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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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?

 

QUOTE FOR THE DAY

I was having a phone chat  with a very happy sounding lady called Kelly in the  telephone accounts department.  A couple of messages had attracted a surcharge as picture messages and I could not understand why. There was not a modicum of a picture in sight in either one, not even an emoticon.  I read the two messages to her and counted the digits in one of the them – fifty-five, (160 is the text limit).   Kelly just couldn’t understand it… I checked my settings, all okay there.

As I still had the messages and could account for what they were, she agreed a refund to my account, then added with a sigh;

I hate smart phones, they’re getting too smart for me!” 

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WHAT AN IMPUTATION.

Certainly unexpected, but, as I was only the messenger, I put the originator into the line of fire, so-to-speak. As the recipients were out, a gift of two  cheese truckles were left by the originator for the recipients to find upon their return home. The cheeses were bought at a specialist counter, a rather special one at that too. The originator was not one to shop at the best of times.

Recipient 1. I found some cheeses here, were there a lot lying around the house.…….

Me. What?……… I will pass you on.

I repeat what has been said. Originator’s expression changes from bemusement to realisation, to irritation.

A BAG OF MONEY

After depositing a present for a child in a Gift Bank, I was presented with a net bag full of milk chocolate money coins.

The first nursery kid I saw on the street got them. I did ask the [taken aback] surprised, parents first.

“Oh goody chocolate”, said the kid as soon as he saw the bag, which he rapidly reached  forward to snatch, iniating an embarrassed  parental chorus of, “ Say please and say thank you”.  Neither nicety materialised from delighted single-minded junior.

…….”It’s Christmas.” I said, and went on my way.

I couldn’t resist looking back.  The grown-ups had happy smiles on their faces.

OUR BED

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EeeeEk…urrgh….EeeEK; then the mattress rolls like it was pushing through a strong sea undercurrent.

At the time we purchased our bed frame, the salesman described it as having individualised left and right sides because of the the ‘unique’ separated wooden support slats design. Two single mattresses were not required.  It was explained that it would give a calm night’s rest, even if one partner was restless.  The bed  frame was delivered and constructed by the company.  We were given instructions about allowing the slats to settle under our new mattress.  All that was about four years ago. On the whole, the bed behaved much as advised.

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For the last few weeks there has been a build up in throaty wood and screechy wood -on -wood noises, together with a chorus of crunchy cranky noises every time one of us moves, which wake me up from a half sleep when I am trying to get to sleep.  They are noises that also wake me up prematurely.  Hubs was not bothered at all.  Did I dare move? No I did not.  The final straw came when hubby turned in his sleep and I was rolled to the edge of the mattress, like I was in a boat being tossed on the sea.  It was time me and hubs had a chat about this.

What do you want me to do?” …..”We could check the frame” I ventured.

What about the mattress?“…..”We could slide it off the bed frame and put it on end“, I said

Some of the nuts on these bed fastenings are weird and wonderful sizes. With more encouragement and me demonstrating the slackness of the frame. Hubby went off to find his set of magic spanners; the fifth or sixth one he tried worked. 1

Four tightened corners later,  we tested out the placement of the wooden mattress support slats, both manually and by directly lying down on them……….  EeeeEk…urrgh….EeeEK.   Oh no! We looked at each other, a big dose of inspiration was needed.  The intervention of an emergency white candle, (for if there’s a power failure) was called for.

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Rubbing some white candle wax on the wooden bed frame and the wooden slats seems to have satisfied the needs of the wood.  In addition, the bed frame was no longer slack, we had one happy bed and I had a more restful night’s sleep…Yay!

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Airy Fairy Wonderland Alice…Bouncy Clown-ess and LED LADY

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The woman in the red coat adorned with bright LED fairy lights, looked at the bakery goods displayed in the glass covered counter in  front of her, every -so- often checking her mobile phone.   Like her, I waited too.  We continued to wait…and wait.  LED lady  looked up at me and we exchanged smiles.  Two other women, dressed up for the local fun day, were serving at the far end of the counter, which provided for the Baker shop café customers.  At our end of the counter- sales – a young girl dressed up as Alice In Wonderland,(AIW) had her back to us; she studiously ignored everyone. The high visibility lady covered with sparkly LED lights glanced at her phone once more and then left the shop.  Alice in Wonderland looked round, glanced at me, then turned back to whatever it was she was doing, writing, I think.

