A Burst Of Summer

Mike, the Perfect Plastering and Plumbing man who came this morning to replace our leaking outside taps, not only did a very good job with them, but also turned out to be an Apple user, and gave me advice subsequently confirmed by the iMac adviser.

The news about the iPhoto disaster, like the curate’s egg, is good in parts. When the latest edition of the Yosemite operating system was installed, iPhoto was superseded by Photos. I didn’t use that because I was reluctant to change from the application with which I was familiar. However, without my realising it, all my photographic work had been automatically copied into Photos. Thereafter I had happily continued to use iPhoto, but there was no further entry to Photos. That, I should have been doing myself.

There is no way of recovering the deleted iPhoto files. The last images entered into Photos were therefore inserted on the updating day in May this year. All photographic work carried out between then and yesterday has been lost.

Thankfully, everything posted on WordPress remains on the blog, so it could have been worse.

Since the end of July I have been unable to use e-mail on the iMac. Whilst I had Apple Care on the phone, I asked Leonel, the excellent adviser, to sort that out for me. He did.

So, it wasn’t all bad.

As so often in September, we are experiencing a late burst of warm and sunny weather, called ‘an Indian summer’.

Rose garden

The benefits are seen in the rose garden,

rose New Dawn

where New Dawn is now blooming.

View along Pergola Path

Paths, such as the Pergola one, are still surrounded by lush plants.

Butterflies Small White on lobeliabutterfly Small White on lobelia

The air fluttered with Small White butterflies, seemingly auditioning for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, ‘The Birds’.

Insect on bidens

A small insect, possibly an ant, clung to tiny bidens.

Red hot poker

We have several clusters of light, almost chocolate-coloured red hot pokers.

When I had finished the lengthy phone call I helped Jackie finish bagging up the rubble left over from Aaron’s brickwork, and spreading the last bit of gravel. After lunch we transported the rubble to Efford recycling centre. As I prepared to enter the car, the Head Gardener politely sent me back inside for my wallet. Naturally, she had no wish to visit the municipal dump without investigating the sales area. We came away with two more mirrors, and two more garden chairs.

As usual yesterday’s set meal for three from Hordle Chinese Take Away provided plenty left over for our dinner tonight. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the shiraz.


A Battle-Scarred Red Admiral

Had I had no success with the computer problems that beset me this morning, you would not be reading this post, and I may have gone off my rocker. Yesterday afternoon I found I could not, it seemed, access the internet on my Windows 8 laptop. After much grappling, I realised that the internet pages, through Google Chrome, were automatically minimised and could not be enlarged, having been hidden in the bar at the bottom of the screen. The Hewlett Packard phone help service was only available during the normal working week. On line support was not much use to me in the circumstances.

I usually rise rather early and spend an hour or so on the laptop. This was not possible today. Fortunately my head was clearer than it has been for two or three weeks. I was happily getting on with my iMac, when I received an alert advising me to replace the batteries in my wireless keyboard. I did so. It would not then connect to the computer. I kept swapping batteries around, to no avail.

It was good that Jackie got up early so we could have coffee together, because I couldn’t phone any help desks until 8 a.m. My first call was to Apple Care.  They needed the serial number of my machine, which is accessed via ‘About this Mac’ on the screen. I couldn’t access this because I couldn’t type the password. I was getting a wee bit frazzled by then. A young woman called Sam managed, without the relevant number, to talk me through getting my keyboard and computer conversing with each other. This involved using the technique advocated by ‘The IT Crowd’, which is ‘turning it off and turning it on again’. Apparently I had been sending my Mac to sleep, rather that properly switching it off.

This didn’t take too long, and gave me confidence to telephone Hewlett Packard. A patient and helpful young man, eventually taking over my screen, spent an hour sorting out that issue. He thought ‘a bit of malware had got in there’. Never mind, we both learned something. I now know what a taff bar is, even if I can’t spell it; and my advisor knows what colons and semi-colons are. I can confidently state that a taff bar is not a watering hole for Welshmen, and perhaps my helper now knows that a semi-colon is not found in the human body.

