Archive for Jul, 2009


Monday 27 July 2009

Stephanie passed her driving test today with just three minors!  Yay!  We’re all really proud of her although it’s weird to think that both my ‘babies’ now have the right to drive around on the public highway.  I still haven’t got used to Alex doing it after three years so it might take me a while with Steph.


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That was a quick week

Sunday 26 July 2009

That was an incredibly quick week!  We haven’t done a great deal other than our normal chores around the house and farm.  Daniel has taken himself off to a rave somewhere for four days so I’ve been milking for the past three mornings.  He comes back on Tuesday so just one more day.

The cows are unhappy in the rain but have been moved into pastures new where the grass is long and juicy as it hasn’t stopped raining all week.  More grass = more milk.  Unfortunately it also equals more poop so milking’s taking longer as I have to stop between each batch of cows and clean up the mess.  Despite the rain it’s warm so the flies are plaguing the cows all the time.  Not only are they taking longer to milk, pooping more and being constantly covered in mud they’re also very twitchy as the flies nip around their legs.  July in the rain – how depressing.

Alex has popped back to Cheltenham for the weekend to check on her house.  She rang to tell me her wheelie bin’s gone missing, the freezer’s defrosted itself and while she’s there she thought she’d get her tattoo embellished.  Quite a lot to cram into a couple of days.

Steph has her driving test tomorrow and is very anxious which is only to be expected.  She’s realised she’s only driven in the rain once in all the time she’s been having lessons so we’re hoping for a respite in the weather tomorrow.

Me, I’m just mooching around in an Eeyore mood – gloomy and grumbling.  Where’s the sun?  Why doesn’t it come back?  Why are there caterpillars on my lettuces?  Important questions.   Well, no, probably not, but the sum of my life at the moment.

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All Better

Friday 17 July 2009

All better – at least, so far!  The computer is running as it should for the time being with very little crashing!  The QuickBooks program has been reinstalled although not completely for some unknown reason.  When I installed it six months ago it went on without any problems and ran beautifully until something else conflicted with it.  Now, half the sections don’t run properly, but I don’t understand why.  I’ve given up trying to, to be honest.  I’ve looked on Ebay and may invest in a more up-to-date version.  The one I’m running is 2001 and Vista obviously doesn’t like it.

I’ve had a strange kind of day.  You know when you think one word but say something completely different and totally irrelevant?  I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  I’m beginning to wonder if I’m overtired and perhaps everything is catching up with me.  I was supposed to be going to a make-up party at my sister-in-law’s tonight but don’t have the motivation or enthusiasm to get ready to go.  I have enough make-up anyway!  I usually buy something for the sake of buying it then wish I hadn’t bothered.

I went to the dentist with Gordon and Steph this morning.  Steph needed a small filling but absolutely refused to have it done there and then.  She could not be persuaded which is fairly unusual for her, but stood firm!  I have to see the hygienist while Gordon needs several fillings, so we’re all trooping back again next Friday.  Alex took herself off last week to be sorted and needed little more than advice!

I intended to watch the Farrah Fawcett thing tonight but the minute it started I was overcome and had to leave the room.  It’s all still too near-the-mark for me.  It’s probably just the mood of the moment, but I can’t cope with that just yet.  Gordon says he’s happy to turn over and watch something else, but I’ll probably join him in time for Torchwood.  We recorded the first three episodes when it was running every evening but the thunderstorms did something weird to the recorder and we missed the last two, so thought we might as well start over this evening and watch one episode at a time.

In the meantime, I’ll carry on sorting out the backlog of accounts!  It’s surprising how quickly the invoices pile up and worrying when you realise that without the computer I have no other records of what needs to be paid and when other than looking in the invoice drawer.

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I did it anyway

Tuesday 14 July 2009

This morning was frustrating.  The computer crashed over and over again.  I went from annoyed to resigned, but when I went to open QuickBooks with the farm’s accounts on it, it had become so scrambled that nothing worked.  Yikes!  You know that feeling you get when you know something is bad: your heartbeat rises and you feel sick?  Yes, that one!  My first thought was ‘where did I put the backups for this program’ and my second was ‘oh, did I actually do a backup?’ 

My third was ‘I’m fed up with messing with this software – I’m going to reformat’!  It goes back to my old method of working where I reach a stage when I’d rather get rid of the lot and start over again – I do it when I’m cleaning a room or digging the garden.  So, I went ahead and did it.  Vista has once again proved itself cautious and refused to delete all my previous data, preferring instead to tuck it somewhere neatly out of sight just in case I should need it again, but the setup disks that came with the computer seem to have worked.

Still haven’t plucked up the courage to try the QuickBooks program yet though.  I’ll give it a go now and hope for the best.

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It really is the software!

Sunday 12 July 2009

I spent the best part of Wednesday on the helpline to Dell in order to sort out my computer.  The lady I spoke to was pleasant, helpful, and no doubt located somewhere in the vicinity of Delhi so she spoke loudly and I concentrated hard.  I ran the tests as instructed.  They took longer than either of us anticipated so she rang me back, once at 1.45 pm and then again around about 4.00 pm.

