The Tablet

Sorry, couldn’t find time to post anything yesterday (Wednesday). It was very busy here.

The day started with rain again, so I settled down to sort out my insurance claim for the holiday in the Channel islands. My insurance company had emailed with requests for yet more documents and details, and a declaration for the claim.

This time I had to send the information off as a letter. It took me most of the morning to make copies of documents, scan electronic documents, and ringing the travel agent for the official cancellation invoice.

Anyway, by 11:30 the letter was ready, and we went for an early walk around the site, and putting the letter in a little outgoing post basket at reception.

After the walk it was lunchtime. We had a salad, and after watching Bargain Hunt, the news came on, and I fell asleep.

BING BONG‘, the doorbell woke me very suddenly.

I staggered to the door, and there was a man with a parcel for me. It was my tablet!

Initially I avoided doing anything with it beyond putting it on charge.

I returned to watching the news, and completed the first set of my mind puzzles.

My concentration was interrupted by the phone ringing. It was a lady from Retirement Villages asking if we were both well, or if we needed anything. It is a good idea to contact us every few days, especially at the moment when they are trying hard to keep on top of anyone feeling unwell.

By 2:00 I was sitting with my laptop powered up, plus old and new tablets covering the dining table. It was time to begin the transfer of data to the new tablet, and loading all the ‘apps’ that I am used to.

My new tablet is from a different manufacturer, and hence the way it works is slightly different, and the way it stores data is proving confusing.

BUT, it does do what I want it to do, unlike the first new one I ordered.

And, it is very fast!

I stared at the various displays for quite a while, and my eyes were tired by the time I gave up for the day. I relaxed in a lovely bath for a while, and meditated … with a bit of dozing mixed in.

The evening was mainly catching up on various TV programmes we had recorded recently, and a shared a rather nice bottle of Shiraz.


So on to today.

Happy birthday to Captain Tom – thanks for your amazing money raising.

It was raining to begin with, but as we approach 10:00, the sun is shining through the gaps in the grey clouds.

The tablet was working perfectly, and I am happy with my purchase.

Of course there was a break from using it, while it did some updates. I now have to order a protective cover, but that won’t be too expensive.

Oh, its raining again, and the room has gone very dark.

Plans for today are to add a few more apps to the new tablet, try and get copies of all my books onto it, plus any other frequently used bits and pieces. I also want to write a few more pages of my book. I have managed to get to about four years into my time at Goonhilly. Each time I remember doing something from nearly 50 years ago, my mind pulls back the pictures of the wonderful people I spent so much time with. Those memories then trigger off yet more moments that filled my life in the 1970s. That decade was without a doubt the period of my life when I changed from a obnoxious teenager into far more acceptable human being.

I am listening to Radio Cornwall and the DJ (David White) is playing songs from today’s mystery year. I love the older music, but rarely guess the year correctly. This morning however there is a slight clue with the music coming from the moment I am now writing about in my book.

1974

Wonderful songs:
Queen – Seven Seas of Rye
Wings – Jet
Stevie Wonder – He’s Misstra Know it all

Not so wonderful:
Bay City Rollers – Shang-a-lang

Ah well, tunes in the head all day now.

Time for coffee, so that all for now

Look after yourselves

It is Raining

Tuesday morning and we woke to find it was raining. This is the first real ran for some time, and has freshened up the tree, and probably done wonders for the dandilions as well.

I had an awful sleep. Sometimes there is no reason, and I was cold, then hot, and then my legs ached, and there was no obvious cause for my discomfort. Hence I could have cheerfully gone back to sleep after bringing down Deb a cup of tea.

I didn’t, of course … well not for very long.

My tablet did not arrive yesterday evening, but Amazon did add a note to the order to say they were aware of the delay, and I can expect my parcel by 30th April.

So with nothing else to amuse me, I decided to annoy BT and ask why my mobile phone signal improver is not working.

It took quite a while to get hold of the correct person, and then a delay while he brewed up a magic potion to put things right. Well, after hanging on the line for about 20 minutes, he said that the box is now registered to this address, and the flashing green light should become solid green soon.

As he was saying this, I saw the flashing stop, and my mobile now has a full strength signal. It is not so important for us to use it to call people, but it is used as the usual security ‘One Time Password‘ system.

It was time for coffee and cake.

There was also the minute silence for our fallen heroes, to remind us how much all the care people in hospitals and care homes have given as they look after those with the virus.

After that, Deb set up her laptop and projector to sketch one of the photographs she intends painting. I look forward to her artistic talents over the coming days.

