Tuesday, 10 May 2005

The New Dawn

Quite a fruitful weekend. We now have a new wireless network, although for some reason the old access point flatly refused to work with any of the new kit. So that's basically been discarded, which is a shame since my plan was to use both access points, one at each end of the house, to try to eliminate any blackspots. That's still the plan, but it means buying another access point - eBay here we go!

Still, the actual task I needed to fulfill - putting power sockets into the loft - was achieved very easily. Because of Alice, who's still sleeping very poorly (more below), I was up very early Saturday and actually got to B&Q for 7:15am! And back home in time to take everyone to breakfast at David Brown's. Once I got back, it only took a couple of hours to get everything sorted, and it all worked first-time.

As I spent a lot of time up in the loft, the fact that I spent so much time crawling between joists really did for my knees, to the point where I've pretty much decided to lay some boards. I did some research, talked to a chap, and can get away with chipboard. So it should be quite cheap. I think I'll buy a couple of pieces at the weekend to see how I get on. Again, should be easy enough to lay.

The other thing I need to do in the loft is to put some permanent network connections up there. To date, I've just run a long cable up there, but I think I'll install some wall sockets between the two ends of the loft and the garage (which is where all the wired network stuff is). Again, should be a doddle, although I'm waiting for a network tool to arrive from China (eBay again, very cheap!) before I can complete this.

Sunday, Alice was her worst yet. Until then, she'd been poorly at night, but during the day you'd never have thought there was anything wrong with her. Sunday, she was just plain grizzly. Despite feeling unwell, she still insisted on going to Serendipity Sams, as we'd earlier arranged. When we got there, however, she spent most of her time lying on one of the sofas. Again, she insisted going to MacDonalds for lunch, when she'd have been better just going home. When we finally did get home, she crashed on the sofa where she remained for the rest of the day. Yesterday, I urged Jacqueline to call the doctor, basically to ask if he was sure this was just "growing pains" (we obviously kept Alice off school). I mean, this has been over a week... Anyway, the doctor saw Alice again yesterday evening and the diagnosis is now......mumps! She's going back this morning so he can make sure. So now she's contagious! Seriously, she's now going to be off school for a couple of weeks. I suppose, looking at this cynically, that her timing is good since she should be better by the time we go on holiday.

Of course the fact that is is mumps may mean uncomfortable questions for Jacqueline regarding MMR. In her job, Jacqueline often has to advise people to have the MMR jab (that is what the Department of Health's guidelines are), but when it comes to our own child I very much wanted to opt out, and so Alice never had the triple vaccine. There was so much flying around about the safety of MMR at the time when all this was relevant to Alice, that I was not keen on the autism risk. I just can't buy into the patronising argument "take our advice, we know better than you", which seems to be a stock medical-profession argument. To suggest that I'd be unable to comprehend a factual argument really insults my intelligence. Even now, I think the jury is still out on MMR.

With all of this going on, we didn't get to go shopping at the weekend, so I popped into Waitrose last night. £115 later..... Must remember to get Jacqueline to do the shop next time!

In other events, Blair is obviously starting as he means to go on. Good news for David Blunkett. The man, who may be remembered by some as the guy who fiddled his parliamentary expenses, or possibly for being the guy who fast-tracked a visa for his girlfriend's nanny, maybe for being allowed to live in a government house while no longer a member of the government, perhaps even more generally for his illiberal stance in wanting to lock up anyone to whom he took a dislike, has now taken on the portfolio of Work and Pensions. Millions of pensioners across the country must be quaking in their shoes, wondering what the man is going to meddle with next. And if that is not all, Blair has promoted one of his (unelected) cronies into a job as a Minister of Education, making things "proper" by enobling the guy along the way.

On a serious note, one can live with Blunkett. He's obviously a sharp chap who has learned to play the system. Much as it it distasteful that the chap is given another chance at holding high office, it doesn't really call "the system" into question. There are plenty of examples - on both sides - of disgraced politicoes making comebacks. However, this idea of prime minister's patronage really does grate (even if, again, it is a tool used by both sides). It highlights the need for reform in this area. I don't even have a problem, per-se, with the guy being unelected. But the fact that he will be allowed to sit in the Lords for the rest of his life, on the strength of a job he'll hold for just the next year or two, is plain wrong.

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