Category Archives: Life reflections

Try Turning it off and On?

Jack gets there just on time again –

My recent experiences trying unsuccessfully to deal with technology –

  1. We were more or less gifted a twenty year old riding mower three years ago. We got it with a flat battery and flat tire but managed to deal with that. However this year time and age finally caught up. After a few weeks of ever increasing problems it’s time had come. I spent a couple of days rehearsing and honing my speech to Wendy justifying the purchase of a replacement. Finally I summoned the courage and said “ about the riding mower, dear’ and she said “yes, get us a new one”!
  2. My four year old laptop finally gave up the ghost after two keyboard replacements so I went on to the dreaded Amazon and ordered a new replacement. It arrived a week later and worked fine for the first few days. Then completely died as I was in the middle of something. I messaged the seller and got a helpful set of instructions which I’d already tried to no avail. Their second response was a link to HP’s warranty page and their return policy, which showed we’d get our money back less 20% and less a further 20% because we didn’t report the fault within three days. When we went to the HP site we discovered our new laptop was over a year old and out of warranty. Sigh!
  3. Wendy lets me out of the house during the current lock-down every two weeks to do the garbage run to the local re-cycling place. As there are usually a number of sacks, I take our SUV “Black Angus’ (a Dodge Journey). Today I went out, loaded the sacks, got in and turned the key – clunck! It seems that modern cars run stuff in the background even when parked and switched off. So not designed for lock-downs when they might not be run for a couple of weeks. Luckily we have a charger and a long cable!

I remember being quite enthused about new technology when I was younger – cars you could work on yourself that didn’t need a computer to be plugged in, cassette players, open reel tape recorders, LPs that had sleeves you could read, dial up internet with that crazy sound. But it began to suck us into an over dependency – – –

On technology!

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Filed under bad writing, between books, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Wendy Welch

I Was So Much Older Then – –

Jack keeps the home fires burning while Wendy is otherwise engaged – –

The ‘Round the World Trip to Bedford’

Me just after returning!

In (I think) 1961 I finished my apprenticeship as a painter and decorator. Two close friends also reached this landmark – John McDonald as an electrician and Bill Beveridge as a mechanical engineer.

I knew John through our shared love of folk music and Bill through our interest in left wing politics and anti-war sentiments.

For some reason we decided it would be fun to hitch-hike around the world. We had all, separately, already done this around Britain so it seemed like the next thing to do. But we were all still living at home with our parents so we reckoned we should dip our toes in the water first.

We jointly rented a small apartment in the center of our home town of Dunfermline which we promptly named ‘Dharma’ – we’d heard of Kerouak – – –

For about six months we hosted parties, piled up dishes and eventually got some kind of handle on things – ate regularly and even bathed regularly. When we made the decision to finally set sail we compared our savings and discovered we had twenty five pounds between us which seemed perfectly adequate! Before we set off I made the mistake of telling another friend who was a reporter on the local newspaper what we were going to do. He came and interviewed us and asked how we’d handle the languages we’d encounter. John jokingly said he knew Swahili as he could sing ‘Wimoweh’ – that wound up on the front page of the Dunfermline Press.

We eventually vacated the apartment and hitched to London where we knew two people who could give us temporary lodgings. Unfortunately they were on opposite sides of the city and tube fares and meals ate up our money. Reduced to a few pounds and desperate, Bill said he knew two sisters from Bedford who were due in court at the Old Bailey that day charged for civil disobedience. We met them and their parents outside and that’s when our plans changed.

The girls’ parents were very upper middle class and members of the Fabian Society (intellectual left wingers), and delighted to have three working class Scots to show off and take to parties.

We all got jobs and mine was with a high class decorating firm – I really appreciated the experience working for them. We wound up getting lodgings with a lovely Italian woman, Mrs Belfiore, who took us under her wing and really mothered us.

We frequented the Crown pub regularly and it had an upper room where we heard great music including, on one occasion Ken Colyer’s jazz band. Bill put down a deposit on a moped and I managed to almost cut off my heel with the pedal. We jointly bought a pre-war Austin 7 with cable brakes that hardly worked and needed early planning for traffic lights.

An Austin 7

We eventually got fed up and headed back to Dunfermline during a very cold winter in the Austin 7 with lots of scary moments and went our separate ways.

Life went on for all of us – – –

I had been working for my Dad before we left but he couldn’t re-employ me when we came back (maybe to teach me something?), so I moved to Edinburgh and hung out with art college friends for another six months. Got a job there with another very high class decorating firm and learned lots more.

I came home and fell right into the folk music scene – the rest is history.

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Filed under between books, blue funks, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, Wendy Welch