Tag Archives: internet

The Second Post and Working Hard

Here is the list and the results so far.

Done

Wash up breakfast pots

Make Cheese on Toast mixed with eggs and onions (OK, not quite soup)

Work on partially completed poems (completed two, edited four, found one I thought I’d lost)

Lunch

Research on bird names (needed for a haibun)

Research on free range pigs  (needed for a haibun)

Reorganised haibun files (not on list)

Wrote 200 words for a blog post (not on list)

Browse internet (research for the above post – not on list)

 

Part Done

Sort out two submissions

 

Not Done Yet

Start two poems I have notes for

Write haiku/senryu

Research for article – Bomb Disposal

Research for article – RNLI

Pick Julia up

Cup of tea, TV, nap

Cook stir fry

Write more

Write post (500 words) about how hard I’ve been working today.

I have about 45 minutes before I am leaving to collect Julia – wish me luck.

Christmas Stamps

A New Word, a New Year and a (Possible) New Project

Today I have what is generally referred to in medical circles as “a bad ankle”. Julia refers to it disparagingly and suggests that a reduction in calorie intake may cure the problem. Sympathy, I have noticed, is in short supply, these days. In some ways it’s good that it had happened on my day off, so I can rest in front of the fire, but in others it’s a bit of a nuisance as I had plans for today.

Still, sitting in front of a fire with my leg up isn’t the worst use of a day I can think of.

Sitting in front of the computer waiting for a message so I can reset my OU password, on the other hand, is not a good way to pass the day. I haven’t forgotten the password, it’s just that they have decided we should all reset our passwords on 16th December. I don’t know why and mine, when it is eventually reset, will doubtless be a bit sweary in content. It’s already been ten minutes. These days it’s normally instant. I know this because I forget a lot of passwords.

As it’s at their instigation and I really want access to my account now, I’m not happy. I rarely am when it comes to technology. The trick is to concentrate on the positives rather than the negatives. The internet is a miracle, and not the last refuge of idiots, nerds and password resetting jobsworths.

I seem to have invented the word “engative” whilst typing badly. It seems to have no meaning and the internet wants to correct it to “negative”. I think it has a future – maybe a word used to describe the process of being negative about England. The English are quite engative, as are the Scots, Welsh and Irish. That is to be expected as we’ve been neighbours for many years. I’ve noticed that the Americans on Quora (the last refuge of the Mental Pygmy) seem to be quite negative about England too (though they often mean the UK). This often takes the form of criticism about the British Empire. This is ironic, as our last major imperial misdemeanour took the form of expelling the Chagos Islanders from their homes in 1969-73 so that the Americans could have an air base there.

I feel another blog post coming on – The History of the World in 100 Blog Posts.  I will have to look into that…

A Lost Day

I seem to have lost a day. I’m not quite sure how I managed it, because I’m convinced I wrote something, but there’s nothing there. I’ll just have to put it down to having a senior moment. I’d feel better about it, to be honest, if it were associated more with drinking than old age. Poets drink – Larkin and Thomas were famous for bending an elbow. That’s Dylan Thomas. I’m not sure if Edward Thomas drank. Probably not. There’s something a lot more appealing about being a hellraiser than there is about being a respectable old man. If there was only me to think about I’d much rather go out with a bottle in my hand than a rug tucked neatly round my knees.

Unfortunately, drunks don’t make particularly good husbands, and I imagine the kids would hate it if they had to come and bail me out after  a night of revelry, so it looks like respectability will be my fate. I wonder how many men out there, like me, still think fondly of their drinking days when they were much funnier and had more fun. Well, we thought we were much funnier, Once I actually gave up drinking I realised that this wasn’t actually the case.

Today is the first day of meteorological winter, and almost the end of lockdown. cases of Covid are going down, so it seems to work. I’d like to book another month of lockdown for next April, when the weather is likely to be better. I’m getting quite used to the time off.

According to government figures only about 54% of people intend getting vaccinated, and when you show them various bits of misinformation, easily found on the internet these days, this goes down to 48%. All that work so that 52% of the population can decide not to bother.

