6 Jul 2015

And Then, Bitten By IT….

Where have I been? I've been bitten by technology is where I've been. It was one of those inexplicable happenings we've all been subjected to I'm sure. There I was, admiring my just installed semi-transparent desktop calendar and the success of importing entries from elsewhere when I got the spooky sensation I was no longer online.

I shouted at myself and was more than happy and relieved when I shouted back at the precise moment her along the sofa shouted out in shock thus confirming to myself and me that I was, indeed, still online. Upon further investigation, I discovered it was just the laptop that was offline.

Using all my investigative skills, I further discovered that no network connections could be found as network discovery was disabled. Thought me to I, when, in the last minute, did I disable that then? To that question, I have no answer.

Did I do the simple thing and go to Network Settings? You're kidding, right? No; this, my friends, is when my in-built urge to quickly press buttons, any buttons, without engaging my brain, kicked in and took over and I dived right into restore mode. Not only that but my high speed clicking had the beast restoring before I took note and selected a recent restore point to restore from. Damn! That took care of that evening as all I got were those annoying 'Almost done' – 'Just a little longer' messages that bear absolutely no resemblance to the use of the words 'almost' and 'little' as used in the real world.

Eventually it all came to an end and I was presented with nothing but a black screen that no amount of left or right clicking could shift. What to do? I turned him off, counted slowly to one and turned him back on and, viola! The beast is right back to where it was when I took him out o' the box eighteen months or so ago! No, not really, although I wouldn't have been surprised. Annoyed, yes; surprised, no. As it was, it all turned out to be perfect. Perfect is computer speak for, 'it's working okay for now'.

Quote;  Douglas Adams.

“I really didn't foresee the Internet. But then, neither did the computer industry. Not that that tells us very much of course-the computer industry didn't even foresee that the century was going to end.”

3 Jul 2015

And Then, A Helping Hand….

A couple of days ago, we were sitting in the garden, in the sun, taking in the heady scents and watching the birds, when it became apparent it was getting warmer and more uncomfortable with every passing minute. It was about then I remembered hearing some mention in the media that we should expect the hottest conditions ever known to man since the last spell of warm weather. Sadly, I'd completely forgotten the instructions as to what to do if we got hot so this remembrance didn't help with our present baking condition. What to do?

It was then I remembered that there was a National Health emergence number to contact in such situations.

I told hot her next to me that I would make a phone call to see what anybody could do for us. She gave me one of her funny looks and shrugged her shoulders in a manner that suggested, 'you joke, right?'.

After a brief call, during which I outlined our plight, I ran back outside and imparted the advice obtained to my little melting viper.
"They said we should move so we're sitting in shade!! No, really, get in the shade. And drinking lots of cold water would be good and will help no end!! Oh, and if there's no shade in the garden we should go inside and keep the windows open!! How cleaver is all that then?"
She levelled me with yet another look; this one suggesting she was checking if I was really real, or not, and said, "We pay for this?"
"Don't be silly, of course we don't. It's the National Health thingy. Oh, wait a minute…"

All I can say is, isn't it great that in this fine, grown-up country of ours, whatever befalls us, great or small, there's always someone out there ready and more than willing to hold our hands and pat us on the head.

Quote;  P. J. O'Rourke.

“…being specific is the essence of law-making and the whole difference between having a Congress and having a mom.”

30 Jun 2015

And Then A Lucky Find….

Yesterday was dig in the garden day, or at least a small part thereof; a small part of the garden and a small part of the day. It proved to have an exciting up-side.

While excavating the hole for our Mexican Orange Blossom, which the instructions told me… no, really, plants come with instructions nowadays… had to be twice the depth and diameter of the root ball, I started finding, as you do, rubbish. This particular rubbish came in the shape of small, very dirty yellow metal discs.  In all I guess I dug up close to a hundred of these discs so I scrubbed one up with a wire brush the better to see what rubbish I had.

They looked like coins of some sort. Could they be old? I know that close by, when these houses were being built, they found the remains of a small Saxon settlement but these discs didn't have the word 'Saxon' anywhere on them and even if they had, how long ago did we stop using that money then? Even I don't remember using it so it was a long time ago and would most likely be worthless now anyway, right?

I concluded, looking at the foreign lookin' lettering on 'em, that they were probably some left over small pocket change from  a long ago holiday taken by a previous owner of this drum and upon returning home they'd just thrown 'em in the garden.

I disposed of these coins in the organic trash bin. What? Hay, come on! I'm kidding okay? It's a joke! Of course I didn't throw them in the organic bin. I put them in the correct trash bin as designated by the local council. You think I'm stupid?

