Tuesday, January 30, 2007

There's a perversity which shapes our ends

And I'm not talking about my feet (though some deeply perverse deity was in on their design, I tell you)
I was supposed to be swimming today and then meeting Frangelita in Oxford to look at places for her and HF to live. Swimming happens at 12.00 so that leaves me a couple of hours in the morning to do various tasks and then I could have left straight after swimming and had a couple of hours in Oxford. Perversely, today is fiddle teacher's (also swimming companion) over 50's morning. ( We all get together and play our newest practiced pieces or listen to a clever, musical person talk about or demonstrate something that they're good at).
Which is from 10.00 to 12.00.

Which means suddenly, as I'm ambling around in a dopey morning state, I realise that I have NO TIME to do important tasks and must leave immediately and still arive late. So after the O50 thing I have to go back and do important tasks. No time left for getting to Oxford and seeing new homes.

This was rather depressing as I enjoy doing things like this with Frangelita and have done it quite a few times since she left our home for various other places like Uni and Newmarket.

Still the O50 thing was interesting. The subject was accompanying, the performers, a pianist and his wife (a singer). As we over fifties are all late starters of one kind or another in the musical world, we all have middle aged anxieties to cope with. and it turns out that the singer herself had to abandon the clarinet (repetitive strain injury) and took up solo singing at a late age and had interesting things to say about nerves and performance.

And that brings me round to the particular perversity that had me learning to play a fiddle at 35 (yes, I know, just a baby really) and doing exams as if my life depended on it. Two essential requirements for this were practising hard and regularly (and with a kind of manic commitment) and performing in front of a critical audience. Both of which I don't, didn't and can't do! In fact, I had to change my essential self. I really worked hard at it! (I'm talking 2-6 hours a day hard). For some ten years. The perverseness was enormous! The nerves gave me the shakes....I don't know if it's possible to explain how impossible, frustrating, despairing, ridiculous, infuriating it is to play a long, soft sweet note with a shaking hand/bow/ fiddle/body....Especially if, that very morning, it was the best note in the whole piece. Pah! And Bah!
And don't mention scales, arpeggios and the other thing which is so awful I can't remember what it's called even. Something to do with intervals and cadences (which all sound very nice if you aren't trying to remember what they're called).

In the end, I sort of gave up on trying to make myself be what I wasn't and though I still would like to do just one more exam and have a complete set (1 to 8), I've lost the total absorption you need to move from being able to play most of the notes in approximately the order intended by the composer to being able to convey something of the rest of what the composer intended.

Snowdrops. Perverse snowdrops, coming out in January. Still no more snow though.

These snowdrops should have been there last night...however it wasn't blogger's fault they weren't. I uploaded them, and cut an pasted to the bottom of the post. Only I forgot the paste bit! Still on the clipboard this morning!
I'm pretty sure that wasn't what happened the other day though :)

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Monday, January 29, 2007

I wonder what demon of perversity prompts me every time I start making a phone call, to amble into the kitchen, phone in one hand, to make a cup of tea?
Ah well, it's only taken me eight calls but at last I have a cup of tea, my insurance is sorted, my sewing machine part is paid for, two of Barney's customers are peacefully confident that they will be called by him tonight and ouch, the tea's hot!
What with Blogger and being sleepy I'd sort of forgotten that we had a weekend. Quite a busy weekend too. There was Fran and HF arriving with the last of their posessions and now HF is installed here until they find somewhere to live. And Thursday and Joe (the spanner) Brown turned up for coffee which was delightful and then we had a gig in the evening which was very good..it was for Christian Aid and I have to say, the Christian Aid people are a very jolly crowd. They all dance nearly all the time and there are lots of them. And the girl who accompanied me when I did my grade eight fiddle exam was there. This made me think how much nicer it is to play in a band than to play for an examiner. And, after a bit more thought, how much nicer it is to be gently addicted to Blogging than desparately hooked on making grades.
Still it was lovely to see her and we did enjoy practicing together even if the end result was a fairly comprehensive failure. (I made a note in my computer, which has survived a number of disc changes and collapses and file tidyings, which said, "Just remember, you don't ever want to do this again") .

Speaking of perversity

Look at my next attempt on the white bread.
Clearly brown is better.

However, I'm glad to say, the strange looking flat loaves strongly resemble crumpet. The sort you toast. So we'll be having crumpets (sort of) for tea for a while.
If anyone can give me a good recipe for white bread using 1lb of flour and a breadmaker I'll be very grateful. If it works in our bread maker which I suspect has its own little, perverse demon inside it. A brown, little, perverse demon. With knobs on.

