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For 2023 - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))

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Extras module Z203
Cat and Dog
Resources from the web site of Well House Consultants on the subject of Cat and Dog. We provide open source training course and business hotel accommodation in Melksham, Wiltshire, England

Charlie has been with us almost as long as we've lived in Melksham - so it must have been in 2000 that she joined up. Gypsy was adopted just after Easter 2009, and Billy joined us late in November 2011 (he's currently just fostered but is very likely to become permanent)
Articles and tips on this subjectupdated
4666Spring at Well House Manor
Spring is here - Easter - daffodils - in the garden at Well House Manor. Open as a small hotel / large B&B for business and adult leisure guests. Set in a quiet spot just a few hundred yards from Melksham Town Centre. ...
4526Day trip to Lancaster
About a month ago, I picked Bobby up from Lancaster, where he's been in rescue, but not found a permanent home, for a year. Idea was that he was ideal for a friend in Chippenham who wanted ... never mind; didn't work out, and Bobby who was with us last year's been back with us on foster for a month ...
4517Black dog day - and Bobby still seeks his new home
National Black Dog day is 1st October. Regular readers may recall that a year ago, "Bobby" joined our Billy and Gypsy for a few weeks on foster - but went into rehoming kennels in Lancashire in mid September because he and Billy really weren't getting on, and it was felt that there was a much better ...
4507In favour of adoption rather than puppy purchase - dogs!
Early this afternoon, I posted a few seconds video clip of Gypsy and Billy running in the fields behind our home, and added a plea to people to consider rescue rather than purchase if they're looking for a dog. There are too many dogs out there that need (re)homing and - despite rumour - they're not ...
4433Different views of a Welsh Valley - but headed home
We've been in Wales for the week - a change of scenery for the family while I've been giving a Java course on the outskirts of Swansea. A last stroll this morning before heading home - Gypsy enjoying the view and Billy enjoying the run   ...
4417Crisp morning, fast run
A crisp morning, and the beauty of ice on the field behind where we live. An opportunity - eagerly grabbed - for Billy and Gypsy to let off some steam. Alas - I'm not the best at action shots of the dogs and so I won't be sharing loads of ungainly blurs - just a handful of my best which in themselves ...
4333Misty Melksham Morning
A misty autumn morning - and the first Sunday meet of a little group of dog walkers in Melksham - I went along (and Billy, Gypsy and I took these pictures). Idea - to help socialise some of the dogs and (I understand) some of ourselves too. Great time had by all ... thanks to the organisers ... looking ...
4316Too many Staffies, too many lurchers
On a lovely autumn day yesterday, dad and I (and Billy and Gypsy) joined the walk organised by Swindon's Needy Dogs around Coate Water - the old reservoir that used to serve the Wilts and Berks Canal. I remember Coate Water well - a rural park setting on the outskirts of Swindon; not only a canal feeder ...
4189Who are we - Lisa, Graham, Gypsy and Billy
Lisa and Graham [Ellis], Gypsy and Billy. Gypsy is a lurcher - a Staffie / Greyhound crossbreed (we think) and Billy is a Greyhound - don't know if he's totally purebred. Both came to us as "rescue"s - Gypsy about 4 years ago from the Dog's Trust in Newbury, and Billy from Bristol DAWG (Dog Action Welfare ...
4180Exceptionally, I sign a petition - on a life and death issue for Irish dogs
I'm not a great signatory to petitions I know little about - in fact I won't sign without a strong knowledge of the subject - either directly or from a source I trust. So it's exceptional for me to have signed up to a petition calling for dogs to be allowed to continue to travel from Ireland to the ...
4130Soft furnishings up a Welsh Mountain
We're away in Wales, staying in a cottage high in the hills above Harlech, enjoying the sweeping rain, sheep, misty views and a reminder of how poor internet access used to be in Easterton, where we lived in the last house in the last village before Salisbury Plain. The dogs are under instructions NOT ...
3936Lisa is home today ...
Lisa's been away for Thanksgiving; we've taken a few pictures to show her that we're missing her and that we're eating homecooked and healthy food ...
4016Red, yellow, green or pink dog? Yellow Dog Project
Is your dog a yellow dog? It takes a strong man to wear pink - and Billy is nothing if not strong. And the pink rosette tells you that he came in 5th in last June's dog show in Bristol in (as I recall) the rescue greyhound class. That was the day he showed how untypical of greyhounds he is by ...
3943With us for a year already!
Billy has now been with us for a year - a magnificent dog who really enjoys running in the wide open spaces of the field behind where we live ... and equally enjoys laying on the heated tiles, or in one of the big chairs. Even better, he loves curling up next to us, or on our knees; we call this his ...
3920Challenge for a photographer
I set myself a challenge this afternoon ... to get some good current photos of the dogs out in the field. It was a beautiful afternoon, and even in our flat lands the landscapes are spectacular. Now Billy can run - great circles, and fast. And trying to catch a 35 m.p.h. greyhound on a camera ...
3906Taking the lead, not the dog, for a walk.