The rest of the morning was sunny and mild. I took a wander around the garden to investigate what has been happening there whilst I have been holed up inside.Snowdrops

The whole plot was now carpeted with snowdrops that had just been poking through the soil three weeks ago.Hellebore

A very large variety of hellebores hang their heads everywhere.Camellia

All the camellias, including some darker varieties than earlier were now sporting blooms.Cyclamen

Winter flowering plants such as cyclamens, pansies, and violas have thrived.

Ever since the first autumn fall, loosened leaves have fluttered in the wind, often initially taken for butterflies. Imagine my surprise when one careened past me and, settling on a gravel path, proved itself to be a very battle-scarred Red Admiral. The wings of this creature looked as if they had fed caterpillars once the nasturtiums had perished in the few days of frost.Red Admiral

So surprised was I that I looked up its life-span on Wikipedia, where I learned that it is possible for these members of the Lepidoptera to survive in the South of England during the period we have recently experienced.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s super sausage casserole (recipe), piquant cauliflower cheese (recipe), mashed potato, carrots and leaks. Sticky toffee pudding and custard was to follow. I finished the chianti and Jackie drank more of the zinfandel.

‘It Shouted At Me To Be Painted’

I spent the morning grappling with BT once more. Everything worked fine early on, but I had been advised to change the temporary password. As they made the call it seemed reasonable to ask for the representative to help me do it. Then BT rang me and the rot set in. After more than an hour I was without access on my iMac. I was told they were not trained in Mac so I should contact my local technician. I pointed out that a colleague of my adviser had managed the process yesterday, but had used a different path. I was told they were not trained in Mac so I should contact my local technician. Apple Care is closed on Sundays.Mole hills

We have signs of mole activity in the garden.Birds by Wendy de Salis

Before, on Barrie’s recommendation, making another trip to Woodgreen, Jackie hung her Wendy de Salis birds in their tree, the New Zealand hebe Koromiko.

We had intended to visit the Crafts Fair in Woodgreen Village Hall on our last trip, but ran out of time. Barrie’s comments about the murals in that building made it a necessity to return. Elizabeth drove us there and back.

Here is a reproduction of the leaflet we were given on arrival:Woodgreen Murals

You may need to zoom it to read it clearly.Woodgreen mural

Where appropriate, I have included indications of today’s activity against the walls painted more than eighty years ago.

The Flower Show:The Flower Show mural

Cider Pressing:Cider pressing mural

Salisbury Infirmary:Salisbury Infirmary mural

Poachers on Castle Hill:Poachers on Castle Hill mural

Village Team in Country Competition:Village Team in Country Competition

The Methodist Sunday School:The Methodist Sunday School mural

The Woodgreen Artists:The Woodgreen Artists mural

From here, we revisited Pete Gilbert’s studio, where Elizabeth popped in and bought a pastel painting.
North of Breamore we visited Ways Cottage at Woodfalls, where work by Kate Buttimer, Lucy Barclay, Ed Cheesman, and Nikki Sheppard was on display. Elizabeth was fascinated by Ed’s sculptural spotlights constructed from camera parts.
I was particularly struck by the pleasingly vibrant colours and striking compositions of Kate’s paintings, and mounted the stairs to see more of them on the next floor. Whilst thus engaged, I heard her on the landing in an animated discussion with a couple who also admired. Today’s title was an engaging phrase that had me joining in the conversation. Kate ButtimerThe painting in question, on Kate’s left, was one of several that had already intrigued me. The artist can be found on Facebook as Kate Buttimer Artist, and at katebuttimer.wordpress.com10429324_738740166162195_2291703006073332824_n
A photograph of our little discussion group, taken by Francesca Knitty Stout, has appeared on Kate’s Facebook page.
On our way home we stopped off at Waldrons at Brook where the work of 2002 Textile Artists was on display. I believe the number here must refer to the year, because there were only eight women exhibiting. Elizabeth bought four different sized small cloth purses with magnetic catches for Mum. They were just what she was looking for to contain notes and coins of different denominations for our nonagenarian parent who has failing eyesight and stiff fingers.
Altissimo rose stakeEarly this evening Elizabeth dragged me from my computer and urged me to photograph what she considered to be one of Jackie’s works of art. The two women had almost completely cleared one side of the kitchen garden, leaving an ‘Altissimo’ climbing rose requiring a new supporting post. She found a suitably typical piece formed from two previously cobbled together  different beams, and discovered that they fitted the metal holder whose previous occupant had rotted away.
This evening’s dinner was focussed on yesterday’s pork paprika, well matured and served with superbly crispy roast potatoes and toothsome runner beans. Bread and butter pudding with evap was to follow. Elizabeth and I finished the last two opened bottles of red and Jackie the white wine.