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I conjected that if I waited a few more moments I just might be served. I knew what I wanted to buy, it was pre-wrapped, so, it was just a question of selling it to me.  I thought my patience was being rewarded when a clown-ess, (one of the duo of staff attending to the café) bouncily arrived opposite me……. My mistake, she was involved in playing a game of choices for someone in the café, who, incidentally, arrived in the shop the same time as I did.

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Excuse me, can the assistant over there serve me? I pointedly asked.  Clown-ess raised herself on tip-toes to peer over AIW’s shoulder.

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Clown-ess -said, She’s busy doing shop admin”. With that she rushed away and with a smile called out Someone will be with you soon”.  

Me – Looking directly at Clown-ess at the far end………I’m going; that’s two customers you have just lost”.  And I went.

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This is not the first time me and other customers have walked from this shop.  There are two other similar business in the same vicinity that have gained from the chaotic customer service. Goodwill is fading fast.

 

 

The Difference Time Makes

It is just a fraction over seven years since I last came here. With an Ordnance Survey map it is easy enough to find.  There is a small parking area, space enough for the trickle of people who arrive to explore. This is a ‘pre-history’ site, which,  you reach by an easy sloped climb; you can choose between two or three different approaches, although one approach would certainly depend on whether there’s  a bull in one of the fields and/or cows with young calves.  Dads can jealously guard their ladies and in any case, bovine mums and dads can be very protective of their broods. So,definitely, no waving red rags to a bull.

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Prehistory site Information 2009

The pictures I took back in 2009 were with an early bridge camera that had an unsophisticated limited zoom lens.  Even so, it is so interesting to compare the yesterday, (2009) and today, (2016) photos and see the very marked  modern man-made changes in that period sat on top of, and next to, the signs of time immemorial.

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Prehistory site Information 2016

There are five cairns at this site, none uncovered.  The outlines of three are straightforward enough to see. The roof of the highest cairn (height as in top of the hill) appears to have caved in, creating a rim on which, weather permitting, you can rest.  On a clear day you can also gaze upon the panorama of two counties and their mountains, plus an island twenty-one miles across the water, as you will see.

This a serene view from the top of the hill in 2009 and the picture below it, (allowing for differences of time, position, general weather conditions and the light) is a similar scene ….. and

p1010073-baillie-farm-house-wb p1000444-section-baillie-wind-farm-wb….this is how it has changed…and changed…

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…..A panorama – the same house and woods totally surrounded by windmills.

This photo also shows the sweep down from the ‘high cairn’ to a lower sited cairn, (the rounded mound on which there’s another modern day intrepid explorer).

This was a ‘tentative’ coastline wind farm development, in 2009.  There are more wind turbines now. The two wind farms are not far from one another.

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I did not want to focus on the wind farm, (the one above) in the picture below. I wanted to show the view of Orkney  across the water. It is  some distance away, you may need to peer in, but, it is there to be seen, to the right.

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The yellow flowering bushes in these pictures are Gorse bushes.

 

Morven and Scaraben are the mountains in the county of Caithness. This looks like Morven peaking up and over the horizon in 2009.

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This is The County of Sutherland, also in 2009, pre-turbine days, from the same vantage point.  If I am not much mistaken, you can see a couple of the Bens (mountains), amongst the clouds, Ben Loyal and Ben Hope.

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At the cairn, I was at the same level as the top of these wind turbines, (excluding the upper windmill arms). It was quite a thought.  The miniature buildings, (left) give some sense of scale.

You can see the concave cairn I have been talking about and a typical horn sloping along from what would have been the dome. This is the one from where you get all the great views. You can see a difference in the relatively richer looking grass on and around the cairn, in comparison to the rough moorland tufts on the ascent to it. The new heather blossom is bonny just now.

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Taken from  the cairn, and some distance away,  the land meets the sea. Stubble is being burnt off  the field . There are hay bales in one of the other fields. Across the Firth (sea) is the coastline of the county of  Sutherland and signs of village habitation.

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