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  1. Separation

    October 2, 2017 by Daniel

    Oh hello long neglected blog?

    Remember when everyone and their dog had a blog? I guess it’s all about facebook and twitter now. No fiddling with host settings. Oh well, the world moves on I suppose.

    Ok ok stop avoiding it, what is this post about Daniel? Well, over on that there facebook I took a deep breath and admitted something publicly which I’d been avoiding for a while. I guess it was an open secret that many knew. But to confirm it? Well. It needed to be done. It was time. I need support from people and for that they need to know. I need them not to be surprised or to understand if they spot things I’m doing or something.

    Here’s something it’s taken me a while to be ready to say on here. My situation has changed as some people know already and I think now it’s better if it’s acknowledged rather than left unsaid by me.

    Kate and I have separated. We’re figuring stuff out as to how this works. We were together a long time so it’s going to take a while to adjust.

    I’ve moved out to somewhere not too far from the kids who remain as important to me as ever and are the bright shining stars in my life.

    Can I just ask, we both don’t want anyone to “take sides”. It’s between us and we both need the support of our friends and family. We don’t want the he said she said, the drama or for you to fight one of our corners. We just want your support. I assure you the friendships and love we had from you whilst we were a couple is just as valid and wanted as now we are apart.

    So that’s it really.

    I’ve moved out and now have the kids with me for a couple of nights a week. 2017 eh.

  2. Protest March

    February 6, 2017 by Daniel

    Had a really good weekend. Felt like the whole family had a good time and maybe we helped make a small difference in the world too.

    On Saturday there was a protest planned to do with the US President Trump’s ‘Ban’ on immigrants from a few Middle-east countries. Kate and I wanted to take the kids along. The Presidency is something we’ve obviously been discussing lots in our house over the past few months and we thought it was a good opportunity to show the kids about something much bigger than ourselves.

    We had a fun day planned, we went bowling first at All Star Lanes (which Florence won!), had a lovely meal at Almost Famous and then headed over to the protest and managed to meet up with our friends, the Stones (Kate had made her and Florence matching hats which the Stones had on too.

    There was some inspirational speeches and then we marched up Cross St, left on St Mary’s Gate, down Deansgate and then back to Albert Square via John Dalton St. It was so strange chanting and walking down these huge roads in the middle of a Saturday. George was on my shoulders the whole time and I think his favourite chant was ‘You can’t build a wall, your hands are too small’.

    I think it will be the first march of many to come during this Presidency. The President’s actions have consequences, ones wider than many people think. There’s plenty of comments on twitter from people saying ‘Do these people know they are in Manchester?’ Yes of course we know, but this isn’t about ourselves- we’re just doing what we can.

  3. Swimming 

    January 10, 2017 by Daniel

    George moved up to the next class in Swimming this term, the third class. It’s great to see him doing well at it – albeit this class is a little late in the day for him – 6.30pm (we usually go upstairs for bath etc at 7!) but at least I’m home from work to watch. 

    This was the first class: got in at deep end with one round float on each arm, swam to shallow and took off floats. The rest of it was starting to learn front crawl using one of those rectangular shaped floats any swimmer knows well. He looked so much smaller than the rest of his class. I’m not sure of their ages but I’m sure they are at least a year perhaps more. It was funny because in his last class he was always very quick but in this one, they are all much more speedy. 

    His hair got in his eyes a lot and I think he swallowed a lot of water (head up!). 

  4. The Force Awakens

    December 22, 2015 by Daniel

    (I’m going to write about this as if you’ve seen the film, I’ll try not to give too much away but be warned)

    I’m going to write about something every man, woman and their dog is writing about. The New Star Wars film.

    George Lucas always said he saw the series was much bigger than what he did originally. I’m not really sure what the reason for the big gap between the Original trilogy and the Prequel trilogy was, perhaps he just wanted to enjoy life a bit, see if he could get some other things going (Indiana Jones, pretty good side project).

    Anyhoo, he’s probably better not as a front man, but guiding things from a distance. This is a really long way of saying, he did a good thing selling to Disney, they can carry this thing on forever now – I as many do just really love the world of Star Wars, I’m not so big on superheroes and yes whilst the Force is a bit mystical, mostly the stories are just about extraordinary things happening to normal people.

    And so to the new film. I did my best to avoid the publicity for it, I really did. I only watched the teaser trailor, I didn’t want to be encumbered by the visuals too much before I saw it. Then there was the going to see it. With two young children getting out to the cinema is not something we really do.


