Sunday, January 16

2005: January

Eventful start to the year, apart from the weather, which is notable by its absence. I mean, January is winter. And winter is, well, wintry - crisp, even, ***king wenceslas. Not this one. It's not really anything. Roads are dirty and always just a bit wet. The grass is permanently muddy. It's dark when I leave and dark when I get back. I actually wandered around picking up bits of rubbish the other day just to try and get some fresh air. The new car is brilliant and whilst not as fast as the Golf it's a lot more of an experience to sit and drive. Just need a decent registration plate for it now - watch this space!

The dealer lent me an X-type until this one was ready. OK but so much road noise and nothing like as refined as the S-type. It did have a Road Angel fitted, though, and that definitely saved my licence twice as I headed down roads around Watford and Little Gaddesden which used to be old hunting grounds. I was going to buy one but couldn't find one at any of the stores my insurance claim vouchers were valid for. What I did get was a TomTom Go navigation device. Works straight out of the box and is reassuringly simple to operate. I even found a database of speed . . . sorry, safety cameras and managed to install them on it but I've yet to test that bit. Looks good on the dash too.

Now I need a new phone. Current Nokia 7260 was one of the first decent camera phones but the batteries had its day and I'm lucky if it lasts long enough to take a call. The range at the o2 store surprised me in that what had looked really nice on web sites really weren't that smart in the flesh. Sony-Ericsson's P910i smartphone is very chunky and thicker than my old one. Decided to hang on and see what comes along. Impressed by the look of the Nokia 6170. Doesn't have so many toys but I might just go for it if it feels as good as it looks. Great reviews too.

Russell dropped in a couple of times and is still hauling the Hymer around but has a job earning money to pay off a few debts which is going to make life a bit easier. Great hat.

I need some clothes but too many people swarming around at New Year so may just blast a credit card one week day if the weather's decent enough to encourage me to get out of the car and walk.

The insurance company covering my personal belongings have been excellent and camera's been replaced and USB drive. I think I can do without a laptop - hence the spending on other toys, which might include an XD card reader. Miss the ratchet screwdriver. That'll probably be the most difficult thing to replace.

I can see me moving this year. Got to do something about Mum and Dad and may need the profit from this place to clear my own debts. Tricky decisions coming up.

Work's fine. Lot of stuff to do to make something called a Visual Learning Environment effective. Increased profile as I guess I'll have to train everyone. Need help but not sure if I'll get the person I want. We'll see. Pretty awful software and still waiting to see if it can be made to do something quicker and better than my fairly basic web design skills. Having recommended the stuff I simply have to make it justify itself somehow! LSDA could get busy now too with a report on a national review to do and a new survey to design and launch before long. I'm really going to have to manage my time well to get through all this and have decided to stay here Mondays and Fridays (or as many as I can) and just do the Dunstable run mid-weeek. I worked out that this will save me over £60 a month in petrol - even at 25mpg if I keep the Jaguar's sports button on - so that's got to make sense.

MK needs considerable straightening out - that'll be the main domestic project. Kirri deserves broadband and I'll have to figure out some way for Bryony to get linked up too to be fair. Then I can dispense with the second line and look at the best deals for the normal service. The garage is completely full of toys and goodness knows what that looks too good to chuck out. I feel a big boot sale coming on when the sun shines. The loft is also a disaster area but at least I don't see it very often. What I need is one big place to fit everyone but can't see that working either. I may convert the garage and/or loft if no better idea comes up or no-one comes along to rescue me. Not terribly enthusiastic about that so potential alternatives had better turn up quick.

Health's good apart from tobacco. I really ought to quit and may just figure out a way to do so this year but no promises. Eating's gone to pot recently but I reckon I'll revive once some sort of routine gets underway.

Apple's new Mac mini is a very tempting device although I can hardly justify getting one. The new Home Computing Initiative deal I fought to put together for colleges should come in by Easter and might just include that in its range. That would be a more sensible move. My prediction is that it will be a major influence on IT in the future as it grabs more of the pc market and if coupled with Open Office . . . well, you read it here first.

So, here's to 2005. I'll review this in 2006 and see how wide of the mark I've been!

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