However, earlier in the excavation, and this is what got me really excited, I found an extremely rusty, battered Matchbox toy tow truck. Now that's got to be worth a pound or two. I'm guessing it used to be one of those shown below but, sadly, it's nothing like that now. I'm wondering if I have to report this rusted-out old toy truck as treasure trove.

                     Coin          Truck

Bringing up the back bit, did you catch the Daily Politics? They had that Caroline, mad as a sack o' cats, Lucas and Peter, surprisingly sensible, Lilley talking about hydraulic fracturing and the climate. This being the BBC, Mr Lilly's contribution was pretty much restricted to saying, 'Good morning' while being introduced.

Quote;  Ray Bradbury.

“Ours is a culture and a time immensely rich in trash as it is in treasures.”

29 Jun 2015

And Then A Flower….

During a spell of pleasant weather yesterday my little nest of vipers ventured into the garden. Always a portent of work to come my way.

I wasn't to be disappointed in this respect as she came in and exclaimed she'd found room for one more plant. One more? Yeah, right.

"I want to get nice smell plant for by front door next to rose." She told me excitedly.
"Tell you what," I less than enthusiastically replied. "why not just leave the space empty and let wee…. wild flowers come and grow on their own? They will bring all types of flutter-by to brighten up the garden."

I left out the bits about the bugs attracting birds to eat 'em which in turn will bring cats to stalk the birds, closely followed by dogs who will chase the cats to no avail, other than wrecking the wild flowers, but will take the opportunity to perform their dogily bodily functions in the garden as most dogs are well trained not to perform these functions within a hundred meter radios of their own permanent place of residence.

She fixed me with those piercing, slanty eyes and said. "You stupid?" Actually, it was more a statement of fact than a question. "Wild flower bring bug that bring bird that bring…."
At this point I threw my hands up and towel in as I knew there would be no peace 'till I agreed with her and from past experience that, to quote John Sandford again, if she has a mind to she could nag the paint off a garage door.

"Are you paying for the plant?" I asked tentatively.
"I can do that." She said, somewhat cockily.
"Really?" I said, somewhat less cockily.
"You give me money; I pay at till. Wot so hard about that then?"

And so it came to pass we got a Mexican Orange Blossom which, during flowering time, a time we've cunningly managed to miss, promises to reward us with a wondrous scent or fragrance or smell. We'll see.

As a by-the-by, you know that favourite spot in the garden where you like to sit and do nothing? If there's no room in your boarder, get a big pot and plant half a dozen of these suckers. She done good picking these as the scent really is something else. May I humbly introduce Polianthes tuberose.

Quote;  Robert A. Heinlein.

“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.”

26 Jun 2015

And Then I Dry….

This post is aimed at those of you over the age of, oh, I don't know, sixty five{?} and relates to a post from a little bit after a while ago in which I ruminated on that old age problem of feet washing and drying.

If you're younger, move on. Although it may be a good plan to carefully bookmark this as, if you look out front, you'll see the road ahead very gently rising towards the horizon. However, once you get there you'll be saddened and somewhat despondent to see that, once over the hill, the road descends at a frighteningly precipitous angle  and you'll stand there, looking down and thinking, "Damn! It's gettin' harder and harder by the day to dry my feet. Where's that pesky bookmark? Damn! That was on the old computer."

Here's a foot solution I discovered by accident. Pardon? No, I didn't have an accident, end up lying on the floor and so take advantage of this predicament to dry my lower appendages. This was a solution I arrived at after nearly tripping on my towel.

Take your towel, a large towel, not a face towel, with an opposite end of the long length in each hand.
Hold your hands about eighteen inches apart allowing the towel to hang in a large U shape in front of you.
Lower your arms until the bottom of the towel U is resting on the floor.
Carefully raise one foot – this is critically important – ONE FOOT - and, using your hands clasping the towel ends, slip the bottom of the towel U bend below this foot.  Time and coordination are of the essence during this manoeuvre so as to keep to an absolute minimum the length of time you have to stand on one foot.
Lower your foot onto the towel and rest.
Once sufficiently rested, raise the toe and sole area while keeping the heel area on the deck. This will allow just enough clearance to enable the towel to be moved vigorously from left to right by lifting your left forearm and slightly relaxing your right forearm, and vicky-verky, while ensuring adequate contact is maintained between your two pins and the floor.
Repeatedly shift your weight from heel to toe  'till you're confident your foot is dry from toe to heel then repeat the above for foot two.
If you discover you're repeating the above for foot three then you may have a problem I'm unqualified to help you with.
Finally, should you be fussy enough, use talcum powder from a squeezy bottle to dry between your toes. This should be fired from as low as you can reach without doing any bending at all.
Your lower legs can be semidried in a similar manner but don't expend too much time or effort on this as trousers are great drying tubes.
You are now ready to proceed to the bedroom and, either sitting or lying on the bed, wrestle your socks on. After grasping each sock in turn with both hands, and before dragging them on, ensuring the socks are the right-side-out and heel-hollow down.