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More yeast? New Blogger!!!!!!!

Oh dear. That didn't work very well.
I tried oil in the bread mixture instead of butter. Sad thing is the wholemeal/white mixture we normally make is perfectly fine. But Barney misses his white So we've been experimenting.
Well at least it didn't explode :)

Meanwhile, just now, I discovered this button. I never noticed it before. Always thought people who could do big and little fonts were being very clever with html. Well they are clever enough to notice the little button that says 'normal size'!*
However I attempted to publish all this just now with picasa and it seems to have vanished. You may or may not get to see this.
Or you may get to see several slightly different versions with different bits in different size fonts, Alice in Wonderland style.

Well, I saved all this and then a quicktime security upload told me I needed it. So I closed evrything (as you do) and after doing that, went back to blogger only to be told that I am all ready to be moved to beta blogger.** Not wishing to be pushed into anything so potentially exasperating just now, thankyou, I closed it and tried again. Three times. But this time they mean it! So now I'm on Beta.
I'm not quite sure what this is going to mean. But I've labelled it!

*Just next to the button that says font.
**A bit like coming home and finding a removal van outside your gate with all your goods and chattels packed away and the door locked and bolted. And a little note saying here's the key to your new place. Just follow the van.
My old man said, (well blogger did actually) "Follow the van, don't dilly dally on the way!"
Off went the cart with the home packed in it,
I walked behind with me old cock linnet.
But I dillied and dallied, dallied and dillied,
Lost the van and don't know where to roam.
You can't trust the specials like the old-time coppers
When you can't find your way home.

My old man said, "Follow the van, don't dilly dally on the way!"
Off went the cart with the home packed in it,
I walked behind with me old cock linnet.
But I dillied and dallied, dallied and dillied,
Lost the van and don't know where to roam.
Now who's going to put up the old iron bedstead
If I can't find my way home?

I didn't dilly dally much though, so it looks as if I have arrived at the right place. Slightly dishevelled and disgruntled in that way you are when you want to be cross but there doesn't seem to be anything you can complain about.
Posted by Picasa

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I had a plan to get up early this morning and follow up yesterday's excitement by rushing off, thickly clad (and therefore resembling a bulging bundle of wool and fleece), into the cold sunny morning to take more flood pictures.

Then I had a bit of a run-in with blogger and turned to picasa (for solace) and went on to Photoshop and generally it became a bit, very, late.
But I was still all buoyed up by having had such a productive day and keen to go off early. Only I thought I'd check the weather forecast. Sunshine? Wind? Frost even? Er no. The forecast said sleet showers and driving wind. So I thought oh well, I'll do a bit more stuff now and then I'll have a lie in tomorrow and do lots of worthy, indoor things like washing and hoovering ready for another sunny day.

This morning, Barney said "oh the snow came then". "Good" I mumbled "is it thick?"

"not very".

While considering a response and a change to original plans, I fell asleep and missed it all. When I got up it was gone.

Still. It was a good sleep :+

Have some more water - there's still plenty of it around.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blogger has two intermittant faults

It's called "502 - Server error. Please try again in 30 seconds"
And the other one is called "done" only it's a lie.
Ok well since I now can't visit anyone or make any comments I'll just let you know I've had a fabulous day :)
This was the first thing I saw when I went out of the front door!

I've wandered into town via a dozen photo places and the sun shone so they all came out, I've swum with my friend which makes me feel virtuous and relaxed, I've rushed home, drunk miso soup and dried my hair (I thought it would be unwise to go out with the camera and wet hair as the wind chill might have frozen it and made it all fall out), gone back into town and investigated the floods in the park...Ooh, all that lovely rushing water
and big puddles...warmed my frozen fingers with two pasties to take home for dinner, made deep fried celeriac chips (very nice too) and spent a very long time playing with several hundred photos:)

I am a happy bunny :)
But I still can't get through to any other blogs :(

Now to find out if I can put anything on my own blog!
It's got a new fault. You publish the post and look at the blog and it's not there. then you look at the edit section and there it is. so you look at the blog again and, Hey Presto! It's still not there!
Goodnight, sleep tight :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

The weekend came and went

(as they do) along with Frangelita, delivering what looked like most of the contents of her old place, lots of rain,sun, wind and other weather, the last of my returns sorted (except I now have to wait for a new roll seam foot to be sent to me), a solemn meeting about the future of the band (probably ok) and a small disaster in the kitchen involving curried chicken with lentils. Well I expect it'll wash out of my hair and the dog was very helpful about the floor and I suppose eventually the yellow stains will fade from the paintwork and surfaces!
And I sat down and backed up a large number of pictures and did some more deleting and tidying of files. If I really have labelled all the DVDs as conscientiously as I think I have I may still be able to find pictures from last year if I want to! and if the DVDs all work. It seems to take for ever to get to view them but they do seem to be there. DVDs are BIG!

