Monthly Archives: March 2008


Thank you, Rosamundi, for the kind offer of an ub and thank you Chas for the suggestion. I actually have an ub. My computer refuses to acknowledge its existance, claiming it to be a usurper, a pretender to the throne with ideas above its station. It has shunned it and throws a hissy fit whenever it dares enter the dark domain of the dominant computer. Likewise the wireless router.

Beware flying computers. I am very tempted to boot it hubwards.

I know I’ve been working for two hours on this one hour task

The thing is, I have other things to do at the same time. I know, I know, I ought to be able to multitask, but somehow I never seem to have got the hang of it. I just do everything fifty times slower when I try to do two things at once. I keep getting distracted and losing count. Please forgive me. I know you’re more than ready for bed after two disturbed nights in a row (The Smudgelet’s got a nasty cough which gets worse at night time) and I know you’re sitting here waiting for me to be done, but I’m afraid the sixty-minute download of Thursday night’s Ashes to Ashes which you missed because you were visiting your sister is simply going to have to take three hours and when it says “one hour fifteen minutes left”, you have to understand that I may lose count and the next step on the countdown may say “two hours twenty minutes left”. Counting brings its own challenges when you are computationally challenged as I am. Please be patient with me, and don’t try to shut me down because I’ll only sneakily turn back on again while I finish what I’m doing.

If only computers could talk.

Reasons I need a new computer

1) My computer has its own agenda. It’s clearly busy doing something which is not what I have asked it to do, and in the grand scheme of things my requests are clearly of lower priority. Virus scans have revealed nothing, spyware scans have revealed nothing, but my computer has things on its mind which are obviously none of my business. It is getting too big for its boots. It will have to go.

2) I use my computer incessantly for work. After all, with an ICT department which seems actively to discourage staff from using modern technology in our striving to prepare the up and coming generation for the demands of 21st century life, it is essential to be able to keep records, make worksheets, research information and print reams of paperwork at home. When it keeps freezing me out mid-worksheet or mid-google I am not happy.

3) I use my computer incessantly for God. I am sure He understands. I make resources for my services – service sheets, powerpoint thingies – I access Bible Gateway to read different versions of the same thing, I use an online resource to help me plan my services, I type up my assignments and print them (though I seem to be able to worry about them without the need for modern technology). When it keeps freezing me out mid-worksheet or mid-google I am not happy.

4) My computer is an essential procrastination tool, without which I wouldn’t procrastinate half so well.

5) My computer has decided that it would be great fun to play hide and seek. Unable to relocate itself very easily without leaving a trail of wires, it does this by hiding programs. Generally the ones I want. One minute they’re there, the next minute they’ve gone. I spend an eternity looking for them before switching off in disgust. Then what do you know, the computer gleefully returns them to where it found them. This happens repeatedly with MSN, with Net Nanny, with Publisher and the other Office thingies. My computer clearly has no understanding of when play is appropriate and when it’s downright annoying. The difference between childlike and childish, methinks.

6) I haven’t been able to get into St Pixels church for what seems like an eternity. My access to MSN is spasmodic. When one’s circle of friends is mostly imaginary/virtual, then it is not kind of a computer to keep one incommunicado. Pah!

7) The USB ports are all at the back of the computer. This means that, in order to take a powerpoint presentation to church for use in my Sunday Morning service (I say this as though it happens all the time – it’s only one of my churches which does powerpoint as the norm), I have to climb onto the wobbly chair, balance carefully and then mountaineer to a position where I can stand on the desk. Then, having inserted the memory stick, I have to dismount and do the twiddlies with my computer to transfer the file onto the memory stick. I then go through the whole process again to retrieve the memory stick. A slight slip of the fingers and I find myself doing a mad race to Staples on Saturday night to purchase a replacement memory stick for the one that’s fallen down the back of the computer table to the place of no return.

8) It cannot be good for the environment when one turns one’s computer off at night and discovers, next morning, the computer still running merrily and an error message which says “I know you’d finished what you were doing, but actually I’m not turning off as requested because I haven’t finished what I’m doing.”

Too big for its boots, I tell you. It’s got to go!

Hello ;o)

Sorry I’ve been absent without leave for so long. I am just taking a five minute break in my frantic cleaning and sorting and mending in order to reassure you that I am still alive. I may be back later, depending on how fed up I get of cleaning, sorting, mending and trying to make my home look more like a home and less like a cross between a building site and a jumble sale.