It calls the whole nature of education into question. Why bother studying for years to become a doctor when you could know more than a doctor by pressing a few buttons and reading something off the internet?

 

A Little Learning

After a day of dragging a collection of aching joints around I finally surrendered at 5pm last night and went to bed. Julia returned home from work, administered tea and hot cross buns (yes, it’s that time of year again) and left me to recover in my own time.

She applied fish and chips later in the evening with tea and sympathy and the threatened flu never materialised. That might have been because I averted illness with a well-timed nap and application of carbohydrates. Or it may have I was merely cold, short of sleep and getting old.

Today, I find myself quite perky and have returned to blogging.

We had no internet at work today. When we rang the company they said they knew about it and were working on fixing the problem. They carried on working to fix the problem for another five hours. WE couldn’t put anything on eBay, we couldn’t answer emails, we couldn’t even Google things that cropped up in conversation. We did manage to send some parcels after accessing the internet via the boss’s phone but it is not the same as sitting at a screen.

In 1973 we celebrated EU membership

In 1973 we celebrated EU membership

We had to send two people across the road to use the cash machine because we couldn’t take card payments without access to the internet. They both came back, which was good, because sometimes they just drift off and don’t come back. Fortunately our only telephone buyer of the day rang five minutes after the connection was restored.

At least all this gave me time to polish the counters and clean the work surfaces in the kitchen. I also cleaned about 1,200 photos off my memory card. I tend to leave them there, even though I won’t need them again. I really should start behaving in a more responsible manner with my stored photos.

So, there we go.

Today’s learning outcomes are that I now realise how much we rely on the internet and that I must spend more time organising my photographs and sleeping. But mainly I learnt how much more I have to learn. After a day with plenty of time to think, I realised there’s a lot of stuff out there that I still don’t know.

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Snowdrops

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.

Mainly Mistletoe

Biggest news of the day is that the phone and internet in the shop have finally broken. After some patchy service they started going seriously wrong yesterday and today, after limping along for a bit, finally downed tools. The phone is useless, on account of deafening noise on the line and the wireless hub spent all afternoon refusing to connect.

We think that years of damp have corroded the innards of the main socket, which is irreversable, inconvenient and probably expensive.

As the main business of the shop centres round our internet presence this a Bad Thing.

More cheerfully, after a couple of squirts of WD-40 into the door locks my keys operate as smoothly as if they were made from pure silk. Of course, if they were they would be useless, but I’m trying to make more use of interesting imagery in my writing, even to the point of talking nonsense.

After some discussion we decided not to adopt this approach with the socket in the shop.

We boxed up 70 coin covers this morning and the are nowwaiting for a courier to pick them up and take them to the USA, proving that with the reach of eBay it’s possible to sell anything.

 

 

Finally, my mistletoe arrived. We haven’t seen any around this year (apart from clumps that are so far up trees you’d need ropes and oxygen to pick it) so I ordered it on eBay. It only took a few days and it was lovely and fresh when it arrived. There was a lot of it too. The picture shows the box after I’d given four big sprigs away.

I’m very relaxed now, having obtained Julia’s mistletoe and done enough food shopping to see us through until the 27th.

I may permit myself a small sherry later…

 

 

Finally – a New Internet Hub!

I’m now communicating with you via my new internet hub. It’s version 7.0. The one we just removed is version 2.0. This might be one reason we’ve been getting poor service.

It doesn’t seem to be any faster, despite some BT claims about speed, but I wasn’t actually expecting that. I’ll probably need a new computer for that. It should, however, be more reliable and, as we have sorted the bills out, it will actually be cheaper.

Everything was surprisingly easy to connect. Two connectors for the back of the hub, one button to press and a code to put into the computer. Only the three months of hassle that preceded these actions provided any difficulty.

It’s amazing how useless some companies can be whilst staying in business. And at this point I will make my normal comment – BT may be unbelievably bad but Virgin are far worse. Far, far worse.

I’m very tempted to write to BT and complain.

 

Back to Blogging

It snowed today. Again.

The other news for the day is that after a break of six days I am back to blogging. Has it really been 6 days?

It started with a hectic night. As it approached midnight I was still busy and decided I’d miss a night rather than just throw a few words at the page. Next night it was easier not to write a post and suddenly not writing blog posts became the new norm.

