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I really, really should start posting more about my work with Maya.  It can be your best friend or your most frustrating sidekick that you have to put up with because, while it enjoys booting you in the nose, it makes you pretty awesome sandwiches.  I’ve come across techniques and fantastic ideas/tutorials etc. that have helped me out a hundred times over, without exaggeration.

The problem I came up against most recently was in with a scene file that had many dynamic nCloth nodes and two nucleus nodes.  I’m not sure what caused this, but the scene was very unstable.  I managed to open it all but once or twice, managed to start rendering once, but after that day I couldn’t open it or render it from the command line.  Even when I was trying to render the same file that worked the previous day.  Aggravating isn’t the word.  If there were a word in the English language that encompassed the act of punching a PC through the wall, that would be a good word.  The Japanese must have a word like this, surely.  I’ve seen Dragonball Z.

Anyway, you want the answer.  The render command was referring to warnings from the cycleCheck process.  Quite a few warnings, before bombing out.  I’ve seen this many times, particularly on scenes where I’ve used the absolutely crucial RapidRig script.  Fortunately, I’d saved this particular scene as a Maya ASCII file after reading that the compression can cause probs with complex scenes, which meant that even though I couldn’t open it and fix the issue in Maya, I could open it in Notepad++.  I tried this, and figured I’d follow the suggestion from the render command:

“Use ‘cycleCheck -e off’ to disable this warning”

I found an appropriate place to enter this command, figuring it would go before defining scene content, after the string definition of versions, source OS, etc.  I threw the line in:

cycleCheck -e off;

Then saved the file, and ran the render from the command line again.

IT ONLY WENT AND WORKED.

Now I suspected this cycleCheck may be protecting a PC from infinitely looping on custom scripts or something.  Checking this out, it seems this command is actually checking for plug cycles throughout the scene’s relationships.

http://download.autodesk.com/us/maya/2010help/CommandsPython/cycleCheck.html

This page actually says plainly:

“this command may incorrectly report a cycle on an instanced skeleton where some of the instances use IK”

Which I guess explains why it always comes up with warnings on scenes with RapidRig rigs.  Use this advice at your own peril.  All I care about is, at the time of writing, 50 frames have been rendered, which is 50 more than I had working yesterday evening.


Handy, this.  I tried using the GUI and all I got was ‘database in use, can’t do it’.  Yes, it’s in use.  By me.  Trying to restore.

Anyway, the advice on this page worked wonders.  This was the case for me anyway, but ensure there are no users in the system and change the context to a different database so none of your open SQL windows (if any are indeed open) are trying to reference the DB you’re restoring into.

Then you want the following SQL:

-- This helps prevent 'database is in use' errors
USE master;
GO
 
ALTER DATABASE [your_new_database] SEET SINGLE_USER WITH ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE;
-- The next command is the restore command as normal.  
-- I actually created this bit from the GUI using the 'overwrite' option 
-- and the additional options to specify the data and log files being restored into, 

-- then altering the command to look more like the following:
RESTORE DATABASE [your_new_database]
FROM DISK = N'D:\backup_dir\backup_file.bak'
WITH REPLACE,
MOVE N'DATA' TO N'D:\SQLData_dir\your_new_database.mdf',
MOVE N'DATA_log' TO N'D:\SQLData_dir\your_new_database_log.ldf'
GO
 
-- Now setting the DB back to normal
ALTER DATABASE [your_new_database] SET MULTI_USER;

If you’re not confident, do it in a test area first!


Today, entered into the building to find out no one could log in to the system and we found out that one of the daily SQL jobs had locked everything up, refusing to budge over.

You can quickly work out the ID of the SQL process causing the issue with one command:

sp_who2

Only problem is, this gives you very little idea about what’s actually going on, and killing a transaction midway through its procedure could cause inconsistencies.  In a live system, that’s a bad thing.

I came across a handy stored procedure to identify both the offending SQL ID and also, hopefully, return both the commands being issued and the messages coming back from execution.  Here it is!

