Life, photos but not the universe

Oh woe are we.

For I have not saved all those things which I should have saved.

Actually, I was under the mistaken impression that when Eldest made me a crib sheet for how to do everything on our website and who hosts and provides everything and all the relevant passwords that this would naturally include the email set up since he was the one who set it up.  Um, and I thought it would be correct down to the last detail.

Apparently this is not the case and though I have saved and secretly documented as many passwords as I could ever think of, the stuff in the email account box is not among them.  Also, I’m sure I’ve taken at least one screen shot of it but that’s in the documents folder which is currently unavailable.

My new computer treasure thinks he can retrieve the data from the hard drive (at the last attempt it said it would take 10 days to back up my documents but he thinks he can do it faster than that).

Ah… fast forward a couple of days. First, Barney and I danced a little bit at a rather fabulous gig by the Budapest Cafe Orchestra*.  By a little bit, I mean once, for the very last tune.

Barney ruptured his Achilles tendon.  (It only took him a couple of minutes so it was a really short dance)

We went home and rang our local after-hours medical service and it seemed that maybe it wasn’t the whole tendon but just a bit of calf muscle.  Next morning we went to Minor Injuries and at first the Doctor thought the same but then had a quick feel of said tendon and said “Oh Crikey!”.

Then we went home, suitably plastered (in Barney’s case), and wielding crutches and found to our immense relief that cancellation of the so recently booked-and-paid-for holiday was covered by our credit card insurance.  So we cancelled it.

Then we ate.

Then Patrick, the new treasure, came and after successfully extracting my documents and all our emails from the ruin of my computer, began a rebuild.  After a while – quite a long while – it became clear that something was badly wrong.  The motherboard perhaps.  We investigated replacement motherboards**  The HP website gave us both a good helping of frustration and eventually we found a replacement mother board which is not theirs but which some googled, geeky (I hope) person thinks will do the trick.  Patrick was already a bit late but I anxiously asked if he could just quickly set up Barney’s email on my netbook before he went as I now had useful information from Eldest which would make this really straightforward.  (And let’s be fair, he was late arriving here because his morning appointment over-ran a bit too.)

Game to the last, he sat right down and started all over again.  He tried all sorts of approaches and passwords and usernames and none of them worked.  I phoned Eldest and after three phone calls, two changes of tack and about another hour Patrick finally got the emails – all 1492 of them – and the thing set up so that now Barney can infuriate me by hogging the netbook instead of the computer.

I must say, Patrick has earned whatever he eventually charges me.  He really is incredibly dogged in the face of adversity and successful too.   And he’s good humoured and admired my book.

Meanwhile Barney had visitors who brought him a case of beer and another friend came to take him to the pub.  At this rate, he won’t need the crutches, he’ll just be able to float around.

Like a butterfly?

maybe not.

The net book is small and I can’t be doing with all this peering – maybe I will soon have my computer back.  Until then I shall be short and sweet.  Well I am that anyway, no?  Short, definitely.  And rabbiting on.

See you soon.

*They are very good.  My netbook’s little speaker doesn’t do them justice but here they are.

**I can’t type this without thinking of Alice’s Restaurant (Arlo Guthrie).

April 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Slow, slower, got it! lost it! got it!

I am naturally slow.  It takes me a long time to think of what I’m going to say in a post for instance and an even longer time to actually say it.  It can take me hours to make three comments.  And it takes me weeks, nay months, to get round to booking a holiday.

In this case, 16 months.

Some time ago, I was sixty years old and we have a habit of going off on exotic holidays when either of us has a big birthday.  But actually, I had a yen to see Dubrovnik again (last seen when I was twenty odd and travelling with two friends to Greece.  On the same holiday, I spent an afternoon in Venice and on our 20th wedding anniversary, we went there for a whole weekend.  Fabulous!*)  So not exotic like Asia or Africa but very lovely all the same.

Anyway, for some reason we didn’t get round to my exotic  sixtieth holiday until late last year and eventually Barney said lets do it this Spring or we’ll never  do it at all.  So I’ve been studying the internet and Lonely Planet and all sorts and getting into exactly the same sort of state I always do when I have to plan a big event.  How to decide?  How to check out all the dire warnings from various sources of information?  How to take advantage of the best offers?  How does everyone else find such amazing deals?  I get more and more panicked and less and less able to press a ‘book now’ button or pick up the phone (which may well have an incomprehensible foreigner at the other end of it either waiting to fleece me or to help me to the holiday of our dreams – who can say?)

