31 Aug 2013

The flashing question mark of doom

© E H Shepard.
"It's snowing ... and freezing," said Eeyore.  "However, we haven't had an earthquake lately."

No, it's not snowing here in London but I'm more than a little behind with my posts. As is the way of the world, when things go wrong they go wrong all at once. I had just got back from a fairly harrowing trip to stay with elderly and ailing parents when the laptop suddenly stopped working. One minute, absolutely fine, the next, grey screen with a flashing question mark. After a lengthy wait for a repair appointment at the Apple Store, a new hard drive is needed. Apparently Macbooks are not as transportable as I was led to believe; the hard drive suffers if moved when working. (Must tell that to teenage son!)

In the meantime, I've bought a flatscreen but that's brought another bout of frustration as I have to upgrade all my software, even though my laptop was only just two years old! I'm still debating the way forward with my photo software; I really need to replace my old Adobe Creative Suite with a newer version but it's so expensive so I'm trying to find some good photo resizing software to tide me over until I'm ready to spend again! (All suggestions gratefully received, I'm not getting on well with iPhoto - it's a bit of a comedown after Photoshop!)

Elsewhere, the much needed rain of last weekend has flattened a lot of the tall plants in the veg patch (orach and sunflowers, but the fennel is still standing) so, after a weekend of careful tidying and pruning, it all has to be done again. My source of watering has dried up as my friend has new taps in her bathroom which the hosepipe won't fit on to so plants are being lost in the hot dry summer; I'm particularly concerned for my Chilean Guava which is looking a bit dessicated! It's in a large pot and hand watered when I can but I think the damage may already have been done. And as for the salad crops, a sorry sight between bolted and wilted.

And then, last night, my phone stopped charging. This is rather unfortunate timing as my son is abroad at a music festival with friends - not the best time for my mobile phone to become problematic! So, instead of gardening today, I'll be phone fixing.

But it's not all gloomy, I've been eating tons of fresh raspberries and one or two warm tomatoes from the garden, the bees are buzzing round, my asparagus has survived (ready for next year - yum!) and a neighbour has recently asked to get involved with the garden.  She especially loves weeding :)

I'm going to assume that this little cloud of bad luck will move on and normal service will resume shortly!  I hope to post later with proper veg patch news - and in the meantime, there's always Nigel Slater's Beetroot Chocolate Cake (which I will be making later on today).


Next day update:   A big thank you to the lovely 'Genius' at the Apple Store yesterday who quickly decided to replace my phone with a new one and spent the rest of the appointment (and a fair part of everyone else's allotted time) restoring my contacts, etc, and explaining a lot of techie stuff to me.  I managed to squeeze into a cancelled slot so, all in all, a much better day! Plus I had a good excuse to treat myself to lunch out :)

24 comments:

  1. Oh, no, what a sorry tale! Technology always lets you down at the worst possible moment, doesn't it? Things can only get better though. (Hope you don't get an earthquake.)
    BTW I'm very happy with Picasa for editing my photos, and it's effectively free.

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    1. Thanks, Mark, you've made me chuckle! I used to use Picasa to host all my blog photos but have never explored it fully. I'll certainly check it out now, thanks for the suggestion!

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  2. Fantastic that you have someone to help with the weeding! Sorry to hear about all your technical problems, can't help there I'm afraid, I just contact my son when anything goes wrong, hope you sort it soon. Thanks for the chocolate and beetroot recipe, yes, I certainly will try that!

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    1. There's nothing like a big slice of cake, especially chocolate, to boost the mood when things go wrong, is there! Thanks for the condolences, Pauline, the techie stuff will get sorted, eventually, and when I have the brain and will power for it! I may well leave it until my boy returns from his travels - a good suggestion as the next generation generally knows best!

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  3. Don't write off the Chilean guava too soon. I had a pair of youngsters that I left with my parents - when they returned them, one was fine and one looked completely dead. Watered on a strict regime, it eventually started producing tiny new leaves. Months later, it is still much smaller than its sibling, but it is alive and well!

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    1. Hi Emma, and thanks so much for the advice! I think I'll bring the guava back upstairs to my balcony where I can keep a closer eye (and watering can) on it! It had flowered in June and I'd hoped to see some of the christmas berries this year - hopefully this can still happen! Good luck with the dissertation and thanks for taking the time to comment - much appreciated! C x

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  4. I know the feeling well - one thing goes wring and seems to ignal everything else to join in the fun.

    We use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for tweaking photos (depends how much you want to edit things) but if all you want to do is resize your photos for the web the freebie Picasa would do the job.

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    1. Hi Sue, Thanks for the suggestion. I don't usually edit my photos too much - maybe tweaking the levels and certainly resizing for the internet. I'll have a look at Lightroom, there's probably a trial package somewhere! At least that will give me a chance to consider my options!

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    2. That's about what you can do with Lightroom. Tweak if photos are a bit dark etc. It's a bit like changing camera setting but after you have taken the photos. One clever trick it does is to change the distortion that occurs when you take photos of tall buildings. Must admit I haven't used it to its full potential . I should learn more about it but as it is it suits my needs.

