DOSING

What a din!  I thought it must be a sheep-shearing day at the neighbouring farm.  Mums and lambs were noisily milling about in front of one of the barns, the doors of which, were firmly shut.

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This was not the norm for them.  As far as they were concerned, when you head for the barn forecourt, you naturally move on through the wide open doors of the barn and into it.  The lambs were all born in there, except for the odd one or two, so, both ewes and offspring had a deep formed affinity to the place.  They wanted to be let in and they did not care who knew it.

And of course, it rained, not just any sort of rain, but soaking curtains of rain.

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The weather is always uncertain when the sheep are being treated, or, sorted, or, sheared. It seems like nature is being deliberately perverse. This occasion, the stock were being ‘dosed’. You can bet your bottom dollar that when they are sheared, which will be soon, we will experience gales and probably a hail storm.

JOURNEYS…

To avoid forgetting anything, I wrote up a list, each item in itself proving to be a journey. These journeys all connected with technology.  I needed a structure, something I could see, refer to, add to, (things kept slipping my mind…so much going on) and as each item was actioned, I wanted to see it marked up as ‘started’, or, scored through as ‘done’.

I deal with security updates as soon as I am alerted.  I also scan my system to see if I’m all up-to-date. I can mark that one as…….  Continuing task – done for now.

A friend seems to have disappeared off my radar.  An email I sent about a month ago has not been returned, I think this might be good; but, her home phone number no longer connects.  She was treated for a serious illness a few years ago.  An internet search brings up old information.  Inside, I am on an emotional roller coaster. I mark this search as ‘started’, (journey to be continued).

Ransom malware has caused major, major, seizures of computer data, disrupting  UK  Health Services and many business systems.  It’s a concerted worldwide attack.  Technology and security experts talk about maintaining the security and integrity of computer operating systems.  An important security patch was available from March.  What the circumstances may tell us is, that this is too complex an event to be resolved by a concrete answer. This is marked ‘Stay Aware’

Try as hard as I might, sending a money gift securely to a new baby,  living abroad,  has proved exasperating. There’s no obvious reason given to me from a list of possibilities suggested by the company.   Mum sends  new information.  But, the website continues to stop the transaction.  However, because the latest information is correct, the company can tell me that there is a security issue with the account to which I am trying to send the gift.  Keeping the link closed is protecting accounts from potentially being compromised, including mine.  Wow! Am I glad of that!  What a journey this one is.   Task marked ‘Started’     (… problematic).

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OPENING PANDORA’S BOX

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Pandora’s Box

I meant to unplug my charged up  e-tablet and ended up instead, opening up Pandora’s Box.  Don’t ask me why, I can’t tell you.  I opened a file drawer.  It’s one I have used for nondescript and personal  ‘stuff ‘.  Mind you, I have been known to create a folder or two there, just because it wasn’t over-stuffed like the actual filing cabinet we both use.

can-of-worms-vector-id180621048For a couple of hours I was absorbed in reviving memories, (a lot of them not good ones) and slimming down the contents of folders. When I had finished with the first folder, my hand crept to the next one.   A can of worms had lain there too. This one was approximately a sixteen years old triple sandwich, with a mildew mild top filling,  fizzing chili in the middle, mercifully, followed by a layer of cooling cucumber.

It is hard curating sorting out your own ‘stuff’, your own interconnected paper trail of life.  I found I was not able to be totally objective.  Even after many years, emotions can and do ripple. I wonder if I had planned to do this job, I might have felt any different.

A shredded bucket of my life later, my pack of plastic pockets has swelled with a great many Woolworth’s ones that I freed up. (That’s a store long gone).  They seem to be a better quality plastic pocket than those they share the packet with.

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PILLAGE!

It defied any logic I could think of.  An email informed me that my monthly fuel bill was increasing by nearly 101%  in a few days’ time.  Ouch! The day before I had an email apologizing for not advising me in advance that an increased debit had been taken from my bank account to pay for it.   I phoned the company. What superhuman patience and effort was required to wait to speak to someone, someone, who was not very helpful.  She was probably fed-up taking the flak from an army of very irate customers  who, likely, had the same experience.

The huge deduction was being taken ….wait for it………………..in preparation for when my current billing arrangements expired in three months’ time and I would automatically be transferred to a [bog] standard higher variable tariff.  Wha-a-a-t!!

In business, not good business practice, I have heard of “Do it then apologize after”.  This was a blatant example of it, an absolute abuse of trust.

Whatever happened to the regulation that requires advance notice, (about fifteen days I believe) of end of contract and best renewal offers.

Today’s letter, the one I should have got sometime before my account was pillaged,  described in general outline how the increased deductions had been calculated for everyone.  So, back on the phone today trying every trick in the book to get an answer to one of my calls.  It was too late to stop my bank account losing an extra large debit, but I have stopped the following two from happening. In the interim, I will formally request a refund of the engorged credit I have on my fuel account.

I have emailed my concerns and made a formal complaint about these spurious and dubious management business practices.

SO FAR:

So far:

We’ve had external storm damage to the house, a rogue storm that came through between Doris and Ewan; reparation work costing lots of money is weather dependent. We wait.

P1000459 A pair of Fulmars

My microwave failed two weeks before its manufacturers’  one year warranty expired.  Getting this unwieldy appliance to the service department is  a story in itself. It exhausted us. Upon discovering the failure was due to a known manufacturing fault, which included a range of appliances from a specific production line, all requiring modification, I asked for a new replacement.  It arrived this week.-1

Next,  my three and a half months old monitor crashed. A bit of problem solving, moving plugs into different sockets, brought the monitor back to life and it gave me a crash report. It was okay for a couple of days, then went blank several times in one morning, followed by what looked like the mother of all crashes. Problem solving didn’t work this time. While speaking to the Technical Help department a couple of hours later, telling the lady how dead the monitor was, the screen burst into life!

