No more, no less.
Today has been a day of purchases, joys and frustrations. Yesterday, my laptop died. Mon pauvre!
I bought this laptop in 2007 when I had money to burn and when I also had Basil, my venerable cat. The venerable (bulimic) cat threw up on my very expensive carpets, never on my kitchen floor. He threw up on my couch. And he threw up on my laptop. I took it to PC World and a man sucked his teeth when I showed him the cat-sick keys I’d tried to clean. It was relatively new but there was still no way I was cracking open that baby at PC World’s costs. He told me it would be an expensive job. I told him I’d buy a £7.99 USB cable and plug it in. So I did.
After that, the keyboard sat happily on top of the cat-sick keyboard and everything was fine. When I moved to France, Madame V bought me a azerty French keyboard, and so that’s always to hand as well. The touch pad was too far away so I plugged in a mouse. Adaptable I am. Still, I like my technology and it did feel a bit like giving an artist a packet of crayola when she usually paints watercolours. But I made do. I took as much software off as I could and kept everything on USB drives.
Last summer, though, it was getting full. I’ve got software I work on and with a paltry 16 GB hard drive it was not playing. 10 GB of stuff on a computer is nothing. Steve rescued some memory from another dead laptop and put that in, but then it got too hot. It was either freezing or over-heating. I messed with the internal fan temperature shut-off temperature but it had still had enough. I knew it was dying. I couldn’t run anything with sound or video on it. I used this here slow laptop on which I type right now for nothing but Skype for my lessons, and everything else on the cat-sick laptop. Slowly, each USB port died. This slow laptop doesn’t have a working CD drive, so between the two I could just about cope.
Down to one, and I’m basically in deep trouble.
Especially when that one can’t cope properly with even just Skype and nothing else. No Microsoft Office, no photos, no files, no Dropbox, no Adobe. Just Skype and a handful of anti-virus anti-spyware cleaning programmes. I’m a paranoid girl!
So, I took a breath and found one I liked. In the end, when I went in to Darty, having sized up the one I wanted, I asked if they had anything on offer under 400 euros. Yes, he said. They had this baby:
Well, it would be except the muppet who sold it me successfully removed the Darty Windows 8 stuff, but has left it without the discs to reinstall it. I can get no further than the log in screen which needs a password.
Now. I have an option. That is to get under what’s on there and install Windows XP. It’s not a guaranteed copy and let’s just say it might get messy. Do I really want to do that to this new treasure, so early in its life?
Unfortunately, I’ll be (attempting to) teach tomorrow online, cannot get back to Darty, which I cannot guarantee would be open anyway and so I’ll have to wait til Monday. I’ve got 1,000,000 and 1 things to do on Monday and I do not relish the thought of a 50 km round-trip to chastise some idiot for his inadequacy.
Tuesday is busy; Wednesday is hell. Thursday is mayhem; Friday… well, let’s just say if I have to wait a week to use a computer that functions in any kind of way that is better than the one on which I am currently typing, then I might explode.
It’s almost taken the fizz out of the best part of my day. Nay, my week. Perhaps even my year.
That is the happy event of Mme V and I visiting the Emmaus in Angouleme. This is a Catholic charity shop – only open on two days of the week for purchases. And when we pulled up, it was like hell on earth. The carpark was heaving. There were people everywhere. We were looking for nighties for my birthday party next week. Since I’m 40, I need old lady nylon.
It looked as if we would be disappointed. We found a room full of old fridges. We went into a room of cheap clothes – 1 euro for a kilo. We found several dressers and a shedload of skis. We found a hangar of old ornaments. We found a room full of table cloths. We found a room full of old 7 inch records by Nana Mouskouri. I thought we’d looked everywhere.
Then we hit the mother lode.
You wend your way in past old jigsaws with missing pieces. You pass old handbags and rows of shoes bound by elastic bands. You pass jumpers and trousers, salopettes and coats. Right at the back of this room, I smelled the heady whiff of clothes probably worn by dead people. Maddie, Mme V’s nine-year-old, broke out in hives.
“What’s making you itch?” we asked.
“Everything!” she said.
Not really surprised.
Anyway, in the very bowels of the bowels of the Emmaus, there were two rails of glorious nylon bed-wear. Nighties with every chance of setting fire to you as you sleep. Dressing gowns with fibres banned by science since the 1950s. It was a joy. It was also quite painful because we hadn’t been to the toilet, and as you may know, when you are 40, or almost, your control isn’t as good as it once was. I never laughed so much this year, except when we two went canoeing. That woman makes my face ache.
I tried to get some pictures, but there was a serious crowd in there. If you’ve seen the Sex and the City wedding dress scrap scene, it was like that, except with old people. Every gown we picked out was eagerly and jealously coveted by a woman hovering behind us. We’d put it down for seconds and her greedy little mitts would be all over it.
Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the surprise too much, but I wanted to flaunt a little of my nylon dressing gown. It’s electric blue and quilted. It is the business. We bought quite a few since there were five or six people needing one. I’m going to make a quilt out of them when we’re done with them. A commemorative quilt. How divine! When I’m 80, I’ll remember that day Mme V and I nearly wet ourselves in the Emmaus. I will have to tell you more about the Emmaus, because it was an unrivalled experience.
Heston barked at it. It’s that bad.
Anyway, having taken me three times as long to type as usual, I’m out of here. Thought it would be good to share! Enjoy!
And… if you don’t hear from me again, I’ve gone up in a spark of static.