The good news – I got a good pass mark for my assignments and they have now gone off for moderation. The meditation was deemed acceptable – thanks be to God – and I was almost satisfied with my mark. (All through my academic career, even at school, 70% has been the mark at which I have felt satisfied with my achievements. Now, even though the pass mark is 40%, I feel aggrieved that I am producing what feels like a cracking essay and only getting 65%-69% for it. I am trying to work on my overinflated pride and foster a bit more humility, but it’s not easy! And it’s even worse because I suspect that what’s stopping me getting higher marks is that I am writing in a more academic style which is not what fits the criteria against which the work is being marked – which is my fault because I’m not fitting style to audience/purpose but still makes the pride thing hard to overcome.) But I have passed the first quarter of the work. Only eleven more units to go!

Oh, and the Smudgelet’s ankle? Doctor thinks it is unlikely to be a mild cerebral palsy (which hadn’t even occured to me) and is referring him to the hospital overseas to have it checked out. He thinks it might be a question of special insoles and physiotherapy. At least the Smudgelet is now remembering to fasten his shoes properly!

Right, what shall I clean next? The kitchen? Kitchen, here I come………


If you’re feeling kindly disposed towards me, perhaps you’d remember me in your prayers.

Please pray that the assignments I have completed towards my Local Preacher training will be satisfactory to get me enough of a grade to pass (and that I will be satisfied with my mark, even if it isn’t as high as I’d like). In particular, there’s one assignment which I found really quite hard to do one way and so decided to do in a completely different way which may not be accepted. Please, God, please let the assessors see in it the creativity and depth of understanding and thought which went into it and see that it is at least as appropriate, if not more so, than the conventional interpretation of the assignment. After all, if I am asked to write a meditation on images of God, surely including actual images in a PowerPoint presentation to stimulate thought, along with words to guide that thinking, is a modern approach which caters for a wider range of the congregation than simply words. Surely? Please don’t let me have to do it all again! (All the assignments for this Unit – a quarter of the whole course – have to be submitted by the end of March or else wait until next November, As I’m so far behind, I really don’t want to miss this deadline!).

On the subject of prayer, please remember the Smudgelet too. The turn in his foot which we had hoped would heal itself has instead become more marked and is beginning to cause pain in his Achilles tendon. His other foot also seems to be beginning to turn inwards. He has an appointment next week to assess whether I need to take him over to see the specialist in Southampton. He’s excited by the attention but fearful of what it might signify, and this at a time when he’s feeling a bit low anyway.

And because all good things come in threes, my immune system seems reluctant to kick back into action properly. I’ve had blood tests just to be on the safe side, but my doctor thinks that it is a reaction to all the years of stress and that I have to be patient with myself as it will take quite some time before I recover my strength and verve completely. How do I explain that at school when every tiny bug knocks me for six? But although I’ve been off for most of this week, I have to say that I am feeling potentially far better now that I’m getting over the cough and cold which laid me low – a bit like the phoenix rising from the ashes. So the potential is there – come on, immune system, I’m ready to be properly well!

Under the or gang planck

I should have known to look under the or gang planck, even if I hadn’t had the written evidence to say so. After all, when one points out an orange blanket covering mountains of boxes of junk and says to one’s teenage son “Please, whatever you do, don’t touch this orange blanket because the boxes are balanced precariously and will fall in a heap”, one should remember that this translates into Boyese as “Whatever you do, you must have a poke around under this blanket as it is clearly concealing secret treasures of great interest to inquisitive boys”. When will I ever learn?

I had a wonderful Mothers’ Day, beginning with the outrageously expensive lunch at Albert Cottage Hotel the previous week. Then the day itself. It began rather inauspiciously – rather like Tractor Girl’s. I’d been unexpectedly delayed in producing my Mothers’ Day service the previous night so, when I got up early to work on it and was greeted by an enthusiastic Smudgelet declaring that I must return to bed immediately and await my breakfast, I was not overly cooperative. We struck a deal whereby I would do all the things I had to do first so that I was a stress-free zone, and then I would sit in the dining room with my duvet over me and my feet up on the chair and have breakfast-in-almost-bed… and then I messed his plans up still further by being unable to eat my bowl of cereal and having to request a replacement which was not the stale crumbs from the bottom of the old packet that I’d put to throw out for the birds. I am not a perfect mum. 🙁 But we soon overcame that small drawback.

