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.

St Jacques


Yesterday evening I continued my Prime Suspect fest with ‘Error of Judgement’. I had seen this one before, nevertheless, despite knowing the outcome, it was well worth a repeat viewing. Steven Mackintosh and Helen Mirren made the perfect protagonists. Both are brilliant actors and eminently watchable. As usual, the supporting cast and the production were excellent.

Door lockEntranceNavePavingLight from windowThe morning began in the same manner as the previous one. My task is almost complete.

I sat in the church of St Jacques, which I had photographed before, in happier Sigoules days, for a while, and conversed with God. This peaceful ancient place of worship alternates its services with other villages. Today it was the turn of Issegeac and Eymet.

St Jacques is the patron saint of the village.

Some time was later spent getting my head around transferring pictures from my camera to my laptop and managing to edit them and transfer them to the desktop for subsequent inclusion in posts. With Windows 8, I can assure you that this was no mean feat.

I dined on a well-filled Carrefour pizza, after which Prime Suspect ‘The Lost Witness’ and ‘The Last Act’ were my evening viewing.

Grandchild Duties

Becky and Flo arrived early this morning for Flo to have a ride on Poppy whilst Berry and I walked alongside.
First Flo had to perform grandchild duties. That is she had to help Grandpa get his head round his new HP computer. Specifically, how could he access his list of contacts and send the same change of address information to a number of friends and relatives.
Flo and Becky shared the diagnostic opinion that I was now on Windows 8 which was displayed very differently than my previous Windows Vista. Flo then took over the machine, made various adjustments, and created a presentation with which I was familiar, thus enabling me to access my e-mail addresses. Apparently I now have a different browser installed. This is Google Chrome, and, in case I forget, Flo has renamed Chrome as Internet. It was Becky who worked out how to send the multiple copies.
Becky then drove us up to Skymers where Berry now keeps her ponies.Becky, Flo & Poppy Poppy patiently allowed Berry and Flo to tack her up, whilst Becky made her acquaintance.
As Berry said, Flo and the pony have good trust in each other. The gentle steed obeyed all Flo’s silent instructions. Apparently had she felt insecure with her rider, she would have made that very clear.Flo, Berry & Poppy
Flo on PoppyFlo, Berry, Poppy & another ponyIt wasn’t long before the equestrian was free to go on ahead, occasionally stopping for the Flo on Poppy 2pedestrians. We traversed tracks through the sun-dappled woodlands to the west of Forest Road.
It was always interesting when we passed other forest ponies in the wild.
After lunch I watched the last ten minutes of England’s rugby victory over Italy. This was followed by the sad debacle of Wales thrashing a depleted Scotland side. Becky and Flo departed at half time, and I watched the second half. After I post this I will settle down to the last game of this year’s Six Nations tournament. This is between France and Ireland. The outcome will decide whether the championship is won by Ireland or England.
As soon as the match is over Jackie will drive us over to collect Bill and take him to an Irish quiz night at Ringwood. I will report on that tomorrow.