Notes from Bromsgrove 18th August 2007
Safely installed with my elderly parents. Pelting with rain - tomorrow as well. Garden looks as if it has been transplanted from a tropical jungle so don’t envisage much gardening. Brother has phoned from South of France - great weather there. I am working from his computer which has funny lines running across it. Just now it froze and I had to re-boot. (Brother comments that his children told him about this a while ago, but as he doesn’t use this old computer himself……….) Brother organized last year for my e-mails to be forwarded here and I had a page-full, but frustratingly disappeared altogether after re-boot. Last time I came, brother had obligingly left me a car to drive (old Merc.) but had forgotten that the battery was flat. Lengthy instructions over the phone from Canada that time as car battery was underneath very elderly back seat which protested rustily for a long time before yielding to my frail dad’s efforts to lift it. We eventually managed to charge it and I left it running outside the shop when I went to the newsagent to fetch daily papers. The next drama was that we had huge thunderstorms which knocked out all my brother’s (4) computers. Frantic phone calls from Canada - I had to climb into his loft (twice) and trace an intricate web of wires to find some or other box and turn the switch on again. Hope doesn’t happen again. Keeping strict eye on weather!
Sunday Blues, August 19th, 2007
Frustration and adrenaline rushes today. My brother’s elderly PC just won’t cooperate with me and I have to wait for him to phone from his holiday in the South of France when his remote antennae reveal to him that I am having problems. My brother doesn’t do holidays very well and suffers them for the sake of his family. True to form, while they are on the beach, he seeks refuge in the nearest air-conditioned room with his beloved laptop. He did this also when they went camping with the scouts: he ‘got lost’ in the forest but managed to find his way back to his tent and his laptop. He has 4 PCs in his study at home and it is my job to keep an eye on all the flashing lights. Today, I have re-booted my one and have seen reams of computer code coursing down the screen which faded to a stubborn dead black when it had finished and I can’t do anything with it. So I wait. Meanwhile, a damp and humid walk up the hill to the village to fetch the Sunday papers for my parents. ……Much later - my dad noticed my frustration and mentioned that he has a working screen upstairs in his bedroom. Abracadabra! Back online!
Last Minuters, August 20th, 2007
My father and brother share many common personality traits, one of which is leaving everything to the last minute. When my dad worked in London his favourite trick was to jump onto trains as they were moving out of the station. Once he came home with stitches across his forehead, the result of leaping too hastily from a tube train, forgetting his six foot height , and knocking himself out on top of the sliding doors. My brother is more careful of his person, but travels a lot in the course of his work and thus hates to ‘waste’ time in airports and train stations. This story is typical. One day he left his house at 9.30 a.m. - the exact time that his shuttle to London was taking off. So Instead of driving to Birmingham airport, he did a bit of ‘low flying’ down the M40 to Heathrow, parked in the short stay car, sprinted across to the terminal to check in his luggage, back to the car park to move his car to the long-stay and then onto the airport bus to return to his check-in . He caught his plane with 5 minutes to spare. The best was that 3 months later he received an unsolicited refund of £70 for the unused full-fare leg of his journey. This was, in his book, an excellent trip all round!