Friday, January 23, 2009


I was painting today, my fingers are still partly white in spite of several washings and a bath. I made some quiet good progress today, with help from my Dad and Martina we painted a lot of the kitchen, an alcove where some wiring is going and filled a load of holes.

I started with a trip to Stax. It is trade only but fortunately Nick has an account. They are really cheap for paint and decorating supplies, and other bits.
On the way home I picked up Martina from Bramhall, she had gone into her previous employer B2B to invoice them for some work.

Starting upstairs we used sugar soap to clean out an alcove I need to be painted before installing my comms cabinet. It was filthy I don't think the previous owner knew about cleaning. The doors upstairs have little windows, I thought it was frosted glass but it turned out to be nicotine stain, yuk!

Martina worked really hard painting the kitchen ceiling and helping out, it felt really good to finally see something getting back in.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Enable user ftp uploads SELinux

I just had some issues getting vsftpd setup on Centos 5.2 I kept getting 500 OOPS: cannot change directory. Searchign around on the net I finally found
this post which included the command to allow ftp for users through SELinux.

/usr/sbin/setsebool -P ftp_home_dir=1

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The New Pollution

I started the day by putting in part of the ring mains upstairs, it was a major mission routing a cable from the start of the ring to where the immersion heater used to be. I am going to use the space where the tank used to live to put in a comms cabinet for the wired cabling and the TV points.

Around lunch time I headed out with Nick to pick up a sofa. Martina's housemate Neal had put me in touch with his workmate Paul who had a sofa to dispose of. The only problem was that I had to arrange a lift to near Clitheroe in Lancashire to pick it up. Following the sat nav it took us just under an hour to find it, traveling perilously close to my old stomping ground. It was a pretty nice day sunny and clear as we drove there, changing to a rather overcast one on the drive home. So now I have a sofa, a table and a floor, just need a kitchen and to finished the decoration and I can finally move in.

The only certainty in life is that things will change. When I was younger I loved going to bars, I would get dressed up on a weekend drink and dance listen to loud music.
Tonight Ian Nick and I went to the Unicorn, I wanted to show Ian how far its fallen. We all agreed it needs a refit, badly. Paint is coming off the walls the décor is haphazard and the whole place needs a common theme. Also the previous owners stripped a heck of a lot of bits out of the place leaving very unsightly gaps.
After we got tired of the sad decor we made a move to the Rectory, unfortunately they played very loudly the greatest hits of the 80's which did very little for conversation. That was a shame given Ian was telling me some of his plans for a possible bar venture and it was really interesting to hear his plans. Nick was being sent especially west by the music, and Ian had to pick up Faye so we had an early night.

Funny Load

Funny Load
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

Nick and I were behing this, ahem, gym on the way to pick up a sofa near Clitheroe

Two Seat Sofa

Two Seat Sofa
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke

This is my new sofa, well new to me anyway. Should do for the moment though its in pretty good condition. Thanks to Martina, Neil and Neil's friend Paul

Friday, January 16, 2009


Today was a good day, I had a day off to work on the house and managed to get a lot done. Primarily I had to take a day to wait in for the heating repair man. Homeserve rang in the morning to say they would turn up between one and four in the afternoon. So in the morning the plan was to seal the concrete floor. Basically until it is sealed conrete gives off dust and tomorrow I was picking up someone old sofa. I didn't think it was a good idea to put the sofa in this dusty environment.

The floor sealant is a solvent which seals in the floor chemically binding the top layer. It stunk like very strongly of chemicals and I was high as a kite after we finished. It only took a few hours to prepare and paint onto the living room and hall floor.

The heating repair man was early, and quickly fixed the leaking heating. He did however spot a few faults with the installation.

Earlier in the week I had a telephone call from the blood service asking me to go and donate on Friday. After the engineer had departed I traipsed into Wilmslow and made a donation at the Parish Hall. I had never been during the day before, they had milky ways along with the other biscuits I guess they are normally all gone by the time I arrive!

After donating blood it was still early enough to continue a little on the house. I wired in a cable to upstairs and got my first upstairs socket working.

So I have my first working socket upstairs, working heating, a locking garage, and a sealed floor and I gave away a pint of blood, a pretty good day I think.

I went out with Phil for last orders at the reopened unicorn. The place looked rather bedraggled the previous people had taken a lot of things including the nozzle for the Guinness tap so Phil couldn't have a pint of Guinness.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fat government

Looks like Digby Jones share my views on fat government, it is too big employs too many people and could use half as many.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Free antivirus

I just started using the free Windows Antivirus program Clamav. It has no pesky restrictions on using if you are a company either making it totally free unlike Avira or AVG which are free for personal use.

