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26 June 2017

Trying to persuade my computers to cooperate while doing final revision was interrupted last week. I’d posted two blog items and was about to add a third, when my pal rocketed in from next door in to say “Peter’s on fire!” assuming (rightly, thank heavens) that she meant the neighbour’s place and not the chap himself, I shot out after her to find that, yes, yes indeed, Peter’s WAS on fire. In fact I have rarely seen a place so throughly on fire. The house, various sheds, and stacks of salvaged timber, polystyrene panels, and other flamables was ablaze, flames reaching to 30-40 feet, and as we collected together and moved cautiously closer, there was a hollow boom, and the front shed fireballed. (Propane/gas cylinders was my bet – firefighters later agreed.)
About then the house roof fell in, planking was falling from the walls and blazing up, and only a few studs remained, they followed soon after however leaving nothing but the old chimney. Luckily the beautiful fluffy tortoiseshell stray cat he’d been feeding, being a cat and not that stupid, had removed herself to the barn, where she was extracted by local cat carers and taken to a safe place. Luckier still, Peter was away visiting family for a couple of weeks, but it’s not going to be fun for him dealing with the aftermath.
But it certainly enlivened my morning. Just a pity that one of my last Holmes books used a ‘fire plot,’ or I could have pinched that,

21 June 2017

when I was a teenager, the people I knew who died, did so mostly from accidents or the occasional suicide. In my 30s to 50s, it wa smostly from cancer. But this past twelve months it’s been heart attacks that are starting to thin the ranks of those I know. First there was that massive 7.8 quake last November, which gave my oldest friend (of fifty+ years) a heart attack – which, very happily, she survived.
But then a relative whom I’ve known for the last forty years had a heart attack and died virtually as he hit the ground. I have to say I’m not heartbroken, I knew him because we’re related but he wasn’t a friend.
And then, this week I had the news that a fan friend I’d known for close to 3o years had died in Canada. I don’t think there was a lot of hope from the start, but some prayed, some just hopeed or held good tbhoughts, but it was no use and now he’s gone. He was a crusty, contumacious, said-what-he-was-thinking no matter how much it offended some, sort of guy, but we liked him anyway, and I’ll miss him. He was a mainstay of fanzine fandom for many years, that was how I came to know him, back in the days when I pubbed my ish.
So ave atque vale, Rodney, may there be fans in heaven and a good fanzine system. And I know that at least, if there isn’t one of those there yet, there will be as soon as you’ve settled in and looked around. (As well as a lot of angels looking horrified.) We’ll miss you down here.

So my old computer began to die slowly. It’s a Comnpaq Presario and after only 6 years I’m not at all happy about that. If I pay what I did for that as a fridge or stove, I’d expect it to last 10-15 years, NOT SIX!
I get a new computer, an Acer, and after almost two months, NO ONE appears able to get it connected on-line. It has now been to THREE technical firms, the final one swore to me that they’d done it and it was now on-line, and guess what? It isn’t!!!
So, reluctently and with rage, I’m having to go from dail-up wbhich suited me fine, to broadband – which I didn’t want – and hope that will fix the problem, not that I’m holding my breath on that either. But what is it with computer companies. can’t they produce a computer that actually works off the shelf the way it should. Why am I buying the nmechine then havving to spend weeks and dollars to get it working? If that happened with almost any other technology there’s be a massive outcry, so why do we accept it with computers? And all I can say is, that’s two more brands I’m crossing off my list to ever buy again.