When I say that "I'm taking the dogs for a walk", I don't literally carry the dogs for a walk - they walk themselves and I just hold the leads. Statement of the obvious? Yes! But you would be surprised how many programmers pass complete full data structures into named blocks of code - "subroutines" ...
3908Black dogs at Halloween
OK - so not quite so frightening ...
3737Postcards from Barmouth
Postcards from Barmouth Well - not really "postcards" as they're not on card, and I'm not posting them, but the sort of pictures you might see with "wish you were here" written on the back. Lisa told me the other morning that the Lonely Planet had listed the midWales coast as the number one spot to ...
3674Off to walk the dogs
You will have seen the longest gap so far - I think - in this blog over this week. That's not lack of interest, but rather a lack of time and energy after everything else. On Monday, as a member of the Melksham SCOB (see http://www.melkshamcampus-scob.org.uk/) I went to Chippenham's Riverside Centre ...
3675Spring 2012
I may have been very busy the last week ... but I've had the odd moment to click some pics ... ...
2897The Land of the Black Labrador
From yesterday ... a couple of pictures from a visit to the "Land of the Black Labrador" - also known as Henley-on-Thames. Planning a day out ... we had considered going down to Weymouth but thinking of the crowds, the heat, the ban on dogs on much of the beach and so forth decided on a more gentle ...
3625An update on Billy the Greyhound and Gypsy the Lurcher
I could become a bit of a dog bore ... but I promised to keep the folks from whom we adopted Billy up to date with his progress, so I'll take that as the half of an excuse that I need - you can always skip over this article ;-) Gypsy and Billy in one of the fields behind our home. Lisa and I went along ...
3606Gypsy and Billy enjoy the snow
I know my feet would get cold - so we are careful about taking the dogs out for too long in the snow. Yet on our brief walk this morning, they really let off steam. The field that backs onto the Spa houses is enjoyed by many dog walkers. It was quiet at 07:30, but tracks in the snow showed us that ...
3561Happy Christmas ... a Christmas morning walk in Melksham
A Happy Christmas, everyone. Now that we've moved on from the "Children" to the "Grand Children" phase of life, Christmas has moved on too. Our own kids are playing hopscotch from one set of Grand-s and in-Laws to the next and juggling with the political decisions of who to join for Christmas lunch, ...
3553Changes to morning routines
You'll have noticed a drop-off in blog entries this week because it's been SO busy - even by our standards. The last Python Course before Christmas from Sunday to Wednesday has run into the last Lua Course of 2011 running from Thursday to Sunday (yes, we're up to a seven day week!). Add to that various ...
3541I loves Melksham
Hi, I'm Billy and I moved to Melksham to be with my new Mum and Dad 10 days ago. And I loves it here in Melksham. There are beautiful sunrises over the field - I'm told this is Woolmore Farm and that the lights you can see in the distance are the new Melksham Oak School. I'm living ...
3537Letting the foster parents know ... too little or too much?
I can't believe that it's only a week since we fostered Billy (Greyhound, with a dash of summat else fast as well). Like Gypsy, his background and breeding is uncertain, but it's certainly known that he was starving, manky with all sorts of skin problems - but never the less loving dog - when he arrived ...
3530A typical weekend??
On Friday, We visited a town near Sharpness and met Billy - a Greyhound / Summat cross - who's had a hard life already in his first two years. On Saturday, Lisa from the Bristol Dog Action Welfare Group visited us to have a look at our place (and us) to check that we were suitable foster parents. And ...
3533No message - just doggy pictures of the new doggy
Billy is finding his feet - loves to run in the field (and, yes, comes back to us easily). ...
3338Return trip - Dogs Trust, Newbury
It's over two years now since we adopted Gypsy, from the Dog's Trust near Newbury - that was Spring 2009. In Summer 2009, we took her back to their "open day" - an annual fund raiser, and it's something we thought of doing each subsequent year as a sort of "Thank You". But last year, the dag we so hot ...
3324Rabbit Shelter
What a wet Sunday ... and what a busy weekend too. Gypsy and I went out for a walk in the field in a brief respite between rail projects, answering emails, and investing in training up new 'occsaional' staff so that Well House Manor is even more robust. We came back soaked, the both of us, ...
2140Beware - giving copyright away when you upload a picture - Dogs Trust
We've signed up to add pictures of the hound to "DoggySnaps" - run / sponsored by the Dog's Trust from where Gypsy arrived. Yes, we paid Gypsy's kennel costs. Yes, we made a donation ... but we want to encourage them more and help them with things like a vibrant web site (which it is). But - goodness ...
3096Contrast in pictures
I need to learn a bit more about some of the special settings on my camera ... and to re-train myself to think "settings" as I take pictures; at present, I just snap away with either the regular setup, or "available light" which gives me nighttime pictures that would have been regarded as miracles ...
771From cat breeder to Cobol to Perl
In my youth, I read the books written by Gerald Durrell ... starting off with the stories of his childhood on Corfu in "My family and other animals" where I learnt of his maveric background with unusual pets of all shapes and sizes. Followed him through animal collection trips to Africa and South America, ...
