Saturday, 5 December 2009

Flat-pack furniture

The Ikea Vika Artur. A useful piece of kit. It is so much easier for me to lug around the trestles and table top separately than as one whole unit.

They take just five minutes to assemble.

And 45 minutes to find where R had hidden the Allen key.


Thursday, 3 December 2009

Two steps forward...

No sooner do I find my way back to the blog than British Telecom decides to pull the plug on me!

Yesterday afternoon my Internet connection just stopped working. The line itself was fine - I could get a dial tone - but the broadband had disappeared.

Here at the unfashionable end of the communication network this isn't an infrequent occurrence. My house happens to be right next to an exchange box, and often the problem is simply that an engineer working on it has thrown the wrong switch. On occasions, I have been able to rush outside and say something to the effect of, "Excuse me my good man, would you mind awfully giving me my broadband back", which generally has the desired effect.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to do this yesterday and as the job I am currently doing requires me to work on a remote server, and no Internet = no work, this could only mean one thing....
I would have to ring BT Customer Services.

Cue the Hammer House of Horror scream!

These phone calls go something like this:
Me: Hello, I think there is a fault on my line.
Customer Services: Oh I'm sorry to hear that, shall I test the line for you, Madam?
Me: You won't find a fault. I am ringing on the line. It is simply that my broadband has been switched off.
CS: I'll test it any way....[Tests line]... No Madam. Your line appears to be working fine.
Me: Yes, I know it's fine. But someone has switched off the broadband part.
CS: Oh, then you have come through to the wrong department, if it's a BT Broadband problem, you need to speak to them.
Me: No, I'm not a BT Broadband customer. You have just switched off the ADSL part of the service.
CS: If you're not a BT Broadband customer, then you really need to speak to your own Internet service provider.
Me: [Losing will to live] But the problem is with the line...

At one point in his career, R had worked on a help desk so he seemed to know the magic words or secret handshake that you need to move from the person in the call centre reading a script to the real techie person who can actually do something about your problem. Sadly he didn't get round to sharing it with me before he died, and I had a conversation along the lines of the one above last night.

By that time I was tired and exhausted from banging my head frustratedly against the wall and simply went to bed.

This morning I had a phone call from a neighbour who told me that everyone in the village had lost their broadband and that BT were working on it down at the exchange, but it would take another few hours to get it back.

So what did I do in those few hours?
I drove to Shrewsbury and bought myself a mobile dongle thingy so that next time it happens I can simply plug it in and keep working. So there, Mr BT. Who needs your silly part-time land line?


A propos of very little, as I was driving through town towards Shrewsbury this morning, I saw no few than 5 older gentlemen with large (natural) white bushy beards.
Do you think they might have been interviewing for a certain job...?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A new level

A couple of months ago I took what I thought was going to be a short blogging break.

There didn't seem to be a lot of point in announcing it as it was only supposed to be for a couple of weeks.
At the time I was rehearsing for a play - an 'entertainment' really - and assumed that I would get straight back to blogging when the rehearsals were over.

But something happened in the intervening period.
I don't know whether it was the intensity of the rehearsal process, or the fact that it allows you to make a fool of yourself in a safe environment, or just because it is darned good fun, but it was like a huge injection of life-giving vitamins.
I really rediscovered my 'normal'. The fun me, the person who gets involved because it is good to be out there with people.
I didn't realise how much I had missed her until I became reacquainted.

And my appreciation of R's death seems to have changed as well.
It seems weird to be saying after 15 months that I finally realise he is dead, but that is almost how it feels. I now know it in my heart as well as my head. It is bloody hard to type those words, but I know they are true.
This knowledge, this belief has opened up a door to another level. As in those old-fashioned platform games like Prince of Persia. A monumental leap to another rooftop has allowed me to escape some of the demons that have been dogging my tracks, leaving me lighter and able to run forward faster.
I don't know whether this is acceptance, or something close to it, but it does give a feeling of peace.

I still sigh and I still cry. I still have periods of total inertia when I can't get up from the sofa. I still talk to R in my head all day long. But I feel different.
I feel like me again. Not R's widow. Me.
My get up and go has come back from wherever it went. I'm starting to make plans again. I'm starting to think about what I want to do, rather than just getting through the days.

All this made me reluctant to come back to the blog. It felt as though it would break the spell somehow.
But a chance visit to the e-mail account that I use for my forays into the blogging world found an e-mail. A message from 2 months ago from someone who had visited this blog and had taken the time to write me a kind, generous and interesting reply. I felt a little shame-faced that this had gone unanswered for so long, and so dropped in here - only to find some more messages wondering where I was.

I am so sorry to have caused people to worry, however momentarily, so an update seemed in order. Now I have started to write again, I am remembering how good it made me feel to sort out issues in my head and transfer them to the screen. And my mind is full of things I want to say once more.
So I guess it looks as though I am back. For the next while at least.