Cup of tea and biscuit

So far this week...

Is Sunday the beginning of the week or the end? I usually consider Monday as the first day of the week. This keeps the weekend together at the end of the week, but I know some calendars begin on a Sunday.

Anyway, I'll count Sunday this time. Last Sunday the weather was lovely and sunny so I went out to shoot another video. Arriving at the car park, I nearly turned straight round and drove home because it was full and swarming with people. However, there was a parking space and it soon became apparent that all the tourists were doing the Precipice Walk whereas I was doing a new and little known walk that starts from the same point. As soon as I left the car park, I didn't see anyone hardly. I'm pretty happy about being near people outside, but I doubt they were day trippers because we're quite a long way from where most of our visitors come from, namely the Midlands and North West of England. This is where covid infection rates are terrifically higher than here, which is why we haven't eaten out since January and I go into town as little as possible.

Yesterday I started the video editing and the new computer handles the files so much better. No hiccups every time it moves from clip to clip when I try to play the video to see how it's coming along.

Then today my miraculous "repair" of G's computer failed and it refused to come on. However, the couple of day's grace meant that he had had time to ensure that everything was backed up and we have a new computer ordered which should be delivered tomorrow. The problem with buying both computers together meant that they both failed together.

Then today I did the weekly food shop. Until now, I've been doing it on a Thursday but the Welsh classes start back (online) again this week and because my previous tutor has retired, I'll be joining a new class with a new tutor and it's held on a Thursday morning. This means I will now need to do a mini top-up shop on Fridays to pick up the local paper and the pizzas, which traditionally we have on Friday evening. Though I complained above about tourists, the town is much quieter now because as the schools have gone back, families can't go on holiday, so the Co-op shouldn't be too busy and I feel I can risk two visits per week. The people milling around in the car park were childless couples, many of around my age, who take advantage of any nice weather in September to get away for a few days.
View from study (sunny)

I've already had enough of today

It's not yet 10.30 a.m. but I've already had a day's worth of stress and bad news. First was reading that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. Not only is it sad to lose a woman who has dedicated her life to fighting injustice, but it leaves the way clear for Trump to appoint a nasty right-wing replacement who will be his lackey.

Then we had a traumatic half an hour or so because G's computer just wouldn't switch on. He'd said yesterday that it had gone off without warning, but it did come back on again. This morning it was utterly dead.

Fortunately G is working on a website, so everything had been uploaded to the server, so the first thing was to fire up the little laptop and download a backup of the current project. Stress and grumpiness from G because I had had the laptop set up to log in to my email etc, but we quickly sorted that out. Things were becoming a little calmer now we knew the work was rescued and we discussed options. Googling revealed there is a computer repair shop about 35 minutes drive away and my computer is identical and could be cannibalised for parts. (It was the hard drive that was failing on my computer, it seemed to be the switch that had gone on G's.)

We unplugged the computer and, mostly just to tried to eliminate possible problems, I suggested trying the power cable from my old computer. Miraculously, the computer then showed signs of life and, after a few failed attempts, it came on properly. I don't think there was anything wrong with the original power cable, but the action of plugging a replacement in must have nudged a loose connection or something. Anyway, more backups have been copied to the external drives and I can hear G printing something out now.

We therefore decided that there was no point in trying to repair his machine, which was bought at exactly the same time as mine and is therefore 7 years old. So I'll browse through the options later and we'll order a new one, keeping our fingers crossed that the computer will keep going for a few days more, but worst case scenario is that he can use the laptop.

Oh, and the third item of bad news... Having got the computer switched on, while waiting for backups to copy, G was browsing the news and discovered that the college where we used to work has had a member of staff test positive for covid-19. I have heard of a few local cases during the pandemic, but not anyone I knew personally. Fortunately the Welsh class that starts next week is being held online via Microsoft Teams, but the college is less than 10 minutes walk away, so the virus is feeling rather too close for comfort.
lawn mower

Quick garden update

Just for my own reference: Today I mowed the front grass. It seemed a lot easier this time and only took 1 hour. It will probably need one more cut before it stops growing for the winter.

I don't usually have my phone with me when gardening, but a friend was going to drop off a magazine and said she'd phone when she was on her way. I therefore discovered that the distance walked, as measured by the phone and also as calculated by the formula in my exercise tracking spreadsheet (which is based on how long I'm doing physical work) were more or less in agreement and both said that I'd walked a smidgin over 1.5 miles.
Blue sky

Soooo tired...

I was really tired today, but it's nothing to worry about, it's just that I've had a couple of days of doing physically tiring things.

The first tiring day was Sunday. My husband used to walk to the nearby seaside town and get the bus back, but since covid, we've avoided public transport so he took to walking along the old railway line that is now a footpath and bike trail and then entering some woodland and walking around the paths there. However, during the high winds a couple of weeks ago, a tree came down across one of his favourite routes. So we hatched a plan...

