Recipients and Givers of Kindness & Queen of the Digital Dopes

Roast lamb cooked to perfection, jus, tiny sweet carrots and roast potatoes arrived at my door yesterday. How kind and thoughtful of a dear friend who knows that I, BackPacking Granny am a rotten cook. Eating it of course is another matter – I am very good at that and I can’t tell you how delicious it was. All over the country, people are finding themselves both the recipients and givers of kindness. I hope it is making everybody feel better about themselves.

As I am 76 and have a distinctly dodgy chest, I am one of those vulnerable ones. I actually hate the term as I have always been fiercely independent. Well fiercely independent for everything except technology at which I am pitifully useless – you could say I’m queen of the digital dopes! I am also deeply impatient but now realise that constantly poking and bashing my iPad just doesn’t work. Apparently you have to wait for things to download and you must read everything. And for heavens sake remember to scroll down. No wonder I only get half the gist of things. If only I remembered to scroll I wouldn’t be in this mess. 

I had a moment of  sheer hysteria the other night when I thought I had lost my entire three whole weeks of family history research on my computer. I had been talking to my son and, against my better instincts I had closed down my writing in order to look at something else for him. AND THEN I COULD NOT FIND MY WORK ! 

To all you young things who understand and grew up with computers, you won’t know what this feels like. Sheer PANIC.  My womb hit the floor and a creeping icyness slithered through my veins. 
“I’ve lost it” I wailed to my son. “ No you haven’t. It will be there somewhere” he said calmly. He was disgustingly annoying with his alabaster calmness. 
“That’s hours of work down the drain!” I said (with a few other colourful  squaddie like adjectives thrown in).

My son, realising I was now deeply deeply traumatised (and I am known to be really good in an emergency) tried to calm me. “Get your iPad out and let me see what is happening.” Thereupon we embarked on an agonising half hour where he got more and more agitated by me not being able to get the angle right to show him my screen, and more and more irritated by my ineptitude at being able to follow his so called “simple directions”.  How am I to know where ALT GR is? 

Finally sensing that I was getting nowhere,  I realised it was better to lose it all rather than cause a family row, which it was now escalating into. By this time both my granddaughters and their mother were involved. 

“I think we should leave this till the morning” I said in my best Titanic voice. The family were deeply grateful and cut me off with such alacrity it was almost rude. There I was alone, isolated with only a bottle of rather good Pinot Noir to comfort me. 

In the morning I had a brainwave. Trying to solve computers with your children is like teaching them to drive. DON’T DO IT. I rang a friend.

The darling girl was  patience personified. She talked me through, gently, and didn’t make me feel like I was mentally subnormal. And hey presto, I now have a file which I can click on my desktop and magically it appears every time. 

The moral of the story. Drink a bottle of wine. Go to bed. Phone a friend in the morning. 

I have had to put all my lovely travel plans out of my head so decided to try to do all the things I have always said I haven’t had time for. One was the family history which my children have begged me to do, as I am the only one who knows anything about anyone in our family. As my son put it, “When you die Mum, it will die with you so please hurry up and write it down!”

Siege of Peking 1900

One  person I have been thinking about is my Great Grandmother, Charlotte Brent, who survived the Siege of Peking – 55 days spent in the French Legation, in 1900. Food got so short that they had to eat rats, but fortunately not bats. Actually I believe Le Rat au Vin was not too bad – it was French cuisine after all.  Anyway more about my Great Grandmother another time – at least we are not being shot at in our isolation.

Next week I will really try to master the art of finding the slot.  I really don’t like having to ask my friends to shop for me as most of them now know my guilty secrets, just from my shopping lists. Four packs of chocolate digestives and incontinence pads – oh perish the thought! Do your pelvic floor-squeezes girls and you won’t have to suffer the same fate as me. 

Stay home stay well