Getting Heated

Knowing I was once more going to have to grapple with BT this morning, I cheered my spirits by wandering round the garden and focussing on the cleared shrubbery alongside the dead-end path.

Japanese anemones, leycesteria, and a pink rose have come into view. The leycesteria had been choked by a hazelnut tree the nut of which a squirrel had probably buried in the wrong place and forgotten.

Because of the proliferation of sports in the myrtle I had been forced to be quite merciless in the pruning. It is therefore gratifying to see the shrub in bloom, and new shoots burgeoning. Jackie has planted a hardy fuchsia and a heuchera here, with a labelled vinca for eventual ground cover; and, a little further along, has covered the unsightly septic tank lid with various pots perched on a section of an IKEA wardrobe.
For the first two hours of the afternoon, my BT battle continued. The best report I can give is that, having satisfied the robot, I did not have to wait to speak to an adviser. I don’t think he is all that familiar with either Apple or Blackberry. However, the poor man did his best. When I had tried to access e-mails on the iMac I was shown a circular symbol with a wavy line inside it. This, I have learned, means e-mails cannot be accessed. I clicked on it and read that they were unobtainable because of the server being off-line. ‘Connection Doctor’ was one of the options I could select. I did, and was linked to a Yahoo site which wasn’t much use in providing a cure. That is why I had phoned BT. The auxiliary nurse to whom I was linked tried a number of avenues, but I don’t think he recognised the symbol I was describing. Eventually he guided me through opening a second account, which did, temporarily it transpired, receive e-mails.
He was even less successful with Blackberry, and I told him I would try to resolve that one myself. I had a bit of a rest, then felt brave enough to tackle the Blackberry. It was, after all, Blackberry whose message provided me on 11th of my first inkling that there was anything wrong. Instructions were given as to how to verify the account. The option of using the device was exactly the same as the BT adviser had tried. The other option was the on-line version. I tried that, but was told I was giving the wrong password. I tried the ‘forgotten password’ option, which meant they would send it to me by e-mail…………………… I think you know what comes next.
A call to O2 furnished me with the password, but I still couldn’t do anything with it. Never mind, I thought, Apple doesn’t really need anything with it, if it is suitably cooked. It was then that I found that the Apple had gone off the boil. I now had three accounts showing; two with the wavy lines, and one indicating that I had a new message. But when I clicked on that no message came up.
It was now time to telephone Apple Care. Paul, when he heard what was on my screen, and even more when he saw it, described it as a mess. Apple have an interesting way of helping whilst viewing your screen. Instead of taking your screen over, as do BT, they have a red arrow with which they indicate what they want you to click on.
‘What have they done?’ was what he needed to discover. But first he had to erase it all and start again. He then got me up and running, hopefully, this time, permanently.
The process employed by Apple’s Paul, puts me in mind of the tale of the unprepossessing pins, recounted by Bill Eales many years ago. As I recall, the unfortunate owner of these legs, on entering a classroom, was asked where he got them, and told to ‘rub ’em out and do ’em again’. Maybe it was apocryphal.

Whilst I was becoming gradually more heated in the cool of the sitting room, Jackie was attempting to keep cool in the heat of the bottom of the garden, the sun reflecting off the concrete, where she continued her transformation of that area.
We dined this evening at Daniels (sic) Fish and Chip restaurant in Highcliffe. The food was very fresh and crispy and the service excellent. We both had cod. Jackie supplemented hers with onion rings. My choice was calumari. She drank diet Pepsi and I drank tea.
One of the e-mails I did receive when we returned home was from BT, promising a month’s free broadband.