There was slight confusion this lunchtime when Bargain Hunt started early, and I missed a chunk of it. It didn’t spoil my viewing, and they lost big money.

With no news about my delivery, Deb and I went for a walk. The rain has stopped and the sun came out as we strolled along the familiar route.

I have no more news for today, but I will leave you with a little poem, that one of the resident (Valerie) discovered. I am not sure who actually wrote it, but the words sum up what is happening.

I’ll tell you a tale that’s been recently written
Of a powerful army, so Great it saved Britain.
They didn’t have bombs, and they didn’t have planes,
They fought with their hearts and they fought with their brains.

They didn’t have bullets. Armed just with a mask
We sent them to war with just one simple task:
To show us the way, to lead and inspire us,
To protect us from harm and fight off the virus.

It couldn’t be stopped by our bullet-proof vests –
An invisible enemy invaded our chests.
So we called on our weapons, our soldiers in blue:
“All doctors and nurses – your country needs you”.

We clapped on our streets, hearts bursting with pride,
As they went off to war while we stayed inside.
They leapt from the trenches and didn’t think twice.
Some never came back. The ultimate price.

So tired and so weary, yet still they fought on,
As the virus was beaten and the battle was won.
And so many of us owe so much to so few –
The brave and the bold: our Heroes in Blue.

So let’s line the streets and remember our debt.
We love you. Our heroes.
Lest we forget.

Look after yourselves everyone.

What day is it?

It is very disconcerting as I wake each morning, and have to think what day it is. Being in strict site lockdown , it doesn’t really matter if it is a Saturday , Sunday, or Wednesday, but it is confusing.

Anyway, Monday arrived with thick cloud, and no suggestion of the sun coming out. It is cooler than those lovely days of last week, but at least the wind has joined the sunshine, and gone elsewhere.

The day started with our usual look through the online paper, then Facebook and the various supermarket sites. We are OK with our groceries this week, and next, but still searching for a vacant slot from then onwards.

My tablet has not shown up yet, and although the Amazon web site says it will be delivered today, I am getting twitchy that there is a delay. The usually accurate online package tracker still has my parcel in ‘despatched’ state, rather then ‘in delivery’.

I can’t do anything until after this evenings 8:00 cut off time.

With papers etc completed, I booted up the laptop and had a go at another chapter of ‘A Cornishman and his Goonhilly Days‘. I have managed to get some enthusiasm over the last week to get on with it, and now that the warmth has gone for a while, I have no excuse to avoid it.

After a healthy lunch of salad, plus a sad side order of ‘Bargain Hunt’, I did the first of my daily mind exercise puzzles. This would normally have been followed by a walk around the site, but with a possible delivery, Deb went first, and then I had my turn around Roseland Parc.

On the way back, I saw the site manager, and he suggested there might be a change in the lockdown regime very soon. They have imposed it for 14 days since the last case was discovered on site, and as it stands today (touch wood) things are looking good. All of the normal staff have now returned after forced isolation, and the end of the week could be the finishing line, and we can go back to normal …. lockdown.

Meanwhile Deb is studying a picture she took yesterday of a possible subject for a painting. She has not taken to the paints for some time, but perhaps this could see her back at it again.

She took the photo, along with a few others, on Sunday afternoon’s walk. Many were of possible painting subjects, but a few were to humour me with my liking for flowers.

Just some of the bluebells and wild garlic
The crochet lawn and pavilion

I hope you enjoy a little taster of the site. These photos may well disappear to save space later.

Have a nice day everyone

Saturday

As I went to bed last night, I thought back to the time when we could drive into Truro’s Park and Ride car park on a Saturday morning, and take a bus into the city. This was our regular outing on a Saturday, and it was rarely to do anything in particular, just a chance of a walk around the busy streets, and possibly have a cup of coffee. Sometimes there are things on our shopping list, but often we simply wandered and looked in some of the shops for inspiration. Before returning home, we might pop into Marks and Spencer to look for the pies we enjoy, and they could be the only things in our shopping bags.

It was just a habit to go into the city, but it is a habit I miss, and have not grown out of.

Anyway, it was cloudy this morning, and noticeably cooler than the previous days. The sun stayed at home, and we stayed indoors for the morning.

I had one job to do, and that was to fill my weekly pill pots with the pills and potions. That took half an hour, and made me remember pills from the past, that used to come loose in a little glass bottle. There was no need to have to pop each individual pill out of a plasticised wrapper, and I doubt this packaging has had any affect on reducing people taking overdoses.