There was water in the ford...first time for quite a while...and quite a lot of it too.
Also in the River Kennet.
More to come perhaps, although Barney says it's going to snow...isn't it cold all of a sudden :)
Sun shine on the way into town on sunday, I nearly didn't make it before Sunday closing hours. Then we wouldn't have had any dinner!
And sunshine again...well blue skies anyway, not sure about the sun, today on the way into Reading. My goodness it was a bit cold!
I hope you all had a good weekend :) I'm going to bed now. And I'm going to tell the computer to anti virus itself...apparently I haven't done for a while.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Most of my links have gone "URL not found...blah blah. Error 50? 500?" (including my own blog)
I spent an exasperating hour chasing blogs via other blogs which still worked.
Now I've gone all bloggy. Got to give up for tonight :(
Cute little sparrows?

Sleep well everyone. Back tomorrow.

Next morning early (ish)

Jeannette Winterson; from 'Weight '
"There are two facts that all children need to disprove sooner or later; mother and father. If you go on believing in the fiction of your own parents, it is difficult to construct any narrative of your own."
I thought you might like that.*
Dawn :) or, " a few red bits" as Barney put it when he brought my cup of tea this morning. (He's a good egg.)

And sunrise.
I'm never sure...is dawn the bit before sunrise when clearly there's going to be a sunrise soon but it's not in view yet? Or is dawn just another name for sunrise?
*I'm not claiming to understand it...in fact now I've finished the book I can't quite recall why it seemed so strikingly sharp and meaningful at the time. Better read the book again :)

Thursday, January 18, 2007


There's a bit of wild weather out there today. We have 70mph gusts forecast and although the local forecast is for 46mph winds, it seems to me the 70mph gusts are passing by here.
So we're holed up. The house is booming everytime a gust flattens the bushes. I think this is to do with the wind passing across all the little gaps and crannies in the house's skin producing the sort of noise you can make by blowing across the top of a bottle. But on a house sized scale of bottle...with a gale sized scale of blow. And the front door is vibrating, not to mention the office door and the roof...I must go up to the attic and see if it is in fact vibrating.
We'd just decided probably we wouldn't go out today when a whole lot of cars went past. I imagine they're from the local schools; parents collecting children because the schools don't want the kids stuck there tonight.

That takes me back a bit...to messages from schools saying the heating was broken again, could we collect the children ASAP. (Not to mention the day after the Hurricane and taking five mile detours to avoid downed trees). And further back, to floods in Devon and riding off down the valley to 'look at' the flooded Teign raging (rather meekly raging it must be said) across the fields. ("Oh we're only going to look at it from the road Mummy, promise not to go anywhere dangerous") Wicked children that we were, we plunged straight into the fields and rode up and down getting soaked to the waist and eyeing the actual river course longingly. Wicked, but not stupid...we kept well away from the river :).
And also remembering a bit sideways, watching 'A for Andromeda' (bit of a cult tv series now, I believe) and the bit where the beautiful alien saved the world from a nitrogen devouring bug she had herself allowed to be let loose...two characters secretly meeting on a storm blown clifftop realising that the weather changes and atmospheric disasters were maybe coming from their own laboratory.
Not like today when the whole world discusses how we're destroying that atmosphere on the news media. Well fancy that! We didn't need Andromeda to spoil the world for us. Though we could do with her saving it!

To return to the present. I'd quite like to go out in the storm. Just not as much as I would have done when I was a kid. So old age has got a little hold on me...ten-fifteeen years ago I'd have been out there and only considered the unwisdom after I'd enjoyed the fun. Now, regrettably, I'm considering cold wet feet and flying branches and saying ,wisely, Oh I don't think I ought to go out.

Actually I think I ought to go out. (just watched a van drive very slowly and carefully past the oak tree...wouldn't it be more sensible to drive very quickly past it?)

