IT’s been a struggle

I’m just coming to the end of a really heavy cold, which in turn came just as a really heavy cold was coming to an end.  So if you do the maths you will see I’ve had two colds, one following so close to the other that there wasn’t even a sneeze between them.  This has never happened to me before. It’s a life first.  And it’s been a real struggle.  Apart from feeling dreadful, tired, blocked up, coughing, headaches etc, I’ve also felt totally uninspired for nearly two weeks since my last blog.  It’s been a struggle.

IT has also been a struggle. Information Technology.  I’ve blogged about Cat’s Paw Theatre and our theatre presentation about rape and sexual consent.  The Welsh Assembly government have been deciding whether to fund us for a three year rolling programme to deliver the piece in every North Wales school.  A brilliant contract, if it’s successful.  They need more statistical evidence that the project will deliver real learning, so we were offered the loan of an audience voting device which will allow our audience of young people to answer questions through the presentation and have their responses recorded for our statistics.  So we can ask them questions at the beginning of the session which will show their lack of awareness and then again at the end to demonstrate the bright illumination of education!  Great idea.  BUT…

The kit comes in the form of two briefcases of little numbered clicker devices, a receiver which plugs into the usb and a laptop.  But no instructions.  No manual.  They were lost some time ago and no linked website as the company that made theme has evaporated. Guess who has taught IT twenty years ago and foolishly volunteers? 

The upshot was 24 lost hours in the depths of pc world.  And I don’t mean PC World.  I mean pc world.  Now to be honest, I’m a Mac person.  The wonderful little machine that just does stuff without having to ask twice or delve into obscure operating systems.  But I had volunteered so on Sunday after the garden club I spent hour after hour under the hood pushing buttons and pressing levers, wiggling this and that or at least the Windows equivalent. I knew it could do what I wanted it to but the how evaded me for hours upon hours of mindless clicking. I had almost given up and had reached device de-fenestration so I took the dogs for a walk and tried not to think about it.  It was, of course you guessed it, then when a possible solution came to me. How does that work?

EUREKA.  I danced naked down the street.  Well metaphorically anyway.  And this week we’ve been trialling the system in Mold.  I’ve even found a way to drop the results onto a spreadsheet and produce graphs galore.  It should keep the evidence hungry welsh dragons in Cardiff happy chomping on the bones for days, and maybe will get us our dosh. Glory Hallelujah!

The second cold has almost gone.  It’s got to the same point that I was at in the first cold that I felt the tickle of the second, so I’m of course yes I'm dreading the third.  Hopefully (although I’d better be careful of that word given my last blog) I shall be well again by the weekend and if the rain keeps off I can put some more stuff in the ground at the garden.  Almost potato planting, traditionally Good Friday was the day it happened as it was one of the few days in the year the men had the day off.

This Sunday we managed to put some fruit trees in, robbed from my old allotment, so there’s some raspberries, blackberries and rhubarb growing there now. The old guys from the Big House were there again.  It’s becoming quite a team and there’s a real sense of camaraderie.  I had bought some mugs and the makings of tea from the 50p shop which they really liked. We sat in the cleared-out shed and chatted and laughed.  Four old cronies together. An outsider couldn’t have said for sure who were the residential patients and who was the loony from the lorry…

All the best from a road near you,

Mr  Alexander
Mr Alexander