Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Beware AI entanglements...!!

Through my own stupidity - my dislike of crowded, noisy places - such as airport luggage recovery spaces - I managed to leave Merignac without my laptop, my tablet - and my deaf aids plus their fancy cleaning stuff.   This happened because of the security systems - all the above equipment had been scanned at Gatwick, passed and put into a separate black bag - rather than back into my usual travelling trolley..

At the exit I saw my daughter waiting - so just rushed off to meet her, pulling the trolley behind me, not thinking at all about the 'black bag'.
It was not until I unpacked at home that I realised what I was missing...panic stations.

But my very computer competent daughter was able to snaffle the French grandsons play computer - a sturdy Hewlett Packard - and get it working reasonably well.   It did have some 'etats d'ame'  and refuse to cooperate at times - the keyboard would jam, for example. So I was able, more or less, to keep up with my essential admin matters - but not much creative 'stuff'.

Eventually I got fed up, demanded advice from my also computer competent son in London as well as my c.c. daughter in France.  Their consensus opinion is that I should purchase a 'Cromebook'.  The daughter tried to order one on the ever useful Amazon site - and the first snag came up.    In France 'Cromebooks' could only be bought with 'azerty' keyboards...I learned to type on the classic English 'querty' keyboard - essential for someone whose handwriting was illegible...

So we ordered one via the UK and it duly arrived in the most amazing
packing ever seen - three boxes, one inside the many trees I asked myself...But shut up as soon as I got to work with and on it.
Communication with the UK and other places outside the Dordogne was soon flourishing.   I felt on top of all my admin chores..and even had a little look at my 'creative' writing.

However, reality soon showed its ugly face.    My London accountant sent me xxxx pages of tax declaration to study - and a final page to sign and return.  So I dutifully read, noted where I had to sign and tried to download the one page I needed...Only by this time the Crome system had cleverly spotted that it was in it tried to download that one page to a French system of 'fischiers'...which of course I did not have...

In the end I had to download the whole document - sign the single page, scan that page, save it and then send it.  I dread what is going to happen when I start to edit/rewrite/ generally fiddle with my creative text...

And now Stephanie has confessed SHE put the internet on in French...I wait to hear why but she is feeling rather queezy at the moment!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Here comes the cold..

This morning the first cold of 2024 arrived ....approppriatly on the 13th day of January.   It was a pretty cold, mostly a light, nearly transparent mist that did not lift until well after lunch time - most un French, it might have stopped many people from going out to lunch, especially if they had to drive anywhere.   But even so there was quite a lot of fast traffic going past La Chaise which lies on the top of a hill midway between two market towns - Tocane St Apre and St Astier....both of them in river valleys, Dronne and Isle respectively - they join up later.

One very splendid surprise:   I subscribe to the local newspaper whose publishers guaranteed to deliver it by one o clock every day and so far this has been true.  It is usually the simple yellow post office van that brings it. An unkindness in me makes me wonder whether the postie does not have to hide somewhere to make the time come true. Occasionally, when I have nothing better to do, I wander up to the road and the post box a few minutes before 13.00 to see if I can see the yellow postal van lurking down the Tocane part of the road.  I never have seen anything - but then there is a little hamlet called Chantepoule just down the road, perhaps a friendly resident offers a warm coffee. 

Sometimes  when I get warning of the van's possible arrival I wander quite aimlessly up the path to the post box and manage to greet the postman, congratulate him on his timely arrival.  The usual postman, an elderly man with a Santa Claus beard, goes slightly pink and sometimes we shake hands as I thank him.

However, today's mist did delay the delivery but it was compensated in the most splendid way.   Just around 13.30 I heard the rush of an engine coming up from the St Astier side .....a yellow and white van drew up, turned in a circle to face back to St Astier, a young man got out - and put the weekend edition of my newspaper in the box.   I could not get there quick enough to shake hands and thank....but I did notice it was not the usual yellow all over post van - it was yellow and white, the colouring of the post office's extra fast and secure delivery service - Colissimo.

How's that for service?

As always mist softens

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Great Jumping Chestnuts...

 So a few days ago, TDH* Martin - who is now fully responsible for woodland management, not least new planting - but that will be another story ---

Well Martin set off with his trusty chain saw to deal with a copse of three skinny chestnut trees. 'Deal with' is of course a euphism for 'cut down'...He cleared the land around the trees, dead branches, excess fallen leaves and a surprising amount of chestnuts on the ground....anyone would think we did not have wild boar who normally hover up such delicious treats, especially once they have cleared all the acorns...but..passons...

Martin settled himself comfortably on his knees, started his chain aw and cut the recommended V near the base of the tree - making sure it would fall well away from him.  He says the tree wobbled, its head waved and it moved from its cut root....only to establish itself firmly into the soggy soil a few inches from its rooting place.   Martin swears the tree did not look at him with scorn - but it felt like that...

So Martin re-starts his chain saw, cuts another perfect V at the new base of the young chestnut and waited for it to fall exactly where he - Martin - had planned it should fall.  The chestnut shudders, wobbles, the head shakes.....and it planted itself again a few inches further into the soggy soil.  If young chestnut trees could grin, Martin swears it would have grinned at him.

Now Martin swears he was not cross with the tree, it was just that he had other trees to attend to, other things to do...So once again he cut the perfect V just above ground level on the chestnut's slender trunk. 

This time the tree conceded and fell to the ground as pre-ordained. But this leaves me with nagging problems:   should I burn the wood of an animate tree in my indoor fire places, should I sell it to someone else, without telling the story...perhaps as the wood dries its soul will drift into another tree...Not a happy thought. 

Later I heard that Stephanie (a girl) had got cross and lassoed the trees, then pulled so they would fall..

*= Tall, dark,handsome