Cor! I love a good storm :)

Shortly after this the power failed, as expected. Since I'd been watching phone and power lines lashing backwards and fowards through the window we weren't surprised.
Wait a minute, that's not quite right.
I mean, since I'd been watching power lines, through the window, lashing etc etc.
That's better. Though the grammatically incorrect version would have been very very exciting :)
So I did go out and took the dog who was horrified by one big gust and put his ears back and hid behind me. As I was being blown backwards at the time this nearly caused an accident which would certainly have confirmed all those stuffy ideas about safety and staying indoors.
I took movies which don't seem to be in a compatible file type with google. Bother.
Never mind. It was great!
And the movies were only of a tree blowing about a bit and the wind doing that crackly thing it does on home movies so you've been spared a typical home movie :)
The afternoon was a bit dream-like. We kept thinking we'd do things we couldn't do without power and then watching the storm. Sort of mesmerising it was. Once or twice the lights flickered on a bit and things went Beep? hopefully and then went Beep :( sadly and the lights went out again.
Later on I went to get a take away as we'd decided we couldn't do macaroni cheese without an oven and I found that the next village was back on. Our tiny hamlet was an island of darkness. On the way home I passed two men and a flashing van. Men were up a pole, doing brave things in the dark. Half an hour later the power came back. Marvellous men :)

Then, of course, we were able to listen to the news and hear all the sad tales of people dying in the storm. It's hard to accept that the same storm I had enjoyed so much was busy killing people elsewhere.

This old barn has seen a few storms. Sadly, it's going to be made into offices. Ridiculous!

Serene reflections yesterday before the storm.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Quite a long time ago, I came across this blog, an account written by a dying man.
It seemed quite extraordinarily moving.

Lost the link and found it again.
Still extraordinary, still moving and he still writes.

Self-centred creature that I am, it's not often that I feel humbled.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Folk barn dance band needs bass player

Our rhythm/keyboard player/sound engineer has been offered a contract to join a very well known mainstream prog rock band. This is good news.
He's going to be away on tour from September to December. This is not quite such good news as we have two gigs booked during that period.
He thinks he has a good replacement sound engineer for us. Good.
He thinks said replacement would also be able to fill the rhythm spot...well, I know this lad and I'm not sure how much oomph he's got, so maybe good maybe not!

Oh pooooh.
And it's raining.
And I have a heap of returns to various places. for instance, two items of 1960's clothing to the Clothes warehouse (2nd hand hire and buy shop), one copy of LOTR which didn't work (birthday present from Fran, hope the replacement works!)
One Lap top bag from Muji which is too small!!!! I wish I'd taken the tape measure!
One roller foot for my sewing machine which doesn't look at all like the one I thought I'd ordered.

Well I checked the weather and it looks like it's going to rain all week so I guess my returning will have to be done in the wet so that'll be interesting. (Muji stuff in original paper bag, amazon return labelled with aged peeling sticky labels)

Going back a bit, we went to a party celebrating a friend's 40th at the weekend. So, 1967. I knew I'd picked the right skirt when I found myself tugging it down to stop it climbing gently up my tummy to spoil the er...sleek hip-hugging line. Hmm. I remember spending half my teenage life tugging surreptitiously at skirts and I rather think I was a little broad in the beam for the hip-hugging thing even then. Fran's purple wig was a great success though :) Thank you for the loan Fran :) Barney (apart from a unprecedented luxuriance in the hair department) looks pretty much as he did in 1967...so he tells me:)
Youngest went as a twinkle in her Dad's eye.Have to say that eye looks somewhat outraged and appears to have got trapped inside the twinkle and behind a glass it would have preferred to be outside of. (Sorry, grammar falls by the wayside)

It's always worth taking a picture of Wally. And I like the little guy on the windowsill.
To return to today, when I went shopping, the sky very briefly did this. Which was nice

and later I got out the sewing machine and an ancient, beloved, tattered shirt of Barney's and let the machine rip (or in fact umm...un-rip). I particularly liked this effect and am considering doing a lot of it somewhere. It's some kind of zigzag stitch and though it may resemble a child's scribbling...er, well it does resemble a child's scribbling.
Young at heart, me :)

besides, a sewing machine you can scribble with! got to be done :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