I was presented my meal on a tray which also contained a home-made envelope enveloping (as they do) a home made card. And inside the card was an intriguing message – this time with correct spelling. “The sky is white, the sea is blue. Where there’s water there’s something for you.” It took a lot of guesses to get it right – though I think it was pure coincidence of course that I’d been banished from the bathroom all morning! For when I finally remembered that you get water in a bathroom, I went in there to discover that the mountain of dirty towels piled in the corner did indeed hide two rather enticing looking presents – neither bearing any resemblance whatsoever to a box of chocolates.

I was thoroughly spoilt, and so utterly moved by the fact they’d both been so organised and thoughtful. From Smudgelet was a gorgeous doormat for our new patio doors, complete with three welcoming cats. From Tiddles a little pink teddy holding a rose, and a beautiful card (with lovely things handwritten inside in beautiful writing) containing a most unusual gift, but one I really love. A gift voucher with no expiry date for a useless item of my choice from the intriguing Aladdin’s cave of a second-hand/antique shop near here – that is to say, the excuse for some serious browsing for some fascinating clutter which otherwise I’d never be able to justify buying! Watch this space to find out what finally catches my eye, although the problem I have with gift vouchers is that I get more pleasure from the choosing than from the buying, so I find it hard to make a final decision.

My service for Mothering Sunday went extraordinarily well, which shows that God must have had a serious hand in it, and it was interesting and rewarding to discover how many people approached me after the service to share their own stories. There had been a few tears during the service – some of them mine, indeed, as something one of the congregation said actually touched a raw spot for me, and also something that I said touched a raw spot for Smudgelet (which was a good thing, as it gave us an opportunity to talk).

Then Honorary Auntie M met us at the Lavender Farm for lunch (her treat, this time) before taking me to a garden centre to buy a plant she knew I wanted (in place of flowers, she said – we both use Mothers’ Day as an excuse to buy each other flowers). Then Smudgelet and I decided, as the weather was far too cold to go on the reading adventure that we’d planned, that we’d go and see whether Waltzing Waters lived up to Smudgelet’s expectations. It was a lovely together time. I was glad the auditorium was almost empty as Smudgelet just couldn’t contain his “Wow!!!!”s and his “Look at THAT!”s… and to be honest, I am glad he couldn’t. We both thoroughly enjoyed it, and I told him how the last time I’d been there had been to take my mum for Mothers’ Day. He was also delighted because amongst the display cabinets of lovely things, they have have a shelf of damaged goods radically reduced in price, and there we spotted the most beautiful wooden model of a Citroen 2CV at the cost of an hour’s working in the garden for me. The damage was almost invisible and doubtless it will gain far more in years to come, but the car is a beauty and he is thrilled to own it.

There should be some sort of mechanism for preserving special days such as these.

I guess there is, it’s called the memory.

Mum to the rescue

A knock on the door and an embarrassed Honorary Auntie M stands there with a card in her hand, fingers carefully obscuring one word.

“Can you read your son’s writing for me, please?”

The miracle has happened. Those of you who know my eldest son will understand how amazing this is. He has not only remembered Mothers’ Day, despite now living away from home (or maybe because of it), but has got himself organised enough to i) buy and write a card; ii) save enough money to buy a present; iii) suss out in advance what it is he wants to buy; iv) go to the relevent town to buy it; v) hide it in his room where I am unlikely to find it and vi) give Honorary Auntie M written instructions as to where it is hidden and ask her to wrap it and give it to Smudgelet who will give it to me on Mothers’ Day. The only drawback was… his spelling and handwriting. (He can spell and write incredibly neatly, he just doesn’t!)

So, after searching and searching his room, both independently and with the able assistance of the Smudgelet, Auntie M had to admit defeat and ask me what “The ******* is under or gang planck near T.S Royalist” (this latter being the name of a ship, a painting of which he has in his room). Gang plank? The ship isn’t a pirate ship, I don’t think they make their cadets walk the plank if they disobey, tempting though that may be. We search and search…. and then suddenly I say “It’s obvious”.

It is, isn’t it? I found it, even though I had to keep my eyes closed so that I didn’t see the gift. Have you worked it out yet?