At the End of the Day

mefacebookWhen electronic technologies interact, it’s like a fifteen subject algebraic equation with seven unknowns: you could get to Alpha Centauri and back on a 350 cc Mod-boy’s antique scooter without solving the riddle.

The only sensible approach is to head for the garden and forget about it.


Yesterday, I awoke to find that two of my three pcs were telling me I was connected to the internet. It was very kind of them to grant me that wish, but the only problem was that they weren’t connected.

All the little flashing lights, action centres and message bars said they were, but they weren’t. These were the choices open to me when it came to consideration of where the gremlin might be:

  1. Me. I had done something silly, or forgotten to do something sensible. This is always my first port of call these days.
  2. As both pcs were made by Hewlett Packard, it was an HP problem. This made sense, as the third pc wasn’t telling me anything at all about internet access, but it did have it – and being a Lenovo, it was obviously not an HP.
  3. Orange landline supply. I have found in the past that Orange is prone to spats with other hitech companies, and when that happens, the customer almost always gets caught in the crossfire.
  4. Weather conditions. In the old days of analogue telly, it would’ve taken a Vesuvial eruption on the scale of that visited upon Pompeii to cock things up. In 2016, high winds, heavy rain and lurking dark-grey clouds alongside lightning flashes are enough to send digital technology screaming for its mummy and the safety of the nursery. And it had been blowing like billy-o with torrential rain during the night.
  5. I had missed an update.
  6. An update had missed my pcs. I mean, they have to travel a long way, and nobody’s perfect.
  7. In a bold but not entirely considered step, Hewlett Packard had decided unilaterally to do away with internet connection drivers.
  8. The Server was down.
  9. The router protocol had been changed, and only Lenovo had automatically made allowance for this.
  10. The router was having a hissy fit.
  11. The entire western World had been taken over by Facebook, and emergency powers had been invoked to foil any opposition: but being Chinese made, the Lenovo was immune.
  12. A very small, green Mexican troll with a grudge against Hewlett Packard’s HR bigotry had crept into both the HP pcs during the night, and sprayed them with guacamole-flavoured Tequila.
  13. None of the above.

You can probably tell here that these possibilities were in descending order of likelihood. Or so I thought, as with gritted teeth I went through system restores, update histories, phone calls to neighbours, driver status reports and umpteen other things until – eventually – I arrrived at Number 13.

Now I couldn’t believe the router was having a meltdown, because its little green lights were as steady as a rock. But in that very instant, I realised I had omitted every internet user’s Page One: “Have you tried switching it off and switching it on again?” So I applied this golden rule to the router….and everything went back to normal.

I don’t recall, during the Apollo 13 drama, anyone in Houston ever telling Jim Lovell to switch the heating system off and then on again. Lovell (who was infamous for his low opinion of Apollo cost accountants) would probably have uttered something along the lines of, “I’m driving a space capsule here, not a Goddamn funfair organ”. But almost half a century later, this is what hitech is about.

So I deserted hateful, half-arsed hitech for glorious gardening….and took these pics….


This little gem is Love in the Mist. Most people think it’s a weed, but in truth  it’s just a wild flower with ideas beyond its station. I think it’s exquisite.

poppymistsnip In the foreground here are Poppies with Love in the Mist behind them. This lot are growing on what was the subsoil dug out to contain the main house’s septic tank. The builders thought I was mad on two counts: 1. I said “dump the subsoil bit by bit so I can take the rocks out” – they now make up the pool rockery – and 2. “lay the soil out in a long hill at the bottom of the property for a wild flower reserve”. As well as my own planting, local crops have self-seeded here and there…


….and these too add the sort of gaudy colour that works really well in this light.

A woman arrived yesterday to chop down a couple of trees for me (listen they’re all Calamity Janes down here) and she gaped at the former clay and gravel heap.

“Wow,” she said, “Wow. Ain’t that pretty?”


It’s hawthorn blossom time at the moment. The smell of it always sends me straight back to my Lancashire childhood, because hawthorn was about the only bush-tree that could survive our winters beyond very sheltered garden spots.


