Monday, 17 February 2014

The Blue Screen of Death

About ten days ago, when I opened up my computer, I was confronted by the Blue Screen of Death.
I quickly turned it off again, to give it a chance to pull itself together.
Computers are like that - what won't open one minute opens the next; it's as if they're still asleep, or have forgotten what page they're on. You sometimes just catch them on the back foot.
When I opened it again, alas it still hadn't woken up.
I turned it off and left it in the corner to ruminate on its misdeeds.
'The In-Charge will fix it,' I thought.

He tried, but nothing doing.
Death of a hard drive. 'It happens,' he said.
'But what about all my photos?' I wailed.
He wasn't totally sympathetic. 'I bought you an external hard drive for Christmas,' he said. 'And you should use Dropbox.'

I haven't had time to deal with the hard drive yet. I know it's now mid-February, but I was away, and there's been a lot to catch up with since then. And I don't know if I totally trust Dropbox.
There's something unsettling about the concept of my personal filing cabinet floating around in cloud-storage-space with lots of other filing cabinets. Who's to say it won't strike up unsuitable relationships right, left and centre, and share the innermost secrets of its soul? And with totally random, nosey people of dubious intent. Like that girl I loathed and detested at school, or that loud twit I'd cross the road to avoid, or the NSA.
I mean - you just don't know
After all, there's nothing else to do up there.

The In-Charge loves his Dropbox. He uses it all the time.
But then, the In-Charge would join the queue to go to the moon.
I asked him once. 'If all the chips were down,' I said, 'you know, blood pressure boiling over in the far-off Pentagon, someone's shaking finger approaching The Red Button, would you de-camp to the moon if it were possible?'
'Of course,' he replied.
He's a man of few words, by and large.

Decisive, but not wordy.

He likes screen Sci-Fi too.

I don't like Sci-Fi. Fantasy, yes - but move it into all space and you've lost me.
And I definitely wouldn't be in the queue for the moon.
I like my moon large, silver and romantically far away, preferably with the Evening Star in the same frame, a balmy breeze wafting by and a glass of something delicious in one hand.
Following that conversation, our extremely ancient wedding vows had to be retrospectively altered to accommodate this new position: 'Until death or the Red Button do us part'.

However, as usual, I digress.
Once the death of my laptop had been diagnosed, our friend, the GeekWizard very kindly came and looked at the lifeless corpse. He poked and prodded it and then opened it up and surgically removed the hard drive. You will not be surprised to learn that the helpful commentary accompanying these manoeuvres went largely over my head, but finally he took it all away to his own personal ICU.

Yesterday was discharge day. The In-Charge went to bring the patient home and de-brief the GeekWizard. I would have gone myself, but What is Point? I don't have an Enigma Machine to decode the feedback.
Instead, I stayed at home and made the most of the first Spring-like day we've had for as long as I can remember. The sun was shining, the wind had gone, the rain had abated and all was well in my garden. In a weird sort of way, this is one of my favourite times of year in the gardening calendar, but that's because I love snowdrops.
Well, OK, it's not just the snowdrops. I'll be honest. It's because I still feel in control. When I weed a bed, it still looks weeded the next time I go out, nothing has rampaged all night to fill the convenient space.
I can breathe in my winter garden, it's not permanent catch-up time.

The Winter Potager

I was out there for hours, happily weeding the potager.


Henri, who is staying with us for a few months, doesn't weed - it makes his elegant paws dirty - but he graciously supervised. The TeenQueen was too poorly to help - she lay on a mat and looked quietly sad. She had had a Bad Day. One of the headland horses kicked her in the face when she raced over to say good morning.
We have tried to warn her, but on this occasion she refused to listen, and wouldn't come back when called. Poor baby, she has learned a hard lesson. I bathed her closed and massively swollen eye, cleaned the blood away, gave her arnica and Rescue Remedy, administered some of the painkiller that had been prescribed for Under Dog's back injury and cuddled her lots. Once in the garden, Model Dog volunteered to look after her - the best nurse anyone could hope for.

The best nurse anyone could hope for

So we were all out, enjoying the sun and the crocuses when the In-Charge returned.
'He's managed to retrieve all your files and photographs,' he said. 'They're on the new hard drive he's installed.'
Oh GeekWizard, you are a marvel. A fantabulous, wonderful, geekily-clever marvel!
I cannot tell you how grateful I am.
And he even helped me find a way of getting back into my blog last night when I discovered that the nice, welcomingportal to its innards had closed when the old hard drive died.
Joy of joys!
Thank you, GeekWizard!
Poor TeenQueen


  1. What images could you possibly have that you wouldn't want the NSA to see, knitting dogs, cats, hens - it boggles the imagination and no doubt would boggle the NSA were they to peek into your dropbox...
    Something to be said for taking it up then...

  2. Love reading your blogs, you always make me smile

  3. So glad you got your computer fixed as I love reading your stories. Also glad I'm not the only one who doesn't back up photos to the external hard drive as often as I should and who hasn't explored the cloud, not due to any reservations, just laziness.
    Hope TeenQueen is feeling better - that sounds like a nasty accident.

  4. I'm so glad you have a GeekWizard to help combat the blue screen of death.
    In other thoughts-
    I have similar (if still unfounded according to GeekWizards I know) Dropbox worries
    My husband would be with yours on the way to the moon while I waved in their general direction with my feet firmly planted on the Earth!
    I'm glad TeenQueen has such wonderful nurses- hopefully she'll be a little more cautious next time!

  5. Another very entertaining Writing from the Edge, you've started my day off beautifully!

  6. I fear the blue screen (though my external hard drive is plugged in and backing up). My laptop will be five this year, and is certainly slowing down. I am glad yours was rescued.
    Being kicked in the eye by a horse sounds more than painful. Is she alright now? We have lots of signs of spring here, and despite the awful floods, it feels a hopeful time.

  7. I am so pleased you are so pleased GeekWizard has managed to save your stuff. A very useful and multi-talented man to have around. x


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