Disregarding the heat

Tuesday July 18, 2006

Today was the hottest day yet and tomorrow, even hotter, is forecast to break the record for the hottest July day which was set back in 1911. I managed to get one more wall of the second bedroom done, at the back on the top floor, but I had to take three breaks along the way. I was working at the extreme limit of my endurance, however, and I very much doubt I’ll be able to do anything at all in the way of decorating tomorrow.

Hey ho. It’s likely to cool down from Thursday onwards and it may be that I shall make up for lost time but, being realistic, it looks unlikely that I’ll able to achieve my arbritrary target date of July 27 to have the house ready to accept our furniture. It’s good to have a target date when you’re engaged on a long project, so long as it’s a realistic one. Working to an unrealistic target is soul-destroying; it’s stupid beyond words to be unwilling to face the fact that what seemed like a reasonable date for completion is, for whatever reason, no longer attainable.

July 27, three months since we moved out of the house in Lincolnshire, would have been a good, symbolic date. I’ll be sensible, though, and wait for the return of more normal weather before setting a new target. Meantime, I’ll do what I can.

Not tomorrow, though. Tomorrow the temperature is going to be way, way beyond my official wilt limit.

When I’d rinsed my sponge and emptied the bucket full of strangly lilac-tinted soapy water I repaired to the kitchen, where it was comparatively cool, stripped down to my shimmies, and gave myself a more or less all-over cold water flannel bath, wiping off with a tea towel that’s going to need laundering before it’s fit to dry crockery and cutlery again. There’s no blind at the kitchen window, of course. All the window glass in the house has some kind of modern tint incorporated, to keep the summer heat out. Now, I would not in normal circumstances, stand in full view by a window in my underwear. I’m too old and chubby for exhibitionism. Today, I took the view that anyone strange enough to peer through tinted glass to look at an old guy in a semi-naked state deserves whatever they get.

After I’d had my lunch and cooled down a little I plugged the laptop into the phone socket and started the job of reconnecting to the Internet. Ten minutes later I was using my new BT/Yahoo Anytime dial up service, giving me more or less unlimited time and bandwidth for a commitment of one month only. Smooth as smooth, with no problems at all.

It’s very slow compared to broadband of course. I discovered just how slow it is the moment I set the email client the task of downloading the 500 or so messages waiting on the server. That took a long, long time, so I decided that I’d have to forgo the pleasure of scanning through the subject lines of the 980 ‘spam’ messages the server had set aside for me. I’ll trash them tomorrow.

Leaving the messages I’d downloaded in my inbox I signed off, closed the laptop, closed the house, and hopped into the car to come back to the caravan. When I’d had a nap I set to the task of reading them, and responding to a handful of reader enquiries. It’s odd to work offline when doing email after so long, hitting the ‘send’ button to store outgoing messages against the next time you connect.

Tomorrow I’ll go over to the house, leave the cleaning materials where I dropped them today, and start on the job of fixing my access to the website. Now I can surf to the appropriate information pages without an anxious eye on the bandwidth meter I expect to get to the bottom of the problem and start remedial action very quickly indeed. I need to adjust the settings on my FTP program, and the DNS pointers on the oldgreypoet.com domain so that they direct visitors to the new physical location of the website. The first of these will be easy and instant once I locate the appropriate information. The second takes me to the outer limits of my WWW expertise and experience but I seem to recall that, having made the changes on the domain computer, it can take anything up to 48 hours for those changes to propagate across the Web, and up to 72 for them to reach some countries.

I’ll send a message out tomorrow, letting those readers who subscribe to the notify service know I’m back on the air and what’s happening. Once I get the FTP program working again, I’ll upload these last few entries. I think it’s possible to reach the website before the DNS propagation is achieved by means of using ‘temporary’ URLs linking directly to my account in its new location on the POWWEB servers and, if so, I’ll notify using those, and continue using them on a daily basis until all is back to normal.

I do apologise for the unannounced hiatus and thank you all for sticking with me. I’ll be working hard from now on until I get the technical hitch fixed; it’s work I can do regardless of the heat. Just don’t go peering through the windows while I’m so engaged, though, for it’s unlikely that I shall be properly dressed for decent company.

Technical note:  I should explain that, had I had a good, affordable and constant connection I’d have been able to anticipate and forestall the impact on my website of the upgrade of the PowWeb servers. That hasn’t been the case, however. PowWeb did a splendid job of informing their customers before the event, and are providing more than adequate support during and after the event. Shame it had to happen at the worst possible time for me, but that’s not in any way the fault of the guys at PowWeb.



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