This towel drying method could be used, using a strip cut from an old towel, to actually wash your feet in the shower as above. This will depend on your personal level of foot hygiene. I tend to just slosh my feet about in the soapy water that's rinsed off my body after basic top and tail cleansing.

I've found that this method of foot drying quickly became quite rhythmic and relaxing although, to a casual observer who may be in the bathroom, for whatever reason, it probably resembles the final frenetic moments one would expect of a particularly complex square dance or Morris dance.

Quote;  Jerry Seinfeld.

“Somebody just gave me a shower radio. Thanks a lot. Do you really want music in the shower? I guess there's no better place to dance than a slick surface next to a glass door.”

23 Jun 2015

And Then An Apartment Idea….

Further to the post about our new home way down south, I had one of my goofy ideas that could possibly, in the long term, work here. Please read the quote at the end before reading on so's to get a 'feel' for where this post came from.

This idea sprang out of ma' heed this AM and, although not a hundred percent sure, I seem to remember a taxi driver mentioning this was the way things worked where I was being taxied at the time which was somewhere far, far, far away.

Let's talk about here as if we were local authority planning folk, okay? We take a large brown field site and build a block of apartments. We use only local building firms, electricians, plumbers, decorators and fitters. Don't build 'em too high as those didn't work out all that well last time. These, let's call 'em 'flats' rather than 'apartments' to save future typing time, would be a mix of one and two bedroom, basic low rental homes suitable for young singles or young newly married couples who are just kicking off in work and life away from home.

Let's call this Block A. Next door to this block we would build Block B. These would be a mix of two and three bedroom flats finished to a slightly higher standard with a slightly higher specification of fixtures and fittings than those in Block A thus commanding a higher rent.

The renters in Block B would be slightly older folk who are progressing in their work area and earnings and are fixing to start families.

We then build Block C, These will be high-end, two and three bedroom flats finished to extremely high specifications so are classed as high rental executive flats.

All three blocks could have penthouse apartments at a rental premium. All three blocks could have ground floor areas for lease to selected businesses; Pharmacy? Doctors surgery? 24 hour coffee-shop/diner? Convenience store with ATM? Gym? Block B, the main 'family' block, could have a crèche or playschool or whatever they call 'em now.

Car parking will between the blocks to keep the blocks a respectful distance apart and to facilitate space for the action we'll make when we get to complete the circle down below.

What happens next? Many folk from Block C will, over time and increasing income, eventually wish to move on to house purchase and so move out.
May folk from Block B will see their kids grow and move out into the world of work and independence and so will have more disposable income, thus be able to move into Block C.
Many folk in Block A will be advancing in their careers and starting
families so would like to move into Block B.
The empty flats this would create in Block A will be snapped up by the kids leaving home from families in Block B.

Let's now complete the circle that'll keep the local economy ticking over big time.

Let's start building another block; Block D. On completion, this will be the new Block A taking into account new technologies in building, insulation, soundproofing etc. Time has passed, the economy is improving so rents for the new Block A flats will be marginally higher than the old Block A.

Once built, the residents of the old Block A, those not moving into Block B, will move into the new Block A.

You see where this is going? You got it. We then knock the old Block A down and build a new, up to date, state of the art, marginally higher rental, Block B. Then old B comes down and up goes new, high spec., higher rental, Block C and round and round and round we go over the years.

Just keep going. Work a-plenty for the local area and modern accommodation always available for "ordinary hard working people".

Remember, this is a long term plan that would be tailored to requirements and could be replicated on any number of brown sites or areas of dereliction, as needed.

How about a specialist retirement block? The old Block C dwellers who moved out to buy their own homes, eventually retire, sell the house to fund their old age and move into the shelter and companionship of Block D.

All sound a bit Soviet style? Especially with the use of the word, 'Block'? Okay, we'll ban the use of the colour grey anywhere at all and call 'em Apartment Parks. That'll work.

The other idea is we just stick to what we're doing now; attempting, not too successfully, to tread housing water.

Quote;  Lauren Myracle.

“I live in my own little world. But its ok, they know me here.”