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Murphy's Law!

If anything *can* go wrong, it *will*! And invariably, it will go wrong when Sonia is away in hospital in Wakefield, or on the journey back home!

So, towards the end of her first hospital stay in April last year, one of our cats was hit by a car and suffered a broken leg and pelvis which cost over a grand in vet bills to put right!

On the way back to Shrewsbury at the end of her second hospital stay in October this year, the car broke down on the M62 near Rochdale (the alternator died) and we had to call the AA out to get us home - which they managed by swapping batteries every few miles and following us all the way home!

And yesterday morning, we got a call from the lady who was looking after the dogs for us to say that there was water dripping down from the ceiling in the kitchen! So this time, a plumbing emergency!

However, Sonia was due out of hospital that day (after the operation on Monday not taking out the kidney stones, she had a CT scan on Thursday which subsequently showed that she had stones in *both* kidneys which would need looking at) - and I was staying in Manchester, thanks to a very generous offer from Kate Camilleri of Puri-Tan to crash out at her place and use her wi-fi after I'd posted on Facebook on Wednesday night to ask if anyone had crash space and wi-fi near Wakefield, as Sonia was being kept in longer than expected, and the Vodafone mobile broadband signal at the guest house was too poor to do any work! So this meant that I needed to drive first from Manchester to Wakefield to pick Sonia up, and then back to Shrewsbury to deal with the plumbing!

On the plus side, I had a lovely stay in Manchester; Kate was a real superstar and I managed to get *shed loads* of work done on Thursday as well as helping her with a tech issue lol...

Anyway, I must have left Manchester at around 12.30 ish... managed to take a wrong turn at a set of lights which sent me on a whistle-stop tour of Eccles instead of onto the M602, which probably cost me 5 or 10 minutes... but I was happy once I'd got onto the motorway... until the sign appeared that no-one wants to see at the best of times, and definitely *not* when you need to get back ASAP to deal with some dodgy plumbing... "QUEUE AHEAD"!

As this was just before the exit for Junction 25, and I really didn't want to be faced with the prospect of being stuck on a motorway and going nowhere fast, I turned off the motorway and headed along the A644 towards Dewsbury... another jam, so I turned around back to the motorway junction... took one look at the jam on the motorway and thought "no chance", so headed towards Brighouse instead, and found a road marked "Cleckheaton" which seemed more-or-less in the right direction.

After driving for a bit longer, I parked the van, fired up the laptop and was very glad to find that there was a 3G signal on the Vodafone dongle - very useful for checking streetmap.co.uk to find out where you are, and what the quickest route to Wakefield is.

Anyway, after going "off piste" (as well as being almost its spoonerism due to the waste of time caused by the traffic jam and having to take a fairly circuitous diversion to avoid it), I finally got to Wakefield at 2.45 to pick Sonia up; thankfully I was able to park at the back end of "G" ward and pick her up from there, as well as being able to advise a couple of visitors of a cheeky way in to "F" ward and "D" ward which involved going through "G" ward instead of having to go miles out of your way to find the main entrance!

Alas, things got even worse on the return journey! Not long after joining the M62 (at the Wakefield end this time), I was faced with another Satanic "QUEUE AHEAD" sign... so yet *another* diversion was required... although at least I was able to find a petrol station to get some more diesel! Found my way back to the same junction I'd come off at earlier, hoping that would have short-circuited the queue - except, NO! *Another* "QUEUE AHEAD" sign! This time due to an accident! So, *another* diversion - thankfully a rather nice picturesque one this time, along the A640 between Huddersfield and Rochdale going high across the Pennines.

Thankfully, re-joining the M62 near Milnrow, the traffic was reasonably free-flowing again... until joining the M6 near Warrington again, where it ground to a halt, so another diversion via Warrington to avoid that little jam... then onto the M56 and finally on to the A49, yay!!!

(At this point, I have to point out that the reason I didn't just go via the M1, A38, A5 and M54 to get back home was because it's the weekend of the "V Festival" at Weston Park, and unless you are going to the festival, it's generally a good idea to avoid the M54 like the plague if you want to get home this side of Christmas)...

But it doesn't end there either! You might expect things to be a bit more free-flowing now you're off the evils of the motorway network! But no! The traffic lights where the A49 crosses the A556 are the most stupidly designed traffic lights in the history of traffic lights! They give *way* too much time to the A556, and hardly any to the A49! So another stupid delay, because some idiotic official at the Highways Agency (or whichever quango is responsible for programming traffic lights) is incapable of doing their job properly - or obviously takes the A556 to work instead of the A49!

After that, the only other real delay was caused by a *horse box* pulling out, and then proceeding at a fairly sedate pace for a few miles, only to be subsequently overtaken on the Whitchurch bypass...

*Finally*, after 3 diversions due to motorway jams, a fascist set of traffic lights and a horse box, we arrive home. Except now, it's 7.10 pm! It really shouldn't take close to 4 and a half hours to get back from blooming Wakefield! Especially when you've got water dripping into your kitchen!