    I was watching fairly carefully to see if J.J. Abrahms had stuck to the conventions of Star Wars, what was the first establishing shot going to be? (because they are all done the same way). That out of the way I was put at ease, this guy knew what he was doing and I should trust him. Maybe he sought that trust a little too hard and could have taken a few more liberties? But overall fine, the films are supposed to “rhyme” after all. It moves things on enough and reintroduces at the same time.

    It’s really all about family and the families of the Original main characters have now intertwined.

    I loved seeing ‘behind the mask’ of a Stormtrooper, we’ve seen a little bit before (but one step removed) in the establishment of the Clone troopers and I’m glad they explained Finn was a different kind of trooper.


    Mostly I’m excited for the films to come now, and there won’t be such a long wait for more now. Probably by the time they start coming in quickly George will be ready for them (this one is a bit dark for him yet).

  5. Reaching 30

    June 23, 2015 by Daniel

    Here I am. Thrity.

    I don’t know why but it seems quite a milestone and I had a fabulous time celebrating it. Kate surprised me to a trip to Paris, having arranged for the kids to stay in Morecambe with her parents.

    We flew Ryanair to Paris-Beauvais and were staying in an 4th floor apartment for 2 nights basically in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Fantastic! We had such a great time, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy travelling.
    The first evening after getting in an recovering we had a walk around the immediate area with the aim of finding somewhere to eat. We wound up on Place Joffre, walking past Ecole Militaire and Champ de Mars (with it’s square trees!) eventually going into L’Ogre.
    What a place to happen onto! The food was fantastic, same goes for the wine! I had Entrecote and a Montepeyroux red.

    We walked back to the apartment past the Eiffel tower which was lit up beautifully.

    What a way to spend your 30th!

    The next day we had tried to get up earlyish but took advantage of a child free lie in. I went out to get pastries and coffee and then we left to walk around Paris for the day. We’d looked at pre-booked tickets for the Tower the night before but discovered we were to late for that so we thought we’d go along and see how it went.


    We arrived at the tower and started queuing around 10. By 10.30 we were in and up!

    Amazing view, I only had a distant memory of going with school – 1999 I think.

    Afterwards we continued walking along the Seine, diverting as we saw something interesting. We had lunch on the steps of Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, passed the Grand palais and place de la concorde carrying on through Tuileries Garden up to the Louvre. We’d been told that’s way to much to just ‘pop in’ to so resolved to look properly another time. We then headed north to the Pomidou centre, stopping for an iced coffee and some shopping.

    After that we went to Notre Dame, some more gift shopping and caught the Metro from Saint Michel to Invalides (eventually anyways – went the wrong direction for 2 stops!).

    For our evening meal we caught the Metro after a nice walk from the apartment to Assemblée Nationale up to Abbesses, which we hadn’t realised was pretty high up – which meant lots of steps up to the surface! We wandered around a little bit and found ourselves at La Cave a Jojo and ate three courses, sharing a Boeuf Bourguignon (and of course a bottle of red!).


    The next morning we did a little more browsing and shopping on Av. des Champs-Élysées, and then caught the Metro sorrowfully from George V to Porte Maillot where there is a big shopping centre and our coach to the airport was leaving from.


    What a fantastic city, we packed a lot in – but there was so so much more we didn’t even attempt to do. I can’t wait for the next time – lot’s of other places to go on the list too though!

  6. #GE2015 Thoughts

    May 11, 2015 by Daniel

    Another election over with, this time some quite big surprises.

    When the exit poll came in I think everyone was shocked. It was way off of what the opinion polls had been saying for months. So everyone wrote it off really – Paddy Ashdown said he’d eat his hat – but the exit poll turned out to not quite even go far enough, the Conservatives ended up with a 12 seat majority, something nobody expected.

    So the analysis starts voters weren’t asking themselves ‘Which of the two parties do I want to win?’ but ‘Which coalition do I want? but I keep going back to this blog by Paul Mason Three new tribes of voters will dominate this election it goes to explain why perhaps there are all these disenfranchised voters who feel nobody speaks for them. The small parties they might want stand no chance under FPTP.

