3 January 2011 (Monday) - Rochester Castle

I was up till quite late last night (this morning) mucking about with my backup PC. I got it to be *nearly* fit for purpose. I was quite pleased with my progress. It has to be said that ‘er indoors TM is loathe to throw away anything that might be useful, and over the years whenever we have upgraded the computers, we’ve saved an awful lot of computer bits. And we’ve recycled a lot of those bits by having built an almost working PC out of the scraps and fragments of leftover PCs. And I’ve done it without having to make too much of a nuisance of myself to my more IT-savvy pals. (Well, the Hose Beast was in Ashford for bowling anyway…)
I say “almost working” – when I went to bed last night, Windows was running fine. I’d got the thing onto the home network with shared space available for the backing-up I wanted to do. The only problem was that it wasn’t seeing both the hard drives in Windows, even though they are there in the BIOS. But I could fix that one…. I thought. I can remember having a similar problem when I bought a hard drive for a PC in 2003. I fixed that – if only I could remember what I did.

But then this morning when I switched it on, it started to boot up Windows, gave up and hung. And that was it. Now it won’t boot into Windows at all. I suspect that old hard drives that have been laying idle for some years aren’t quite at their best. I’m going to give up on this silly idea now (at least for a little while).
I spent the morning sulking in NeverWinter, where trolls have become endemic.

Following on from the success of yesterday’s little jaunt to an English Heritage treasure (!), we thought we’d enjoy another of their cultural wonders today. Lullingstone Roman Villa was open, according to the English Heritage website, so we arranged to meet up at the place with Simon and Corinne; they too would be able to make the most of their English Heritage membership.
We got to Lullingstone Roman Villa to find it was closed. As had dozens of other people. It has to be said that I’m not impressed with English Heritage – I shall complain in the morning.
We saw signs to Lullingstone castle, so we thought we’d drive up to that instead. It too was closed, as was nearby Eynsford castle. We got out our English Heritage books – they claimed that Rochester castle was open, and so we set off. I used the opportunity to try out the sat-nav on my phone. It worked surprisingly well; the only hiccup was that it insisted on measuring distances in kilometres, even though I’d told the thing to use imperial measurements.

There was a minor calamity on the way to Rochester – the roads were rather busy. The queues to get into the Bluewater shopping complex were amazing – traffic was backed up for over a mile in the slow lane on the A2. Why on Earth would anyone continue queuing when the traffic was like that? We sped past the queues, and soon were at the castle which (thankfully) was open. Open, but cold. It was cold the last time I came to Rochester Castle. In fact it was snowing then. I went there as a birthday treat many years ago. Talking of birthdays, I was amazed to find out how many of my loyal readers have birthdays today. Happy Birthday all of you – and I hope your day was warmer than mine was.
We spent an hour or so looking round the castle, and then wandered over the road to have a look round the cathedral.
There was a sign up saying that there was a service in progress, but we went in anyway. I couldn’t see any services in progress. There was a vicar making a foul stench with a joss stick, but that was about all that was happening. It was interesting looking round the cathedral – there seemed to be half a dozen mini-churches inside the place; all sorts of different places where religious-types could do their religion-ing. I thought it cheeky of them to have a placard advertising that the place was free to visit, but they welcomed donations – a suggested donation being three quid. The placard went on to say that it costs ten grand a week to keep the cathedral running. The apathetic agnostic inside of me can’t help but wonder if those ten thousand pounds might be better spent elsewhere.

And then home - seeing we were in Rochester we came via Toys R Us to look at the lego. I was vaguely thinking of buying myself a pressie, but the cost put me off somewhat. And it’s not as though I’m short of lego….

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