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Monday 29 September 2014

Loving and giving

I’ve decided that the cold is now on the retreat so today I have ventured out. 

I went to a craft class a few miles away.   Mandy (aka Dunholme crafter) runs lovely groups in her own home and it’s one of my favourite afternoons out.  Three hours in congenial company getting inspiration along with coffee and biscuits and I come home with three or four cards.  What’s not to love?  I am feeling very frustrated that I can’t upload photographs on this computer but I’ve booked another class next month I promise I’ll photograph the cards I make then.

I also wore a new tee shirt for the first time having made it last month.  I could have bought one for less than it cost me to make it but for what I paid I got not only a tee shirt but the deep satisfaction of having made something myself.   

I love to make things.  I‘ve decided that October will be the month when I complete thirty homemade things.  (I’ll be writing about that on my other blog.)  Much of the stuff I make will be for giving away, especially at Christmas.  No-one I give to is actually in need of anything I give them.  Most of my recipients are in the second half of life when one has acquired enough stuff anyway but if they needed the small things I give they could afford to go out shopping.  The thing about homemade gifts is that the recipients know that with each gift there is also the gift of some of my time, my skill and my love. 

And if Christmas means anything it is that love is a gift which is always worth giving.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Big Baby

Today I have a truly disgusting cold.  I spent the morning in bed.  This afternoon I have sat wrapped up in an armchair.  When I have a cold I go into childhood mode – Big Time! 

When I was little my Mother used to have a stash of special hankies which came out when we had colds.  They were old ones of my Father, worn thin but worn very soft.  There were also the middles of worn out sheets, hemmed and put away ready for the sneezing season.  Earlier this year I put my foot through a sheet and some parts of it were duly hemmed and put away.  That sort of pure cotton is much gentler on my nose than any tissue and today I’m feeling glad I took the trouble.

Ribena was a great treat in my childhood because it was very expensive.  Now it’s a great treat because it’s so full of sugar.   Yes I have tried the light version and it just didn’t hit the spot.  When I have a cold I don’t like my usual black coffee so Ribena is wonderful. 

I think my cold is illness in sympathy with Bobo who still awaits his prosthesis and my laptop which is still in London at the specialist computer hospital.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Saturday 20 September 2014

My constant companion

My laptop is still away at the laptop hospital and is likely to be away for several more days.  I’ve managed to wreck two of the three USB ports and my usual computer psychologist has had to send it away.

In the meantime I am managing with my old lap top which had been gathering dust for a couple of years.  It has one major problem – the cursor jumps all over the place which makes writing a document very difficult.  I can’t upload photographs either so I am stuck.

But this has got me thinking about how reliant on my computer I am.  I have had a computer for over twenty five years and I’ve used the web at home for fourteen.  I can manage without my TV – but without my laptop I would be completely lost.  Today I have checked my bank account, corresponded with a friend in France, found a new recipe, sorted my budget, prepared for church tomorrow and coveted something on eBay.

I use it to store instruction manuals for all my appliances, I order my groceries, I keep a record of everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries.  I play games, do crosswords and listen to audiobooks.  I decide if the TV will be going on today, check the weather and find out how to grow winter lettuce.  I track my steps walked and find out how to get to various destinations and discover opening times.  The news is available as often as I want to know it. 

Despite the jumpy cursor I am still on this wretched thing several times every day.  But there won’t be as many blog posts until the other one is back!

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Am I caring or am I just lazy?

It’s been a curious sort of day.  This morning was just housework type things but this afternoon I decided that I had to get this Smartphone sorted so off I went to Tesco Extra in Lincoln where I acquired The Thing about a month ago.
I decided to go to the cafe where customers wait to be seated.  Eventually the waitress came and took me to a table in a dark corner.  I declined and said I would rather be seated where I could look over the balcony and watch people in the store.  She said that my mobility scooter and I would be in the way (as presumably shopping trolleys and prams were not).     However I got my own way and I decided that I would write to the manager suggesting that a little disability awareness training wouldn’t come amiss. 

I then went down to the mobile phone department.  The contrast couldn’t have been greater.  The man who served me was courtesy itself.  He sorted out the problems, showed me a few things about my phone and suggested that I make a list and come in again if I needed to.   He was polite and friendly, at no time did I feel stupid or patronised and he was a credit to the firm he works for. 

When I got home I wrote to the store manager to compliment him on the salesman, asking that my thanks be passed on.  After I had written the letter I sat back and reflected.

When I was younger it would have been much more important to me to complain about the waitress but the older me felt it to be more important to praise the young salesman and I certainly didn’t want to do both in one letter because I hope that the manager will show him what I wrote.  Am I becoming pleasanter and more caring as I get older or am I just becoming lazy and unwilling to stand up for myself? I'm not sure.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Acquiring skills

Yesterday disaster struck – my laptop became so slow that it had to go to the computer doctor.  It is in need of major surgery so I have to make do with an old one.  Posts may be a little less frequent!

A few weeks ago I treated myself to my first Smartphone.  I actually loathe mobile phones.  I find them intrusive and have had several near accidents when people have been walking along concentrating on their phones and they have collided (or almost collided) with me on my trundle truck because they are so unaware of what is going on around them.  End of rant.

Anyway, I am having great difficulty learning to do the various things which my Smartphone can do so I did the obvious thing – I borrowed a teenager!  I sat watching her in total amazement as she whizzed through apps, texting, camera, and all the other bells and whistles.  I really do feel that I have missed out on a whole range of skills.  Were we so much less accomplished when I was younger?

Well, no we weren’t!  We simply had different skills.  When I took my first class brownie test I had to lay and light a fire, wrap a parcel using just brown paper and string (no sellotape), send a semaphore message, knit a pair of mittens, darn a sock.  And I was scarcely ten years old!  None of those skills is very relevant to me now (except knitting) and I’m quite glad that brownies today don’t have to do them. 

The real and lasting skill that I learned all those years ago was that acquiring expertise takes time and is worthwhile.  I just need to convince myself that mastering a smartphone is a skill is also worth my time!