Saturday, 31 August 2013

Number 17 - In Which My PC Dies.

For years I have muttered and grumbled about my PC; a Sony Vaio bought in 2007, that was so sexy and cool when first purchased, it's hard to imagine just how much I despise it now. Not the Sony part, that's still cool. It's the Windows thing that bothers me. Friends with Macs are notoriously smug about the ease and speed with which their laptops and desktops do stuff, without checking with you twice.

So I bought one. And now I can't find anything and it is so self-assured and smug, and does things without asking, and that makes me very nervous. All my old files and photos have been almost successfully imported from the PC, which finally gave up the ghost the other day. And now it sits here, next to the new Mac and I feel melancholy as the old and new sit side-by-side. Already I am forgetting the many rants and rages that the Vaio put me through when Windows crashed, taking vital work with it. All I can think of now is the happy times, when the flatness of it inspired hours of writing and editing and watching movies. How I squealed with delight when I got the Media Center to work and watched telly via a little antenna attached via USB. It even came with a remote control!

The iMac, by comparison, is just as, if not more aesthetically beautiful as the Vaio of 2007. Flat, minimalistic, with a screen that begs to be caressed. Can the images be that sharp and not be real? Even the box it comes in is lovely. It screams Money, Taste, Class, Cool.

But I am a person who relishes nostalgia. I have kept toys form my childhood. And clothes from when I was thin. And books from when I was Teenager's age. Each item takes me back and tells its own story. So, despite Husband insisting that I take the Vaio to the tip, I won't just yet. It can stay in my office for now. And when I get frightened by the iMacs independent thinking, I will glance over at the Vaio and remember how it used to ask me whether I was sure I wanted to send  Risk Assessment Requirements.docx" to the Recycle Bin.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Number 16 - In Which The Family Invade.

School Summer Holidays are well underway. And for once, the weather is glorious and everyone in my little backwater is happy and smiley. And sunburned.

And the tourists are here. Hurrah.

They invade with their caravans, their spotless hiking boots and their brand new 'outdoor' clothing to truly embrace the wilderness in which we live. I live in possibly the most beautiful of all the counties in the UK. Northumberland has castles, beaches, hills, valleys, forests and fields to explore. And where I am situated it is a ten minute drive to any and all of these.

My family cottoned on to this about thirty seconds after I moved here from a much less beautiful part of the world. A place where Jamie Oliver tried (and failed) to educate kids about eating healthily. A place where I do not remember with any fondness at all, and am eternally grateful every day that I got the opportunity to leave. I'll tell you that story one day. It's a doozy.

Anyhoo, I have my sister and her kids staying with us for a week. Teenager is secretly delighted, as being achingly cool with her other teen friends is tiring, and it's nice to mess about with younger kids without fear of judgement. And my sister is openly delighted that they get to visit a place so beautiful without having to shell out thousands of pounds for the privilege. And I get the challenge of cooking for a family with awkward tastes. (One doesn't like any meat other than chicken. The other likes any meat other than pork. They don't like garlic or chillies. They only like spag bol if it's made with Lloyd Grossman Bolognese sauce. Sigh.)

So far, we have explored castles, gardens, beaches and islands. I have had every corner of my culinary brain racked for things to cook which will suit everyone. My homemade creamy chicken and ham soup was a bust, but the Sunday roast was a triumph.

I don't mind having guests, but I love it when they leave. I suffer from a curious quirk of enjoying being a hostess, but not liking people in my house. And as I choose to leave the house only on rare occasions, my contact with other humans is often limited. So this week, being out and about IN PUBLIC has been tiring. But I have enjoyed visiting Alnwick Gardens and Castle (learned interesting things in the Poison Garden, but wished the guide would speak above a whisper) and enjoyed showing off some of our gorgeous beaches (there is one beach with a natural aquifer that spurts out of the rocks near the sea - it provides fresh, crystal clear, ice cold water which caused great fascination with my youngest niece.)

They are away home later and I am looking forward to eating food with chillies in, but am sad for my sister who really doesn't want to leave.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Number 15 - In Which I Get My Legs Bent Behind My Ears.

Yes, indeedy. Today was spent in a room with a man who manipulated my legs a lot, and kept asking me to bend over. Ooer! But we were clothed. And in the Physiotherapy Department of my local hospital. So not kinky at all.

Mt back has gone and slipped one of its discs (careless) and there is a touch of arthritis in there too. So today I found myself talking about my pain with a young male Physio who can't be much older than my Teenager. He has decided that I must move again (by walking, cycling or swimming) but am no longer allowed to run. (I was getting good at running which is a bit of a shame.)

I have a program of exercises to follow that involves a lot of bending, grunting and groaning as I try and get the muscles around my damaged spine to relax and stop being so over-protective.

I'm at home now, sitting in a towel after a hot bath and generally feeling like an old, arthritic woman. There are rogue grey bits in my hair, and I have noticed wrinkles around my eyes that I swear were not there yesterday. I'm still in my thirties (albeit the later ones, dammit) so by no means am I over the hill, or even middle aged, yet I am having one of those slightly panicky moments where I realise I am nearly forty and what have I done, really?

Dog is at my feet. He's kindly letting me know just how comfortable he is by assaulting my sense of smell. I'm going to take him for a walk in a bit and see if I can get the old muscles going again. And while I am out, I am going to have a think about things and maybe make some changes around here.