When the kids used to attend a dojo regularly to train in aikido the instructors always used to say that it only takes two weeks to break a habit. From what I’ve seen in the last week, you can probably break a habit in three days.

I was surprised that, after a thousand posts, I could just stop, though I think there were other factors at work. In the past it’s really annoyed me to miss a post, but this time it was actually a relief. Part of the problem, I think, was that I’ve been finding it difficult to adjust to regular employment, For twenty-five years I’ve been used to planning my own time and making my own decisions (apart from the ones Julia takes for me) and it’s a bit tricky adjusting.

I’ve also been adjusting to new, repetitive, tasks in cramped conditions, which seems to have brought on a new crop of aches and pains. Six hours a day moving coins round may not seem the most onerous of jobs, but the weight mounts up. Honestly.

After a week sorting pennies (we had nearly a ton of pennies to sort this week) and counting  foreign currency, I’ve shifted a fair amount of weight. Much of it has been moved whilst sitting in unsuitably hunched positions. We also bought in a large quantity of modern 50 pence pieces, including two of the famous Kew Gardens coins.

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The new shop may have more room than the old one but it still isn’t built for comfort. However, it’s a lot better than the old one, and BT may, just possibly, connect the internet sometime soon…

Our other problem is that, with a shared front door people think we are closed, and several have gone into the Indian Takeaway by mistake. You would think the presence of a menu, and absence of coins, would give them a clue, but one spent nearly five minutes in there.

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Next week we are going to buy a sign that days “Open”.

 

Loose Ends and New Beginnings

I’m tying up a few loose ends today – you may have noticed a new, more accurate, subtitle (“Life after the Care Farm”) and I’ve added the latest news to the About Us page.

I’ve also added an update to the Ecocentre page.

They aren’t worth reading (being dry and, possibly, a little bitter) but if I add links it supposedly makes the blog more visible on the internet. It’s what they call Search Engine Optimisation. Like much of modern life I find it easy to ignore, but occasionally I like to give it a try.

It’s funny how the internet, whilst being ephemeral in nature, also preserves things.

Julia is taking the group from Mencap to see the Flintham Show. We’re just hoping the weather improves. It has generally been a good day out and the group is looking forward to it.  At least some good has come from our time at the farm.

They are advertising an education tent at the show – we have been replaced so easily. What hasn’t been replaced is the write-up that Julia prepared for the education tent several years ago. That is still up on the site, and is promising a number of things they won’t be able to deliver, including Connie the Cow, who is now living at a local school.

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Ploughing at Flintham Show  (2016)

Julia has just joined the Women’s Farm and Garden Association. It seems quite a go-ahead group of people, despite being formed in 1899, though the marketing could do with some work: we didn’t even know it existed until I saw one of its badges for sale on ebay.

Perhaps ebay is a force for good after all.

 

 

 

Tolkien’s Banjo

I’ve just been watching an episode of Lewis on TV. In it, an art student was conducting tours of unknown Oxford, including telling people about a crocodile in the river and that Tolkien was well known for playing the banjo in the pub. However, a brief survey of the internet throws up several crocodile references, including a reference to fossil crocodiles. There is even a serious reference to Tolkien and banjos.

They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, though it’s difficult to measure strangeness, it would seem that this might be the case.

It is inevitable that I end up pressing more links once I get going, and as a fan of the Narnia books it seemed in order to search for “C. S. Lewis” and “harmonica”. How many do you think there are? I didn’t think there would be any but it seems there are a lot of religious people on forums who discuss harmonica playing and use quotes from Lewis in their signatures. 187,000 to be precise.

I would have loved to have turned up a reference to the Inklings running musical evenings but it seems I am to be thwarted. Instead I have managed to find that Lewis didn’t think that Pauline Baynes could draw lions, that Baynes learned her map drawing skills with the Admiralty in WW2, and that Kipling wrote a poem about banjos (it’s a long poem, and not one of his best).

As a result of this I searched for some help on concentration skills. I liked this list, and already have the “eat breakfast” and “take breaks” bits covered. That just leaves 14 more to master…