Tag Archives: breakdown

An Interesting Day in the Shop

We had an interesting day in the shop today, but I expect you gathered that from the title. I really need to work on my titles. They should tantalise rather than tell all in the first few words.

Last week, which I don’t think I have told you, I switched on my computer in the shop and it wouldn’t go. We eventually narrowed this down to a power supply issue. Apparently the flashing amber lights that happen when a computer breaks down aren’t random, they are a coded breakdown message.

We rang the customer who attends to our computer needs and he was on his way to the airport for a holiday. He said that we should disconnect the computer from the mains, take the cover off, look for a silver box, take the serial number off it and see if we could buy another on eBay. Even an idiot can replace it, he said.  No chance. I’ve done that sort of thing before and I know how the story ends. Tears, regrets and the smell of burning…

So this morning, being first in, I switched the other computer on. A few minutes later I noticed it didn’t seem to be working, so I did it again in case I had done it wrong.

Again, nothing. So I tried a third time and sat and watched the screen. According to the message that flashed briefly onto the screen before it went dead, it can’t find the hard drive. Seems simple enough to me, and if I can do it you’d think something with a brain like a computer would be able to do it.

I tried switching it on and off a few times. Disconnected all the plugs and stuff, then plugged them all back in. Tried again. Administered a good sharp tap to the top of the case. All the usual.

I am developing a bit of a reputation for breaking computers.

I decided to make a cup of coffee, but having developed a sixth sense about these things over the years, sniffed the milk first. We had black coffee. After years of inadequate refrigeration on farms and in shops you soon learn that the question “One lump or two?” doesn’t always refer to the sugar.

Foraging, Fear and Eating Flowers

I note that on the internet coronavirus is being linked to the Book of Revelation and the Prophesies of Nostradamus. I won’t add links to any of the relevant sites because I came away from browsing them with the impression that my IQ had been decreased.

For the sake of historical perspective – northern Italy is in lockdown, the third person died of coronavirus in the UK today and in Canada an American tourist booked out of a hotel in Toronto today, telling my son that he wasn’t happy at staying somewhere that allowed an oriental man to stay and to use the same glasses as everyone else in the bar.

This isn’t unique to Americans – people of oriental descent have been abused in the UK by people who believe that looking Chinese means that you are carrier of coronavirus.

The situation is currently showing up the deficiencies in health services, supply chains and stock markets across the world, but it’s also clearly showing that racism and stupidity are close to the surface when people feel under pressure.

In TESCO today, doing my normal weekly shop, I was faced with empty shelves and notices telling customers that we were limited to five packs of pasta per person. I bought one pack of the dozen remaining because we are having pasta bake later this week. There were only a dozen or so packs left on the shelf, but I didn’t feel the need to buy four more. The rice shelves were the same, though there was no notice on them.

It shows how far we have come as a nation. In my younger days we mainly encountered rice and pasta (in the form of macaroni) in milk puddings. Curries and pasta dishes were uncommon and pizza virtually unheard of.

I will go now, as I’ve been avoiding work all day and still have a presentation to finish.

I was happy and calm this morning, with just a bit of printing to do and a few facts to check. As the day wore on I remained unworried.

Now, as the dark closes in and doubts start to surface, the panic is starting to return and I am remembering all the things I need to do…

The header picture is a salad of edible weeds and flowers I made years ago when we had a school visit – it reminds me that we can eat weeds if all else fails, and that if I can face a class of eight-year-olds and persuade them to eat weeds I can do anything.


A Difficult Day

There were 21 parcels to pack this morning according to eBay, but in reality there were only 15 because six of the orders had come in on Saturday afternoon and we’d already packed them.

Fifteen is still enough.

When I arrived, via a blood test and McDonald’s, there was a telephone van outside the shop but he drove off as I unlocked. I went in, set everything going, and settled down to do the questions. There were five questions, one of which didn’t merit an answer. I wasn’t able to answer the other four so that was soon done.

Then I listed the items that needed packing, reached for the first one and started to pack. I pressed the button to find the address, and the internet died.

When the boss arrived ten minutes later I was busy switching off, restarting and prodding the reset button with a paperclip. And muttering.

He revealed that there was a telephone engineer outside again. On enquiring about our service, we were told he couldn’t possibly be to blame as he didn’t know which wire was ours.

Neither of us found this terribly convincing as any idiot with a tool box is capable of causing disruption, regardless of knowledge.