SELECT
db.name DBName,
tl.request_session_id,
wt.blocking_session_id,
OBJECT_NAME(p.OBJECT_ID) BlockedObjectName,
tl.resource_type,
h1.TEXT AS RequestingText,
h2.TEXT AS BlockingTest,
tl.request_mode
FROM sys.dm_tran_locks AS tl
INNER JOIN sys.databases db ON db.database_id = tl.resource_database_id
INNER JOIN sys.dm_os_waiting_tasks AS wt ON tl.lock_owner_address =wt.resource_address
INNER JOIN sys.partitions AS p ON p.hobt_id =tl.resource_associated_entity_id
INNER JOIN sys.dm_exec_connections ec1 ON ec1.session_id =tl.request_session_id
INNER JOIN sys.dm_exec_connections ec2 ON ec2.session_id =wt.blocking_session_id
CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(ec1.most_recent_sql_handle) AS h1
CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(ec2.most_recent_sql_handle) AS h2
GO

As the author says, this is a dirty way to solve an issue, but if it’s clear this is a safe transaction to snuff out, it may be best to do so and get the darn thing working again.  Kill off processes using another simple command… can you guess what it is?

KILL <pid>

Thank you SQLAuthority.com:)


Image

“An idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.” (Dom Cobb, “Inception”… brill movie)

The simplest of ideas are the most infectious, the ones that carry themselves unseen on practically every line of thought, strengthening itself every time.  Every time you run with an idea, you give it exercise and strengthen it.  The very simplest idea is a single word.  For me, I know what this idea is in my head, because I’ve seen it in my dreams: Unworthy.  To let it take hold can let it shape one’s entire life pattern, one’s ambitions, one’s behaviour.  It attacks one’s confidence of what is deserved, what can be earned, what can be achieved.  Am I capable of meeting a challenge?  Can ‘they’ depend on me?  Am I good enough for the most important things?  Am I good enough for the one person I want to be good enough for?

If you think you’re not, one slight poke to your confidence, one threat to how valuable to someone else you think you are, the slightest tremor, one ounce of missing affirmation, can upset your confidence at a most basic level.  Our minds are like an ocean.  That upset causes ripples in your consciousness (on its surface) and subconsciousness (what lies beneath), like an earthquake under the water; it can even kick off a devastating emotional tsunami.  It won’t let go – this submerged ‘thing’, like some hungry octopus, grabs your feet and drags you to the ocean’s surface, to pull you under, and the feeling is like you’re about to drown.  You may desperately grab for something else strong enough to keep you above water, any root, any rock – another idea – so you bait for approval, seek the attention of someone who’s opinion is valued, say something or behave out of pure emotion, just to prop up your collapsing sense of contentment.  Worse case scenario, and to everyone’s surprise, you run from something or someone, robbing them of all you have to offer them, unable to cope with the pressure of feeling good enough, interesting enough, worth enough, lovable enough.

Don’t run – That’s a path full of regret.  Being so fearful of being worthy of your own dreams is usually a good sign you give a damn.  And that you are, in fact, still human.

I guess the turning point in trying to deal with this is how to react when its tentacles pull at your ankles, to replace the basic idea so deeply rooted, or at least try to starve it so it shrinks over time.  How?  Without Dom Cobb invading your dreams, I’m not entirely sure :) But I’m gonna make a stab at this… (a metaphorical pun right there… you’ll see!)

I guess it’s not the struggle that we need to despair about.  It’s the handling of it – or maybe the perception of what we need to survive it.  When that idea about yourself grabs your ankle and drags you to the water, to pull you under, you can scrabble for something else to keep you from drowning – the metaphorical rock or tree root – the idea that you think is strong enough to help you escape.  Could even be someone else’s hand.  But rather than get yourself pulled around, maybe the best action is to actually attack the thing that’s dragging you under water in the first place.  After all, this is YOUR ocean in which this monster lives.  If you grab something solid on ground while something is trying to pull you under water, you risk being torn in two! Stab that thing round your ankle, wrestle with it yourself and tear it off your foot; maybe you can escape in your own strength.

