Friday, 6 August 2010
I walk into the small store, just past the railway arches. The store's walls abound with the sharp glittering tools necessary for the trade. The owner, a smallish, tidy gentleman nods in my direction:
"Morning, Alf " I chirrup "How's tricks?"
"Not so bad" says Alf "Bit busy, but that's Friday's for you in this game. What can I do for you? The usual?"
I affirm Alf's suggestion - not that I have a great variety of choice - and sit on one of the stools. Alf's rapidly to work, a true craftsman, and shortly he's done. I examine the results carefully - not that given the limited scope for invention I would seriously contemplate alternatives - and issue thanks to Alf for his services.
"No problem, Martin. See you next week."
Arriving back at the house, I insert one of the new keys Alf has just cut, making sure it works properly. Naturally it does, after all, Alf has had so much practice cutting my lost keys that he could probably do it by hand without using the one remaining original (actually a third or fourth generation model from the key supplied with our fornt door lock).
Next , I start work on another key, this time the computer variety. Recent troubles with the very instrument this note is being scrawled upon have meant that the computer has had to go away to computer hospital. It has been recieved back, but the problems remain so next week it is back into the University to be repaired again. 'What, I wonder' you may muse ' Might be this technical glitch?' And if computer literate you might, for want of something better to do, consider the options - hard drive, drivers, sound card, applications, operating systems. And if you were to communicate these concerns to yours truly you would be repeating the actions of one Red Haired Boffin. Quite how fruitless such ponderings are, at least when expressed to yours truly, can be illustrated by this reconstructed conversation.
"Nel. Its brokened."
"What is, my cherub?"
"The 'puter thing. It broked and now it wont work"
"What happened, my dove?"
"Last week it worked. THis week it dont work. I hate it?"
"Let me see if I can help you darling. What happens when you boot up?"
"What happens when you start it up?
"Have you loaded any software recently? ANy new applications?"
"Did you touch anything other than the "ON" switch I labelled for you?"
"'ourse not. 'Ust typed summat.Now it broke. That 'puter - it dont like me"
"Oh, you silly sausage. Computers are just a series of on/off switches. They dont have any personal preferences.....you should'nt get frustrated like you did last time. You did'nt ....well... hit it again did you?"
AT this point in the conversation, I jump up dramatically, point to the skyline above the houses opposite and shout "Look !!! Aliens are landing! "
RHB is un-decived and laughs indulgently. "Dont worry my little freckleless one. I'll sort it out. You go and play your guitar."
Two hours later, a Tasmanian Devil stalks into the room where am diligently practising my scales, and between hyperventilations, screeches "WHERE IS YOUR BIGGEST HAMMER??? THE ONE YOU USED ON CONCRETIA??"
SOmewhat alarmed, I dive into my tool kit and provide the required instrument which is then snatched out of my hand. The hammer leads the way back down stairs as a furious psychologist practises, assessing how much swing she can achieve. In a flash I realise what she is intending, so I pass her on the stairs, grab the nearest available cat and place it on my computer. Rapidly returning to sanity (on sight of a small furry creature), and with bulging eyes gradually returning to normal, RHB lowers the hammer. "THis computer really hates you doesnt it? WHich" she continues " I dont mind, except that it seems to think I have something to do with you and now it hates me as well."
In other news, there are two agenda items of note. THe first is that Cheek to Cheek have been commisioned to record a movie soundtrack. I am of course, perfectly serious about this. Whether our soundtrack gets accepted or not is another matter, but the local charity I work for is making a film and we are doing the soundtrack, so that has kept us busy.
The second agenda item is that the best health service in the world has finally accepted that having torn ligaments/tendons/cartilage is a problem for a not-quite-fifty year old. After second, third and even fourth opinions, and two years of wrangling, I have been able to persuade the local hospital to take the first steps to repairing the damage which lurks around my knees. Previously, under the best health service in the world, the fact that walking was, occasionally, so painful as to make the act not worthwhile, has been deemed "not a serious enough problem", "not treatable", "tolerable and not urgent" and "an attempt to claim disability benefit". Now however, I have been able to persuade a consultant that it is at least worth the while of the best health service in the world to conduct a minor surgical procedure to rectify the problem. [Note: a friend from a different country had a similair problem and was fixed within six months].
Finally, the table pictured at he top of this, by now totally random post, is one we made entirley form recycled materials. The local university was throwing out its old lab benches, so I spent two days skip=diving and pulling out large chunks of usuable 100 year old mahogany and oak. What the picture shows is a former physics lab bench, which is now our dining room table. We are very proud of it and look forward to scratching it up with friends in the near future and for some time to come.
Posted by MJN at 17:23