Following that I spent half an hour writing some more of my book, and then prepared my spreadsheets for the new month to come this week.

Our daughter Lynsey rang to make sure we are both OK, and we caught up with their Lock Down adventures. They seem to be coping quite well, but do have the advantage of a grassy play area near by to exercise our grandson.

By lunchtime I was struggling to think of something to do. So I turned on the television, and looked at the films I have recorded. I watched a Marilyn Monroe film for little more than a few minutes, and got bored by it. I will try that again when there is nothing else.

Next I tried to watch live TV and the film ‘Oliver’ but decided the plot was too familiar to continue – as much as I have always enjoyed it. Back to the recordings again, and started a film called Young Sherlock Holmes. I managed two sections of it, but called a halt at the second advert break.

I turned to my online paper and did the first of my daily puzzles.

It was time for a walk now, and we set off to count the tadpoles again. The gardener was filling the pool system yesterday, and this may have disturbed the tadpoles, or they might just be hiding from the cold. Onwards, and Deb and I explored the larger ponds down in the valley where the gardener said there were more tadpoles. Sadly, with the risk that the water poses, the area has not been cleared of brambles, and the edges of the pools are impossible to get to.

I think as the summer continues, I might be attempting to clear a path to the water’s edge. I like water, and love just sitting looking at it, and the insects that live there.

We are back home now, and Deb has been preparing dinner, and making some bread. We are having shepherd’s pie tonight, and hopefully some fresh bread for supper with our glasses of wine.

Still no sign of my new tablet yet. Looks like it will be here on Monday.

I think it is time to return to the films, or maybe episode 17 of Spooks.

Friday 24th April

It has been another lovely day with sunshine, and almost no wind on the balcony. After a leisurely wake up, I was soon outside in the warmth, listening to the early morning birds saying hello. The closest trees now have obvious leaves rather then the little buds, and across the valley the bigger trees are starting to make a green canopy instead of the woody skeletons of winter.

I did have breaks to check the internet for any news on the delivery of the new tablet, but it still suggests anything from today until Monday. I also checked the Argos site to see if there is any way I can report my watch as being faulty. Clearly not, unless I write a letter.

It was time to listen to music again, and today it was from the band ‘Free’ that delighted me many decades ago after their iconic record called ‘All Right Now’.

Just before 11:00 several of the residents appeared on the balconies, or walked along the grass pathway down below us. This had been organised secretly, and it was to sing Happy Birthday to Jill who lives just a few apartments away. It was a lovely gesture during these strange times, and I hope it made her happy.

After a lunch of croissants, I did my online brain teasers, and then we set off for a walk around the site. We began by checking that the tadpoles in the ponds were OK, and then inspected the usual pathways and flower beds of the gardens. It is beautiful, and colourful, but it is not the same as a longer walk seeing animals, people, and different vistas.

When Deb and I returned to the apartment, she went onto the Wii for 45 minutes, and I wrote another chapter of my book. At this rate it will be next year before this one reaches the bookshelf.

Well, it is 3:00 and time for me to make some coffee, before I go and perform on the Wii. That will be followed by washing my hair. Goodness, it is so long, and needs continual washing. I dread to think what we will all look like when we can finally book an appointment with a hairdresser.

Stay safe everyone.

Warm and quiet day

Just a short update today, as the sun was very appealing.

Thursday began sunny and I was sitting on the balcony not long after 9:00. Initially there was a bit of high cloud masking the heat from the sun,but as the minutes went by, I could feel the temperature from the golden globe increasing. Then suddenly as I relaxed with my eyes closed, the heat struck, and as I looked upwards, the clouds had all melted away.

Deb soon joined me, and I plugged in my music to doze away the morning.

Just before lunch, the postman delivered a little package for me.

It was my new watch.

Although working and looking very nice, the strap was much too long, and it dangled precariously on my wrist.

After eating a healthy salad lunch, and having a walk around the site, I grabbed my tools to shorten the watch strap. I suppose I should be happy that my arms were thinner than anticipated by watch manufacturers, but annoyed that it took me almost an hour to remove the links, and join it all up again.

There was just time for a few more minutes in the sunshine before it disappeared over the roof.

Yesterday afternoon Deb and I both spent some time on the Wii torture machine, and tried out the new Wii Fit games. I didn’t actually need the machine to tell me I was overweight, but accept its suggestion to perhaps lose some weight.

