Sunday, May 16, 1999

16/05/99 Corsica Rules!

Another shitty week over and done with, and here I am to complain about it again.

Spent last Sunday out mowing the paddock and starting to level out the little bit where the BBQ is going to go - really hot weather, of course I stripped down to the painting shorts Malyon won't let me wear when there's company - and on Monday I woke up to raging tonsillitis and a fever. Off to the quack for some more industrial-grade antibiotics and then back to bed, that's Monday and Tuesday wiped out.

Back to Switzerland on Wednesday: in theory the gear goes off to Gravelines on Monday to be tested on site, but I can't see that happening. Spent all day discovering all sorts of lovely electrical problems with one sort of system that the gear is supposed to check out: I sort of sat around and looked elegant, or tried to anyway, and did little else.

Spent Thursday working around that and other difficulties, and on Friday I was planning to replace the microcontroller with an Intel 80151, which goes 6 times faster and would allow me to keep to the spec. and generate pulses at about 50KHz. Arrive, check out my code one last time (the Intel component can only be programmed once, and at 350F a go you don't want to make too many mistakes) and find that there's no way I can program it: the programmer just doesn't want to know! Arghh!

Spent a lot of this morning looking for answers, and found that when Intel says in their documentation that the 80151 is programmed just like an 87C52, they mean that it isn't. Yes it is, in the sense that the algorithm is the same, but it's not, in the sense that all the pins are different and you need a new adapter for your programmer. There are times when I would like to be able to go - unsearched - into the building where they hide the people (loosely speaking) responsible for Intel documentation, and satisfy a few of my more revolting fantasies. The developer community would, I'm sure, thank me for it.

Margo's garden gnomes have been installed around the paddock (a malevolent friend gave her three of the things) and show no signs of wanting to move, so perhaps they've become acclimatised. On the other hand we haven't seen the snake recently: it may have gone back into hiding. Or perhaps the gnomes were hungry.

The weather's been pretty grot too - started out lovely and fine -for the two days I was lying in bed - and since then has been raining steadily. Lovely thunderstorm lasting all Wednesay night, and it hasn't really let up since. I don't dare go down to the paddock to see how much it's grown.

Tomorrow now, or was when I started this, and we've had a lovely idle day. Turned out fine for once, and we got invited round to Joc & Hervé's (she's the American lawyer, he's the French entrepeneur) for a BBQ lunch. Good French affair, lasted about 4 hours, then we came home and I mowed the lawn - again. Then watched the very last of AbFab on CanalJ - depressing to see it go. Don't know what they'll fill the slot with next weekend.

Down in the field the acacia tress are in blossom - looks a lot like kowhai, only a sort of discreet greeny-white instead of vivid yellow, and smells like a tart's bedroom. Pretty, though. The apple tree and the plum trees have heaps of small green soon-to-be fruit hanging off them, and the best of all is that the wood strawberries are out in force, so that shortly I shall be found lying on the grass with my head over the bank stuffing my face with the little darlings.

Malyon's getting taller and leggier - eats like a horse and you can still count her ribs. Still doing very well at school too, although she has a tendency to make stupid mistakes through not bothering to think what she's doing. And she looks after her aged mother very well - Margo just has to bellow "coffee!" on a Sunday morning and Malyon's downstairs loading up a mug and toasting muffins for breakfast in bed. (Unfortunately I don't get that sort of treatment - I'm usually ambulant and semi-sentient about an hour before. The time to go up to the boulangerie, get a fresh baguette and then finish half of it off with marmelade and a gallon of coffee whilst slowly going over Saturday's paper, that I didn't get time to read on Saturday. Life is full of these small pleasures.)

Jeremy too is growing and, like Tigger, the bigger he gets, the bouncier. He does seem to be having problems with short-term memory (this is perhaps a boy thing, I don't know): we tell him not to do something under any circumstances, and about five minutes later he's guaranteed to have done that very thing. "Gowling him", as he puts it (as in "I used Daddy's cooking knives pour try to couper les rocks, and Daddy gowled me", has a limited effect - he stands sulking for a few minutes but can't keep it up, and carries on. I suppose he wouldn't be our Jeremy if he didn't. Heart of gold, head of ... well, never mind.

Anyway, it's time for me to go to bed - no trip to Lausanne tomorrow, thank God - the stream is babbling as usual but the birds at least are quiet, so now we have just the crickets with their infernal bloody din. You get used to it. Eventually.

Trevor & Margo.

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