That inner strength is not necessarily matured enough to handle such demands alone, and I’ve considered for years that maturity has nothing to do with age, only experience.  Regardless, there’s no shame in calling for someone else’s help, but rather than grab for someone’s hand, or some other idea, believing your only hope is to be pulled up by something stronger, let them help you strike at the tentacle instead.  Again, being pulled might work temporarily, but you may injure yourself in the process and the ‘THING’ underwater, the idea in your psyche, is still alive, waiting to have another go.  So, instead, don’t panic at your savior to pull you against your deeply rooted doubts, instead ask them to help you attack it at its source and overcome it with you.  

You should still hold the knife, but someone you trust can guide your hand.

This process may not even be explicit (like, say, therapy would be).  I’ve read that for more of us than we’re willing to admit, maybe even for everyone (we’re all human), true love of self can grow out of a special relationship with someone who loves us. It’s how we’re made, it’s only natural.  When you aren’t just told, but FEEL, that you’re truly loved, that’s an idea that can overcome any other.  If you let it!

“The greatest thing you ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” (Nature Boy)

The other thing to consider is this: be aware of when hurtful ideas, whatever they are, are lodging themselves in your consciousness.  Ideas like… “What if I can’t handle this?”  “What if they deserve better than this?”  “What if they’re doing x, y or z behind my back?” If you notice an unpleasant seed is burying itself in to take root, burn it away – reason it out if you can, but talk it over with someone you trust, maybe someone who’s caused this idea in the first place, or someone you trust the most.  Else that tiny seed might not only destroy you, but destroy your most treasured relationships.

I like this metaphor of comparing one’s mind to a big gorgeous ocean full of amazing and beautiful sights, but prone to predators which turn dangerous if we don’t keep them tamed… One of the most dangerous things in the sea?  The JELLYFISH.  While sense of worth can shape a person’s whole course, sense of ambition, confidence, etc, Jealousy can change a person’s attitude and behaviour so drastically in a moment, it’s almost as powerful as love itself :o  (and isn’t entirely unrelated.)  Jellyfish stings can be painful, but they can also be fatal – Being totally honest, I’m no stranger to jellyfish myself – and all the above paragraphs apply to avoiding them altogether, or at least treating their attacks!

I guess the other thing is – we can easily fling these seeds at each other without even realising it, so try to be aware of it.  Not to the point of having to tread on eggshells around each other though!  We each individually have to handle criticism, or lack of attention, or some badly made joke, it’s up to us to recognise these things for what they are, and not to react to them as some broader attack on us as a whole.  Being open with someone and asking / talking about whatever is bothering us, to find out for sure, before it gets out of hand and planted in our heads, can only benefit us all.

Each of us carry our own ocean in our heads, full of ideas about ourself and our world around us, floating on its surface or preying on us underneath.  Fear, even resentment, can keep someone from jumping into the sea.  But in time as the monsters are extinguished, or reduced to tiny baby versions capable of no more than an irritating nip that a simple hug can cure, going for a swim around inside ourselves, reflecting on the good stuff about ourselves and the good stuff we’ve got (or got coming), can become something very relaxing and refreshing, something to look forward to.


It’s said we make our own luck… if you choose to walk under a ladder, you run the risk of getting a bucket dropped on your head.  If you choose to cross the road without checking all risks, you’re in danger of becoming a pancake-shaped version of you.  If you choose to ignore the warning signs with lightning shapes stapled to a metal fence, you run a high chance of turning crispy.

That said, not everything that happens to us is under our control, and that includes our impulses.  If a thirty foot hamster came running up the street at me with hunger in its eyes, I wouldn’t need to think about panicking and sprinting in the opposite direction, my body kinda makes that call for me.  If your head is held under a dripping tap for about five hours, I don’t think you could choose not to be driven half insane by it.

