2 January 2011 (Sunday) - Sutton Valance Castle

Once I’d got up and had some brekky, I slept in front of the working PC for an hour or so whilst it played NeverWinter Nights. We then went round to B&Q for a big box to put all my Lego into. Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a bit of the stuff, and it had got to the stage where it needed to be herded together.

We then went on an outing. A week ago we joined English Heritage. I had mentioned in a previous blog entry that I was considering cancelling my membership, but I have been told that would be a foolish thing to do. English Heritage is good, I like it, and I am going to enjoy being a member. And if I don’t, ‘er indoors TM will break my face (!)
We” had decided that it would be nice to go to Sutton Valence Castle today. Something which is easier said that done. The place is described as being “in the village of Sutton Valence which is on the A274”. So we had this naïve idea to drive into the village along the A274 and look for signs. We found the village easily enough, but there were no signs to any castles. After a while we tried exploring some of the side roads off of the A274, and once we’d gone round several labyrinthine twists and turns we round an English Heritage sign pointing along a dirt track. So we went along this dirt track and we found a dead end. We came back, and found a turning we’d missed. We followed that to the end and found a hoity-toity old biddy walking her hounds who directed us back into the village.
We eventually found the castle. I say “castle”… I am reliably informed it was once a castle. There are five large(ish) lumps of decaying masonry and two information placards. The entire thing can be seen in all its glory in five minutes. I know this, because I timed it with my stop-watch. In order to waste some more time, I enjoyed “the panoramic views over the Weald”. They weren’t so much “panoramic” as “cold”, and were only worth watching when the view was interrupted by a pair of local urchins running down the hill; one falling over and winding himself quite seriously, and the other skidding down the hill on his bum, covering his trousers in mud.

Home to find “My Boy TMin high excitement. His new car has arrived. This is his fourth car. I didn’t get my fourth car until I was in my late thirties. He’s also tidying up in readiness for his house guest. Later in the week he’s assuming temporary responsibility for his mate’s parrot whilst his mate goes on holiday. I must admit I’m quite looking forward to the parrot’s arrival. I’ve often fancied the idea of having a parrot, and I shall be interested to see how we get on with “feathery bollox” (as I am assured the bird will be known). An interesting choice of name, as it would seem that the gender of “feathery bollox” has not so far been reliably determined.

I had intended to spend some time mucking about with my backup PC today. But I gave the matter some thought. The thing was broken. It was probably repairable. I decided that it would be far more productive for me to wait until an itinerant techie-minded person should come along. I could then smile at said techie minded person and hope that they might take pity on me.
As luck would have it, the Hose Beast came calling this afternoon. He spent half an hour fiddling with the broken PC before announcing that he concurred with my initial diagnosis. ‘er indoors TM then produced an old hard drive and a motherboard and asked if they were any good. We decided that these bits might form the foundation of a new PC I could build from the wreckage of the old one. So whilst everyone else went bowling, I got jiggy with the screwdriver. At the end I had to call for help. It was only a small problem, but a serious one: where does the mains power switch attach to the motherboard?
With mains power to motherboard we could then get serious with the thing. We booted with smug grins, only to get what might best be described as “Quack Quack Oops!!” So we paused to strip out incompatible RAM, and started again. As I’m typing this, I’m installing Windows onto what is effectively a new backup PC. I’m hoping for the best, but fully expecting to be going to the tip tomorrow….

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