The conversation then went like this…… her“Monitors don’t give messages. it must something to do with your computing equipment”. 

I wished I’d taken a screen shot of the message.  More chatting  followed about the symptoms and pathology of the sick monitor…

her-  Could I try a different HDMI cable. (Everyone has a spare one of those…NOT!)  I have just the one available, the one that was supplied with the monitor. 

monitor-ok-iconBack to the store service department the monitor went. I couldn’t dismantle the base from the screen single-handed.  I ended up cradling the monitor in one arm and also carrying the box. The service department lady and I performed a tug-of-war and separated the bits so the monitor could be re-packed.

The really nice bit.…..without a mention of inconvenience, loss of computer use, or anything similar, I was offered the loan of a spare old monitor, with which to keep going. It was “doing nothing”, sitting on the shelf gathering dust.  An HDMI cable was located for me to use. I had not brought mine, but in any case it was agreed a test run with my own cable connected to their monitor would be useful. This way, I have HDMI cable back -up, should it be needed.

 

INVITING OURSELVES OUT

From inside the outside looked bright, cheery and tempting.  So, we, that’s hubs and me, invited ourselves out for a coffee this afternoon.  There was a noticeable icy breeze, truly icy. It wasn’t too bad once we’d got used to the feel of it. I was glad of the thick jeans I was wearing, (these days, jeans seem to be made with much thinner denim cloth).  Together with my hip length padded jacket and a big scarf wrapped round my collar it all worked a treat. Hubs was well wrapped up too.

Crossing a bridge, I saw a tight ‘ruck’ of Snowdrops, the first I had seen this year. They bank onto a river.  In another week or so, the whole bank should be carpeted with them.

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We arrived at our destination and found our favourite seating area was free and only one person, the manageress,  was at a table. It was an oasis of calm.  A lot of people favour the same seating area, and  it can be teeming with bodies from whom emanates a very high volume cacophony of sound.  A group of teachers is one of the noisiest.  Next are parents who allow their little offspring with their metal toys -small cars  mostly-to bang them on  the glass table tops. The kids love it. This is an efficient way to clear the nook of other customers!

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On the way home  we wandered up to a farm and bought some fresh eggs, chatted to the shepherdess, who also runs the egg enterprise and does lots of other things in the modern diversified life of farming.  p1010089

A plop of icy sleet startled me, followed by a few more plops.  Then I noticed an unexpected clump of bright yellow in the shelter of closely planted leafless bushes.  Crocuses were about to bloom.  Is spring around the corner?

IF IT LOOKS LIKE A BAG…

I’ve got four birthdays to think about, all of them are this week.  It feels like Christmas has prematurely come round again, before I have had time to properly recover from it.  I like to give two or three small packages to the children, so they have fun going through the present bag.  Adults are simpler, more often than not, one piece of gift wrap for them covers all.

Ho hum….here I am again, only eight weeks after the last festive blast cutting up gift paper, wrapping up presents and raking through the cupboard for some bags to put them in.

Brown or white paper bags can be quite  good as gift bags, those you sometimes get in food shops with paper handles – they look like ears have been attached –  making sure, mind you, that there are no tell-tale signs of their original use.  The trouble is, it’s too early in the year to have any.  My alternative would be a plain bio-degradable plastic carrier bag, if I have one. These days, getting a carrier bag of any sort, let alone one that I can use as a gift bag, is rare.

Like lots of people I recycle the festive gift bags I have received at Christmas time.  Really, I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t use them at anytime, even if they are glittery tree, Reindeer, snow-flake,  bauble and star adorned festive gift bags.  After all, they are bags; if it looks like a bag and acts like a bag, then it must be a bag……………………I cannot think of any good reason why I shouldn’t use them for all sorts of occasions, can you?

Gift Bag

Gift Bag

Comprends, Entiendes, Capisci, Understand?

There are still the remains of sales in some local shops. I am looking for something in particular and  I was in the one shop that might just have provided it. I browsed the department upstairs where you find cushions, bedding, curtains and some menswear. So far no luck, I could not see what I wanted.  All the staff work downstairs, which is where  I found a shop assistant.  While I was asking, it occurred to me that she might not understand what I was looking for:

Me –“I am looking for a counterpane, do you have any?”   Assistant- “ Could you tell me what that might be?”

It seemed I was speaking a foreign language. I explain it is a bed-cover….she continues to look vacantly at me….. I’m thinking quickly about what might be the current trendy modern bed-cover translation and I tentatively suggest “A throw”.

Some comprehension dawns.  The assistant tells me there are no throws……“Throws are for Christmas”

🙂   ❓

 

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WHERE WILL IT ALL LEAD?

With all that’s been going on, and very publicly, here and abroad, I have been at a loss to know what to think.  If I feel disempowered, how on earth must millions of other people feel.

Those that can, have grouped up and made their feelings known in public places around the world, often at personal cost to themselves. The amount of courage and positive human energy there is to care, is truly amazing.

I am not qualified to speak of what the security services at all levels do, or, what they do not do.  Like most people, I only know what morsels are given for public consumption. I am extraordinarily grateful to have been able to live a life that has been mostly safe and away from major conflicts. There are so many who cannot say this.  Every day we hear heart-rending stories, many of which are streamed into our visual consciousness to our homes. It does make us face the reality of the suffering that has been and is being endured.

With the current ruptures, of a type generally unknown to many of us in our lifetimes, our own comfort blankets are disappearing at speed.  The peace in Europe of the last seventy plus years is politically in the balance and it is also affected by major influences from other continents. There is a serious ramping up of aggressive rhetoric.  Where will it all lead?