Shiny rings and bluebells

Not sure if it reflected our marriage or not but our wedding rings had gotten worn, mine had a satin finish (which I thought was what it had always had but I was wrong) and Delia’s was actually going yellow. Neither of us realised how wear and tear would affect white gold. I had thought it was a compound of gold like 14 carat as opposed to 24 but no, it’s electro-plated with rhodium (not radium which would still be shiny but glow in the dark and kill us slowly). We finally took them into a jeweller to have them replated.   So, if the worn nature of our rings reflected our marriage in any way,  rings and marriage are now all shiny and new!

Tax return done.  All online and (with reference to last year’s) worryingly simple. This time there was yet another form to report our spend on eco stuff, ie our double glazing and replacement doors. Combined with our relatively low earnings (and being online) we immediately learned that we had a fair sized rebate (30% of the eco hardware) coming our way.  That being said, our replacement front door jammed the other day, we couldn’t get out. The back door was our friend. With a bit (lot) of rattling around I managed to get the door open and it seemed one of the angled catches wasn’t linking in with the door handle. So I removed the striker plate but it won’t lock now so we are now locking the outside porch door. The installer turned up promptly but he has to order a complete new lock fitting (the entire height of the door) and who knows how long that will take.

Most of the past fortnight I have been working on my business web site. I have been dabbling with advertising in a local ex-pat paper and decided to go for a 6 month package since  I don’t have my Open University work this year. I had dabbled with SEO (search engine optimisation – ie so google likes my sites). It used to be that you crammed special areas of the web site with repeated keywords but it’s a lot more clever now. Google that is. Not only does it require the content to be have accurate keywords but they also have myriads of minions who check sites visually and black mark those who are using underhand tactics. Essentially a web site has to have content that accurately reflects what it says on the label and that has to be fresh. Freshness is difficult for some of my clients who just want an extension to their business card but for me, it seems, a weekly blog post of 300 to 500 or so words, at the same time and day is necessary. My time being unpredictable I can write the blogs in advance and schedule them to be posted. Apparently Wednesday at 2pm is a good time. So if you are interested in random weekly computing musings you are welcome to visit web.patbell.co.uk/blog. I’m still working on its linkages to FaceBook and Google+ but there’s only so much of this social networking stuff I can handle – I mean I haven’t even got an iPhone!

Bluebells?  They’re out, below today’s photos of one of Siena’s favourite walks.

bluebells bluebells-2 bluebells-3

Pub quiz and Outlook

We won another pub quiz on Thursday night, we went to a new social group and joined another couple for the quiz, but they now know our weakness – the sports round –  2 points out of ten.  We had hoped to be involved in groups with more of a French mix but 2 years in (our two year anniversary of moving into this house was last Monday) we felt a change in gear for socialisation was needed and this new group seems good.  Last Sunday my camera club met and the new voting system for photo’s was debated (average or total stars – one 5 star vote being equal to 5 one star votes – I don’t think so!).  Photoclubmeteorite.patbell.co.uk/competition is this month’s new one.

Picked up our serviced lawn mower (it had been in the shop for 4 weeks), I popped in on Wednesday and surprise… “Vendredi” they said, probably having been waiting for me to call in. It’s no surprise that places supplying farming equipment are full of mechanics who speak absolutely no English. Not a problem (just needed to remember that it’s la tondeuse for a mower) but amusing when one young lad pipes up “Friday” and they all applaud.

I must confess this fortnight has been dominated by one of my clients whose Outlook needed a minor reconfiguration because of a change I had made in my hosting (ie where I keep my web sites and email).  This should have been straightforward, I’ve done it dozens of times. The difference was that in this case the old email archive was huge and any changes seemed to freeze the computer  (when in fact it was just processing). In short it required a repair job that took literally days to process, mostly without my input but still 20 hours of hands-ontime for me. Its fixed now (or at least I think so) but the moral of the story is threefold – 1. Don’t keep lots of emails, but if you must, then at least split them into separate accounts for each year. 2. Backup!  I shouldn’t complain, its not as if I haven’t played IT support tag for most of this career, you know… touch someone’s computer and you’re it, in the sense that you’re the person who gets blamed when things go wrong sometimes weeks after. A good thing I enjoy solving problems, in fact its what motivates me to do this stuff for a job. The ransomware infection I fixed for someone else got me a lot of gratitude though, better than paying the £500 that had been demanded!

Waiting for the annual tax form to arrive, last year it never did and I emailed Santa about it – well, I might as well have for all the response that emailing the tax office got.  One can file online but one needs a number from the printed form… d’oh. It tends to arrive leaving only a few days to complete it or there’s a fine. Ah well at least they’ve put their guillotine away for now!

Here’s a couple of pics, my entries for this month’s competition “Tracks” . The first is at the start of the velorail with old cabooses from a post train (la poste in this case) and then other, coincidentally is a track from the same rail track but just where it turns into the Voie Vert – a lovely walking trail nearby.

la(st) poste Nature covering her tracks