Archive for April, 2016

Friday and I’m all set to go

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Early doors in the Prince of Wales for a pre coast to coast meeting

Spent the day getting ready for the coast to coast. Bought some ibuprofen, paracetamol and spare torch batteries from Boots in the Carlton Centre. Not anticipating needing to use a torch but you never know…

Did consider buying some more maps to supplement the coast to coast map sent by the travel agents. The trouble with the one I have is that it is purely for the coast to coast route. If we need to divert around mountains we have no map. Went to GoOutdoors for a skeet but decided against it in the end. There are 4 maps just for the Lake District!

Anne and I went to the Prince for early doors to meet Ajax, Sue and others. Ajax can’t set off until after lunch tomorrow because Luke, his son and a fellow coast to coaster, is having a “haircut”. I get there at 17.55 and Tom an hour later. Will wait until everyone gets there to have dinner.

This is the last entry for a couple of weeks now whilst I move operations over to We have raised £1200ish so far and haven’t begun the walk yet. I’m optimistic the number will rise significantly.

See you on…

Thursday Thursday the rain has come

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

deafening noise in conservatory

Started packing today. Got all the technical stuff out and it is pretty much ready to go. Will need to make sure the first aid kit is fully stashed. Will need to make sure I have enough underwear and other evening stuff. 2 weeks away. Some opportunity to launder clothes but I think I need to assume we won’t get the chance.

Broke through the £1k mark with donations today including a contribution from Joe’s girlfriend Charlotte who is a student and therefore not particularly well off. From hereon it’s onwards and upwards with an especial pressure on to make sure we complete the walk.

Got a few work bits to finish off but basically now on the glide path to Cumbria. Had my haircut at Tom Visconi’s in the Bail this morning. Took a before and after photo. Not sure I can see the difference but Tom definitely took a load off. Don’t want to be having unruly hair on the coast to coast walk do we?

Did a few jobs for Anne. Dismantled the desk in tom’s room and reassembled in the loft. Anne has been painting the loft. V nice it is. I also moved some shelving that had been discarded to the bottom of the garden into the attic. We are going to put the router, NAS box, RIPE Atlas probe and CCTV box on it. Oh and also the 16 port Fast Ethernet switch. I need to invest in a GigE switch. They aren’t expensive and I’ve had the old one for over ten years now.

Popped to the Star for a couple of pints early doors. Figured there wasn’t much point doing the heath kick at this stage. Looking out of the window at the rain we noticed some “youths” doing a deal in the car park opposite. Something was handed over in exchange for something else. Seemed like an odd place to be selling drugs in full view of everyone.

Anne cooked a nice sole in white wine sauce with new potatoes and green beans and I polished off the last of the wine. Now I’m on the Spanish brandy. A bit of a toothache. Again. It’s because I had some chocolate earlier. Lesson there.

Good chat with dad. Tried to hook him up on Facebook in a chat with me and Hannah. Trouble is he is using an iPad and I’m not and I can’t see what he can see so don’t find it easy to give him the right IT support.

Oh and the noise in the conservatory was deafening during the rain. As the header says:)

Wednesday – the leaving of Luxembourg

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

snow at the airport

Had a pleasant time in Luxembourg although these meetings are always exhausting. The hotel was pretty average – soft mattress and below par breakfast but the problem is that finding places to host a couple of hundred o so people at a sensible price ain’t easy.

A few of us were leaving at the same time so we got two taxis to the Airport. Luxembourg airport is quite small so it was a breeze to get through security. Richard and I travelled on the Heathrow Express into town and then tubed it from Paddington to Kings Cross where i was able to change my ticket for an earlier train. Bought lunch (pint of milk, cheese sandwich and packet of McCoys flame grilled beef crisps) and ate it on the 13.30 train nowf.

Nice to get home. Anne and I arrived at the house at the same time and had a cuppa before she set off to pick up John from school. Was the first proper cup of tea since leaving for Luxembourg

Last night I had beans on toast with Lincolnshire sausages for tea before heading to the Eastgate Tennis Club for the Wimbledon ticket draw.  John is a member. We got a result. Second Thursday. Ladies semi finals day. Centre Court. We can’t make the first week where there is a lot more tennis action around the site but ladies semis isn’t bad. You also get to see a mends doubles semi final match.

Focus at home is now very much about getting ready for the coast to coast walk which starts this weekend. Weather forecast is wet for our Sunday start day. Hopefully the weather will quickly move on before then. I’ve used the weather forecast for StBees screenshot from yesterday to give you an idea of what is in store.

