Stymied

Progress on the computer front has ground to a halt. Yesterday’s senior advisor had undertaken to telephone me to enquire about my reloading of Sierra.

He phoned just before lunch. When I told him I had managed to load one picture, very slowly, he decided I should insert an external hard drive onto which the entire contents of my iMac should be downloaded; and I didn’t take in what else; I told him I didn’t own an external gadget and lived too far away from a source to buy one today. ‘Don’t phone me, I’ll phone you’ was the essence of my additional phrasing. No way was I going to spend more hours on the phone on something that was likely to be beyond me.

What I didn’t know when I spoke to him was that I would be unable to load any more pictures, even at the rate of Aesop’s tortoise. When I discovered this I called a Peacock. Peacock Computers of Lymington, that is. Their James is to visit in an ambulance tomorrow, and take Mac off to hospital.

It seems it needs a heart transplant, in that the hard drive is likely to be on the blink. This was confirmed when I could send no more than five pictures by e-mail to my Windows laptop, and, later not even turn it off. Sometimes you need a good surgeon.

Not to worry. I could, after all, put the photos directly into the laptop from the cameras. Couldn’t I?

Well, no. You see, when you upload photos onto your computer, you have an option to delete them from the camera. That is what I always do. So they, like maggots, are trapped inside the Apple. Stymied.

At least I could add the e-mailed pictures. Ah, but. Hopefully coincidentally, the ‘attachment display settings’ on the sidebar in WordPress has disappeared. This means I can only put small or ‘standard’ pictures on, and they can’t be enlarged. I have sent a query to WordPress Happiness Engineers. It is a bit worrying that there is an unresolved forum thread about this problem.

Louisa and Emily 12.93

Here’s one I made earlier, in which Louisa holds Emily in one of the pictures I sent to my granddaughter two days ago. That will have to suffice for today, and act as a further taster for the earlier post.

This evening we dined on lamb and mint sausages, mashed potato, and crunchy carrots and runner beans; followed by Normandy apple tart and evap. I drank Collin-Bourriset Fleurie 2015.

Gnawing An Apple

This morning, I did a bit more lateral thinking about my computer problem. I did not really know whether my connection problem was a fault of WordPress or Apple. How could I be sure about this?

Well, with a stroke of genius, I determined that if I e-mailed a picture from the Mac to my Microsoft laptop I could attempt to load it from there. I did. It worked like a dream.

Aaron pruning cypress 2

Here is the result. It is Aaron up a ladder.

Somewhat strengthened by this I telephoned the Apple helpline. I really cannot bear to give a blow by blow account of the next four hours I spent on the telephone, resulting in my having to reload Sierra. This process occupied a further three hours after which I successfully uploaded one image, but it took ages.

That’s it. Enough gnawing for today.

There was only one thing to do. That was to return to The White Hart that we had discovered yesterday, for a meal. We did just that. I enjoyed such a plentiful steak meal that I couldn’t consider a dessert. I only regretted that I had not brought my camera with me. I had just about enough of dealing with pictures today, and I still have a lot to upload for yesterday’s post. Jackie’s choice was New Forest chicken followed by sticky toffee pudding and ice cream. She drank Becks and I drank Otter.

Resolution

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

I spent much of the day wrestling with the problem of uploading the photographs to yesterday’s post. There were still eight more to do by the time I went to bed.

I was constantly running out of time for the process, and receiving the message that the connection was lost. This is not particularly unusual, but the internet connection was not down. After many attempts with only three successes, instead of just having another go, I sat back and did some lateral thinking.

The lost connection, it seemed to me, may be between WordPress and my computer. It was as if I were being timed out.

Customarily I scan at a rather high resolution so that, if I wished, I could make large prints without pixellation, and similarly readers could enlarge images if required. This, as usual, on this occasion was 3200. Reducing it should reduce the time, so I tried 600. This loaded very quickly but did not permit much enlargement by readers. 2400 was partially successful, in that it was hit and miss as to whether I ran out of time. Eventually, I settled on 1200. It remains to be seen whether that will work with large prints, but at least readers can produce a decent enlargement.

Matthew 1985 res 1200

Here is a token picture from those to be found on the now complete version of https://derrickjknight.com/2016/10/07/boating-and-fishing/

Could this problem have anything to do with uploading Siri yesterday, I wonder? This seems to be a disembodied voice which invites a question from me. It frightens the bejabers out of me.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne with scrumptious savoury rice. She drank a mix of Hoegaarden and Bavaria, and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2012.

