The first part of this painful process is to get to my inbox, to replicate all the emails awaiting me down to my local machine, and wading through the probably hundreds of emails, weeding out the dross, to leave the nuggets of interest and those emails which will need actioning. Some colleagues do this on the Sunday before they return, and I can see why they might want to do this, but I have a different approach, driven by two principles; the first principle being that I have chosen to maintain a little bit of work/life balance (although I did like Gorse Fox's comments on this) and so don't want work leaking in to the last of my time off. The second principle is that I like to have the gentle ease-in to work that getting on top of my inbox allows me, and there is still a bit of a view amongst colleagues that "he is first day back, so drowning in his inbox", so it can give you a chance to ease in with a bit of latitude given you by colleagues. The downside to this latter principle is of course that you get a week (or three days in this case) of activity descending upon you in an hour or two, and that can be quite an intense experience.
Anyhow, that is how the Scobi likes to manage such situations. Implicit in this activity is, of course, to run your email program so that you can access your email. This is where the plan has crumbled today. I upgraded a week or two ago, and have been happily using said upgraded program for a good few days prior to my break, but that was obviously been down whilst I have only snoozed my machine each night. Now that I am doing a full reboot of my machine*, it seems that my email program is not loading. Sure, it gives signs that it is loading, reaching around 80% on the time bar on the front screen, but just as it reaches that point, it jumps back to 10% loading, and has repeated this half a dozen times. The Scobi is not known for his deeply technical nature, indeed he gets proper tech support from Golfy at any time when he plans to delve in to the tech market, and more than that, the only people who seek tech support from him are people who really don't know much**. Having said all that, I am pretty sure something is wrong. In the good old days, when I did do tech support for a living (of sorts), we had CTRL-ALT-DEL as the cure all, the paracetamol of PC problems, but these days all that does is brings up a Windows menu, so I am now re-installing the software, just to try and overcome the issue. If that fails, I am facing the undesirable prospect of going in to the local Starfleet office, or maybe even ringing the Helpdesk, which previous experience suggests is like sticking your fingers in a live socket and being surprised that you get an electric shock, but needs must, necessity is the mother-wotsit of invention and all that.
The other unintended symptom of this situation is that you have a lot of time on your hands, waiting for the installation, which is humongous, to complete. This gives a chap plenty of time to write his blog, to check his internet email, and to generally get very frustrated knowing all that is likely waiting for him, if only he could get logged in.
Having seen the news over the last couple of days, it does seem that we got out of Wales just in time. When we were leaving, mid-Wales was in trouble, but today I heard about Penally, which is just down the road from where we were staying, is also being flooded out. I know of this place because of a sign we saw every time we passed the location, which said "Penally Army Base". On first reading, and second if truth be told, my brain was thinking this was some kind of penal base for naughty soldiers, indeed LO had the same thought, and only when we then entered a village called Penally did I start to consider that maybe the Welsh had not yet descended in to social engineering by putting the little-bit-naughty people in their own village. I guess they use council estates like the rest of the kingdom.
Finally, I want to mention the football. There have been a few unexpected results thus far, and tonight England plays its first game against France. It has been noticeable how little build up there has been for this tournament. I remember eight years ago during the European finals, when we had a Spanish student staying with us, the lovely Natalie, and she and her friends were amazed and delighted by the force of feeling for the beautiful game, with flags in every window and on nearly every car. The atmosphere was electric, and when Spain dropped out she and her friends became tournament-long England supporters.
This time round, there seems to be no such build up. I am not seeing any great number of flags, at least not St George's flags, and things do seem really flat. It may be to do with the tennis and the Olympics and maybe other things as well, but whatever we finally confirm are the reasons, things are a little flat. And maybe, just maybe, this might be in England's favour. At the least, the disappointment when we drop out may be much less of a drop, because we are falling from a lesser height, and at best our lower expectations might just create an atmosphere that enable our team to shine.
You may call me a sucker tomorrow, but I think we may just nick a win from the French tonight. I certainly know that I shall be finishing at or before 5pm tonight, whatever the state of my email.
I hope your day goes well.
-----------------------------------------* something I like to do every week or so, and always when I am first back from time off
** like his mother, for example