The Swinging Sixties

This morning I began reading Jacques Suffel’s preface to Gustave Flaubert’s timeless novel ‘Madame Bovary’. This introduction seems to be doing a good job of putting the work into historical and social context. Hopefully, having read an English translation should help me with this original version.
This was another day of steady rain, so I decided to scan some ‘posterity’ pictures. Just one colour slide took approximately three hours. When I turned on my iMac a big grey box with a large X in the middle of it on the screen prompted me to download what I soon realised – or at least hoped – was a new operating system called, of all things ‘Mavericks’. Being an American organisation I suspect Apple were thinking of unbranded calves rather than independent-minded persons. They must have run out of wildcats which is what all the previous systems’ names were.
I was informed that the download would take 51 minutes. Fortunately much of this time was taken up by a welcome phone call from Sam in Perth. I will leave him to update friends and family with his own news.
The system was downloaded successfully. This involved a change of the previous galaxy photograph as wallpaper to what could loosely be described as sweeping waves. I suppose I’ll become accustomed to it.
I was now able to start on my scanning. Not. A box told me my Epson Perfection V750 PRO had quit unexpectedly and prompted me to try again. And again. And again. Probably ad infinitum if I hadn’t decided to call a halt and ring Apple Care
Naturally I was answered by a machine operated by my voice. She and I had some difficulty. Maybe it was the questions delivered in a broad Scots accent. Yes, an American system with the diction of those living north of the English border.  Perhaps my London speech was the problem. We got there in the end and I was at last in a very short queue to speak to a real live person. Whilst waiting I had the pleasure of listening to Johnny Cash singing ‘Ring of Fire’ – by far my favourite ever bit of holding music. After Johnny came something weird. But, as I said, it wasn’t a long wait.
Carolyn, another Celt, was a very helpful adviser. We established, as I thought, that Mavericks was the problem. It didn’t know I had a scanner that its predecessor had been quite happy with. In fact it stated that I didn’t have one, which I thought rather presumptuous of it. My helper sent me an e-mail with details of a link via Apple to Epson’s web pages. I tried it. Epson didn’t seem to know about my new Mavericks. I fiddled around in their system for a while then returned to Apple Care.
Carolyn had left clear information and James was able to pick up the story. I think he knew a bit more about Epson and sent me another link direct to that company. I needed, apparently, to download new software – the type that can recognise independent minded people. It was done successfully, although it took some time.
James clarified a puzzle for me. The problem with the first link had been that it provided a (very long) list of software that would be automatically downloaded by Apple if we used ‘Software Update’. I had done so and nothing happened. James said that was because the list was for hard drives and I needed software. Aaaaaarrrgh.
Anyway, before we set off to New Milton and Bashley I scanned my slide and put it into iPhoto.
Not so fast.
I had to update iPhoto first. But I managed that.
I have written so often about driving through deluges over the last couple of years, that I will not risk repetition. I will just say that the clatter of rain on the car’s external surfaces, and the whoosh of spray sent up by our wheels every time we went in for water-skiing drowned out all the other normal motoring sounds, such as the sweep and grind of the windscreen wipers.
Setting off in mid afternoon for a trip to a bank and a farm shop is not usually to be recommended. The bonus of the weather was that both establishments were virtually deserted. I was in and out of the bank before Jackie, having dropped me off, had returned from parking the car;Cheese and piesFerndene vegetable racksJackie studying meat shelvesSausagesand I was able to photograph the shelves of the Ferndene Farm shop. Previously I have been inhibited from producing a camera and potentially photographing crowds who wouldn’t like it. That was not a problem today.
Jackie Carnaby St 6.67Once we were home again I was able to return to ‘posterity’. Carnaby Street in July 1967, where I took a photograph of Jackie in the entrance to a closed clothes shop, was at the centre of the universe. It was Hwhere all the world came to buy their garments so they could be part of the London scene in that swinging decade. We didn’t have the money for such extravagance so we had a look one evening just to say we’d been there.
John Stephen had a shop in the street, where this tie, dating from 1966, was bought in the year Jackie leant against the wrought iron. I wonder whether Mick O’Neill has one like it in his superb collection.
In July 1967, ‘Ha Ha Said The Clown’, an earlier hit in the UK, was number one in Germany for Manfred Mann, in which band Tom McGuinness played from 1964 – 1969.  Did he, I wonder – top right in the picture – buy his outfit in Carnaby Street?
This evening, ‘once more unto the’ storm did Jackie drive. This time to Ringwood for dinner at the Curry Garden, which was very full. I enjoyed lamb hatkora with a plain nan; Jackie chose prawn korma with pilau rice. We shared a sag paneer and both drank Kingfisher. Afterwards Jackie ate Walls ice cream with chocolate sauce and I had a pistachio kulfi. It was still raining as we drove back along the A31.