It can be as wild as Lancashire here at times….and this has been a long cool winter and spring with some veritable Heathcliffe weather. But I have to fess up and say we never had sunsets like this Oop North. As I look at this shot, I can almost hear Tara’s Theme in the background….and the faint naivety of a doomed Confederate soldier exclaiming, “Wha Muss Scarlet, you dune stolen maaa harurtt”.

Writing about what comes naturally is so much more fun and satisfying than poking fun at Bloombergers and Remaindeers. But in the end, the problem is that – given half a chance – those idiots would remove everything natural: our ways of thinking, seeing and being; and our instinctive desire to root for the little plant able to grow in the worst soil and produce a blue beauty.

Have a great weekend

17 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Having fought off the likes of the ground elder and the couch grass, I am left only with the tenderer kind of weed, the fat hen and fumitories amongst others. The first makes a tasty soup, the second has flowers for my neighbour’s bees.

    So when you say “the problem is that – given half a chance – those idiots would remove everything natural: our ways of thinking, seeing and being; and our instinctive desire to root for the little plant able to grow in the worst soil and produce a blue beauty” – I wholeheartedly agree.

    The problem is that living in a flat which is a consistent 20 degrees, winter or summer, where if it’s dark outside, there’s a lightswitch – or if it’s too bright, there are the automatic sunshades. Getting to work is by car and it, much like the flat they live in, is automatically warm/cold or whatever is needed. Everywhere they go – with the exception of having to walk from the office to their car – is an even temperature. The only things that change are the pictures on the TV!

    In their world, lined with concrete, plaster or tarmac, there is some neat stuff called glyphosate for the weeds that creep through any cracks.


  2. My w/end has just commenced following a convoy of police and army vehicles carrying what seemed to be an explosive device away from Bath. Haven’t checked news yet to see if was actually it. Now not being a cynic or anything but Lansdown where bomb was found is a very expensive niche in the city and when the bomb was found the area was immediately evacuated. But I noticed this convoy was travelling through many built up areas to leave Bath but no-one was even forewarned. Perhaps it was ‘safe’ by then? Lovely pics JW enjoy le fini de le semaine.


  3. Heart felt conclusion John….. Your old school chum from 10cc could probably add a few chords to bring that ” Blue beauty ” to life.


  4. Wonderful, the pleasures of a garden are infinite and deeply satisfying, stimulating and pleasing all the senses.


  5. John

    Nice piece, I know exactly what you mean regards the ‘communications’ these days…and we’re supposed to become more reliant on the internet for our essential services?!

    I said to my lot here the other day that it’s becoming like we’re back with dial-up in the late 90’s. I remember the summer of 1998 in particular, during which time we seemed to have an almighty great thunderstorm every hour, on the hour. The internet ‘connection’ (I use the term loosely), was up and down like a fiddler’s elbow, the power too! Having a UPS became essential.

    Up until a couple of years back, our Orange ADSL connection had been rock solid, in fact, I’d been known to scoff at family and friends’ tales of woe regarding their ‘internet service’ in the UK. But no longer.

    As you say, any far off rumble of thunder, or a bit of a blow (mild for these parts) can simply cut our internet connection at a whim, mini power-outages too. Back to the future perhaps?

    It certainly is a lovely time of year. The birdsong (bit south of where you are), is really powerful this year, it’s a joy to sit and listen to the nightingales (four in our garden this morning) competing their hearts out. I’ve noticed that the stone curlew population has grown over the past few years, which is very heartening, they’re really quite noisy when I take the dog out around midnight. Such a plaintive cry.

    Regards Love-In-The-Mist (Nigella), my Mother gave us some seeds (it was her favourite flower) when we first moved down here, best part 25+ years ago, and they flourished. They flourished so well, that they now grow blue, pink and white along the chemins, where there were none before.


  6. Watching the Kings Speech. Seen it at the cinema but curiously it is better the second time – Film 4

    Sent from my iPad



  7. Nice to see pics JW especially the ‘love in the mist’ one. My Irish G/mother used to be on about that plant, & this is the very first time I’ve seen one. Made me a tad nostalgic. Is the tree to the right of the garden pic a eucalyptus?


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