March 23: arrived back at home mid-morning and almost immediately went out again to shop for groceries. Getting used to the car after was interesting after driving an automatic with power steering and brakes for two weeks. Managed to stay more or less upright until the evening (though I probably dozed off for about 15 minutes at one point).
March 27: We had a Plan. This involved lots of tidying up, since the lounge was still full of stuff brought back from holiday and my parents had decided they would visit on Friday. Main achievement was to move an armchair and associated junk from one corner of the room and set up the travel-cot/play-pen there next to the baby-changing station. This is good, because now we have somewhere to deposit all smallclanger's toys, and somewhere to put him if we want him to play by himself for a few minutes without exploring things we'd prefer him to to explore. Secondary achievement was to mope about feeling tired, looking at all the junk and not knowing what to do with it - so by the end of the day the house didn't really seem any tidier. It had been decreed that the baby shall have a bath with his mum, but the baby fell asleep. Nevertheless, at a bit after midnight when he was awake again, it became Bath Morning. Then, of course, we entered the strange zone known as BST, causing an hour to disappear into a rift in the space-time continuum, so it was well after 2am when we finally got to bed. So the next day, with the lost hour having added to our jetlag, we didn't get much done either. Another week began, most of which was eminently unmemorable. We stopped by Mothercare on Thursday evening to look at car seats, but they told us it was too dark as they needed daylight to try the seats in our car before they would give any advice.
April 2: J said she was too unwell to get out of bed and that the house was too untidy for my parents' impending arrival and said that I should take a day of sick leave. Instead I wrote in the log that I was working at home - but I didn't get much done. (I did have an email conversation with one of our research students who has a new PC and, whether by miscommunication or by the over-eagerness of my colleague T, has had Windows XP installed on it, with Linux running as a virtual machine which is T's favourite toy of the moment. Anyway, after I reasonably stated in response to her request for Matlab and Maple under Linux that it would be more sensible to install the Windows versions, she claimed that she doesn't really want Windows and wants to do all her work in Linux. So this machine has now been given back to T for a reinstall. But anyway, I digress.) There was at least a bit of room and a few free seats in the living room by the time my Mum rang the doorbell and was slightly surprised to see me answer the door. We had no space to accommodate them overnight - they stayed in a Travel Inn down the road.
April 3: My parents came back shortly before 11am. We didn't do much except chat a bit (and you know how good I am at that). J and I left the baby with my parents for a while in the morning and went to Mothercare to buy a new car seat and Tesco to buy some groceries for lunch. In the evening we took smallclanger to elleblue's party and had some cookies and saw lots of people, a few of whom I even recognised.
April 4: We went to Walton-on-Thames to bopeepsheep's aunt and uncle's 30th wedding anniversary party. By the time I'd read the instructions and fitted the new car seat we were a bit late setting out; traffic jams on the M25 added some more delay, and getting lost on the A30 wasn't too helpful - but we got there in the end and didn't miss anything. We basically just sat down and talked to people as they wandered through (except of course when it was time to go and get some food). smallclanger demonstrated some of his new-found abilities.
I made it to work again on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday night we put smallclanger to bed at a semi-reasonable hour for once. I put him in his cot awake and then went next door to wait and see if he went to sleep. Fortunately he did, as I was so tired I dropped off and woke up almost an hour later, slightly disoriented. However, after another ten minutes he was awake again and it took forever to get him back in bed.
Once again I had to stay home on Wednesday to spare J the job of looking after the baby. I don't have any holiday left unbooked, so I've had to take it unpaid, failing a fit of generosity from the administrator.
On Thursday I didn't have to go to work because the lab is `closed' for Easter (you can still get in and use the computers as long as you don't expect any of the admin staff to be there). My shiny new data cable for the Nokia 3310 phone arrived, so I've been trying out gnokii with it. Sadly, some of the functions don't seem to work at all and others have bugs in; but I can now: read the phone book and stored text messages (probably store items in them too, but I haven't tried it); set the default operator logo to the 72x14 bitmap of my choice; store a ringtone on the phone; and probably a couple of other minor things such as setting the date and time. Disappointed that although the program claims to successfully send a startup logo to the phone (to the extent that it can also successfully retrieve the logo at a later time) the phone doesn't actually display it at any point. Also, I can't send or store picture messages (and hence choose a different picture for the screen saver). The program ought to be able to send picture messages to another phone (or to myself), but it's badly broken and I can't fix it. But anyway, part of Friday was spent designing a 72x14 bitmap to display on my phone.
Don't seem to have done anything stunning so far this weekend, but I've finally fixed my recently written script which sends a URL to Mozilla. The problem is that I often have two of them running and I'd like the URL to be sent to the right one. I've hacked this up using `xwininfo -root -tree' and finding the one that's visible on the current desktop - however, Mozilla itself doesn't seem to respect the `-id wid' argument. Fortunately, Netscape 4 does respect it and it can be used to control Mozilla, but it prints a warning that you have the wrong Netscape version (and if you don't specify the wid then it falsely claims you have both 5.0 and 4.74 and chooses the one that it calls 4.74). Moreover, it appeared to be ignoring the wid I gave it until eventually I discovered that I was unintentionally quoting the space so the whole thing became an unrecognised flag - which of course it didn't bother warning about. Anyway, I downloaded the reference implementation of the remote protocol and compiled it as a standalone, and now it works without printing a warning - as well as being much faster than calling the Netscape or Mozilla binaries. Oh, and I finally put the new washing line up and hung some washing on it - it's been a while since the last time that was possible (both because of the broken line and because of the weather).
Tonight I have been searching for flights, cars and ferries. Eight days in Frankfurt with a compact car at the beginning of May is apparently £376.29 on Expedia (including the flights); Stuttgart is £410.09. A simple ferry crossing seems to be £109 if you choose the right one (on Norfolkline to Dunkirk), though that one wasn't there last time I searched and might not be there next time. The next cheapest is 169. I can't find any info at all on overnight crossings from Dover to Calais and I suspect that such a thing doesn't exist. (It's true that they do crossings at silly times such as 23:45 but I think you're still expected to get off again 90 minutes later when it arrives at the other end.) J thinks that the flights are sounding better than the ferry (and she may well be right given that driving to Stuttgart and back will cost £100 in petrol alone).