Before And After: Through To The Front

Although much better than I had been a couple of days ago, I was pretty washed out today, and spent much of it on the sofa.

Having, in the interests of producing something half-way reasonable, deferred setting out on this post until 6.00 p.m., I was unable to Access WordPress. I am not normally asked for my password, but this time I was. It was rejected. I was invited to choose another. I needed to enter a code that would be sent to me. I patiently waited for one. I received an e-mail containing a blue box saying Reset Password. I clicked on it. I got no further until I realised that my mobile phone in another room was receiving texts. Sure enough they had sent me a text. There were now two messages, each with a different number. I tried one. It didn’t work. So I tried the other one. That did. I put my usual password in. I was told I couldn’t use it because I had done so recently. I invented a new one. That worked.

As if my head wasn’t muzzy enough already.

Anyway, here goes with the next section of The Downton Garden story.

Apart from the removal of much of the encroaching ivy and lonicera, the front garden had very much played second fiddle to the back until February 2015.

Front garden

This is what it looked like on the morning of 24th February;

Front garden

and later in the day.

Although there were edging stones lining the bed outside the front of the house, there was no defined path on the other side. Everything was mixture of gravel and soil.

Front path

By 11th March, I had marked out an acceptable curve;

Cuttings on path

and a couple of days later, after a bit more forestry on our left hand side,

lined path at front 1

foraged around the back garden for suitable stone with which to line it.

Lonicera by patio

This, however, did not lead anywhere accessible. To the right of this photograph, taken on 26th June 2014, is a trellis, one of three which had been used to block the side gate, that  appeared to be firmly fixed.

Side gateCold Frame

Gravel path front garden

By the time we decided to build a cold frame to place around the side of the house, The blockage had to go. Aaron, on 13th September 2015, freed the gate. The post, of course, was the usual ramshackle affair, and our friend had to set another one. The frame was in situ on 27th, and three days later I had widened the narrow gravel path.

Jackie has completed planting in this garden, but I haven’t been outside to photograph it. Perhaps I will do so tomorrow.

This evening we dined on fish and chips. Jackie also had gherkins. My portion was not very large.

Yesterday’s Bread

Weak sunThis morning I took my usual walk to Milford on Sea and back. Above The Solent, a weak sun peeked through gaps in the clouds, while on the cliff top the ever-present hooded Hooded crowcrows trotted about.

In the nature reserve squirrels avoided the muddy footpaths by leaping across them from Bracket fungusOrange fungustree to tree. Bracket fungus on a tree by the stream supplied a convenient stepladder for wild life, while orange mushrooms brightened the leafy carpet beneath.

Bread and butterAs, at lunchtime, I tucked into lovely fresh bread, crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside, I marvelled at Jackie’s technique for keeping it in the condition in which it came off the supermarket shelf several days ago. She freezes it after each meal and defrosts it in readiness for the next. This is a method she learned as a carer of elderly women living alone in the 1970s. Most of her clients did have fridges and freezers, but they preferred their bread bins. The contents of these were invariably green with mould which was transferred to any new loaves that were added. Gradually, she managed to persuade some to use their modern technology.

Yesterday I wrote of the 1940s without washing machines. Life was hard for everyone in those post war days. Please do not imagine you can hear violins playing, that’s just how it was. Other white goods unavailable to the ordinary family at that time were fridges and freezers. My mother, however, had no need to preserve loaves that, with her growing family, stood no chance of surviving a day. In fact, she would send us to the baker’s to buy yesterday’s bread which was cheaper and, being less scrumptious, lasted longer. I seem to remember a figure of 4d. that we handed over for each purchase. That is four old Echo margarinepence, roughly equivalent, if my arithmetic is correct, to 2p. today.

The hot summer of 1947 was particularly problematic in keeping milk and butter from going off. Bottles of milk were kept in cold water in the kitchen sink. Butter simply became runny. I couldn’t bear that, so I would only eat Echo margarine, the single oily spread that was at all impervious to the heat. This, of course, is really only fit for cooking, and no way would I consider it today.