  7. General Election Time 2015

    April 1, 2015 by Daniel

    Here we go again.
    We’ve moved into a different constituency this year so a bit of catch-up is required to look at our new political landscape.
    At a local council area level, it’s a broadly Conservative area, but Parliamentary wise, it’s Labour – since 1997 where the majority has gone from 13k to about 4k in the last two elections. So it’s getting closer but not as close as Bury North was/is.

    Currently standing are:

    James Daly Conservative Party (currently a councillor in Bury)
    Stephen Rock Liberal Democrats
    David Crausby Labour Party (incumbent)
    Harry Lamb UK Independence Party (UKIP)
    Laura Diggle Green Party

    I’d encourage anyone to use things like to guide them on who actually aligns with their views, however I’ve started to look at the candidates individually too, where I can, with what’s available.

    We got a leaflet from David Crausby yesterday and so were looking at his record on They Work For You, it highlighted something I didn’t know, that he was one of the MPs that voted against the Same Sex marriage bill. I tried to do a little digging on his reasoning and to be honest I wasn’t satisfied with what I read (MPs Split on Same Sex Marriage Plans – The Bolton News). I hope this gets some follow up in the campaign.

  8. George is 3

    March 20, 2015 by Daniel


    Time flies really doesn’t it!
    It’s George’s third birthday. It’s been another amazing year – he’s come on so well. Recently it seems his confidence has really gone up – he’s now speaking much more to adults. He’s determined to do lots for himself, standing up wee’s etc.
    He’s really into a few things at the moment, Pirates & Octonauts mostly.

    For his birthday itself we’re going to the zoo and then tomorrow (Saturday) we’re having a party at home with an ‘Under the Sea/Octonauts’ theme.

    Happy Birthday George!


  9. Obsidian Cyano Starmap

    November 4, 2014 by Daniel

    Kate with Florence

  10. Remote Time Machine

    October 10, 2014 by Daniel

    I thought I’d write down some notes in case I ever want to come back to this.

    Basically I had to do a restore from backup the other day. I had backups but they were a little dated and I wondered if there was a better way that swapping round all my disks to do a local backup.

    We’ve got a pretty quick internet connection and I have some connections through work so I can play with things a bit more than most people might be able to.

    I was looking at using my Raspberry Pi to act as the file server. I haven’t got around to this yet because I have better things to do than mess around with computers when I’m at home.
    But I thought this is still flawed, what I really want is a remote backup and for it to be done with Time Machine, because hey – that works great!
    It solves several things for me – any local external usb storage takes up valuable ports, desktop space, opportunities for other things to be stored on the drive… also, if you have a catastrophe – the disks are still on site!
    What I like to do is have my work machine and my home machine and have them have backups of eachother’s files.

    So here’s a solution, it’s not perfect but it does work.

    Take advantage of the magic of SSH tunnels.

    OK they are a bit scary on the face of it. But they get you around so many of the restrictions that the big bad scary Internet places on us.

    Basically things are pretty much walled off only to work on the local network because it’s known and safe(r), yeah that’s another story but run with me there.

    So here’s the magic line:

    sudo ssh hostname -l username -L 22:

    Basically, take the stuff that goes through port 548 that’s on the ‘hostname’ server and use the localhost port 22 address for it instead.

    Port 548 is for AFP/Apple Filing Protocol and is basically what Time Machine likes for doing its stuff on a network.


    The Server End

    Once you’ve got this round your head, you can set up your file server. I was just testing this out so I fired up an Ubuntu VM and followed this article.

    Note in scope here: Being able to access your server from your home network. You need something that’s publically accessible really.

    Time Machine

    To get it to work on your Mac, make sure your magic SSH tunnel is in place, check you can mount the network drive by pointing at afp://, get your password right etc. Then go into Time Machine preferences and add the disk.

    Boom you are done, or you’d think right?

    Turns out there’s a little more. Now you are doing something odd, Time Machine doesn’t expect you to be mounting an AFP share through a weird port so when it stores the password to access it in future it doesn’t quite store the correct address to use. So you need to go into Keychain Access and under the System Keychain you’ll see a Time Machine Password, just edit the “Where” field in there to include “:22” at the end of the URL and when Time Machine next runs it’ll run over the Internet to your share.


    Bonus HFS+ Round

    Follow steps 2 and 3 on this page to use the drive attached to your VM on a HFS+ partition, that way if you ever have to restore just bring the drive home and it’ll be so much quicker as you can mount the drive locally rather than wait for all those bits to move over the series of tubes.