Things like anger, excitement, joy, frustration, you can’t control when they hit you.  I don’t think though that the emotion you feel in any circumstance, however strong, is the measure of you, I think its how you handle it.  You can in some measure choose your response – embrace it, hit back, ignore it, breath, count to 10, and deal with it, etc.  And a lot of it comes down to experience – maturity isn’t about age, it’s about exposure and experience.

Love is the most complex of emotions, I guess because it’s not really an emotion in itself, it’s a smorgasbord of the intense feelings – loss, excitement, contentment, anxiety, fear, joy, jealousy, true happiness.  It’s the toughest one to recognise because no one can tell you when you’re in love, you kinda have to figure it out for yourself.  All people can tell you is to make sure of your decisions that are based on love (or the absence of).  And it’s easy, tooooooo easy, to mistake an emotion for love.  Needing someone who wants you isn’t love, feeling alone when someone is gone isn’t love, and infatuation is one that is frequently mistaken for love.  I think love at first sight is impossible, because love is based on really knowing a person, strengths and weaknesses, and how you make each other feel in good times and bad.  It’s an attachment that makes you feel at a loss without them, definitely.  But love isn’t just about needing someone, it’s about needing to see them happy too.  Love is proved true when you’re able to rise above the harshest of trials for their sake, and still love who they are – when, no matter what emotion you feel, the strongest one out of them all is the anxiety of losing them.  When no sacrifice is too great.  When their flaws aren’t only permitted, but they are regarded with affection.  When, on a bad day, just a look or a touch can warm your heart.  You feel at your most content when you’re sharing the best of life’s experiences with them.  When you see a beautiful sight, or hear a powerful tune, or see something that makes you laugh your socks off, and wish they were there with you to share it, that’s a good indication of true love.  When the initial excitements, butterflies, extremely sentimental feelings start to fluttery away, that is not true love ‘fading’ – it’s maturing!  The intense mirth and joy of love’s first days/weeks/months mature to become deep friendship, deep affection, deep care.  Willingness to share all things and want to make the other’s day.  Wanting to see them smile should always be a priority.

Now, love can fade if you allow it, withdraw from it, pay no attention to it, whatever.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t ‘meant to be’.  Relationships do take effort, but you have to be careful with this one, because something may take so much effort that it drains you of a taste for life.  You have to consider what effort the other person is contributing, you have to consider what you’re making an effort for – where your heart lies, what your motives are, what their motives are.  For whose benefit you’re keep trying to make something work, and what the end result will be – if what you get at the end of it all is going to make you a contented person or not.  If at the end of it all, when you experience something as simple as the brightness of Venus one night, you still want to point it out to them and exclaim ‘ooooooh check it out!’

It turns out that sometimes the reality of a situation cannot be ignored forever.  Sometimes, regardless of how you feel and what sense is telling you, you have to make an effort because it’s still the best thing you’ll ever know and have, and you know this; that this period of hardship is only temporary, that in-between the lines you still feel the anxiety of needing them and needing to be the one to make them the happiest, that in due course you’ll still have the most amazing thing you’ve ever known.  Love doesn’t always obey the rules of logic, and men and women will perform extraordinary feats (sometimes seemingly utterly insane feats) for true love, because they feel at their core that it will be worth every sacrifice.

For some things, you can ignore what people are warning you of, because you know the truth that they don’t understand.  For other things, their warnings only substantiate your existing doubts – and that’s when you’re in danger and need to consider seriously what you’re doing, to make a move only when absolutely sure.  You can know how you really feel about something without really acknowledging it sensibly, you sense it in how you react to a person, an event, an occasion.  And this is what I’m getting at – your impulses can tell you about yourself, certainly how you really feel, sometimes more than you wish to recognise.  I repeat, the reality of a situation cannot be ignored forever.  Those decisions you make are crucial.  You have to think long-term, consider all outcomes, view this very moment as the pinwheel on which a vast number of parallel universes are being spawned based on the decisions you make, and try to peer into them to discern the alternative futures of all affected by your decisions – including you.

