Day two brings a fixed generator, working air conditioning, a fridge for milk and a kettle for tea. And so, with caffeine readily available, work begins in earnest. Fans whir, RAID controllers announce their irritation with a piercing shriek, and lights flicker all over the place, largely being ignored.

I sit nursing a PC with its top off, fan blowing into the case and my hand on top of the heat sinks, trying to work out why it has a fever. Caught by the customer in such a compromising position, there’s little choice but to admit that maybe, just maybe, there’s a hardware issue somewhere.

But we’re getting there. Issues are getting ticked off our list faster and faster, and we’re even finally cracking irritations that have dogged us for ages. It’s amazing what two years’ hindsight and five cups of tea can achieve. Make that six.

Seven, and another two-year-old bug falls before us.

Eight. Nine. And a can of lemonade.

The world seems a lot slower than it used to.


Later, as evening draws in and the caffeine buzz recedes, the chit-chat lizards clamber in through the hole in the wall that would have housed our sadly-lacking connection to the compound’s network. They scurry about the door or lurk on the ceiling, observing with beady eyes as we watch the football and drink lemon beer.

But by bedtime they are gone again, back to wherever the cold-blooded chit-chats go to rest, ready for the sun to bake their dusty orange-grey bodies again tomorrow.