Today I continued to discover how useless I am with these games. My atrocious balance made the slalom ski run a disaster, although the ski jump seems to be my forte.

I am still overweight,and my BMI is not good.

What does it know?

Almost time for dinner.

Wednesday 22nd April

When I got up this morning just before 7:30, I checked the three supermarkets I have registered with for deliveries. Just as I was about to give up on the last page of the third shop, I spotted a difference in the text, and found a slot for a fortnight today. I rushed down the stairs to our bedroom (yes it is an upside down apartment) and showed Deb.

She then spent the next 30 minutes sorting out a draft shopping list, as we sipped our tea, and chomped our pills.

We still have to find a source of groceries for the week to come.

The sun was glorious this morning, and the breeze wasn’t too apparent. I would be spending some time out there on the balcony, but first there was a little matter of responding to my travel insurance company, who wanted further details of our claim.

With that sorted, I decided to attempt a phone call about renewing the insurance for another year. Good gracious (or something similar) the phone was answered, and I could talk through with Saga about renewing. Before actually committing to the new policy, I asked if there was any good reason to renew when the likelihood of a holiday was miniscule at the present. His response was that after this Coronavirus situation is sorted out, the premiums are going to rise significantly to recoup the insurance company’s expected £200,000,000 loss.

To make it even less painful, the renewal premium was currently less than we paid last year.

Debit card quoted, and another job done.

It was time for coffee on the balcony in the sunshine.

I stayed there until after we had some lunch, except for a short break on the phone to the site manager about the company’s response to my moan about the lock-in. He may well have more news after today, as he has a meeting with the other Retirement Villages management. In the meantime he is prepared to go and collect an order from Sainsburys if we find a ‘Click and Collect’ slot.

After lunch, Deb and I set off on another exploration of the site. This included looking at an area that might make a suitable spot for some allotments. We had made a suggestion to the manager about this idea. We also inspected the three or four ponds that are hidden behind a forest of brambles. From a distance, they look rather inviting for a closer look, but that will require the gardener (Bob) to hack back the prickly barrier… and he is busy enough with the basics at the moment.

Deb is currently putting together the Wii machine connections to a balance box that has arrived from eBay.

Thank goodness for internet shopping.

My new tablet is on the way for the weekend, and I have a new watch coming about the same time. I will still have the original (new) one, but that can be packed away for return to Argos when they decide on a solution to returning faulty goods.

Now, what about a way of getting my hair cut!!

TIme to go back outside I think.

Sunny Monday

Is it three weeks or four?

I have lost track of just how long this has been going on now, but I think it is 28 days. To be honest there times when I don’t even know what day it is.

Anyway, it is Monday, and the sun is shining over the Roseland Peninsular. There is still a bit of a cool breeze, but not so bad as last week.

Yesterday was the first day of the 100% lockdown at our little retirement village. we spoke to a neighbour, and she is really angry that the company have insisted on such a very tight restriction. I went to talk to the site manager, and expressed my concerns that there is no way the under-70 year old residents can get a supermarket delivery, unless we sit on the various supermarket sites and constantly check for new slots.

Simon has said there is a meeting today (Monday) with the management teams around the country, and I suspect the subject will be raised.

In the meantime, Simon agreed that we could get our ‘click and collect’ shopping….this time.

So, Deb has just left to drive to Truro to pick up supplies for the week, but we are not sure yet how to deal with next week.

We had a walk around the site yesterday afternoon, and explored virtually every pathway we could find. It was only about two-thirds of our normal walk. we will have to do it twice to work up any cardio exercise.

This morning I have tried to find a video editing programme (or App) so that I can finish my historical video catalogue. This is proving difficult, as so many say they are free, and then surprise me with a bill to get any interesting features. Others give the price up-front, and others suggest they are totally free. I doubt free versions have the same features that I have been used to.

The reason I am doing this, is that my laptop runs windows 10 and my very expensive software from the past is not compatible.

As a quick catch up on other subjects:

My watch is still faulty, and Argos appear unable to let me send it back.

I know that my travel insurance company has read my claim for the Channel Islands holiday, but no response yet.

I still haven’t found a new tablet, but at least I have had the refund for the first one.

So far I have watched 11 episodes of ‘Spooks’ on the television. There are still a lot of episodes to go yet.

We also now have several films recorded to look at when the TV companies completely run out of new material to show. I am glad I am not a total sports nerd, as the thought of watching replays of football matches, or snooker from 20 years ago, makes me feel quite sick. I have also found a channel that shows really old films and TV shows.