I was fine until she told me she wanted me to unplug everything from the computer, lie it on its side and just whip out one of the memory strips!  Whoa!  Wait a minute!  I understand that Dell are probably similar to Easyjet in that they’re able to keep their costs low by cutting out all the fancy stuff, but was she sure she wanted me to actually plunge my hands into the open side of a recently plugged-in computer!   She assured me she did, but told me to watch out for static.  That was not what I wanted to hear.

I unplugged, laid the computer over and unscrewed the side, then looked hopelessly into the computer – and realised that I had no idea what a memory strip looked like.  “Perhaps you could describe it?” I asked her, feeling cross with myself for not being more inside-of-computer-savvy.  “It’s thin and green”, she said “with two cream clips holding it in place”.  I looked at everything, feeling the panic rising, and couldn’t see anything that looked thin and green with cream clips.  “Um”, I said “perhaps I should find my husband; he knows which bit of a computer is which?”  I hated myself for saying it but was quite prepared to gallop out the door with the phone still clutched in my hand to find him.  “Jackie”, she said (we were on first-name terms by then) “it’s really very easy.  Just look for a long green strip with cream clips.  There should be two of them.”  I’m sure she was thinking she’d got yet another hysterical customer!  I looked again and fortunately this time I spotted them (hidden under a cluster of wires, in my defence).  I took one strip out, then had to plug everything in again to run more tests.  The first strip of memory left in the computer worked perfectly and passed with flying colours, but when I switched them over the computer wouldn’t even start.  That must have been the problem!

The lady on the end of the helpline agreed with me when she next rang and a new piece of memory was despatched then and there.  “When it arrives, just put it in the computer” she told me “since you know how to do it now!”  Another skill learned!

The memory arrived early the next day and I put it in.  My programs still crash, only faster!  I opened the Task Manager and shut down all the ‘running applications’ that looked unimportant.  That worked.  Now all I need to do is work out which one of about twenty unimportant applications is causing everything to crash!

My external hard drive arrived on Friday morning so I spent yesterday transferring stuff I’d prefer not to lose over to that.  If the worse comes to the worse I’ll set everything back to factory defaults, but I hate doing it.  You have to start all over again with programs!

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Wednesday 8 July 2009


and then there’s the bad!

The good news is my internet connection is still steady, still strong and still (in my opinion) an odd coincidence!  That’s a whole week since the BT guy said ‘not a thing wrong with your line’ and magically, with those few words, solved my problem!  Is it like going to the dentist with a toothache, only to have it disappear the minute you sit in the chair?

More good news is that my computer tells me I don’t have a software issue.  Nothing wrong with my software, apparently.

The bad news is that is does have a ‘memory problem’ which can cause it to lose information or stop working altogether.  In computer terms it’s only a youngster at six months although how old it is before it becomes ‘obsolete’ is debatable.  I wonder if one year of a computer’s life is like seven years of a human’s, in the same way it’s been calculated for dogs?  It looks like the RAM is failing and that’s the cause of my frustration.  I sympathise with it of course – I’m going through similar problems, but whereas I have to persevere it looks like the computer may soon be returning to its maker.  Just need to find their phone number, back up my important stuff and see what they suggest.

To that end, I’ve ordered an external hard drive to keep all my important rubbish documents safe and await its arrival with bated breath, hoping the computer doesn’t forget any more before I rescue it.  It’s already showing signs and has lost a couple of programs since last week.

The photo above is a complete red herring: well, OK, not a red herring as such, more like a green tree, but I like trees and this is an interesting one with a bit of character so I thought you might like to see it too.

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Sunday 5 July 2009


Whilst we were visiting mum at St Margaret’s Hospice on one occasion I stopped to read the notices on the board and saw that a ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ was being held today at Halswell House in Goathurst, near Bridgwater to raise funds for the Hospice.  My friend Vivien and I visited the house in August 2006 when it was in the early stages of renovation, having become almost derelict over the years.  At that time we were able to wander throughout the whole house including the roof, but today large areas are in use as bedrooms and function rooms so were closed off.

I went with Alex, Steph, my sister Terri and friend Mandy.  After parking under a tree we walked to the grounds and browsed the stalls outside before buying a cream tea which we ate sitting on the lawn in front of the house.  Afterwards we toured the gardens and as much of the house as we could, including a few places I don’t think we were supposed to.  We happened across a back staircase with an open door and it was more than we could resist!  There were a lot of empty rooms and some with random bits of old furniture.  On entering one room we were swooped at by what we thought was a swallow, but when we caught up with it again we realised it was a bat!  It swooped at us again before flying down the stairs into the open.  Steph was quite concerned as she knows bats don’t go out during the day, but we assured her they didn’t actually burst into flames or anything.

I think she’s been watching too much Buffy!

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