Don’t forget I’m raising cash for Cancer Research UK whilst on this Coast to Coast walk. The JustGiving page is here. The start date of the walk coincides with the anniversary of my mother’s death on May 1st last year. Mam was Chairman of the Marown & District branch of the IoM Anti Cancer Association.

Last Tuesday in Luxembourg

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

26th April 2016

Another full day’s conferencing at Euro-IX 28 in prospect. The day has started with “Ethernet and the Serendipity of Relativity” by John D’Ambrosia, “PeeringDB 2.0 for IXPs” by Arnold Nipper and “RIPE Atlas for IXPs” by Kaveh Ranjbar. All good stuff.
Walked past the queue at the front desk during the coffee break and said to myself I was glad i wasn’t checking out this morning. Then realised I’d left my room key in the room and had to join the queue.

We had filled rolls for lunch which made a very pleasant change from yet another full blown 3 course meal. I often find myself making up a sandwich on these occasions but today I didn’t need to.

My video of the weekend social went down very well. I was last on before the thank yous.

Now I’m just chilling out in my room before meeting the guys at 5pm and heading into the old town.

Monday night social

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Euro-IX 28 Luxembourg

Aside from the tours of the SES and RTL facilities the one thing that stood out yesterday was the amount of building happening in Luxembourg. I described it as capacity expansion for when the existing buildings begin to overflow with gravy.

Today, Monday, we are getting down to the nitty gritty of the conference with a problem with the wifi giving some cause for concern. The folk that live and work in the internet industry are heavy consumers of bandwidth. It was fixed during lunch so we are back up and running now.

This morning I worked on a video of the Sunday Social. I’m not an expert iMovie user yet but it is easy enough to produce something reasonable. I’ll post it tomorrow.

Had a bit of a dip before heading to the bar and then out for the social which was at a brewery in the middle of town.

Also got the live tracking mode working for runkeeper. You can see the route to the brewery and back here.

sunday in luxembourg

Sunday, April 24th, 2016


Tiring day began with breakfast followed by a trip to the SES satellite groundstation/HQ and a visit to the RTL studios.

Back for a nap in the room before heading down to the social. Bed at midnight hence the brevity of this entry. Watch the vids and look at the pics – vids and pics


Last plane to Luxembourg just leaving town

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Turn to stone & don’t bring me down- ELO gig at the O2

Absolutely fantastic ELO gig at the O2 last night. Ended up at the Sky Bar on the 18th floor along with everyone else at the hotel that wasn’t at the Indian wedding. Heaving it was. We shared a table with a couple called Alison and Terry who happened to be coming to Lincoln for the Steam Punk festival next August Bank Holiday.

The night was somewhat tempered later on by some know smoking in his hotel room and setting off the fire alarm. We all trooped down the stairs and out through the emergency exit. I had the sense to throw some clothes on but quite a few people were in their dressing gowns.

What really annoyed me was the fact that there were no staff in sight. I had ot call the hotel in the end to get them to send someone to the fire assembly area. I have asked for a report on what they will be doing to prevent it happening again. I don’t mind the fire alarm. It’s the lack of staff presence to tell us what to do is what got me.

The poor night’s sleep was made worse by two idiots talking loudly in our corridor at 6am.  On the upside the hotel is a terrific hotel. The staff were great. Room v comfortable.

When we arrived our room on the 11th floor wasn’t ready so we accepted one on the 3rd which may or may not have been a mistake as it turned out to have a view only of an huge air-conditioning vent. You could just about see Canary Wharf if you stretched your neck to the side.

The room had the side issue of having a walkway outside its window and when Anne came out of the shower she found a bloke in a hard hat and high viz jacket stood just outside.

Breakfast was terrific this morning. Perhaps one of the best hotel breakfasts i’ve seen. Tom arrived at around 10.20 to go off for some sightseeing with Anne whilst I Ubered it to LCY to catch the 12.10 LG4594 to Luxembourg.

More from Luxembourg as I have it…

Pics and vids here.

If it’s Friday it must be the ELO gig at the O2

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

lost merino buff found

Anne and I are off to Laandan to see ELO. Staying at the O2 Intercontinental so quite looking forward to the trip. This morning all we’ve done really is to get ready for it. Couldn’t do any work. Did check out my new Anker PowerCore. Bit of a weight to it. Charging it up on the train South. Also installed my new 200GB SD card on the phone. It isn’t 200GB though. More like 189GB. It’ll still do.

