This morning, the BT e-mail problem remained unresolved, so I went onto the website that I had received the text about yesterday. This was the update message:
‘We’d like to apologise for a technical problem that meant a minority of BT Mail customers weren’t able to access their email accounts in the past few days.
We’re in the process of restoring access to the affected email accounts and expect to have the service working again later today, so if you’re still unable to access your email account, please wait and try again later.
We’ll be contacting all customers who have been affected by this fault, but if you’d like to get in touch with us, you can use our online form, or email us
Once again, we’re very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused, and we appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the problem.’
Were I able to speak to a real BT administrator about this, I would ask why the first paragraph, when the problem still exists, features the past tense. I would also like to know what constitutes a minority. Brian Clough, the celebrated football manager of the 1970s     famously regarded himself as ‘in a minority of one’. Somehow, I imagine the minority into which BT have assigned me, is rather larger than that.
I suppose I should not be surprised that a twenty first century telephone company does not provide the facility of actual conversation with a management decision maker, or anyone who can explain what is going on. But to suggest that people who have, for days now, been frustrated by the inability to access their e-mails should send one to the above e-mail address seems crass and insensitive.
Once again I am left speculating that this whole problem has resulted from a divorce from Yahoo.
Jackie with table at EffordJust before lunch we took another trip to Efford Recycling Centre, ostensibly to dump more rubble and plastic. We certainly brought back considerably more plastic from the Sales Area than we had deposited. Jackie was delighted to find a large garden table, ideal for potting up plants.
A notice informs us that 86% of last months rubbish was recycled. The Sales Area is probably a recycling achievement that doesn’t feature in these figures.
This afternoon, I returned to the path behind the shrubbery alongside the garden of the empty house. Discovery of the blackbird’s nest containing incubating eggs had caused me to abandon it for a while. I confined myself to digging out various unwanted tree roots, and cutting one of our own shrubs down to size, before extending the IKEA wardrobe fence a bit more.
Whilst I was engaged in this, Jackie was having a switch around. Having now completely cleared the skip pile, making use of a number of its contents and dumping the rest, she was free to turn it into a potting area.Potting area The potting area had, until now, furnished by the butchers’ blocks, been situated under the pergola outside the library/utility room door. Jackie set up the Recycling Centre table, moved the butchers’ blocks in behind it;Pergola seating and supplied a couple of seats to create a new pergola seating area. Thus:
Someone’s garden table became Jackie’s potting centre; the now empty skip pile, some of the contents of which has become a fence, became its home; and the previous potting centre became a seating area.
Soon after 5 p.m. I logged on to the web link given in BT’s message. This carried a box saying the problem was solved, and if you were still unable to access e-mails you should clear your cache. A link for instructions on how to do that was provided. I did it. I still couldn’t reach my e-mails. So I reached for my phone. I rang the help line and waited twenty minutes for an adviser who discovered that my account had been locked because of my unsuccessful attempts to log on. After an hour of fiddling about with changing passwords and having them rejected, I was able to open my account. One of the rejected passwords, which had been accepted three days ago was said not to have the correct numbers of characters today. Clearing the cache meant I also lost my automatically recognised passwords for such as WordPress. I had to have three goes at that one before I could write this post. I still cannot access e-mails on either my Apple or my Blackberry. I think I am beginning to crumble. Aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhh.
With our spicy Bolognese sauce this evening we dined on penne pasta. Possibly Jackie wasn’t confident about my new expertise in spaghetti consumption. Penne’s easy. You can even dispense with the spoon, as you skewer the pasta by prodding the prongs of the fork through the tunnel in the middle. You can get two on the fork at a time. My lady drank Hoegaarden, and I had some more of the chianti.