Seeing Ghosts?

An artical on the BBC, please note the line which read academics say the findings do not prove a "causal link". Basically this appears to be a quasy science study which the BBC has picked as News. To me this is a great example of the junk science as highlighted on the excellent Number Watch

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Up and Down and Back Again

its been a busy week, adjusting to being back at work was tough. There has been a lot to get on top of, plus I have been helping Nick with a few things trying to get a new website up and running. That included meeting a contact of his to discuss some details. We met in a bar in the centre of Altringham on a Thursday night. The whole place was empty apart from ourselves and another couple of guys who came in afterwards. Afterwards as we walked to the car I noted that the restaurants were empty, is it a sign people are cutting back or just an ordinary January slowdown? On another note the giving up beer for January has been going well so far. I managed not to drink that night so it makes three visits to the pub and the strongest thing I have drunken is spicy tomato juice.

Wednesday Night Bruce and myself went to the Legion to book a lan party for the 24th of January. Its been a long while since the last one, with Bruce getting ready for his wedding and me spending time on the house I haven't been able to organise anything. However we decided it was time so we are going to do our best to put something on.

I had the day off on Friday so I went to visit Kasia, we spent the afternoon together in York. I was really nice just being together enjoying each others company, walking along the river. I was cold but felt very alive and happy. She was working Saturday so I drove home early morning and started on the house.

As usual for this time on a Sunday I am tired, covered in dust and my hands are scratched. Once again I have spent the majority of the weekend at my house. As usual it started off as a simple, oh such a simple job. Simply run a length of telephone cable from the Cable box to the living room where the master phone socket will live.
I started on by running the cable into the garage then I had to run it around the the room all the way to the other side. Unfortunately in order to do so I had to dismantle the first bit of wiring I put in as part of the process, then next problem was that the weather sensor wiring was in the way and had to be disconnected and reroute. This meant on a day where the temperature was -1C at 10am I was sat outside asking the sensor apart. I couldn't feel my fingers by the end.
So I spent Saturday taking things apart, and Sunday putting it back together again.


Being an ecologically minded fellow I bought some energy saving lightbulbs. This time the 20 watts variety, the normal ones seem to be about 11watts and just arn't bright enough. The 20's are better but they still take 2-3 minutes to warm up to full brightness, and 20 watts is only one fifth of a standard 100 watt bulb so it costs the same to run for 5 hours that a standard bulb does for one hour. They should therefore save me some electricity and reduce the old carbon footprint.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Time for blogging has been pretty thin on the ground recently I had a pretty awesome Christmas in the Alps then a wonderful New Years with Andy and Emily in Manchester. I thought I would summarise what I have been up to in the last couple of weeks.

I went skiing to Val D'Isere in France. It was really beautiful there, the snow was near perfect, the week before we arrived nearly 2 meters of fresh power arrived. We arrived and enjoyed had 4 days of glorious sunshine, the pistes were near perfect. I skiied a lot, drank a lot and enjoyed myself for a week.

I had met up with Kasia before Christmas and we have decided to have another try as we still like each other. I went to visit her in York last Monday we had an outing to Ikea I have never seen a place so so busy queues to get in and out so bad the Police were drafted in to direct traffic. We managed to finally get in and wondered around Ikea, then Habitat. I saw a few nice things but nothing that really screamed out. I still have quiet a bit to do too before I get any furniture. It was really enjoyable spending time with her again I hope that we can do so more often.

On Wednesday I took my Mum to B&Q to take advantage of the 10% overs 60s discount and use some vouchers I had received as presents. I bought some wallpaper and decorating sundries to make a start on the lounge. Now Nick has put in the woodwork and boxes in the pipes it looks a lot more houselike. I think I will feel a lot happier when I start to see rooms taking shape.

For New year Phil, Andy, Emily and her friend Laura went to watch the fireworks in Exchange Square. We played Wii for a bit then went to Polar bar. It was a sort of tent set up near to Urbis, they did a really nice range of hot drinks. I had a whisky toddy, the others had hot chocolate with vodka or Cointreau. It was -2 at least outside, I had my ski jacket to keep me warm but amazingly some of the women were walking around without even a coat, and bear legs, crazy!

The fireworks were a little disappointing, Andy was telling me that the council refused to put up any money so they were paid for by the owners of the big wheel.

I looked at myself in the mirror today, I have put on weight, quiet a bit in fact, I have a streaming cold and I felt horrible. I have decided to try and leave off beer for a while I'll try for the whole of January, in fact I might do a Bridget Jones style counter. I also want to get a move on trying to get the house in order so I can move in.

Still going

Still going
Originally uploaded by j0hncooke