Hannah rang. She is in London for an interview for a grad scheme job. She had arrived an hour early at the somewhat plush offices near the Tower of London. Good planning. She can now go and sit in a caff for an hour and turn up relaxed. In one sense this is very much her interviewing the company as well so I think she is just going to enjoy the process. Hansk is meeting us for an early dinner at the hotel before catching a 19.30 train nowf.

We turned up early at Newark Northgate giving me plenty of time to collect my return ticket for next Wednesday. Unfortunately the machine didn’t recognise the booking reference number. Turns out it was a print at home job and I hadn’t printed it off. Doh. Sent Tom the PDF using Facebook Messenger for him to print at work and bring along tomorrow morning.

There is a woman effin and blinding a few seats away. She is on the phone to someone talking about some legal matter. Effin and blinding doesn’t fit well in the First Class  carriage. I should complain to the guard. Get her shifted up the back 🙂

After ELO I’m off to Luxembourg for the Euro-IX conference.

Note the featured image shows me modeling my new merino buff – thought I’d lost it but found it in the pocket of my Timberland wax jacket when I put it on today.

UKNOF 34 Manchester Thursday 21st April

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

United we stand, or is it City?

The sun continues to shine on the righteous but here in Manchester I am locked in a windowless conference room and have put my jacket on to counter the effect of the air conditioning.

Lots of familiar faces in the room. The network engineering community is by and large a nice community. Today I kicked off a new project on Facebook. No idea what it is yet. Just gathering expressions of interest:)

Had a good chat with Dan Cunliffe of Pangea this morning. They have sent me a tracking device to carry with me on the coast to coast walk. The plan is to give people access to the live tracker online so that they can follow our progress. Few bits and bobs to sort out but we have time to get it all done.

Been looking at train times for getting home. Sensible options are 16.20 or 18.43. The issue will be how much I want to go to the social after the meeting versus what time I want to get home. There is also an element of putting off the train journey which isn’t particularly exciting. The later one at 2 hours 27 minutes is also the shortest so I may opt for that.

Manchester in the sun – Wednesday 20th April

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Google car spotted

I’m staying at the Hilton in Manchester Deansgate. Room is v pleasant as is Manchester on this beautiful sunny day. Travelled up with Rich from LONAP and am just waiting for him to finish a conference call before we have a spot of lunch.

Club sandwich in the bar of the hotel. We were joined by Nat Morris. Saw a Google car at the lights outside.

I’m here for the UKNOF conference. Always a good day and preceded by a curry which takes place at 8.30 tonight at Akbar’s.

Ended up with Mark Fordyce and one of his guys at the Cloud 23 Bar. Apparently this is only half way up the building rather than at the top. The top three floors are owned by the architect. Must be a palatial job.

Short input today – the pics and vids will have to do the talking

London bound

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

larvley spring day in town

Jaw is less achey this morning. Good. It’s a beautiful sunny day that began with me heading down to make the tea followed by a sausage bap for brekkie. I’m doing a bit of sorting before I head south to London for my periodic exec dinner.

The camping stuff has been put away, except for the tent which I’ll do in a bit. At least it’s nice and dry out.

I’m away for two nights, one of which (tonight) will require a jacket. The packing therefore has a different dimension to it. It’s always a bit of a nuisance having to take a jacket. In fact there isn’t a dress code but I think a jacket, shirt and jeans does the job. I’ve booked a cab for 11.05 for  11.35 train. Plenty of contingency as it only takes 5 minutes or so to get to the station. I would normally walk with the weather being so nice but I don’t want to hoik my gear.

Anne is off to Bromborough today. Her mum’s ashes are being interred tomorrow morning. It will properly allow her to move on. Between us we have lost three parents within the last 18 months or so. Dads’ still going well in the Isle of Man. It’s a situation everyone has to deal with but it certainly moves you on to a different phase in life. Reinforces my philosophy of enjoying life as much as I can whilst I can.

Just spoke with dad – he is playing golf with the boys this afternoon. He has a buggy. They don’t play a full 18 holes but it gets them out.

Some developments on the coast to Coast. Last night I ordered an Anker PowerCore+ 26800 Premium battery charger. Should do my S7 about 8 times. I also ordered a 200GB SanDisk microSD card – SanDisk Ultra 200 GB microSDXC Memory Card up to 90 MB/s, Class 10 – fwiw. Means I should have no memory storage issues for all the videos I intend to take on the walk.