This morning was wasted trying to access e-mails. Just two days after BT changed their system, possibly indicating a parting from Yahoo, I could log on to BT but not to my e-mails. After wrestling with the problem for far too long, I eventually gave up and phoned their help line. This was clearly inundated with similar issues. Having forged my way through the machine response, I had to wait half an hour to reach a real live, and very helpful, individual, who took over my screen and grappled with it for another half hour before acknowledging that BT had suffered an ‘outage’ which they were working on. I should be able to access my e-mails within 24 hours. When the system was changed I had to provide a new password. Today I had to produce another. Don’t they realise old fogeys have memory problems?
In the last few days, whilst I have been gallivanting, Jackie has, among numerous other Cleared back fenceFuchsias, petunias etctasks in the garden, virtually cleared the skip pile and completely eradicated the extraneous foliage from the back fence; embellished the area with hanging baskets; chopped up most of the branches into suitably sized pieces for the pyre; and transferred them to the site for burning. After I had posted yesterday’s entry, I completed this latter task.Petunias, violas, etc CosmosI look forward to the new embellishments developing into the maturity of those Jackie planted earlier.
KiwiThe Kiwi sculpture Michael and Heidi gave me for my birthday now perches alongside the patio.
This evening we dined at our neighbours The Royal Oak. I enjoyed my ham, eggs, chips and peas, as did Jackie her chicken wrapped in bacon and cheese. Her sweet was chocolate fudge cake and ice cream. My choice was apple crumble and custard. She drank Becks, while I drank Doom Bar.

If At First You Don’t Succeed

Malwood Farm underpass 3.13Yesterday’s rain was magnified today.  Looking out of our windows I thought the limited visibility was mist.  It was the deluge.  All vehicles on the A31 had headlights glowing, falling raindrops adding hazy coronas.  Undeterred, I walked the loop taking in the two underpasses.

Moss and leaves 3.13Pebbles on a beach revealed by a receding tide gain, until dried out, an enhanced depth of colour.  So it is with leaked petrol, as seen yesterday, and with leaves, lichen, and moss, not that these latter fruits of the forest have much chance of drying out at the moment.  Gravel in the beds of streams glistened invitingly.

Roads and footpaths were again flowing with water.  The uphill stretch of the A31 was a torrent.  Ducking to avoid dripping branches as I walked along its verges, simply meant that spray thrown up by lorry tyres hit my face a bit sooner.  The extra gusts of wind these vehicles created as they rushed past seemed more unsettling than usual.  My choice of route was beginning to seem a less than good idea.  However, to borrow from Magnus Magnusson’s ‘Mastermind’ catchphrase, I’d started so I would finish.

Once safely on the soggy heath I made my way to the Stoney Cross underpass.Pool on heath 3.13  One of the pony trails led to a fresh waterhole being rapidly and plentifully replenished.

In 1978, Denis Healey, Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, famously said of his friend and opposite number in the Conservative Shadow Cabinet that ‘part of his speech was like being savaged by a dead sheep’.  Geoffrey Howe was not dead, but he was certainly Wet in political parlance.  Wet sheep 3.13Seeing a wet sheep this morning attempting to gain some shelter, I thought of these two amicable rivals.

After lunch I attempted to start a new life with my new iMac.  The first step was to sort out a password problem with our Broadband.  We managed to get our Windows laptops connected to our Home Hub when we first arrived here, but now are often automatically connected to Wi Fi, requiring us to disconnect from that before connecting to the Hub. Recently the password has been rejected.  This did my head in because we had written it down.  Maybe we were looking in the wrong place.  So I rang BT and had the man take me through resetting the password, choosing the very same one as the old one for the replacement.  It worked.  When pressed, the adviser admitted that there had been an internal problem with BT Yahoo.  That annoyed me even more.

I then tried to get on the Internet with the new Apple machine, and kept being told I was inserting the wrong password.  So I rang the emergency support line which comes free for 90 days.  The technician confirmed that the password required was the BT one and not something specific to iMacs.  I put it in again.  Three times.  It was rejected.  Three times.  I couldn’t bear to go through the BT phone system again, and settled, for the time being, for the insecure Wi Fi route.  So I moved on to the second problem I had discovered.  The scroll bar for moving up and down the text of this post disappeared as soon as I looked at it.  This was a comparatively simple adjustment, so I was able to edit this document on my new toy.  But why does the M on the keyboard look exactly like an upside down W?  After a thoroughly frustrating afternoon, my head was already spinning enough.  I’d rather face any amount of dead sheep and savage terriers than go through that again. But I guess I’ll have to do so tomorrow.  Robert the Bruce learned from a spider that one must try, try, and try again.