I dunno about you but whenever I select the contents of a bag of pick n’ mix sweeties, I don’t pick the ones I feel doubts about.  If I intend to share this bag of sugary goodness, I’d choose what I think is nommable to us both.  End result?  A bag of noms and no left overs.  And yet I can make bad decisions about far more important decisions in life because there are far more factors involved… but the criteria need not be THAT different!  If you don’t make choices that you’re sure leads to your happiness too, you may only stumble into a thorn bush of regrets, taking others with you.  To anyone who’s made such mistakes, bear in mind that no matter what, the mistakes we make often teach us the most valuable lessons.  Trying to find the best path afterwards can take considerable work and effort and sacrifice – but again, if that sacrifice is ultimately worth everything, for your sake as much as anyone else’s, you have to make it.

OK so that’s a good amount of semi-vague wafflejuice.  Emotions go a long way to making us our individual selves.  One thing to be thankful for, whatever mixed bag of emotional all-sorts we are, is that they help us understand who we are.  Don’t hate yourself for who you are nor the lessons you’ve learned!  Who we each are isn’t set in stone either – learn a strength, love yourself for it and use it.  Learning a weakness, you recognise it humbly, and work on it.  That’s maturing, and it’s a process that lasts a lifetime.


Finished product!  Please click the image to see its detail in full resolution.

Valley of the Dolls full view

Valley of the Dolls by Sarah Ainge

The challenge came from Alter It Monthly:
http://alteritmonthly.blogspot.com/
The theme this month over at the challenge blog “Alter It Monthly” was “valley of the dolls”, we had to alter a doll / a doll’s head / include dolls in our art in some way . I imagined what the valley of the dolls might look like, here is my vision of it on this canvas I’ve altered.  A gnarly  tree made of twisted copper wire (my hands did not thank me.), the idea is the dolls are growing on the tree. I’ve used the Tim Holtz ‘Frozen Charlotte’ dolls, using them along with the Tim Holtz “movers and shapers Butterfly” dies on the Vagabond die cutting machine to create the two blue doll butterflies. I used two butterfly shapes per doll butterfly to add dimension and interest and cut them out of a sheet of paper from the Tim Holtz “Shabby Vintage paperstash” I used perfect pearl mists and perfect pearls on the “frozen charlotte dolls” and the butterflies. I included slightly ominous words on the leaves of the tree to create a creepier atmosphere than a first glance would suggest. I made the leaves using Tim Holtz “adage tickets” and “journalling tickets” and Tim Holtz stickers and distress inks.

I added four paper dolls in the lower left corner, adding some Tim Holtz tissue tapes which I then coloured using distress inks. I used one of Time Holtz’s stamps to create the stylised clouds and another to create the grass effect.

The hanging dolls heads are made from large wooden beads which I first painted all over with Tim Holtz’s pearl dabber paint, then painted on their faces using pitch black and cranberry dabber paints. Hair was added using thread and glue.

I added those three flowers near the lower right corner.

The sky, grass and sun were created using Tim Holtz’s colour washes and perfect pearls mists.

Detail photos and some photos of the materials before I got busy and a couple of WIP images:

Greener


The grass is much greener so fresh and untouched
You glance at the memory when yours was as such
Considering landscapes around you are spent
You run to the Summer of your discontent

The grass becomes greener the longer you stare
A blossom much brighter than all in your care
They yearned for your nourishment; you gave despair
And thus without petals they cannot compare

The grass growing greener while your flowers thirst,
One for each time you have dived in headfirst,
For you they each promised a life more attained
But why save those souls when there’s more to be gained?

The grass is much greener the further you fall
While browning small plants through your memory crawl
When will you notice? When are you sure?
A flower, when cared for, will be the most pure.

 

My cousin asked for poetry on his wall for one day only from his friends and family.  I posted a silly one but have felt this theme swirling around my head a bit… lo and behold his invitation arrives and I have another reason to do something with it.  I started seriously thinking about it in the car on the way home and compiled it directly on Jason’s wall. :)

It is simple, I used deliberate clichés, there’s stuff in there if you want it.

