Wulf's Webden

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Wednesday 1 October 2014
by Wulf
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At This Rate

At this rate, I’ll have visited all the Oxford Colleges within the next thirty years or so. I ticked another one – Wadham – off my list yesterday evening. There are still a few to go, though.

Tuesday 30 September 2014
by Wulf
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The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley

Book cover

The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley

Revd Faith Morgan was formerly a police detective and thus perhaps an ideal person to have on the scene when the vicar of the church she is visiting dies unexpectedly during the service; all the more so when it turns out he was poisoned via the communion wine. She is reluctant to walk in her old shoes but she wants the truth to be revealed, not just for the result or blind justice but for the sake of the innocent who she sees differently now that she is priest in charge rather than just another PC.

If it isn’t inappropriate to say so, I suggest this books sits at the more pleasant end of the crime genre. It has a contemporary setting but still manages to feel faintly quaint. Neither is the religion side of the story overplayed; at times, Faith Morgan seems as much a reluctant priest as a reluctant detective.

I think the cover of the edition I was sent to review is quite apt. I don’t think Ockley conjures up a world that seems tangibly real. It feels more like a stylised stage backup drop with some bits of perspective that don’t quite fit. Why, for example, does Faith seem to have no deep ties to her former parish while she does quickly begin to weave human connections in Little Worthy?

For writing that crosses over between crime and church, I prefer other sources such as Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series or (a more recent discovery) Simon Parkes’ Abbot Peter. However, if you like your cucumber sandwiches with the edges sliced off or the the cosiness of Simon Brett’s Fethering mysteries, then this could be your bag.

Sunday 28 September 2014
by Wulf
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Another Day, Another Woodstore

We’ve built another woodstore this weekend and have a further one part way through completion. Of course, it is still warm so we’re a little way off finding out whether we’ve got enough stores to keep us going all winter but at least we are getting to the point where we can chop and store all that we’ve gathered so far.

Saturday 27 September 2014
by Wulf
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Garish

We’ve been out at a 70’s themed birthday party tonight with a particular focus on the works of Abba, so out came the frilly yellow shirt and blue velvet jacket. Both genuinely date back to the 1970s and the combined colours give a subtle nod to the Swedish flag. I’m not sure anyone would have got the Abba reference from that but then not many people probably noticed the olive green trousers under the disco lights so I’ll call that even.

As well as the disco, which actually had some classic rock tracks alongside the period cheese, there was a karaoke set up, so to help things along I decided to chip in. I quite fancied Fly Me to the Moon but Jane pointed out that it wasn’t quite the right mood. There were plenty of other songs I recognised but I was not sure whether they’d be in a key I could reach and I’m often a bit shaky on what goes on in the verses but then I noticed Sweet Home Alabama. Right era and I think my voice can do a reasonable dose of Southern Rock.

Of course, after belting it out, I might sound a bit husky at church tomorrow but I’ll probably dress in something a little less garish.

Thursday 25 September 2014
by Wulf
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Another Day, Another Vulnerability

Oh dear; today’s tech news reveals another exploit affecting widely used Open Source software. In this case it is the shellshock bug that has been part of the bash shell for a long period of time. How easy is it to exploit in real life? I’m not entirely sure. Certainly my web programming is deeply defensive; any user input is checked, sanitised and ideally only allowed if it fits a narrow range of choice (not possible, of course, for free text) but what about the level of browser / server interactions that I generally take for granted?

Patching is taking place; we’ll see if this one disappears or if it runs and runs.

Wednesday 24 September 2014
by Wulf
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Like a Lead Balloon

Once or twice colleagues have suggested that they would like some kind of regular IT clinic where they can come along and ask both specific and general questions so, this morning, my IT Officer and I sat down and brainstormed some ideas. We’ve decided on time, place and most importantly, a corny name. Since you want to ask: Where ats IT. That brings together IT, a certain confusion and, of course, it will be where it’s at!

The next step was writing a notice for the weekly departmental bulletin and, having decided that I wanted to reach out to those who are dazed and confused, couldn’t resist dropping in a number of references to Led Zeppelin’s eponymous first album as well as the phrase (used in the title here) where rock legend has it their name originated.

We’ll see how that goes down. Hopefully it will be more like how successful the band became than how early sceptics expected things to turn out (hence the lead balloon allusion). If nothing else, it should prove an interesting tool for turning up other people who like to get the Led out from time to time!

Tuesday 23 September 2014
by Wulf
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Flood

Unrelated to yesterdays bottling, I discovered this morning that a nearby water main has burst. I thought the taps were running a bit sluggishly but, as I cycled to work, I saw that the other end of my road had turned into a temporary lake with emergency services in attendance. Apparently it is almost the same place that a similar problem occured about seven years ago.

That isn’t what you want, especially if you have chosen to live on higher ground rather than a flood plain. I don’t think it will spread to my end of the street but, for the sake of my neighbours at the other end, I hope it patched up and properly fixed as soon as possible.