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    3. Oh, I quite like the sound of being able to adjust distortion, Sue - that could come in very handy for an urbanite like me! There's so much I could learn if I only had a bit more time - I'm sure my life has got fuller and more complicated with age!! Thanks for the tip, it's much appreciated! C x

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  5. Yep, it never rains but it pours. Hope you managed to get the phone sorted out.

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    1. Thanks, Jo, yes I did! Apple replaced the phone and I'm now up and running again, at least on that front! It's made me think about how my parents coped as there were no mobile phones when I was a teenager! It was all reversed charges and phone boxes!!

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  6. Oh dear I do hope that things improve soon! Flighty xx

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    1. Thank you, Flighty! The phone has been replaced and, with a week off work ahead of me, I'm hoping to put the rest to rights - and get ahead in the garden! Flower seeds for next year need to be sown and winter veg has to go in!! At least that's something I can look forward to! C xx

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  7. Oh dear, sorry it's all going wrong. I have heard that you can get Photoshop much cheaper than full price if you buy a student copy - if your son is a student and uses it he should qualify. Maybe you can find some sort of adapter for the taps. At least you have a friend who likes weeding. I need one! I've been churning out Harry Eastwood's chocolate brownies containing beetroot like a maniac! Hope the rest of your weekend is good.

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    1. Hi CJ , I've been looking into the student package for Adobe software as I qualify in my own right! Studying Garden Design at Capel Manor for another 2 years gives me student status (I even have an NUS card!!). I'll consider all the options as I'm not sure I'll have the time to use all the Adobe software - tempting as that prospect would be!!
      I love Harry Eastwood's books - such tempting recipes! Love the sound of the brownies, I read about them on your blog! *Delicious!*

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  8. Caro!!! I work with technology and as you know Adam works with gardening and so I can assure you that technology will often be disappointing and you can lose unnecessary hours with it, whereas gardening is mostly rewarding and you can lose some wonderful hours with it! Photoshop elements made my life so much easier, the hardest thing about blogging is editing my photos - it holds me back so much but photoshop has helped so maybe you should re-invest! As for Nigel Slater's Beetroot cake, well I can't stop thinking about it!!!!!!!!!! I love his cooking and his style. Hope you enjoy your cake :) x

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    1. Hey Anna B!! I can't tell you the hours that I lose to technology when I'd MUCH rather be gardening!! I've checked out Elements and it looks very promising. I'll download a trial and give it a whirl. Also would like to have Indesign and Illustrator so will probably go for the student Cloud package when the purse strings have recovered! You should have a go at the Choccy beetroot cake - it's wonderful!! Especially with a dollop of cream! With all the lovely stuff coming from the garden, it's hard to keep up with trying new recipes for it all! Have a great weekend!! C xx

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  9. I have had the spinning wheel of death but not seen the question mark.. yet.
    But can commiserate. Other Half tipped a G&T over his laptop last weekend and a week later we are still trying to get things right.

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    1. Hi Rusty Duck! Ah, yes, I know the spinning wheel of death very well - that's usually sorted out with a force quit of the programme. Hope you never see the question mark of doom! Don't like the sound of your laptop enjoying a quick drink - a colleague once tipped coffee into his keyboard; even cleaned up, it never worked properly again! Good luck with sorting that one out - I fear you may need an expert!

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  10. Oh Caro I've seen both the spinning wheel of death and the question mark of doom but have come through unscathed. My Mac which was my retirement present to myself stuttered and then imploded earlier this year :( I think that I promised you a Chilean guava cutting a while ago - still have one to spare if yours does not perk up. Just let me know if required. Off to investigate your link to chocolate beetroot cake, a good sized slice of which I'm sure you well and truly deserved.

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    1. Wow, Anna, sounds like you've had a lucky escape there! My laptop is fixable (at a price) but as I have my shiny new flatscreen iMac, I can leave that for a while! Always a worry when tech goes wrong and worth investing in a back up! Fortunately I got on to the Time Machine back up bandwagon some time ago. Thanks for the offer of a Chilean Guava cutting, I feel it may be prudent to get a new one started just in case! Let me know if you made the cake and what you thought! I make chocolate beetroot cake anyway but this one has the eggs separated and whites whipped which I think will make it lighter. :) :) C xx

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  11. Tell me more about the beetroot chocolate cake - is it worth the effort of baking it? My lovely neighbour gave me beetroot from their allotment which I used for salads but I am tempted by the cake! xxx

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    1. Hi Sue!! I'd hate to say, yes, bake the cake, then find you didn't like it! I'd say it depends how much you like beetroot in your salads and whether it would be a shame not to taste that fresh home grown beetroot! I snack on cooked beetroot as I love the taste and it's a powerhouse of nutrition (excellent if you're going down with a cold, for example) and I also love cake! It's nice to ring the changes. This cake is a rich dark chocolate cake (hence the need for some cream or creme fraiche with it) made more moist and with a very slight hint of earthiness by the beetroot. (As with carrot cake, you don't actually taste the beetroot.) I'm in the mood for cake, so am baking this one (if I can stop myself eating the cooked beetroot that has to go in it!) but you might also like Nigel Slater's recipe for Spuds, Bacon and Beets (with a touch of horseradish and mint thrown in - delicious!) Search BBC recipes and you'll find it. Let me know what you decide!!

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Caro x

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