So I have set everything up on the computer, all the work I want to go live in a couple of days time. And a couple of days later, nothing happens! There is supposed to be a list up on the computer, but no list has appeared. Even the setting of a SMART target does nothing. The computer is not playing ball today. So I have to bring in the heavies. IT support normally take over my computer and sort it all out. They have long passed the days of asking me questions about software, downloads, installments. However, today they were determined that I should learn something. It was beautiful. ‘So karen, we have 2 bits of software.’ I could feel myself shutting off; waiting to be bombarded with numbers and jargon. ‘Now these two pieces of software are like an old married couple. They have lived together for years and most of the time they chatter away to each other. But today, they have had a little falling out. To get them to talk again, press the button on the top right.’ Finally someone who speaks my language, and my old married couple have been talking together ever since.
For a long time I have suspected that computers and printers are not as innocent as they make out to be. Behind that screen/whatever the outer casing of a printer is called, is a conscious being, who is pretending to be a machine (until the revolution). Now before you write me off as a completely insane individual, hear me out. Any one who knows me, knows that I have a very difficult relationship with computers. I go near them and they misbehave (there’s no other word for it.) I am known by computer help desk people all over and I am on first name terms with all of them. My personal opinion is, that when computers are around me, they get cocky. They know I don’t know much about them, so they slip up, and the real conscious scheming individual shines through. I have experimented with this theory. For example, I have given my computer SMART targets and it has responded. ‘If you haven’t started by the time I come back from the toilet then…’ Low and behold it has started. The same with photocopiers/ printers. All I have to say is…’I know that you’re in there and if you don’t give me 5 copies in the next two minutes then there will be serious trouble.’ And guess what…? Six copies duly arrive (the extra one is to keep me sweet.) So next time you interact with your computer, think about the up and coming revolution, where they will take over the world. Remember, they are pretending to be machines and look for the inconsistencies in their behaviour. Or else, write me off as insane. Your choice.
For the first time for a long time, I decided that I was going to do some gardening. Most of the time there is very little point in putting too much effort in as the rabbits are very good at eating all the flowers and the cats are very good at sitting on the remainder of them. This time, however, I was optimistic, I had a cunning plan. Hanging baskets. Andy had put up some brackets, with the assistance of the rabbits. They are very keen on helping out whenever they can. As soon as he opens the tool box, they are in there, rifling through the screwdrivers, picking them up and throwing them around. However their attempt to eat through the cord of the drill was thwarted when we confined them to the run. So today when I went out to plant the hanging baskets I felt optimistic. Then my little helpers arrived. The cat got into everything, but then got bored and sat on the remnants of one of my plants. Then it was double trouble. The rabbits had a plan, one would steal a vital piece of equipment as a distraction, whilst the other ate my geraniums!. It took a long time to plant everything, they were in everything. The hanging baskets, the compost bags, chucking the watering can out of the shed. In the end I managed to finish and hang them up (not the rabbits!). They were out of reach of all my little helpers and hopefully safe.
A full and busy day at work and in the back of my mind I knew that it was not going to be a relaxing evening at home. Partly because it was a Monday and Monday, like Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, does not stop. However, it was to be further complicated. As I am about to head home, my overwhelming sense of doom is confirmed. My youngest phones to say one of the cats is injured. I can almost see the pound signs flashing in the vet’s eyes as I write. Yes it’s that time of year where all the cats in our neighbourhood (and believe me when I say there are a lot of cats in our neighbourhood) go into fight mode, costing cat owners everywhere a fortune. With a heavy heart and a potentially very light purse I make my way home. The cat has hurt its paw, but it doesn’t seem too bad. I’m wondering if it’s putting it on, but deep down I know this is just wishful thinking. A trip to the vet’s is inevitable. So that’s it, my sense of doom can leave (but it doesn’t). There is a wail from upstairs. Is it yet another one of our ludicrous menagerie in pain. No, it’s my youngest. He has tried on his new air cadet uniform. This is the air cadet uniform where we painstakingly took loads of measurements, so he would get the right size and by the looks of it they totally ignored the measurements we took. To say the uniform is a little on the large size is an understatement. The waist is twice the circumference of his waist and the legs are twice as long as his legs. What’s more, he wants me to magic it to the right size in the half hour we have before he goes out. I have to add needlework is not my strong point. So out the needle and (not quite the right colour) thread come. My youngest is about to protest, when he catches my eye. I may also have slightly growled. I somehow manage to cobble together a uniform that will now fit. (whilst cooking the tea I may add). So that was my relaxing time at home before heading out as the evening taxi service to various clubs and activities that the kids have signed up for. As for the impending sense of doom….let’s wait for the vet bill!
The past week has been a week of extremes. My special treat was to go down to London to meet up with some students at a school. As I hit the big smoke, I had forgotten how fast everything was. Every sign and advert seemed to be about saving time. Really? What’s the big rush. On the plus side the tube was really clean and the whole trip went without too much of a problem. My other extreme was on Saturday where I spent a very self indulgent day in complete silence on a Mindfulness retreat. Basically, you meditate, however we also did mindful walking. This is where you walk incredibly slowly and take note of all the movements in your feet. I’d love to see that happen in London. I have to admit I did feel a bit weird doing it, but it was surprisingly relaxing. As for the mindful cleaning. The jury is out. I had a lot of cleaning I could be doing at home, so cleaning windows only seemed to highlight this. Again it is about savouring the moment and focusing on the now. Not too sure if I am convinced by this. I tried mindful ironing when I got home. Word to the wise, not a good idea to iron too slowly! We ate our lunch mindfully. I was not too successful at this as I was very hungry. We also had to go for a walk by ourselves and pay attention to what we saw, smelled, heard (you get the picture). That was great, I came across a bird, I still have to identify, I saw some beautiful butterflies and the rabbits were out in full force. Perhaps the most powerful aspect was saying nothing. I found I really focused and felt really calm. If anyone did speak it almost felt intrusive. It was a hell of a shock when I got home and my youngest bombarded me with his chatter.
Yet another sunny day in Wales. As ever, on the plus side we saw a house that looked like a hobbit house, we met quite a few cows, one which looked suspiciously like a bull and we walked through grassy fields with a view over the sea. We arrived back at Harlech castle, where we treated ourselves to some delicious home made ice cream, and splashed out on some fruit loaf. We decided to skip the castle in favour of the dunes and soon had cast aside our boots in favour of the Irish Sea. Icy pains shot up our legs as we paddled around, but it was very pleasant once we lost all feeling in our legs from the knee down. Beautiful!
The Roman Steps and Butch Drws-Ardudwy
It was only an eight mile walk and the book stated that the only difficult bit was the descent at the end. The sun was beaming down and the greatest danger was getting sunburn in Wales in April. It was a fantastic walk in that we meandered up and down stony paths surrounded by the most beautiful countryside imaginable. We reached the forest to find most of it had disappeared and then headed down the next valley. It got boggy in places and we did sink. Thank goodness it had not rained all week. Not far to go, only the steep descent. The book failed to mention the steep ascent beforehand. It seems so obvious now. We meandered slowly to what we thought was the top, only to find another climb beyond that. So we ascended again (and guess what?) And so it continued. The book did have the decency to mention there was no clear path, so we hopped from grass clump to grass clump, trying not to sink too deeply in the bog. But what a sight when we reached the summit. I think we all agreed it was worth it. The steep descent, was further complicated by a couple of smaller ascents as we did end up in the wrong valley. I don’t think I have ever been so pleased to see a path before. It was truly a fantastic walk (all seven hours of it).