As I mentioned in my previous post, they are felling the conifers to regenerate those parts of the wood with native trees. Some parts are old natural forest, but there had been a period when the fast growing conifers were planted too. This means that parts of the forest are currently off-limits due to the felling operations, but the path we needed to reach meant entering that area. Hence why we chose a Sunday afternoon when no one would be working.

I don't think it's illegal to go and clear a footpath on someone's land, but we thought it was better to do it by stealth, rather risk being challenged and having to enter into lengthy explanations, especially as they're not actually public footpaths (a legal definition) and are instead just paths provided to give access to National Park woodland.

First we drove to the forest gate nearest the blocked path, but there was nowhere to park. What we remembered as an empty and abandoned yard now contained an occupied cabin and there were people around. Even if we'd parked in the layby on the main road, the gate into the forest was locked and we weren't going to climb over in full view of onlookers. So we parked on the verge of the drive leading to a farm with a campsite. We actually know the owners so we could have driven further and parked by the river, but it's years since we'd been that way, so we played it safe and walked through the camping field and down to the estuary.

The drive has amazing giant redwood trees.

Giant redwoods

Looking up.

Giant redwood

They were probably planted by the owners of the nearby hall, not the farmer as it's the sort of thing owners of grand houses do.

Approaching the area where the foresters are working. Piles of logs waiting to be taken away.

Log piles

And here is the problem...

Fallen tree

It took an hour and a quarter of hard work with the bush saw and the smaller saw. G mostly did the sawing while I dragged the branches away and stacked them neatly at the side of the path.

And here is the result!

Cleared path

The path is clear once again.

Then, after the strenuous day on Sunday, yesterday we walked the route that will be my next video. It's a recently created walk on private land, but the Nannau Estate have made a permissive path which enables you to cross the historic deer park. It's not all that long a walk, but it involves walking down all the way out which of course means climbing the hill to return to the car park. I didn't take any pictures, but it was useful to see the route so as soon as I've fully recovered enough, I'll pick a day to make the video.
African flower crochet motif

Making butter by hand -- literally!

I made butter once years ago using a blender. It seemed to take ages and so I found this simple method using just one's hand absolutely astonishing.



I find Atomic Shrimp's channel very restful to watch. I'm not a fan of the scam baiting videos, but the foraging and cooking are interesting.
African flower crochet motif

Quick update

The weather was not too bad this morning. Rather dull and with just a tiny hint of rain, but reasonably warm so I walked up the very steep hill to see M and she came out wrapped in her thick coat and put a blanket over her knees so we could do the crossword and zygolex word puzzle together. We didn't chat long because she is 97 and I didn't want her to get chilled, but it was nice to meet face-to-face.

I didn't post the shopping news yesterday, but it is becoming routine now. I went first to the Eurospar for eggs, Fruit & Fibre and a couple of their nice little fruit & custard tartlets, also a birthday card for our grandson. I then went on to the Co-op where I did the rest of the shopping. The whole thing took about two hours by the time I'd visited both shops, returned home and stashed everything away in the fridge, freezer and cupboard.

Due to the very real threat of No Deal Brexit in the New Year, I have brought in another Really Useful BoxTM so I can enlarge my food stockpile. My new arrangement is much easier to manage the stock rotation and with the extra box I can now have a stock of cereals as well as tins and packets.
computer typing

One thing per day

Some years ago we heard someone on the radio talking about how slow and difficult it was to get things done in India due to the bureaucracy. They reckoned if they achieved one thing each day, they were doing well. A few weeks ago I adopted the same strategy. I have a habit of making a list of all the things I think I should do during the day. Of course I'm lucky to do half of them and then I feel demoralised because of all the things I didn't do. But now, as long as I've done the one task that was the Designated Task for the Day, I can count the day as a success.

So today's task was to get a new micro SIM for the iPhone 7 that our daughter has passed on to us after upgrading to a newer model. G hates mobile phones but admits that he ought to carry one when he goes of alone on his long walks. He had a flip phone that was also a hand-me-down from our daughter and which had been my main phone for quite a while until I upgraded to a semi-smart phone. Anyway, the flip phone got to the point where it wouldn't hold a charge long enough, so I bought a really cheap (£14) dumb phone which I thought would be easy for G to use.

It wasn't. I can use it, but I had a dumb phone years ago and understand how the simple menus work on the tiny screen. G has managed to make a couple of calls with it, but it really wasn't right for him,.hence us jumping at the offer of the iPhone. However, it needs a different SIM, much smaller than the one that's in the dumb phone. After investigating the menus on the Vodafone site, I discovered I couldn't just order one, I had to communicate with an actual person via the text chat.

I've used the Vodafone text chat before and found it very effective. Today's operator was really really slow with long pauses between responses. I don't know whether she was trying to deal with more than on query at a time, but I managed to complete the Codeword puzzle in the Independent news app and do a few rows of crochet while waiting for responses. Eventually the order for a new SIM was sorted out, despite her saying there was a discrepancy over my address.

Just a slight digression...

Some years ago my Vodafone account somehow became merged with another person's account. She lived in Yorkshire and my phone number and login somehow got entangled with her address and some other account details. I eventually sorted it all out, but when today's help person mentioned my address, I instantly thought that some of that old information was still attached to my account.

Anyway, the order went through and the SIM should turn up shortly. After the chat was complete and I'd filled in the feedback form, I logged into my account to see what the problem was over the address. It turns out that the "discrepancy" was that my address had been previously entered all in lower case and the space was missing from the postcode. For my non-British readers, a UK postcode is of the form AB11 1CD. Whoever had sorted out the account when it had got entangled with someone else's details had note entered the space and that had triggered a "There is a difference in the address in the account and the address the customer has just given you!" message.

Sigh... But I did achieve my One Thing for today. :-)
lawn mower

Garden tidying

Both front and back gardens are as tidy as they've ever been. I do need to do another cut on the front grass next time we have a dry day. (Not sure when that will be.) The back has been strimmed right down to what I refer to as the bottom terrace and I raked up the grass I cut the other day on the top half.

In the process, I managed to gather up a tiny frog! It made me jump when I saw something moving in the bag of grass clippings, but after a couple of attempts I managed to rescue it and put it back in the grass. Realising that it was perfect for the weekly alphabet photo challenge, I ran in to get a camera and got a (not very good) photo.

36/52 for the group 2020 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: J is for Jump

Little frog
computer typing

The last step has been completed, or has it...?

Today I screwed up my courage and uninstalled the Norton antivirus that came pre-installed and downloaded and installed the Kaspersky that we normally use.

Why did I need to feel brave? Well, not the last change of computer but the one before that, I managed to install Kaspersky without removing whatever virus checker came with the computer. I really thought I'd wrecked it because it was running with glacial slowness, but eventually it responded to my commands and I sorted the problem out.

Ever since then, I've felt nervous about switching virus checkers. However, this time everything went very smoothly. I just uninstalled Norton and ran the Kaspersky install. It also accepted the licence key without any quibbling.

So now the only question is, do I need all the fonts that I forgot to copy from the old computer? I acquired several floppy diskfuls of fonts many years ago and have copied them from computer to computer ever since. But what do I need them for now? When I was teaching, I used to do lots of fancy stuff, including teaching basic DTP, but I don't do that now.

Decisions, decisions...

And I've just realised that I'll no longer have the simple Microsoft DTP program that I used to produce an annual calendar to keep on my desk and also my business cards for my YouTube channel. I'm sure I can find alternatives. This is why I put off buying a new computer for so long, though I think setting up this one has been done in record time. External drives with a large capacity make life so much easier.
computer typing

Almost there!

I have installed software on the new computer. At least 17 programs yesterday and I added a couple more today. Miraculously all my favourite old programs run OK. I also managed to download the drivers for the printer and that works too. The only thing left to do tomorrow is switch off the Norton virus checker that came pre-installed and install Kaspersky which is what we normally use.

The only thing I couldn't install was Microsoft Office. I have the discs...

Old versions of MS Office

Office 2000 and Office 2010, but they're both the educational editions. I could try to install Office 2010, which was still working fine on my old computer, but I wouldn't be able to complete the installation because you have to confirm with Microsoft that you are a teacher or student. So a) I am no longer an OU tutor or a student who would qualify and b) as the offer was from 10 years ago, I don't think it would work any more, even if I could persuade Bangor to give me a student number because I'm on a Welsh for Adults course. Instead I've installed Libre Office, which I think will be fine. I used to be a heavy user of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access because I taught the software and also used it to create handouts and teaching materials. I also used to be writing assignments and stories, but I'm sure I'll manage with Libre Office now my needs are much more modest.

The next question is the keyboard. I have been using this keyboard for at least 25 years...

Ancient keyboard

It's probably even older than that because it came from our local nuclear power station. When they started decommissioning it in the mid-90s they donated a load of computers and other stuff to the centre where I was teaching IT to adults. I used the keyboard at work and rather liked it, so when the college closed that centre and moved the classes to the main college, as the old equipment was just going to be scrapped, I acquired one of the ancient clackety keyboards and have used it ever since. As you can see, it's taken a bit of ingenuity and a couple of adaptors to keep it working.

I'm typing this on the keyboard that came with the computer, but I suspect that in a few days time I will have plugged in the old one. This isn't a bad keyboard and it's wireless so the desk is less cluttered, but I recently bought a new mouse which I'd like to carry on using and G's keyboard is dying and the letters have all rubbed off, so if I did carry revert to my old one, he could have this one and a new mouse.
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