The channel is called Talking Picture TV, and is on Freeview Ch 81

They show various material going back to the 1950s and 1960s, and I have completely forgotten the plots from then.

They even show Z Cars.

For those who have just had a moment of mind blank, Z Cars was one of the very first police soaps. It began as black and white, and evolved into ‘Softly Softly’ in colour.

One of the stars was Brian Blessed, and the theme tune is the one used by Everton FC to welcome the teams onto the field.

Well, Deb will be back very soon, so I will have to get ready to help bring the bags in.

Enjoy your day everyone.

Some good and some bad

It is another Saturday of lockdown, and the weather is not looking very nice. It is cloudy, cool, and there is a chilly wind.

I began the day by trying to get our money back for the holiday in the Channel Islands. After studying the options, my first move was seeing how to get it back from the credit card company. That looks to be very positive, but I thought I was would try the Travel Insurance idea first.

I attempted to make a phone call to the claims line, but a sweet American lady told me they were closed for the weekend.

Next attempt was to claim online, and half an hour later I had submitted a claim, and I now have to sit back and wait for their response. At least I have the credit card option to fall back on if necessary. Perhaps there will be a way to sort this out.

It was time for coffee by then.

Next we decided to go for a walk as it appeared to be at least dry.

Back from stretching our legs, there was some very bad news in a letter from the Retirement Village company. It appears that they have tightened their rules even further.

We are now not allowed to leave the village at all:

Not to have a walk

Not to go shopping

That was really bad news. The really bad bit is that we have no way of getting a shopping delivery slot, and we can’t even have a ‘pick and collect’ order, as we can’t get to the supermarket to collect it.

I think on Monday we will have to have a word with the site manager to confirm that these rules applies to us – and then cry for help to get food.

After lunch I settled down to forget the troubles, and watch another film I recorded recently.

It was ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ and it made me chuckle.

When it was finished, Deb went to play on the Wii and I decided to let you all know that we have joined the millions of others who just want this to end.

Stay safe.

Its Raining!

Friday morning and there is the gentle ‘pitter pattering‘ of rain on the windows.

I don’t actually remember any rain since we came home from our Norwegian cruise in the middle of March. Even this is not very heavy, and will produce little more than a sip of water for the parched earth.

Our daily walk will definitely be this afternoon, when the rain has stopped, and the pavements are dry again.

On my list of ‘things to do today‘ is waiting for a response from our travel insurance company, after I emailed them to see if I can claim for the Channel islands holiday next month. I spoke to the travel agent late in the afternoon, and she says that the policy of the company organising the holiday, is to cancel with NO refund, or they will issue a credit note for another holiday next year. That credit note, of course, will not increase to reflect any new holiday cost increase.

As we are not sure what we will want to do next year, I would prefer some sort of refund, even (painfully) if not for the full amount. Hence I have turned to my travel insurance. The travel agent said that most insurance companies would cover the cancelled holiday as it was booked while being covered by my policy.

As I mentioned, the phone system for the insurance company was not working, and my only option was an email. That could well be sitting in an account that might get looked at on an irregular basis.

Meanwhile I can continue with the video collection. My first DVD this morning was one I received to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Satellite Communications, and focussed on Goonhilly. I was seriously distracted as I glimpsed at it and found a gallery of the people who worked with me for 20 years. So many have gone. So many memories have been forgotten, but many more still exist in my head. Those pictures will help to remember moments when I return to writing my latest book.

Another disc from the box of ‘to do DVDs’ was one about the Penlee Lifeboat disaster. We recorded it from the television and was transferred to a DVD. Sadly two attempts to make it play failed. I hope I can make it work on another machine, as the film is so very special. I was on duty at Goonhilly on the evening it happened, and when I went home I was well ahead of most of Britain in knowing the lifeboat (Solomon Browne) had been lost.

This was one of the things about working at Goonhilly. We often saw video footage of disasters around the world. The loss of the Solomon Browne was very local news that happened just before Christmas in 1981, and one that really sucked on my tear ducts.

Another example of seeing news as it happened was the Challenger Space Shuttle that exploded just after it launched in January 1986. That was a moment when the people on duty in the control room (me included) watched the launch with little interest, until it suddenly exploded. Then we watched in silence at the live TV coverage. It was quite a few minutes before the British public knew what had happened.

There were some very good moments as well, but too many to mention here.

Hey, success, the Penlee Disaster DVD worked properly after a gentle rub of the disc with a magic finger.

I think its time to make a cup of coffee now.