Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tea at last!

Back home and my first decent cup of tea in what seems like weeks, but was actually just over two days!

And there is, as everyone must admit, that other great aspect of being at home, because there is nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed – especially when you are studiously trying to ignore the fact that various malignant microbes are infesting your bronchial tracts and trying to create colonies in other sensitive parts of your body and make their presence noisily evident.

This Sunday needs me to be doing something mindlessly empty. And my task of choice is putting all my new Christmas CDs from Toni, the 50 CD Deutsche Harmonia Mundi box set of a selection of Baroque and Ancient Music from the label on the hard disc of my computer. I am aware that, in spite of my well-known love of electrical gadgets of all kinds, this might appear as something more Luddite-like than I would like to admit. I have recently (I know, I know) downloaded Spotify and found out that they have a stupefying collection of classical music at various clicks of the fingers. So why, you might ask, am I going through the archaic, and to some of my friends, the insultingly unintelligent approach of actually 'buying'? CDs and then making the situation much worse by laboriously downloading the music on to the hard disc of my computer?

I suppose my attitude is a hang-over from the early days of my computer ownership when I must have been one of the few people in the computer owning universe to have the discs for all the programs on my machine, including, of course, a growing pile of squashed cardboard boxes. My music collection was similarly backed up by CDs, at least it was as soon as CDs became the music system of choice. If I am brutally honest I have to admit that my purchase of an early Philips portable cassette player/recorder did allow me to add a tape version of Beethoven's First and Eighth Symphonies to my collection of LPs, but cassettes were always a fairly noisy alternative to a decent LP and anything I recorded from the radio was merely the excuse to find a budget LP version to replace it. So, although it might take some searching, there is a physical backup for everything (mostly, I am not absolutely perfect) that should have been bought.

Toni's IT course encourages the students to find free-source versions of everything that they need in IT terms and he has passed on his practical knowledge to me – or at least I allow him to load up free-source programs on the machine on which I am typing this.

There are disadvantages, as I have found out. My years of using a Mac when everyone else was using a PC have come back to me, when all the programs which were supposed to work on both machines, did – but only worked perfectly (at least for the state of computers at the time) on PCs. Those days have now come again as the free versions of programs do almost everything that the paid-for versions do. Almost. And that 'almost' is the area of heartbreak and wasted time! Still, I solider on and I have found 'ways' of using the free programs and not quite losing out!

I wonder if it is just coincidence, or vicious intent that so many simple finger moves on the mouse pad on one system are slightly different or the opposite on the other? As I am using both PC and Apple at the moment, it is constantly frustrating to assume that something is going woefully wrong until you realise that you are using four Apple fingers to do something when you should be using three PC ones, and Apple's up is PC's down!

So, I will continue merrily to load up my CDs – especially as this computer has a hard disc of 2TB, so I can load on and up with impunity and not take away valuable space from other things.

I have now completed by re-reading of The Portrait of Dorian Gray – there is so much to be said for carrying a complete library with you on your smart phone when dealing with family get-togethers. And looking at a smart phone screen is so much more socially acceptable in company than reading a book! Even if that is what you are actually doing rather than checking your messages – and why, by the way, should checking your messages be any more acceptable than reading? I thank god for the lack of logic that allows me to read in any and all situations. And long may such rudeness continue.

I have done no work on my poem today, but the ones on my blog might be worth reading at

Give them a try and let me know what you think.
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