This evening Jackie drove us to The Red Lion at Milford on Sea where we dined with Giles and Jean. My meal was steak and ale pie followed by plum tart and custard. Jackie chose hunter’s chicken followed by treacle sponge and custard. She drank Peroni and I drank Spitfire. The food was good and the company easy and enjoyable.

It is still hit and miss whether or not we have internet access. Fortunately WordPress backs up and saves my work when the connection drops, otherwise I would be tearing my hair out when trying to produce and send my posts.

Digging

At 3 a.m. this morning, having woken up thinking about it, I tried the link suggested last evening by the WordPress advisor. It led me to clearing the Safari cache. This seemed rather frightening. I ‘[felt] the fear and [did] it anyway’. It worked. I was then able to reformat yesterday’s post with larger photographs.

Owls in the forest cheered me on.

Layered landscape

With another glorious day in the offing, I walked down to Seamans Corner, from which the layered landscape has always intrigued me, then took the Bull Lane loop.

Church bells rang out a fulsome melody, and small camera-shy birds filled the treetops with their bright and cheerful song.

DonkeysDonkey scratching

The trio of donkeys I had seen recently on Upper Drive were foraging in Seamans Lane. One, after nuzzling one of its companions, stopped feeding for a good scratch.

Further on, a pile of timber that was once a splendid tree was being burnt. A crane heaped it up and the flames were doing the rest. The small bonfire John had lit in our garden on 24th February still smouldered some days later, so I imagine this one will take a while to consume the remains.Horse on hilltop

A solitary horse was silhouetted on a hilltop.

Alan diggingAlanAlan and his wife Fran were beginning their spring work on their cottage garden opposite The Trusty Servant Inn. I had a long and convivial talk with this septuagenarian who greatly impressed me with the deep hole he had dug to take a new fencepost. Fran, who was cutting out a stubborn bramble from a rose hedge, quipped that she had the hard job.

Sandbagged ditchAn extensive ditch-digging operation is taking place in the most waterlogged areas of the road through Minstead. Deep trenches have been excavated to take the water that runs off the fields. Pipes, covered by sandbags, have been laid under the banks leading to farm entrances.

The whole of this lovely afternoon was spent on further moving administration. This time it was composing and printing a dozen business-type letters. Banks, pensions, utilities. That kind of stuff. Four hours on twelve similar letters? You might well ask.

Should anyone else consider purchasing a new and unfamiliar laptop without transferring data from the old one, at the same time as preparing for a house move, my advice would be not to even think about it. Firstly my correspondence folder containing all the necessary addresses was on the discarded Toshiba.Derrick Secondly the HP has a very different display. Thirdly, I couldn’t remember how to make a correspondence folder on the old machine, let alone the new one. Fourthly, sitting in an easy chair juggling with two different computers made for a certain amount of confusion over mice, and created an enhanced risk of tripping up. It wasn’t really reasonable to expect the mouse attached to the Toshiba to operate the HP, or vice versa. And one connecting cable stretched across your shins is fairly dicey. Two is positively careless.

Oh, and fifthly, some of these organisations were in France, so I was dealing with two languages. Sixthly, I had to remember to change references and account numbers each time I cut and pasted stuff.

Having managed to produce this vast collection and stick it in a folder labelled ‘correspondence’, I got to the really exciting stage. Printing.

This involved walking across the room, attaching the HP to the Canon printer, loading the paper, calling up each document in turn, and pressing Print. The first one took about an hour. I struggled with all the directions; icons; help sections; getting started; which printers could or couldn’t be supported by my new device, etc., etc. Eventually I found in ‘printers’ that my Canon didn’t seem to be connected. Then it dawned on me that I might have to load the original disc. Now where was it?

Eventually Jackie remembered seeing a couple of discs in the children’s bookshelves in the spare room. Well, of course. Where else would they be, but close to hand for the only people who might know what they were and what to do with them?

The disc was loaded and the job was soon completed. Unfortunately it was then too late to catch the last post.

But still in time for this one.

Red hot chilli con carne (recipe) with wild rice, peas, and sweetcorn furnished our dinner this evening. The heat was achieved by including six dried chillies I’d bought at least six years ago. From Jackie’s point of view, it was a good thing there was some natural yoghurt in the fridge. I drank some more Pomerol.