2787Sleeping in on Sunday
Sunday morning ... and I crept out at a quarter to seven, to set up breakfast for weekend hotel guests, in the area for weddings ... and also taking the opportunity so see Bath, which is just ten miles from us and reachable bus bus, 7 days a week, from right outside our front door. I couldn't help ...
2689Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze!
If they're cooked, and in not too big a quantity, yes (s)he can. We were sitting in front of the TV last night, watching a stream of high ranking politicians offering themselves for sale in a sting operations set up by a TV channel, and Gypsy came over and nuzzled us. We had just finished fish and ...
It's incredible just how much time bookkeeping takes - small adjustments to the various resources we have, tidying up modules that are no longer relevant and pointing any visitors at replacements. There' been a lot of that going on over the last couple of days ... for example: 1. I have deleted two ...
2499ourdog is Greyhound, Staffie and Ginger Cake
It was the fact that the cake wrapper was on the bed, and not on the bedside table that was the clue that triggered me to realizing that something wasn't quite where I had left it. And examining the wrapper and finding it empty and clear, I realised that something else - the remaining slice of cake ...
2496A better design of mouth
When you think about it, having a mouth on the side of your face is something of a poor design in some circumstances. There's that awkward maneuvering of food on a fork, or with hands to get into the mouth, and the drips of curry and tomato source that fall onto your white shirt when your co-ordination ...
2456Bright Eyes
Lisa pointed me at the upside down dogs website the other day ... and we had a chuckle. The picture besides this entry is sideways on, and I have entitled it "Bright Eyes". ...
2450Family Gathering at 404, The Spa
Yesterday's lunch was the first time in goodness know how long that the whole family living here abouts came together for dinner, so I'm going to make a very rare break from my 'norm' and post a family photo which they all knew I was taking. From left to right, my Dad, son Chris, his wife Delene, Tom ...
2451Gypsy says
Gypsy has asked me to point out following on from yesterday's entry that although she appeared in three out of the four family pictures (and was the ONLY one to appear multiple times, I noticed!), she did NOT appear in the picture with the food. In all seriousness, she has settled down well since we ...
2295The dog is not in trouble
"I know I put my papers somewhere" I said to Lisa [wife], and Gypsy [dog] goes off and whimpers in the corner, looking very guilty. So had she [dog] taken the papers and chewed them? That wasn't the case - she had heard the word "no" (or rather "know") in what I said, and had taken it that she was ...
2271Dogs Trust, Dog Show, Newbury
We were invited back to the dog show open day at The Dog's Trust near Newbury, from where we adopted Gypsy a few months ago. Yes - I know the real reason to invite everyone back was for them to make money, but it was never the less a good day's outing. I suppose I should have expected a lot ...
2252Leaping dog, Leaping horse, copyright of old masters
A picture I took earlier - Gypsy leaping through high grass in the field that also includes the Devizes White Horse. It got me thinking that I have seen other pictures of leaping animals, and also how small the picture subject can become yet still remain the picture subject. Here is "The Leaping Horse" ...
2167Watching the tele
2138Ski bore ... train bore ... dog bore
OK ... I'm going to try and avoid transmogrifying into a dog bore ... but Gypsy, who I introduced you to last weekend, has certainly made an impact on us! She's mostly greyhound, but not fully. We think the rest is Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She's blind in one eye, she has lead pellets embedded ...
2132Learning about Lurchers
Lisa and I adopted Gypsy today. And no doubt I'll be telling you more about her, and showing you proud pictures, as time goes by. I don't after all, have quite the same data protection issues if I tell you all the personal things and stories about a dog that I would have if I told you about a colleague ...
2029Also for the eyes of the cat
Here's just about the shortest lag you'll see from me between taking a picture and having it up on line - five minutes. Sitting up in bed (as I sometimes do), pre dawn, the cat has joined us and is interested in what I'll be saying. She's still here and reading, so I need to be careful what I write ...
547Taking the dog for a walk
I noticed it first at San Francisco airport, while waiting for the last member of our party to join us. A very VERY posh young lady walking around, also on the "meet and greet" run. And in her arms, this little dog carried as, it seemed, a fashion accessory. Looking around here, this business of "taking ...
96Variable Scope
One of the vital topics on all our programming courses is that of variable scope. Variable Scope may be defined as the area of a program in which a variable is visible, and how long that variable is accessible for. Why do I describe variable scope as a vital subject when you can write simple programs ...
62Technical Open House
Lisa and Graham are planning a "Technical Open House" at our place in Melksham, Wiltshire from early afternoon on Saturday, 27th November [2004] through to early afternoon on Sunday, 28th November. We say "come as a student, leave as a friend" and many have; we'll do some update presentations on what's ...
744We can offer a room, but we can't operate on a dog
Our first weekend, probably of many, working on "Well House Manor". The previous owner finally completed her move out on Thursday, 1st June, and we had vacant possession from that afternoon. We wish her all the very best for the future, and appreciate her gestures such as the flowers left to wish us ...
Topics covered in this module
Charlie the Cat and Gypsy and Billythe Dogs
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