Anyway, I get grumpy and stressed and keep saying to myself “I can’t do this now”.  But eventually I remember that I have done it before and it did work and it was fun and it was OK!  Probably I can do it again alright?  So yesterday I picked up the phone and spoke to a perfectly clear and intelligible young woman who is going to send me an email, oh, any minute now?

Yes!  This morning there was a flurry of phone calls, changes of apartment and the computer got more and more hung-up until finally it stopped.  Meanwhile automated callers tried to tell us about HSB and RBS and Dick from Business Finder tried to convince us that they really are worth what we pay them (that was what finally broke the camels back) and Barbara from Completely Croatia tried to pin down our final choice of holiday (Husband not in charge, wife, who knows all, somewhere between Zagreb and Dubrovnik).

The computer restarted itself several times and showed me pages and black pages of incomprehensible computer-speak which seemed to amount to “something is wrong.  I’m trying to fix it.  I’ve fixed it.  Something is wrong.  I’m trying to fix it.  I’ve…. Something is wrong…Something is….Fix…Wrong…Fix…

………..Restart!”  I quickly shut it down before it had a complete breakdown.

I rang Mark, my computer treasure.  Some time later, Patrick rang back.


It seems Mark has emigrated back to New Zealand.  I was afraid he’d do that when he told me last year that he was separated from his wife.  I shall miss him. But Patrick sounds ok and after all, unless he stole it, having Mark’s phone number suggests that he’s a chosen and therefore adequate substitute.  He says he is : )

I’ve got no pictures today.  Getting the net book up and running and updating all its security and clock and Windows has taken hours (that wasn’t me this time being slow.  It wanted upgrades as well as updates.  Oh we’re so ‘up’ aren’t we!).  Anyway, moving the photo hard discs will have to wait for later.

Oops!  I’d better do something about dinner.

See you later.

*Except for the squid with black ink sauce and polenta.  Something very wrong about black food.

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Hoover speak with forked suction

Well that’s ok then.  Today, we received an UNCHGE bill from Thames Water for £00.00 with “Do not pay this bill” and “Send no money now” written all over it.  Is that a double negative?  Will I soon get one saying “Now send money“?  Do I have to phone them again?

I’m deeply involved in hoovering at the moment.  Not only do we have moth holes in our woollies but also a new hoover with a long snake and forked – er, well, lots of suction gadgets.  Also, as Barney is at home a lot and we’re not used to this, it gives me a noisy and useful place to go when it seems that conversation isn’t working out as smoothly as it does when we have less time for it.

And I have bought lots of lavender sachets and cedar balls to replace the moth deterrent balls which lied when they said “pleasantly fragranced”.

I looked up clothes moths on the internet recently as a displacement activity for actually dealing with them.  I wish I hadn’t.  I now feel very much as I did when we thought a bat was moving in or when I realised that the ants from the nest outside the kitchen window were developing their own little industrial park and road system between the window, the sugar bowl and the compost bin*.  On the other hand, here’s a rather nice film involving insects and bats and even humming birds, but thankfully no clothes moths or ants.

Anyway, now I have to go back to the hoovering and placement of scented balls and rings.

I seem not to have been around here much recently.  It’s all to do with the weather (I’ve been out with the camera) and my back (after two hours wandering around woods and hills with camera, another two or three hours peering at the machine isn’t an option).

Now I’m going to go and see what I’ve been missing in the virtual world.

See you : )

*Skin crawling and a constant desire to brush non-existent*** things off my hair.

**Though once I resisted this same desire for a long time in the middle of the night only to discover, when I had to go to the loo, that there was in fact a very large spider sitting on my head.

(Update:  Since writing this, the main suction gadget on the hoover has broken.  I suppose this means I can’t do any more hoovering till it’s replaced.  Oh dear.)

April 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Happy Easter

April 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

It never rains

(I exaggerate – It did rain last night for a while.)

Well, since Thames Water had sent me a Prebill Letter I suppose I was half expecting a Bill.  After all I  only spoke to them a couple of days ago and no doubt it will take them months to cancel our non-existent account for water which they have never supplied (and are unable to supply) to us.  And as I mentioned the other day, the PbL gave an approximate figure so I should naturally have expected the bill itself  to be nearly twice as much as the pbl suggested.   And to add to the surreal sense of being in someone else’s story, the next day we got a letter hoping our recent move went well and enclosing a leaflet telling us “everything we’ll ever need to know about our water supply”

I’d better ring them again.  I know the Bill and the helpful letter were probably posted already when I spoke to them (I’m not sure what the point is of a PbL sent two days before the actual bill) but I don’t want anything they send to go unchallenged.  Just in case.