backlogs, cheese, recycling and other flammable stuff

When youngest was always broke, hungry and sad, I used to buy her an enormous tin of Roquefort for christmas and somehow it became a tradition. This year's tin got forgotten on the day and only got handed over a bit after its sell by date. Youngest took most of it but left us a good sized chunk, now well past its use by date. It's delicious, meltingly salty and stinks to high heaven! Mmmm.
In terms of other backlogs, there's phone calls, lists of jobs to do and playing with new toys :)
So yesterday I tackled the heap of 'filing'...a mound of ancient notes, bills, internet receipts and confirmations and some odd bits of paper with baffling information (is it information even, I wonder?).
This unusual paper related activity produced a satisfyingly big pile to go in the recycling box. This is overflowing because the recycling people didn't come last fortnight. We now have four weeks worth of recycled bottles and paper by the front gate. That's a lot of bottles. (Not that we're heavy drinkers or anything honest. It's all them other drinkers that have done it)
As well as recycling paper, I came across several rolls of old till receipts (very, very old, some of them) . Which I have been hiding away in a half-hearted attempt to stop would-be identity theives stealing me and spending all my money (not much left after all that new lap top and sewing machine stuff). Whenever we light the fire I forget to burn them till the fire's gone out and I haven't been able to think of a better way to dispose of them. So the other night, surrounded by recycling I bethought me of the compost bin.
I thought, if I rip off the betraying information bits and put them in with the compost, not only will they be Doing Good and returning to the Eco thingie but also, I defy those evil identity thieves a) to guess that my identity is hidden in a large rambling heap of decaying matter at the bottom of the garden and b) to feel inclined to burrow into said smelly heap in search of me.
There you are thieves...I defy you. (There may be the odd pile of dog pooh too :)
Now all I have to do is the ripping of hundreds of bits of paper or remember to burn the majority before starting on the new regime.

Aah. Barney tells me he thinks that, during the pre-christmas shopping frenzy, he may have bought a shredder for us. He can't quite remember if he bought one or only thought about it. He'll need to check the place where he hides presents. So I've wasted whole minutes of time and brain cell on this identity crisis.

Never mind. the filing is done and there is a neat little pile of Stuff That Has No Proper Place and Things I Ought To Have Done Before Christmas. So what's new.

A bit of sunshine for a good sunset is new! I was watching this silver lined cloud all the way into town yesterday and finally got my chance at the traffic lights. Just time to grab camera, snatch shot and dump camera before getting hooted at for holding up the traffic when the lights changed :)

Sunshine on one hand and rain coming up on the other. Howling gale in the middle:)
Today, Fran is here, blogging (or something) on my laptop while I do it at my desk. Sadly, neither of us is in bed but it's quite cool nonetheless...though it's a bit disconcerting hearing odd random comments about her blog and flickr and friends while I'm trying to do mine....she's a talk-out-loud blogger I've discovered. I told her to stop it and now I'm missing it...perhaps she's telling you all what a beastly mum I am at this very moment :)
Or perhaps not...all very peaceful and harmonious here:)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Reading the manual; storms ahead

Boring bit:
It's getting a bit protracted this manual reading business. I always do read the manual if the thing it belongs to is new to me. However, yesterday I bought "home networking for dummies".
And obviously I'm not a dummy, since I barely understand a word of it. No that's not right. I understand nearly all the words (and true to the implied promise in the title, it's written in words of very few syllables with very simple diagrams)***. It's just the words are arranged in an order which defeats my desire to gain sense out of them.
A little knowledge may or may not be dangerous but it certainly leads to confusion!
So I got half way through the book before I realised that the nice man* hadn't even started on wireless networking (which I'm fairly sure I want to do). Suddenly he began to say one or two things I recognised, sort of. At which point I realised I was too knackered to understand anything any more and went to bed.

Today it was wild and stormy:
(view of wildly storm blown tree from the window next to my computer)

And I was greeted by Barney saying "Oh no nonono! it's too windy" [to go to work]. Rather cheerfully. He's settled down with stamps in the office and later, as if to show how right he was, a large chunk of the pebble dashing blew off the wall upstairs.
Amazingly, although our house is now falling down, the power remains on. I expect it's waiting till dinner time to plunge us into darkness and cookerlessness. And of course, computerlessness.

Yesterday I went to Reading (pausing to run manically backwards and forwards around a flooded bit, annoying a number of motorists and getting wet feet. Very good fun this bit)and had my free sewing machine lesson. Just as well I had a go with it beforehand as otherwise we wouldn't have had much to talk about that isn't already in the manual. Still the nice girl cleared up some minor puzzlements and I've ordered a "roll seam foot" which is going to do wonderful things with thin silky stuff for me...when I've mastered the trick of it. I could see there was a trick as the girl had to have several attempt at it herself.

Later today I went into town via a 5 mile detour to see if there were still floods pouring off the fields. there weren't but I found this rainswept view through the car windscreen very satisfying.
Otherwise, Fran's here for some of the weekend (which is lovely) and I also bought a trackerball thingie for the lap top. However storms and Barney being at home meant I couldn't easily practice trackerballing in bed...he really wouldn't understand.****

*I've just realised that she's actually a nice lady. How prejudiced am I! Still she writes exactly like a man would on this subject**
**Well I suppose all the dummy books I've read might have been written by women.
***I thought there were going to be simple diagrams and there are. At least three. (this is not nearly enough for the kind of dummy I am. I need simple diagrams to illustrate every point.)
****Actually he might understand only too well and start saying things like "blogging in bed again? Huh! Alright for some" Which I wouldn't like to encourage.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I have read the manual (dummy)

I have put a lot of pins on a beer mat

Dropped all the pins

Found all except four

Stood on chairs

Stood on my step ladder

Changed in and out of my woollie several times

Trod on the dog several times

Viewed myself from a number of angles in a mirror which will only allow approx ¾ of a view (as long as you're prepared to view yourself while levitating in a horizontal position at about shoulder height)

Stuck pins and unstuck them

Discovered that inside out isn’t quite the reverse of outside out

Reversed the bits that weren’t outside when inside should have been out.