Anyway, an analysis of the problem indicated that it was caused by a combination of a ball valve failure on the cold water tank in the loft, coupled by a botch job by yours truly a few years ago, when forcing a duvet into the deep recesses of the airing cupboard caused an archaic plastic overflow pipe (which is probably a year or two older than me) to crack. Which I temporarily fixed with *sellotape* and then forgot about it. Until now!

So, a quick trip to Wickes to get a new section of 22mm pipe, and a couple of Speedfit pipe joints.

Then, out comes the hacksaw and the faulty section of pipe is renewed, yay! Except, doing an "RTFM" on the Speedfit connector says use a proper pipe cutter... so I go downstairs to get the pipe cutter, and a far more satisfactory job results (a cleaner cut with no rough edges).

Except now, there's another problem! The old pipe is too wide for the Speedfit connector! So obviously, what was used in 1972 was not 22mm pipe but some random Imperial measurement that is no longer sold in Wickes! Assuming that Wickes was still open by this time, which it wasn't, owing to the ludicrously slow drive back home!

Anyway, this morning, I went to pretty much every plumbers merchants in the north of Shrewsbury, and none had fittings for the pipe, so I had to find some online that won't get here until Tuesday now!!!

Happy Anniversary to my beautiful wifey

Happy Anniversary bi_dancer13

Can't believe it's 5 years since we got married, my love, and nearly 7 years since we met!

I love you so much my beautiful wifey.

Wedding pics at http://wedding.sonia.me.uk/ if anyone fancies a look :)

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  • 18:52 Got to Lancaster Services en route to Edinburgh. Just about to eat a Burger King, nom nom nom! #

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Salon Alchemy test video

Managed to pick up a camcorder from the QVC shop in Shrewsbury for just over 80 quid on Tuesday, as I have been planning on shooting some informational and tutorial videos for Salon Alchemy for quite some time.

Here is my first attempt, which I shot on Friday afternoon:

It would be great if people could let me know what you think; I know the lighting isn't quite right (I just used the existing lights in the computer room), and I would probably look a lot better if I was wearing foundation and perhaps a bit more make-up in general - but I'd really appreciate constructive criticism on the content and the presentation in general...

The plan now is to re-shoot the video - possibly in two sections - one explaining the salon software, the other explaining the web design - as well as shooting tutorial videos for each section of Salon Alchemy...

A fab body painting shoot, yay!!!

I got to model for a super body painting shoot in Sonia's bathroom today (we've worked out it makes a rather cool venue for body painting in lieu of getting the little front bedroom sorted).

The body painter was a lady called Jo Sykes, http://www.transformations-bodyart.co.uk/ who is one of my friends on Facebook, and had also posted on Salon Guinea Pig, http://www.salonguineapig.co.uk/ (one of my pet projects lol) that she was after models for body painting - so we arranged a shoot for today in Shrewsbury at our place (we were initially thinking of booking studio space at DASh - Disability Arts in Shropshire - but their studio space wasn't available today).

Pics are already up at http://www.bodypaintmodel.co.uk/pink-corset-shoot.html (a new website that I set up earlier this week, although I've had the domain for quite a few years now) - have a look at the rest of the website too, http://www.bodypaintmodel.co.uk/

It was also a fab opportunity for Sonia to do some photography - even better that it was in her downstairs bathroom so she was able to come in and take the pics.

That's the first body paint I have modelled for since August 2008, when I sang "I'm Too Sexy" in body paint at my friend Vanessa's photographic exhibition at The Camera Club in London, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oAk7f-_osQ - and I'm hoping that 2010 will be a totally fab year for body painting now...

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I should really post more on here!

Wow, doesn't time fly!!!

It's nearly 3 months since my last IT contract ended (and wasn't it ever a stressy one); since then I've been attempting to get a business off the ground doing web design and salon software (I'm currently in the process of designing an online salon management system called "Salon Alchemy", http://www.salonalchemy.co.uk/") - consequently I've been working like a mad thing for most of the time!!!

But thankfully Sonia's bladder op (which took place at the beginning of October) was a resounding success, and did exactly what it said on the tin (took her bladder out and got rid of the primary cause of most of the pain she was having); alas she still has pain from arthritis etc though, so she's not entirely pain-free, in fact far from it, but at least the bladder has gone so she has been able to cut down on her painkillers and has a fair bit more energy since before her operation.

We've also had a ceiling track hoist installed in the lounge, which has made it much easier for her to transfer between the sofa and her wheelchair (I had to pay for it personally - long story - but we would have had a long wait dealing with bureaucracy to get social services to pay for it)...

So at the moment, I'm working like a mad thing and hoping I'll get enough work in doing the web stuff to mean that I don't need to return to contract work (which will save a lot of driving and stress) and mean I'll be able to spend a lot more time with Sonia and help her out during the daytime too.