Past It At Six

It was such a grey day that I did not fancy a walk.  Not only that, but I’ve done quite a lot in the last couple of days and considered I’d earned a rest.  So we went to Hedge End for yet more strip lighting, and dropped in on Elizabeth. Rose buds 1.13

She wants to use some of my photographs for her web site.  We discussed possibilities.  Jackie watered some of the plants in the greenhouse and I wandered round the garden enjoying signs of post-winter life. Berberis Darwinii 3.13 Roses and shrubs are budding and some of the latter even beginning to bloom.  We were particularly pleased with the winter flowering rhododendron that we planted last autumn in a newly created bed.  The one drawback with this is that what was thought to be yellow and scented is actually pale pink and lacking an aroma. Rhododendron 1.13 Elizabeth thought she may have picked up the wrong one in the garden centre.

After this we visited Mum who has a chest infection and hasn’t been at all well.  Not wishing to disturb her if she was asleep, and being unable to remember the code for the keysafe, which allows people access to her house when she can’t get to the door, I rang the bell very tentatively.  There was no reply.  We peeped through the kitchen window.  Fortunately the door to the living room was open and we could see Mum’s slippered feet resting on her pouffe.  We could also see the television screen which had writing on it, but no moving pictures.  She must be asleep.  Craning to one side, Jackie spotted a movement.  Mum was doing her cross-stitch.  So I rang the doorbell again.

My mother apologised for not answering the bell.  She had been feeling less well yesterday and had struggled to the door to be greeted by an electioneering canvasser.  Thinking that if there was one there were likely to be more, she put up a notice saying she could not come to the door for political discussions.  She removed it this morning but thought that maybe we were another such visitor.  I said I was glad to hear that was the reason, because until we saw her twitch when we could see her feet through the kitchen window with an unchanging television screen , we thought she had popped her clogs.  Mum had a good laugh at this and didn’t even cough.  She had been listening to the radio through the television.  Far too up to the minute for me.

I’m sure this nonagenerian would have more success with a computer than I do.  I have written before about the problems with setting up my i-Mac, in particular my inability to upload photos direct from my camera.  With an unaccustomed burst of optimism I decided to get down to the business of upgrading my machine.  Trawling around the Apple on-line information I learned that what I needed was a Mountain Lion.  But before I could even think of obtaining one of those dubious pets I needed a Snow Leopard.  Whoever named the Berberis Darwinii photographed above would probably understand Apple’s system of evolution.

But, hold on a minute, no Mac purchased before 2007, can accommodate a wild cat.  I needed to check my operating system.  Non-vintage operating systems are all named after these beautiful endangered species.  Not only endangered, they are dying out, and needing replacement, at an alarming rate.  There were helpful instructions as to how to discover your operating system.  My computer was purchased in 2006, so it is not even powered by a moggie kitten.

The time had come for me to give up trying to find my way through the on-line maze, so I telephoned Apple and, after the usual false starts because I couldn’t give the robot the right answers, I spoke to a very helpful man named John.  One of the false starts was Jackie’s fault.  Just as the machine I was being questioned by asked me something to which the answer was definitely not ‘No’, she called me from the kitchen asking if I’d like some coffee, which I didn’t.  And I don’t think the young woman with the tinny voice is programmed to accept ‘thank you’.

John, of course, confirmed what I had come to realise.  I cannot upgrade my Apple.  And new i-Macs don’t have a slot for discs, which is what I need to upload the system for transferring pictures from my little Canon.  Maybe I would be able to do that another way, but I’ve had enough head banging for one day.  When I had told John the identifying number of my non-zoological operating system, he had taken a sharp intake of breath.  During the conversation he told me that my six year old machine was classified as ‘Vintage’.  Had it been another year older it would have been ‘Obsolete’.  ‘Vintage’ starts at five.  The term when given to wine might be considered positive.  Not with computers.

In the evening Jackie drove us to Totton where we enjoyed fish and chips with tea for me and coffee for her at Goodies.  Episode 5 of ‘Call the Midwife’ was for afters when we got home.