And in case you’re curious, here’s my nonsense rhyme which I posted on his invitation first. :)

The average speed of an unladened swallow?
Answer it wrong, to the chasm you follow!
In the process you earn the face of George Gallo!
“Nothing can save you, except for my game show
You can win passage while driving a Renault!”
Covered in bear fur and filled up with gateau?
What a weird sight, you strange little fellow.

 

Cheers for the inspiration to do this again Jason, it’s been quite a while.

The ideal


Last night I felt compelled to put the TRON Legacy OST on full blast. Soulculture.co.uk say the opening third makes you feel like doing everything in slow motion; funnily enough Sarah said I (and the cats) should be doing everything ‘stylised’ with this dramatic music running. Not only do we both like all this action/sci-fi stuff, I honestly think she likes it more than me sometimes (she knows Die Hard 1 almost line-by-line, even enjoyed TRON Legacy more than I did…) and I consider myself rather fortunate to have someone so gorgeous with whom I can share so many of my interests, even those that are traditionally kinda blokey.


I’ve never ridden a horse but that wouldn’t put me off riding across an open field on one.  Before I went to Andorra on that week long skiing holiday, I’d never even touched a ski suit, but I went for it and loved it.

On the 27th August 2010 Sarah and I finally got married after almost 10 years of knowing eachother.  Our first date was the 26th October 2010.  We got engaged 24th March 2001 knowing we wanted to be together the rest of our lives after only a short while.  Yes, that was over nine years ago. To be fair we’ve been trying for a couple of years to set the date; we had to adjust our plans when certain arrangements could not be met after trying for a year or two and such things. 

We also had a slight issue with health and how that might affect a married couple, knowing full well "it’s not all rainbows and butterflies". Finances cause so many pressures on people even without such things as MS or OCD or PTSD or other such innocent looking initialisms.  Sarah and I do not have to deal with all of those examples, but when we got engaged we didn’t have to deal with any of them.  Then things changed thanks to two distinct events which occurred at about the same time, although these combined events were more a catalyst than a cause.  Knowing already how the pressure of dealing with health issues might affect a newly married inexperienced couple, the wisest thing seemed, to me, to hold off a bit on the marriage and give us both time to get a better grip on this new and permanent facet in our lives.

It wasn’t the most popular decision but is it really a good idea to go flying across an open field on a horse with a broken leg?  For either the rider or the horse?  We have and I trust in our sources of support, above all God Himself, the greatest support of all, but He won’t fix everything miraculously if we act unwisely and the Bible does recommend a man calculate the cost of building a tower before laying its foundations.

The wound had been healing but, like any break, the weakness remains and care will always be needed.  Again, like any break, one has to just accept that but evaluate when a good run is again possible.  A few years later and it was due time to consider honouring the original commitment to eachother and again look forward to actually moving on with our lives as one.

Looks like we’ve made it!  It would have been easy to always stay at the bottom of the mountain, standing about in our ski suits and watching everyone else having all the fun.  You can stand around weighing up all the negatives and considering all the terrible things that could happen if you made a run down the mountain yourself, or what disaster could occur if you actually got into the Alton Towers’ Oblivion ride, or if you could actually control the horse once you got on. 

In the end you have to trust that life in this world isn’t always about unhappy endings because only then can you find the fun it has to offer.

That part over with, I actually intended to briefly talk about what a fantastic day we had at our wedding and a little bit about our honeymoon arrangments.  There were so many things we wanted to do for our wedding celebrations and some of them never happened; but because there were so many things we had planned, what we DID manage to arrange seemed plentiful and fun for our guests.  The ceremony went perfectly.  We were both running late, but the 30 minutes we were waiting for the bride to make her appearance were absolutely worthwhile.  I could have waited as long as she needed to see her looking as stunning as she did when the entered the room.  And people thought I’d ruin that moment by seeing the dress before the day – oh no!

With all the table favours and kiddy activity packs and inflatables and wigs and live singing and the first dance etc (most of these things Sarah’s ideas), it was nice to hear people refer to this wedding as the most unique and fun they’ve attended.  I make no apology in being very happy to hear this. ;)

I attach one single photo by way of preview, there’s clearly a lot more on the way.