Back on the road after a week off when Grandbaby had a bug so I stopped on the Ridgeway because Didcot Power station fascinates me.

Now you see it

Now you don’t

Got to go to bed now, it’s been two long* days baby minding.

*Happy, exhausting days : )

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Hoovers and hedgerows

Inspired by a whole warm dry week and the primroses on the lawn, I decided to hoover the car.  This happens very very rarely and involves all kinds of negotiation with Barney and his extension cable.  As it happens, this is also the day he decided to mend the gutter and so we both needed the cable but in different places.  He has it running from a scaffold through the bathroom window and I need it downstairs through the dining room window.  Anyway he had to go out and I wrestled with cable and hoover and a new dust bag and finally got the whole thing going.  A quarter of the way round the car, the hoover made a loud rattling noise and then hummed on an ominously rising note before emitting a small cloud of black smoke and a powerful smell of burning rubber.

Oh well, it’s the driver’s seat area that’s now been hoovered so that’s good for me.  And it’s supposed to be raining or snowing or something soon so I might not have been able to finish the job anyway.  And now I get to sit on the floor with the hoover and investigate all it’s unscrewable* parts to see if I can inspect its innards and find out what broke – probably the rubber band don’t you think?

Well that  turned out to be another wrestling match.  Barney and I won and the hoover lay pathetically upside down on the floor and gave up a battered and torn rubber band, lots of little bits of plastic  and metal and some twisted pieces of wire.  All rather blackened.

Now, should I go for another upright or should I get a push-me-pull-you and do I want bags or not.   How heavy is 6 Kilos anyway and what’s a hepa filter?

It may be some time before I get back to the car.

Anyway, here’s a bit of Spring froth.

*I mean parts that can be unscrewed, not the other ones.

April 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Water and wisdom

Interestingly, we received today an ‘Unmeasured Prebill Letter’ from Thames water.  (Whatever is that supposed to mean?)

Apparently ‘They have recently checked their records to confirm that they have been billing our account correctly and need to bill us for the services they have been providing to us’.  They have worked out our bill using the information obtained by their recent visit.  To help us understand the bill, they have outlined how they have calculated the charges, dating from 26th September last year which is when the account was opened and this shows a “Total Bill of £370.82 (approx)“.

Approx eh?  Well if £370.82 could be considered an approximation of £00.00 I suppose that’s fairly accurate since, as I’ve said once or twice before, Thames Water don’t supply us with water (or ‘waste water services’ though I believe I did once use the council’s septic tank emptying service and jolly expensive it was too*)  And that recent visit which obtained information?  No, no visits came here to obtain information.  And of course no account has ever been opened with them.  Still, they have the name and address exactly correct.  We get a lot of mail addressed to people who don’t live here and never have  and some which have various errors in the name (Barguley, Bradley, Barrabaly, Barnsley and Bauble-Eye Brown to mention but a few) or address but it’s the first time I can think of that we’ve had a correctly addressed letter concerning a non-existent account.

Oh well, I’ve phoned them and pointed out the error and the nice lady promised to inform the ‘team’ who would cancel the bill.  I asked for confirmation in writing.  You can’t be too careful with these people especially in view of the lengthy passage concerning their legal entitlement to backdate charges for up to six years. They are currently under the impression that we’ve been here for eighteen months but if they knew we’d lived here for nearly thirty years they might get a bit overexcited.

Speaking of water, here is some.  The aqueduct carrying the Kennet and Avon canal over the River Dun near Hungerford

And Freeman’s Marsh seen from Cobbler’s Lock near the aqueduct.

And a trout fishery on the River Lambourn.

It’s nice to see water there.  Our own, tiny River Pang is completely dry.

*Usually we get our tank emptied by Mr Wise’s firm, a local man of venerable age and great knowledge concerning septic tanks and their workings and requirements.  Apparently he has a passion for them and has had since he was very young.  Once he came himself to empty the tank and while the machine was doing its thing, imparted a surprising amount of information about our tank, its age, structure and provenance and how long it was since he first emptied it.  He was delighted to see such an old model still in use and regretted the modern plastic versions installed all over the county.  Alas, since then, we too have had a modern plastic version installed.

April 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments