My snuffles have nearly gone now and I feel a lot better, also the temperature outside is no longer below freezing, so I feel somewhat perkier. I even made some home-made soup for lunch out of odds and ends from the fridge and yesterday I made some scones.
One reason I get depressed in the winter is because due to it being easier to keep warm I get stuck in one place (in front of my computer) for weeks on end. Once the weather warms up a bit, however, I could work in different rooms or even (gasp!) out in the garden -- except the old laptop died, which will mean being stuck on the desktop machine even in summer. I use the Asus Eee when I travel, but the tiny keyboard means I can't type very fast and though Open Office is fine up to a point and I can and do use it, it either doesn't have all the handy keyboard shortcuts that Word has or I haven't managed to find a list of them, so it's just that bit slower to navigate around a document when marking assignments. (Shift F5 in Word is a really useful one that cycles between the last three cursor positions. Ever so handy for when you're editing in one place and want to scroll up to another part of the document to check something and then return instantly to where you were working.)
I have therefore placed an order for a second hand laptop. It took a lot of agonising and comparing of prices, but I've gone for another refurbished IBM Thinkpad rather than paying an extra £100 and getting a brand new Toshiba. On the one hand getting a brand new machine for not all that much more is an attractive idea, yet what I actually want is a work horse. I only want a laptop so that I can work elsewhere in the house, either marking assignments or for writing. I want it to run MS Office 2000, Freemind and the Open University's file handling software, all of which run fine on Windows XP. I don't want to have to start battling with Windows 7 and finding out all the things that won't work with it. If the worst comes to the worst and my desktop dies, having another XP machine means that it could slot right in and work with printer, scanner, cameras etc without a lot of faffing around finding drivers, assuming they exist.
In other news, I have nearly finished reading papersky's Among Others. It's very intriguing. I have no idea whether it will work for people who haven't read SF or fantasy, though having said that, I haven't read an awful lot of the stuff that Mor has read/is reading. Which is making me wonder what I was reading, because I was reading fantasy and SF during the period covered by the book, just not the same books. Anyway, I'll write more about the novel when I've finished it.