Dan Cunliffe of Pangea is also sending me a tracker and I have a portal driving lesson on Thursday morning to see what it can do. This is an alternative to using Runkeeper and has the benefit of not running on my phone which I can then use purely for pics and navigation. The S7 camera is great btw.

Now on the train from Lincoln to Newark. It has another 20 minutes before it goes.

man with an aching jaw

Monday, April 18th, 2016

good job it was only one tooth

You see before you a man with an aching jaw. The aching stems from a gap that used to house a tooth. The ongoing saga of the toothache has been brought to a head. I have to trust that the toothache itself will now disappear but will have to wait for the throb to subside before I can verify this.

I did plan to put all the camping stuff away this afternoon but that has not been possible due to the aforementioned jaw ache. I got as far as putting a sleeping bag away this morning and that’s that. The place will be tidied before I head for London tomorrow or Anne will be somewhat dismayed.

Most of the tidying involves finding somewhere to store kit that has been deselected for the coast to coast due to having been superseded by something better. Probably still perfectly good kit. Just not required for the expedition. I will be taking additional base layers with me mind you because I found it very useful to be able to wear two base layers in Derbyshire. The Lake District in two weeks time is likely to offer similar conditions to Derbyshrie last weekend.

One thing that the Derbyshire trip taught me was that  I won’t be writing much stuff in the evenings after a day’s walking. I will have to rely on photos, videos plus a few introductory words. The issue with the vids is going to be bandwidth availability as noted in this blog post on Will just have to see how I get on.

I did stitch together a video of the weekend using iMovie. This is basically all the vids seen in the saturday and sunday posts on philosopherontap connected together in the right order. The files size uploaded to YouTube was 1.3GB so that is not practical for the coast to coast. I will save the iMovie work for one big programme put together after I get home. I have embedded the finished vid of last weekend at the end of this post. I know you will want to watch it.

On another note the Lloyds phone insurers have been on the blower. They can’t get hold of a Oneplus2 as it has to be ordered direct from Oneplus. They have offered me £249 or one of the phones below:

  •        Samsung G900
  •        Sony Xperia Z3
  •        Apple iPhone 5s 32gb
  •        HTC One M8 Eye
  •        Samsung N9005

Not sure what I’ll do yet but I will let you know obvs.

The other learning from Derbyshire was that my new insole isn’t going to cut it. There is a very nice soft gel bit where the ball of the foot is intended to be but unfortunately my feet being the odd sizes that they are the right foot ball doesn’t quite make the gel bit and rubs against the edge of that area. The upshot was a sore foot over the weekend. My old Meindl inserts will be fine. Good job I tested it out before going on the real walk.

Derbyshire vid below

sunday haddon grove

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

5 milish walk

Saturday 16th April, Haddon Grove Derbyshire

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

10 mile walk

Went on a scouts walking weekend in Derbyshire with the Mountain Activity Team. 30 kids, 18 adults. The usual great time. Walked 10.28 miles with a group of leaders.

It is difficult to describe such a busy day – here are some videos plus a link to the weekend’s photos.

Friday 15th Part 1

Friday, April 15th, 2016

preparations for camping in Derbyshire

Watershed moment at the dentist this morning. We jointly decided to have the tooth out. John offered to do it there and then but I wanted a few days to “say goodbye”. Also I’m off to Derbyshire camping with the Scouts and didn’t want to spoil it with a sore gum. I’m going in at 11.20 on Monday to get it done.

Before the dentist I popped in to GoOutdoors to buy a map of the Peak District where I’m going. OL24. The were sold out as were Blacks when I rang them. Obviously as a relatively nearby bit of countryside it is a popular one. You’d think they would have ordered more in though.

It is 15.50 and I’m pretty much packed. Just got to chuck a few things into the rucksack and then I’m ready to rock and roll. The Clif Bars I ordered arrived today but I’m not taking them to Derbyshire. They are strictly rationed for the Coast to Coast. 24 between 2 of us over 12 days. This is in addition to anything provided for us as packed lunches by the B&Bs.

I’m being picked up at 6 so will spend the rest of the afternoon playing with the iMovie software.

I have a plan for when we get to the campsite. It will be chucking it down so I will assemble the tent inside the mess tent, assuming they have one, and then move it into place outside. I have a 500cc bottle of Grouse whisky with me for medicinal purposes tonight and tomorrow.
Now watch the vid.