On A Mission 2

This morning I began the nightmare that is the administration attached to moving house. Most organisations prefer you to make the necessary arrangements on line, but I am of the generation that prefers to deal with real people. This is actually possible, but first of all you have to deal with a machine, You may use a keyboard, or in some cases speech, to answer the robot’s questions. At some point the mechanised voice will politely ask you to repeat either what you have said, or the number you have keyed in. If that happens more than once or twice over a particular point, you are advised to wait for an operator whilst you listen either to dubious music or advertising of the particular business’s services. If you are lucky you are told how many people are ahead of you in the queue or how long the delay may be.

Today’s experience wasn’t that difficult. It began with organising the removal service supplied by the admirable Globe removals who have moved us three times already. No problem. Once we passed the machine hoops, BT gave us a very friendly and efficient woman who sorted out the transfer of their equipment and account to be within four days of the move. Even New Forest Council had the decency to have their demands for council tax and consequent direct debits date from 1st April, to coincide nicely with our departure from Castle Malwood Lodge.

I’m bound to forget something, but at least I have made a start.

After lunch Jackie gave me a 90 minute start for a trip to just beyond Bolderwood. She then caught me up in the car and drove me to our destination and back. I walked to Emery Down by the usual route, turning right at The New Forest Inn. Had I not stopped in Minstead for a chat with Anne, I may well have reached our goal. As it was Jackie reached me just a mile from the Canadian Cross.

Peaty poolMy readers are more than acquainted with the huge corpses of forest trees and their crudely amputated limbs that littered this stretch of terrain. Pools of still water lay beside them. I suspect it was peat that lent its tincture to some of these glassy patches.

PonyA young and beautiful white pony ambled inquisitively across the dried bracken and  watched me walking past.

My Facebook friend, Barrie Haynes, who once lived in the area, had asked me about two maple trees planted either side of the Canadian Cross. Canadian Cross from leftCanadian Cross from rightJackie at Canadian CrossHe wanted to know how they were surviving, and I undertook to investigate. Rene FournierThe Cross is the centrepiece of the Memorial to Canadian Servicemen who lost their lives during the Second World War whilst contributing to the struggle, the outcome of which made my upbringing much safer than it may have been. Barrie wrote that ‘the story goes that two Canadians came back many years [after the memorial had first been erected], looking for the original  cross (which had rotted away). When the new cross was first set up, the maples either side were stolen’. They were subsequently replaced.

I am happy to report that the trees, although leafless at the moment, are thriving.

Please spare a thought for Rene Fournier and his compatriots.

This morning’s tussle with technology was a sweet dream compared to the nightmare that beset me when I began to draft the latter half of this post. iMac’s Safari would not load the page. The message they gave me was that the server had discontinued, probably because it was busy. I was to try again in a few minutes. I did so several times over the next hour. Then I had the first of my brilliant ideas. Perhaps it would work on Windows. It did. Oh joy. I could then write the text. But what about the photos? They were on the iMac. No longer on the camera so I couldn’t try to load them onto my HP laptop. I always delete them from the camera once I’ve put them on the computer.

Then I had my second brilliant idea. I could -mail the photos to myself, put them onto the HP desktop, and upload them to WordPess from there. I did send them successfully. But how, on my newest equipment, was I to transfer the pictures from the e-mails? I couldn’t fathom it.

But. Wait a minute. Do you feel brilliant idea number three coming on? I did. I still had my old Toshiba that Becky hasn’t yet collected. I knew how to do it on that. I thought. In fact I’d already forgotten, but I did manage it.

I couldn’t, however, do much with the image sizes, so I hope you will forgive me. In any case, I trust you will appreciate the effort that has gone into illustrating this post.

The superb bottle of Pomerol, La Croix Taillefer 2007, given to me by Shelly and Ron for Christmas, accompanying Jackie’s liver and bacon casserole (recipe), went some way to alleviating my suffering.

As did the WordPress support system. I had alerted them to my problem. Whilst I was completing this piece, David from WordPress came on to chat. He confirmed what I had been beginning to realise, which was it was an internet compatibility problem. He sent me a link which may help. I’m not up to pursuing this tonight. We’ll see what tomorrow may bring.

P.S. At 3 a.m. the next morning, waking up thinking about it, I rose from my bed and tried the link. It advised me to clear my Safari cache. This seemed a pretty scary thing to do. But I did it anyway. And. Blow me. It worked. The result is I have been able to reformat this page with larger photographs.