My final effort today was to stick My Passport into the back of the computer and try to look at all the pictures I had transferred yesterday.  This needed all my willpower.  But, surprise, surprise, it was achieved in seconds.  2 Elizabeth’s set of ‘Derrick through the ages’, does not appear chronologically, but I have decided to leave it that way.  Today’s offering is from 1958. This was taken by Mick Copleston during one of our billiard sessions in his front room at the top end of Amity Grove.  Since he always won, I can’t think what I was looking so relaxed about.  Maybe I was just trying to look dreamy.

Speaking of relaxation, it is quite amazing how getting one process to work reduces the tightness around one’s head and lengthens the temper.

Feeling more optimistic, I decided to go for broke and transfer 1263 pictures direct from my camera Scandisc into iPhoto.  No problem.Slide show 3.13  As if this weren’t enough enough to lift the spirits we were able to watch a full-screen slideshow accompanied by gentle modern jazz music on a loop.  Magic.

Tomorrow is the grand rugbyfest day, which will be fully explained then, and for which Jackie has been preparing food since this morning.  It therefore seemed only right that I take her out for a meal this evening.  Her choice was Imperial China in Lyndhurst.  We enjoyed a marvellous and plentiful set meal, accompanied by  T’sing Tao beer in her case and a Georges du Beouf red wine in mine.

Have You Got An iPaD?

ImageRunning Hill was full of ponies as I set off to walk the ford ampersand on this crisp sun-kissed day.  Others, throughout the route, had begun their day-long quest for fodder.  In ‘Furzey Gardens road’ some half a dozen were lined up as if in a trough.   One was forced to turn its head to stay in frame.  They are reaching higher and higher for prickly greenery.  Sheep basking 1.13Sheep in a fold munched, basked, and idled away the morning.  The avian residents were very vociferous.  I recognised a blackbird in a hedge, and robins and pigeons flitting and flirting across the lanes of Minstead.

Close to the ford, opposite an aptly named house called ‘The Splash’, lies Minstead Study Centre. Minstead Study Centre 1.13 Taking the motorists’ warning sign literally, I have been calling this establishment a school.  On passing the centre and the nearby twig circle mentioned in posts of 4th, 26th, and 30th December 2012, I was reminded that Berry had clarified both the purpose of this educational facility and the source of the ‘pagan’ circular constructions.  The truth is far less mysterious than I had imagined.

The Study Centre is a forestry learning establishment for schools who send groups of children to discover the delights of the New Forest. Bare oak branches 1.13 I have, in fact, seen crocodiles of escorted children emerging from the forest track.  One of the exercises these young people are given is the creation of the circles.  So I am not likely to encounter ‘The Wicker Man’, from the 1973 British horror film, remade in America in 2006.

This afternoon wagtails wandered about our lawn.  When Sam phoned to give me an estimated time of arrival for him and Malachi, who are staying for a few days, Malachi asked to speak to me.  Sam passed him the phone.  This little chap, who is not four until March, began with ‘excuse me’.  He went on to tell me he had just seen a sign which said you could buy coffee.

Malachi 1.13When they arrived, Malachi, taking off his shoes, asked the question we had feared.  ‘Have you got an iPad?’.  We hadn’t of course.  Fortunately Sam had an iPhone.  This meant we were half way there.  We still had to access the internet.  Our old laptops were not adequate to download Malachi’s games.  The iPhone was, but we required a password to access our home hub.  Of course we couldn’t remember it.  Eventually, I remembered how to access BT wifi with Fon.  And we got Sam on.  I ask you, its enough to remember all these terms, without throwing passwords in as well.  Malachi was soon esconced on the sofa with a game he had downloaded. Sam & Malachi 1.13 With a little help from his Dad he played games of varying degrees of difficulty.

Jackie produce a delicious beef stew and bread and butter pudding.  Malachi drank milk.  Sam and I enjoyed Selexione Sangiovese Shiraz 2011, a rather nice Sicilian wine.  Malachi had to be persuaded to eat enough of his dinner before he was allowed to get back to his games.  After his bath I struggled to maintain his interest in my rendering of Winnie the Pooh.  My own son seemed more intrigued.