In short, (but that would have been very boring) I have sewed and made a garment.

Here it is.

Admittedly it’s just a big scarf with a hole cut in the top and a couple of seams up the sides (I’m going to have to learn about facings I think) but it’ll do for a bit of non-intensive wear in the Summer :). If I get round to facings it may even do a bit of intensive wear – who knows.

My coffee has gone stone cold and the power is having another intermittent day (it’s quite wild and windy out there). Also Blogger seems to be having an intermittent day..well an off day actually and I’ve discovered that my lap top isn’t really connecting itself to the internet, it’s been connecting to…er??? The other computer? I really don’t know. It won’t connect when the other one’s off anyway.

Shame, I thought it was being so clever :)

That's odd, I had typed :) in the posting window but it came up as J in the published post! weird.

Friday, January 05, 2007

boring bit coming up

Just thought I'd let you know, I'm blogging in bed!!!!*
Well I was but the phone rang. This could be a bit of a problem! Involving, as it seems to, climbing over an assortment of bedclothes, wires, cushions and whatever Barney left on the floor on his side when he got up.
Sadly, the caller left no number.
The wacom tablet is quite good.
*I did get up and everything first, I mean I'm not still in bed at 1.43 in the afternoon :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

learning mountain

much steeper than a curve!
Lap top is all rather cumbersome at the moment. I can't get firefox to work which means I can't use browsing tabs. This is driving me crackers. so I keep connecting to blogger or flickr and then finding that I just have to go back to the computer 'cos the slow business of learning the touchpad thing makes everything a bit laborious. Then I get blogger or flickr up and find I haven't done what I thought I had on the lap top (because I got cross and stopped in the middle) so I have to do it again.
I may become a bit schizophrenic before I learn how to use the LT.
Well and it didn't come with any office type software...or it might have done but it's a) Lotus, which I don't know, and b) seems to require me to go to Lotus and download the software giving them proof that I own the computer...no CD, just a brochure! Or do they want me to buy it separately? I've asked them but they haven't replied yet.
Still, I took it (and all its wires and things) to the sitting room last night and sat in a comfy chair and did quite a lot of not very much with it. It was quite fun.
And today I've connected a wacom tablet to it (Eldest suggested this as another alternative to mice) and now I shall take it next door and see if that's better.

I realise I am about to become very boring about the whole LT thing! You have been warned :)
Perhaps I'll do two sections to each post, a boring update on the LT and another bit which of course may be equally (but differently) boring:)

This is the scene of devastaion after the bonfire.
And this is the arty version :)
It was one hell of a bonfire :)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Would you believe it?

I am cautiously declaring this not to be so bad after all.
I'm not sure if I can do email on this machine...not quite sure whether I let it configure anything or not but it connected itself to my wireless router without any fuss or bother!
so I'm guessing it will connect me to any old wireless thingy!
One thing's for sure though...I either get a mouse or I learn to use the keyboard. This wiggle your finger business is going to drive me mad!

Er, got to try and change the keyboard settings now.

It's on its way!!!!!

I've just looked up the tracking on my order, my Laptop order, and it was with the driver at 07:59: 03. And it will be here by 6pm today! (I should hope, it's only half an hour from Reading and obviously they must realise that my laptop needs to be delivered FIRST. NOW in fact).
It might be here any minute. I don't think I ought to go upstairs and get dressed do you? I mean it might arrive and I might not hear the door bell. But I'd better get dressed cos I won't have time once it arrives. I could get dressed in the dining room so I can keep an eye out the window (we don't exactly have a busy road out there OOH a red van went past. Oh :( it went past. (Anyway Amtrak isn't red is it?)

