The Pig Yard

October - This month has been dominated by our holiday in San Francisco. It was Steve's brother, Clive's, 60th birthday and we just had to be there for his birthday party. We took the time to help clean up his new accommodation in readiness for the party. It was also an opportunity to travel the coast to some of our favourite haunts.

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For the second year running we both took part in the Cycle for Cynthia charity ride sponsored by Nationwide Building Society. We completed the 25 miles and managed to raise £330 between us which beat last years figure by over £100.

Despite the weather in the weeks before hand not allowing us to build up to the 25 miles we didn't suffer too badly afterwards.

Steve is considering putting together a team from work next year.

In the first week of October we flew out of Gatwick heading for San Francisco via Detroit. The transatlantic flight wasn't too horrendous and we managed to watch a couple of decent films before having to go through USA immigration which is about as friendly as Slough on a wet Wednesday night.

We landed at SFO at 10:00 in the evening to be greeted by Clive, Steve's brother, who whisked us off to his new house in San Francisco. Trust us to arrive on the first day it rains this year - maybe a slight exaggeration but none-the-less true.

Clive's home is in the Mission district of San Francisco and used to be a tobacco warehouse back in the 1930's. It is now surrounded by car workshops and other various businesses. There are some three story apartments across the street and a small but well stocked corner shop directly opposite. It is an area ready for gentrification but this may take place anytime in the next ten to twenty years.

It's a one way street so going out in the car and coming back always requires a circuit of the block but we got quite used to this and started exploring different ways of coming in from the same direction. For more pictures and explanation click here.

Our first full weekend back after our holiday gave us the opportunity to catch up with sleep and try to shake off the vestiges of jet-lag. It's good to go away but it is really lovely to come home again to all the familiar things and we do enjoy our home.

We went for a walk on the Saturday under cloudy skies and woke up on Sunday morning with the prospect of a beautiful day. After our usual morning swim we then went through the dilemma of whether the wind was going to drop and be flyable. We made the decision to go for it and what a good decision that was. For an end of October afternoon it was excellent flying weather. We didn't go screeching across the sky but drifted pleasantly away from Northampton landing just outside Courteenhall, in a field where we had just watched a large number of people herding a flock of sheep. It turned out to be several generations of the farmers family and they greeted our landing with delight. This kind of encounter enhances the flight.

Steve's current PC is now three years old and therefore it is due for replacement so he purchased a Dell Dimension 9200 with Intel's Duel Core technology - two chips on the same piece of silicon. The speed of the chip has reached a plateau and so the way around that problem is to introduce parallel processing and in a Windows environment that is very useful so one program can be doing something on one chip and another program can be working on the other chip.

Prior to the new PC arriving Steve made one of his biggest computing mistakes ever. In a state of jet-lag he decided to back up his PC but thought he would clear off some of the files he'd previously backed up. Too cut a long story short he deleted his My Documents folder which included all his photos, letters, web work, everything. With a little bit of manipulation and several evenings of work he managed to get back most of the files back in good order. This was a great relief to him and he started to sleep again.

He now has to transfer all files to the new computer, clean up his old one and prepare it for Jane to use and then prepare Jane's old machine for use by Sue who is still running a PC with Windows98 and must be at least 8 years old.