, gloves and winter boots, but forgot my scarf – by the time I noticed, it was already too late to return to our flat and find it, as I would have arrived at the office after my pupil’s lesson was due to start.
Anyway, I strode out into the brisk morning sun shine, and for the first few steps, the walk to work was the same as the last fortnight’s.
Then I found some ice, and almost came a cropper immediately. I instinctively bent my knees and threw my arms out for balance, looking like some deluded surfer or skateboarder, sans equipment. Despite the foolish appearance (I’m glad the entrance to our flat is hidden at the back of the building – less on lookers to look and laugh 😉 ), I managed to maintain my balance, and immediately took on the old granny shuffle that seems to prevent too much sliding and falling over. Once you hit snow again, walking can return to normal, but if you follow the path that others have already created in the snow, you soon find ice once more. This means you need to trudge through the fresher snow, which is slower to traverse, but provides better footing. The next area of interest is the pedestrian crossing. (See the many previous bitching about motorists attitudes to such zebra crossing within older posts in the Kazakh Driving category here.) In non-icy conditions, most cars do at least slow down, or change lanes to lower the probability of a little metal and bone combination occurring, however when the first snow has fallen, and motorists are still driving at summer speeds on the road, stepping out onto that crossing it once again a hair raising experience. Luckily there were no complete idiots around at the time, so I made it across. I made it to the office on time, but unfortunately my pupil was delayed by the icy conditions and resulting slow moving traffic. On the way back home, I resolved that unless I am running late, I will take a few extra minutes with my journey, and cross by the traffic lights instead, where I can at least feel more morally indignated (hmmm, I should probably start to check if words exist, now that I am supposed to be helping others learn English…) should I be run over 😉

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Nov 08 2007

First Proper Snow Of The Winter…

Category: Friends,Kazakhstan,WeatherChrisM @ 10:04 am

Just woke up to see the world blanketed in snow. Although there have been a few attempts already, this is the first time it has properly settled. Although it looks nicer, this now means getting properly dressed before leaving the house (even I admit a shirt and light jacket aren’t best for walking in now 🙂 ), and pretty soon trying not to fall over on the ice, especially when crossing the road. Also spoke to Seb for the first time in a long while this morning, and discovered he too has relented to the inevitable and signed up over at Facebook.
Anyway, I will try and grab some photos later on, but I must go for now, as I need to get ready for today’s English lesson. If Mrs Dowling could see me now, I think she would probably die out of fear for the language’s ability to survive my slaughtering of it, but there you go.
Hope all who read this do so in good health, and apologies for the long delays in between posts, I’m finding it difficult to get used to this getting up early to go to work malarkey again. I will hopefully get back into the swing of it soon.

PS Good luck to Con for this Saturday, and also to Alex. One for the tunes, one for the intercontinental moving 🙂


Aug 28 2007

Severn Trent Responds To Criticism

Category: In The Media,WeatherChrisM @ 4:05 am

Check the IGotLucky page linked to at the top for a few links to posts on the recent flooding my home country (and in fact home county) had. The water was cut off for a while, and even when turned on, was not suitable for washing in or drinking, even if boiled. The problem was that a water treatment plant was flooded, and as flood waters are not at all clean, this meant serious repairs were needed.
Anyway, the BBC has an article detailing some of the criticism levelled at Severn Trent Water, and their response to it. Basically, a lack of communication was a major issue residents felt, and the response to the emergency did not seem at well planned out. Hopefully the company now has better contingency plans, should flooding occur again.

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