OK. Five white vans of assorted sizes, six red cars, two blue ones and three landrovers, a horsebox, three tractors and and old man walking later, it arrived just after Barney so I didn't even see it pull in. In a big white van naturally.
so I began unpacking it and studying its bits of paper and noticed as I did so a kind of steeling of the will and stiffening of the sinews and a gathering of mental resources. This is, after all, a computer, right? It may look like a nice new shiny toy but it's going to have destructions.
(Well I hope it is, so far all I've uncovered is comprehensive warnings of all kinds of incomprehensible dangers in fifteen languages and a fat little book full of EU regulations and another fat little book bursting with stuff about licensing and a big sticky label warning me that if I don't like the licensing agreements I must not use any of the software and must promptly return the system! And I must do so before taking off the plastic wrapper...Oops! Too late)

So, assuming it does have destructions (and I haven't tossed them into the bin along with the warnings and threats and regulations) they will come couched in that special language which results from the uneasy menage-a-trois comprising the geeks who made it, the person who has to tell me how to do with it what I want to do and the translator (to mention only three of the probable hundreds of people who will have tampered with the wording before it got here). And at least one of the basic programs is new to me and the operating system is (I think) XP home rather than XP pro..I've no idea how many differences that may entail.

Ah! found the instructions. Hmm. Attach the battery, plug into the mains and move my finger about on the key pad. Follow the onscreen instructions.
See there's already a small problem. I'd quite like to open the case and just...look at it for a while before letting it start telling me what it would like me to do. But it won't let me. Maybe it needs power to open the top or maybe the open-the-top button is so obvious that any fool would be standing here looking at it in a puzzled way.
And once it's got power it's going to want me to do things (difficult if I can't open the case...I can imagine it sitting in the dark there saying "now press ok" and me turning it upside down and pressing all sorts of wrong buttons from the outside and it saying "under no circumstances turn the computer upside down once you have switched it on" ...."Arrggh, you turned me upside down, send me back to the factory I know I said I wanted to help a user but this is too much"). It'll want me to 'configure settings' (gulp) and 'choose preferences' (?). And then just when I start thinking, this isn't so hard after all it'll make some quite incomprehensible and probably rude suggestion that will make me think I did the last thing wrong. I probably will have.
Some weeks or months later, Eldest will say"why did you set it up like that?" and I will say "I don't know!"

I have had many computers and operating systems and programmes installed and all sorts. But actually I've never done this from scratch...I've always had a kind person do this first bit, all these first bits, for me. I think eldest feels it's time I learned to ride without stabilisers! Well he couldn't really be here anyway so I guess he's right!

Oh! Ooh! I've found the open-the-top button. It works! It's called a one-handed latch. I did try it but it needed me to be more positive.
here it is...open :)
And there's the one handed latch
And obviously what you do with this, is slide the button down and then left and up pops a litle hook so you can hang the lap top up with the coats when you come home. And when you want to take it for a walk you slide the button back again and the little hook becomes a little handle.
This isn't going to be so bad after all :)

Monday, January 01, 2007

So! What's been happening this year...

I don't do NY resolutions. I'm not at all the resolute type.
I don't really do stock taking either. I forget things.

Still, I'm pretty sure it's been one hell of a good year.

I tend to take everything I'm told with a pinch of salt...to filter all information with a quick mental check on the source of the information, the reasons there might be for offering misinformation or half-information or straightforward lies. Before accepting what I'm told I consider possible errors and ignorances and self deceits. Can't help it, my mind always mutters "Oh yeah and who told you that and why did they tell you it and what do you need from it and what are you missing out". When someone says this is black and white I try and imagine the white and black point of view.
This is a useful way of avoiding disappointment and hiding ignorance (I have lots of that) but I was reminded this morning by a very good friend that it also leads to a slightly jaundiced view of the world.* I said something like "well we'll see" about youngest's current relationship and I forget what my friend said but it made me think 'you are a cynical old cow sometimes. Ease up a bit and have a bit more trust. It could be that my natural "Oh yeah" reaction has been bad for my loved ones! I should maybe stop carrying my head slightly tilted to one side to see what's on the other side of everything and look at the face of things for a while. Listen to the exact words spoken instead of reading stuff into them and listening to that.
I don't know, it just seemed like a good thought at the time. Something I might try to remember. A mental tic I could usefully consider.

So -
Top of the good things has to be the literary successes and the engagement of my middle daughter.
Closely followed by very cautious hopes for the continuance of youngest's current contentment and happiness with a new partner.
Eldest is still happy with his lovely girlfriend and that is still good.
I've met some very lovely people this year through this weird blog medium and I hope to see them all again in 2007. I also have some 'friendships' through the same medium which are deeply rewarding and entertaining :)
Two of my friends have met through the internet and the happiness of two people, who truly deserve it, is an absolute joy.
Some time soon (How long Oh Lord???) I will have my very own laptop :)
After many years of decidedly rocky (not to say stony and stormy) passages, the relationship Barney and I have seems to be remarkably solid...full marks to both of us for perseverance, tact and tolerance (rarely used by both of us at the same time but often enough by one or the other that we've overcome the times when we both lost it completely :) (This should be at the top of the list really but it's more of an ongoing thing than one confined to a single year).
I've seen leopards with my own eyes. I love leopards!
I have seen pictures in blogs and on Flickr which make me happy because they are SO GOOD!
And I've posted one or two which I'm proud of :)