We struggled through the next hour using the boss’s phone and an unsecured BT account we found whilst searching.. It was slow and tedious.

Then, as if by magic, the internet returned. We looked out of the door and found that the telephone engineer had gone.

That’s a coincidence isn’t it?

Despite this we managed to get all the parcels packed and despatched. We also managed to serve a rush of customers, who started coming in as soon as the internet flickered back to life. It was almost as if they knew we had things to catch up on.

At least I didn’t have time to be bored.

In the afternoon I got rid of four bags of books, coughed a lot at the dust and got told off by Julia.

It’s been a difficult day.

The picture is a Great Tit in the Mencap Garden. There were several about with nesting material in their beaks when I was down on Friday. As usual, I couldn’t get a decent shot so this one, with no nesting material, will have to do. I’m going to try again tomorrow.

Me, Being Calm

We set off just after 8.00 this morning and remarked that the traffic seemed a little heavier than usual.

We were still saying the same thing an hour and twenty minutes later.

Normally we do the journey in thirty minutes or less.

Finally we saw the problem. A car was broken down on a flyover. Simple enough, you’d have thought. Call a breakdown wagon, hoist it up and get it shifted. That way we can all get to work on time and be happy.

Instead, a breakdown vehicle was parked behind the broken down car, there were cones in the road and both drivers seemed to have disappeared.

Because this is the new me I am merely reporting it.

I’m not going to rage about people who drive cars that look like they have been picked out of a scrapyard at random, or mechanics who can’t fix cars, or even traffic policemen who can’t clear obstructions.

This is the result of writing haiku. I am now a much nicer person.

Unsettling, isn’t it?


It’s Not All Bad

There have been one or two bright spots recently despite my catalogue of disasters.

For instance, it brightened my day immeasurably to see a stretched Hummer broken down by the side of the road.

At first I thought it might just be resting, but the sight of its prop-shaft lying on the road beneath the car confirmed that it was broken. It happened to me in an Escort estate car once. Suddenly I lost power and there was an urgent knocking on the underside of the car. It was thirty five years ago and I still remember it.

I would say that it was in the days before I had reliable cars, but the evidence of the last few weeks suggests that I still don’t have a reliable car.

I’m not particularly in favour of 4×4 vehicles in towns – they aren’t necessary. Even if you live or work in the countryside in the UK, as I did for years,  they aren’t really necessary unless you live down a farm track or need to feed livestock in the fields.

They are bulky, uneconomic, polluting and often driven with a degree of arrogance. As evidence of this arrogance I will not only cite the average driving techniques of 4×4 drivers, but point you to the part of the Hummer link that Hummer drivers get five times the average number of traffic tickets per 100,000 miles driven.

That’s before we get onto the “stretch” bit.  Judging from the article I’ve linked to, there are more reasons than good taste and a suspicion of American imports to be dubious about stretch limos.

And that concludes my moan for the day.

Flintham Ploughing Match – as good as it gets

IMG_5897 IMG_5899 IMG_5888 IMG_5833I’ve just had an unexpected day off, due to the return of an intermittent fault in the car. Thanks to the AA I had a quick check, a diagnosis and an escort to my local garage. They are currently up to their eyes in it so it’s a case of keeping my fingers crossed that they can get me back on the road tomorrow.

This has just highlighted a deficiency in the English language. There don’t seem to be any degrees of intermittency. Mittent does appear in the dictionary but it’s listed as an obsolete term to do with emitting. Ideally I’d be here telling you that I had an intermittent fault of increasing mittency that eventually became almost mittent.

Instead I’ll just have to say that I had an intermittent fault that reappeared this morning, becoming so frequent that at one time we could only limp along 25 yards at a time.

There was a time that I’d have made the most of it, but I now find myself content to avoid the housework and nod off in front of daytime TV. Seems like I’m going to have to face facts – this is “the most of it” these days.

As I was being escorted back to the garage by the AA we left Julia by the side of the road with a pile of bags. She, it seems, is irreplaceable, so they sent a car down from the show to pick her up. They were content to let me have the day off, but I’m trying not to read too much into that.

She had a good day, supported by most of the Quercus group, who always turn out to support us at Flintham and Open Farm Sunday. She was visited all day by schoolkids who remembered their visits to the farm, so we must be doing something right. She also had a number of enquiries from schools wanting to visit next year. All in all it seems to have been a good day.