I went to EasterCon with smallclanger. We commuted (it takes about 50 minutes to get there if the conditions are exactly right) and went three of the four days. smallclanger did: going to the games room and looking at all the RoboRally extensions they had there (but not actually getting round to playing it, partly owing to the presence of an argumentative American); live action video game charades; building a robot out of junk (and a remote control car); making catapults and spinners; juggling scarves and walking on stilts; making a Dalek cake ("Extermicake!"); playing Werewolf; making a ray gun out of a Fruit Shoot bottle, a Tic Tac box and a ping pong ball; making a raygun out of a modelling balloon, and going to McDonald's for lunch. I went to a talk about allergies and what causes them, but it made me ill. :-) And also: Life of a hydrogen atom; alien archaeology; quantum computing; Bad Science (Ben Goldacre); evolution of board games; science and the media, and knitting a very small piece of light sabre because smallclanger had seen the word "light sabre" in the after-breakfast craft session and thought he must do it (whereas in reality he doesn't really have the patience to take on something of that magnitude and watching everyone else make Clangers was probably not that interesting for him). I missed lots of other cool stuff, partly through being at all smallclanger's sessions on the Monday (having been let out on my own a bit on Saturday) and partly by not being there on Sunday. However, Ben Goldacre's talk was excellent and only suffered from being too short — he was guillotined in mid-sentence! I managed to get away with going to McDonald's only the once (but I have to go back now some time because I won a free doughnut in the promotion…). I saw several cool people there, almost all of whom I didn't talk to, partly because of having to chase smallclanger around and partly because it's rude to talk in the actual sessions. (And partly because I'm rubbish at smalltalk, I guess). There may well be a next time.
I went to the Easter Sunday service at Wesley Mem and sang an anthem by Rutter, then drove to Abingdon to spend the rest of the day with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew. They live right next door to a pretty good park, where smallclanger and his cousin burnt off some energy (I would say "burnt off some Easter eggs" but surprisingly they hadn't actually eaten any!").
I rang up Morphy Richards about my breadmaker. When I ordered it from Amazon a year ago it made occasional loud noises, but I ignored it because it still made bread OK and I really didn't want the hassle of having to pack it up and send it back. But as these things do, it got gradually worse and got to the point of being almost unusable. (I expected this, but based on a previous experience of bopeepsheep I also expected to get a new one sent hassle-free if I could get round to phoning the Morphy Richards helpline and get them to understand what the problem is.) So I originally rang the helpline on March 5 (because I happened to be having a day off work that day) and demonstrated the noise down the phone to them. They said "Does it make that noise without the bread pan?" so I answered no, and they said the first thing to try was a new bread pan. I told them I thought it wouldn't make any difference but they insisted, so a few days later they sent me free of charge… a kneading blade. So I asked what was up and they said terribly sorry, we made an error entering the order, and a few days later they sent me free of charge a new bread pan. But it did no good — well I never thought it would. Right, said I, and rang them back up last Thursday (because I was on holiday from work). They said "You need a replacement machine, but you need to contact Amazon because they have taken over the guarantee on this product. Ring them up on this number, say that we have tried new parts and it hasn't worked, and give them this reference number, and they should send you a new one." So I rang the number (which is the same one quoted on Amazon's web site) and got through to some American woman who said "we can't help you because it's more than one year since you purchased the product. You need to contact the manufacturer." Grr. Now my original purchase date was March 12, 2009 but the product has a two year guarantee (and technically I had reported the fault within one year anyway — just). So I sent an email to Amazon asking if they would please sort out who is responsible, and within two hours I got a reply saying "I have placed a new order and it will be dispatched as soon as possible to the same address". Result! Of course then I had to deal with it being delivered by City Link, who only ever come when you are at work, but miraculously on the second delivery attempt they managed to leave it with a neighbour, from whom I collected it yesterday morning. And I got a perfect loaf out of it first time. Now I do have to send the other one back, which is a minor hassle, but Amazon has given me a return label to print out and put on the box, and of course I do have a box to put it in thanks to the replacement, so now it's a case of trying to get the box somewhere where I can tell DHL to collect it and I will be in when they call.
e: I had it all nicely packed up and smallclanger has only gone and ripped it all open because he wanted to know what was inside. I would have told him if he had asked…
And now here's a random poll for people who sing in Latin.
propter magnam gloriam tuam
gloria in excelsis Deo