On the other hand, I listened to the news tonight and it was depressing and sad and I feel so sorry for people who's lives have no hope in sight of becoming stable and safe and happy. I can't believe some godawful idiot let their dog kill their baby granddaughter.
And one of my best friends has had cancer and I didn't know.
There's a list as long as the good stuff but I'll be lazy and skip the rest of it. Suffice to say that I shall ask family, next year, to buy cows and sheep for hungry families instead of giving me pretty knick knacks and notepads for Christmas. I've got more good things than my share by a very long way and for heaven's sake, at my age I can live without the pretty parcels! Ooh, that reminds me I haven't actually paid for the Christmas card goat! Er, share of a goat. Er well, actually share of a pair of breeding goats....must do that tomorrow :)

Meanwhile I have to pass on a thing Frangelita's HF said yesterday when we played the hat game (where you write famous names on bits of paper and put them in a hat and everyone picks one out and tries to describe the famous person to the next player so they can guess who it is). HF picked God out of the hat and his description was "an omnipresent sort of guy"**. LOL. I shall treasure that.
*Jaundiced suggesting a yellow tinted view ...as opposed to a view through rose tinted glasses. Which I suppose is equally in error :)
**It might have been omniscient...just as good either way :)

the rain it rainethed

That of course was last year...last thing last year. Round about ten to midnight I would guess was when we had the last lot of rain for the year. Quite a lot of rain!

So the NYE bonfire took quite a while to get going and the fireworks (magnificently handled by John, Dave and Tony) lasted a good while as the rain poured and dripped and gusted and when the bonfire did get going it went impressively in many directions at once with lots and lots of sparks and whooshing and crackling.

(Earlier in the day there was speculation about what would happen if said bonfire were moved further away from my little bay tree towards the area where the septic tank lives. I suspect that the new and wonderful association between two of my friends may be having a detrimental effect on both of them...the possibiblity of an exploding septic tank seemed to cause them quite irresponsible amounts of enjoyment)*

After we'd all got well and truly soaked and thrown a lot of glasses accidentally somewhere into the garden (nearly all rescued thanks to Andy) we came back in and relived the quiz results...quite heatedly in some cases.
The winning team nobly donated their prize back into the common bottle bank (that'll be handy for next year's prize) since it was felt that texting google to get some of the answers was cheating...Oh and looking up the capital of Rwanda in the atlas? Definitely cheating. A youthful team mostly, their enthiusiasm maybe carried them away. Though this isn't really a good enough excuse for Barney's sister who regrettably has the Bardsley tendency to cheat (noisily) at the smallest opportunity, especially if 'it's only a game' and is clearly a little bit too young at heart when it comes to only games.
That must be why she's such a brilliant writer...type Barney Bardsley into Amazon and learn more:) but don't buy 'London Theatreland' because she was cheated by the publishers on that one.

The party food must have been good because it vanished as if a swarm of locusts had disguised themselves as guests. The lamb bones were picked clean and there were about three grains of rice left. I did cook some more rice but somebody brought out the FOUR magnificent puddings made by Youngest and her partner. Vodka and raspberry jelly was favourite but the other three were wonderful too.

Extra happiness came in the form of Frangelita and HF whose appearance was nearly a surprise...there had been some discussion about a last minute decision to come but we didn't know for sure until we'd had a phone call about sleeping arrangements. A bed was available so they came:)
Possibly the best treat for me was that Thursday came, braving an assortment of complete strangers, looking gorgeous and stylish as always. I am so happy that we made the original meeting happen (in spite of all kinds of difficulties throwing themselves in our way) because although pleasant meetings are many, the chances of a real friendship developing from them are less. I spent a good deal of time saying to people 'thank you for coming' with different meanings and intent but a special thanks is due to Thursday because she's a special person.
It also made Frangelita very happy which is always good :)*

And this is our niece. She's a beautiful girl, even muffled against the elements :)
This morning I had the runs. This was a small price to pay for a truly brilliant NYE! and had the advantage that I probably didn't put on all the weight I deserved after stuffing myself all night on Barney's gorgeous food and drinking at least enough!

Happy New Year everyone. I hope yours was/will be as good as ours already has been :)

*Yes I did giggle too but that was just out of politeness.