Finally, the honeymoon is something I had been arranging months in advance.  We both love white knuckle theme park rides and neither of us had yet been to Alton Towers, the king of theme parks in the UK.  Hence, her idea for our honeymoon was a theme park tour.  I investigated and discovered that Merlin Entertainments own most of the big theme parks and offer an annual pass (currently £120 per person online), giving us access to all their attractions for a year, with added perks.  That includes the London Eye, Sea Life Centres, Madame Tussauds, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington’s World of Adventures and Legoland.  After some juggling with arrangements in getting my sister back to Blackpool after the wedding etc. we started in Blackpool and its Pleasure Beach and have been moving down the country since, to finish with Chessington’s next Monday.  Yesterday was Alton Towers, a fantastic and huge place with a heck of a lot going for it.  We did all the most important rides and brought back with us a fair amount of theme park goodies and the essential ride photos; again, proper photos to come.

But now the most important part of this update – our visit to Warwick.  Because Merlin also own the Warwick Castle attraction, which we’re seeing today.  I found an inexpensive but unique looking hotel called The Globe, rated no.2 on tripadvisor with a plethora of favourable comments.  I tried to get in touch to make a booking, but all phone lines were dead.  I tried the email address, not expecting any answer.  I tracked down that the Urban and Country Leisure company had purchased the freehold on this hotel, so I called them instead to find out what was going on (once I get an idea on doing something it’s not easy to shake).  Turns out the place was bought and was being refurbished, hence no possible contact.  I emailed them, telling them the situation, and was told the request for info would be passed on for response by their more senior staff.  So I allowed time to pass but kinda gave up on the idea of The Globe… until two days later.

Panchaya Wood, former owner of the Globe, sent me an email to let me know about the Globe’s sale, but that she could find me an alternative should I need it.  Turns out, Panchaya (or Pam as she refers to herself) is still monitoring the old Globe mailbox to assist former and prospective Globe customers.  Also turns out, she’s a very hospitable, friendly and thoughtful person, not getting paid to check in on what people want but just keen to help them so they don’t feel abandoned.  She was very popular with her hotel’s guests, for good reason, as her customer service skills are to be envied by hoteliers everywhere.

During our exchange of emails I explained why I wanted to stay in Warwich – we were on a theme park tour, Merlin own Warwick Castle, so we’re going to make use of it between parks.  Oh, and this is because we’re using our annual passes to enjoy a rather different kind of honeymoon.

Panchaya could not do enough to congratulate us and assist us.  Even in her initial response she was offering to help plan or arrange something, for no charge.  Just because she likes to help, she said!  She still owns a couple of apartments in Warwick, intending now to allow their use
for people like us who are looking for a place to stay while visiting.  Whether it was this or some other place she said not to worry about Warwick any more as she would sort something out.  I left it with her then, confident she’d be true to her word.  True she was, in a way I could not anticipate, because rather than find an alternative hotel or B&B, she offered one of her own apartments in Warwick.

For NOTHING.

We received a card from Pam a day or two before the wedding, but with it were a couple of little gifts.

We’re here in Warwick now, and it was decked out with MORE pressies, a ‘CONGRATULATIONS’ banner on the door, choccies on the table, candles across the living room, small bouquets (did I tell her Sarah liked pink gerberas?) and two MORE wrapped presents on the table.  This decent apartment is on the top floor and has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. 

If you’re anywhere in the area of Warwick, you MUST stay in one of her apartments.  Check them out:
http://www.warwickservicedapartments.co.uk

Sarah said the biggest problem with this place is she’s done it so nicely that we don’t feel the need to go out anywhere… :)

But we’re still going to.  Bye for now!


Clunk.org.uk host a brilliant thread entitled ‘Water Cooling Guide for Beginners’, posted up last month.  It goes from start to finish – how to plan a loop, what to look for, down to steps you can take when cleaning it out, replacing hoses etc.

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