I wrote the following on a good old fashioned notepad a few days ago. As I type, one of my CDs is playing… It Keeps Rainin’ (Tears from My Eyes) by Bitty McLean. It’s a cheerful song which I used to play a lot in my little house. The video is funny too! Do I know the feeling? Maybe. 🙂
Anyway, back a few days, you find me in a pensive mood.
The battery-operated lights are fading and I’ve been too mean to replace their batteries. Apart from that, the house has remained tidy and clean over the festivities — you would not be shocked by anything, though we are not so perfect that we would cause Jane Austen to feel ‘sick and wicked’. I wish her sister hadn’t destroyed so many letters in an effort to make her seem more so, but never mind. As Lucy Worsley points out in the book Jane Austen at Home, letters may have been edited or destroyed in an effort to spare feelings, as Jane’s commentary on family and neighbours could be quite cutting.
Over coffee I would show you this book and gush about how glad I am that my mother gave me it for Christmas. It saved my sanity, because I fell ill on Christmas Day with a bug of some sort. Well, what sort? Mum opened her eyes wide and declared it wasn’t the flu, though I’m convinced it was. She said you would wish you didn’t have the flu if you had it, but that’s exactly how I felt. In the middle of Kung Fu Panda 3 I was sick with horror because they were throwing around steamed buns or shovelling them into their gaping mouths. if I’d eaten anything that day I might have regretted it. As it was, I was convinced I’d die if I felt any worse! It was as though my entire system was creaking with the strain. Right or wrong, to insist I just had a cold is to make it sound like I was only snuffling and sneezing, when it really wasn’t like that.
Jane Austen believed in being stoic, so I don’t think she would sympathize with any of this!
For several days over Christmas I slept on the sofa under a furry pink blanket, but when I was awake, I read the book by Lucy Worsley. I was stunned at the sheer amount of detail it contained, and found myself wondering about earlier biographies which missed out a lot of this kind of thing. I discovered that I’d had the wrong idea about events which were seemingly glossed over or over-simplified, at least in my memory. Best of all, though, one big mystery about Jane Austen’s life was cleared up… ah! It’s shocking, but good to know at last.
I spent too much of 2018 clinging to my old iPad, which was never far away, but while I was unwell, it was dumped unceremoniously to one side and ignored. I suspect it was still on for a couple of days, during which time it had a mini-seizure, but I couldn’t deal with it! On the run-up to Christmas I was bored with it, as what I could do on it was curtailed by lack of space. I couldn’t write my diary; I couldn’t write blog posts, and I definitely couldn’t use any of the art apps. I had to avoid taking photos otherwise it would get very glitchy, and sometimes refused to save what I had written. Even the Mail app convulsed a couple of times — crashed so completely that it had to restart and then download a bunch of emails I’d already read and deleted. All my Safari bookmarks disappeared. I would try to entertain myself by scrolling through Facebook, but this would become extremely repetitive with the same old posts appearing again and again. The more I visited Facebook, the worse it got.
Abandoning the iPad felt good. It was as though I was having a proper Christmas break, and I was able to relax and get through books surprisingly quickly.
I don’t use the iPad for my diary any more, and as that’s the main reason I bought it, it looks as though I’m slowly returning to more ‘analogue’ pursuits and ways of doing things. Recently I was thinking about what computers used to mean to me compared to how I feel about them now. I asked myself if I’d still love and depend on computers if they were what I expected them to be, and the answer is yes’. Computers could give us simplicity, convenience and stability to a degree that they are not permitted to. They change too much and too quickly, and it becomes too expensive to maintain everything so that all your interlinked technology continues to work seamlessly. The victim of these pressing changes is our data. If we feel we can no longer trust computers to store, protect and maintain it, and we frequently get the sinking feeling that we are wasting time and money on software that quickly changes or disappears, we will eventually withdraw and find surer, safer and less expensive methods. I feel this recoil increasingly, and I’m getting to the point I just want to give up. Am I alone?
But I see you nodding sleepily over your empty mug — perhaps I ran on too long. Thank you for dropping by and listening with such patience. I hope things work out well for you in 2019!