Sunday, 29 August 2010


My Sister (TS) lives alone in East Anglia and whilst closer to her No1 son than the rest of the family, is fairly isolated, so when things go wrong she does not always get help instantly.
A few weeks ago her PC started to go a little wobbly and since I gave it to her, I promised to go over and see what I could do. It is not an easy trip, and is only worth doing if I stay overnight. This time I stayed for two nights and was accompanied by The Better half (TBH). I soon found the PC was in a hopeless state and did not respond to any of my ministrations but expecting this I had brought a spare along that I had installed with Linux Mint. This is a very stable operating system that does not seem to suffer from the creeping problems that Windows seems to accumulate when installed for more than a few months. TS’s computer had been slowing down for some time and by the time I got to see her it was ridiculously slow. So slow that I could not easily identify what was wrong because I was not going to live long enough to get to the stage where I could find out something useful.
The Linux PC worked first time, but revealed that her mouse was not working properly either, so we bought one from a local supermarket and she is now back on line and able to communicate, write letters, play music and watch TV or DVDs.

Linux Mint 's desktop

Having fixed her PC problem with a replacement, we went out for a meal, because it was TBH and my wedding anniversary. We had spotted a local pub called the Wild Man and here we found that they had a senior citizen’s special offer running, so we were able to get a reasonable meal for the three of us at a slight reduction.
On the second day we all went out for a few hours to nearby Felixstowe, which is a really nice seaside town with, cliffs, public gardens, sandy beaches, a pier and all the trappings of a traditional seaside holiday resort. Next to the town is a large seaport with lots of interesting vessels going by at regular intervals.

A view of Felixstowe

It also has an amazing secondhand book shop with a collection of books that I have not seen for many years. Of course it was inevitable that I came away with some old books that I could not resist.

I love these old magazines this one is from 1895 and is a bound set of six of the monthly editions. Contributors often include A. Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells and other famous writers of the day.

The journey home was very slow owing to two separate crashes on the M25 which reduced the traffic to a crawl, so we diverted at the earliest opportunity to minor roads and arrived home by three PM, having started out just before ten AM.
The next day at home, I had a look at the old PC and booting from a special diagnoses disk, I discovered that the hard drive was faulty, the built in sound circuit was dead and Windows was running at about one tenth normal speed, so I copied off TS’s personal files and removed the motherboard and the hard drive and they are now in the dustbin where they belong.


  1. I LOVE second hand bookstores. Was it TBH's sister you visited or your sister? I know all about those long slow traffic journeys. Done them a number of times on the M1 and the M25

  2. Chris, TBH does not have a sister. As for the book shop, a rare thing nowadays. Charity shops and the Internet seem to have driven the traditional second hand bookshops out of business. It had so many little rooms packed to the ceiling with books and was full of nooks and crannies and had a basement loaded with wonderful books of all ages and subjects. If I had more room at home I would have been staggering under the load of books I came out with. Unfortunately common sense prevailed.

  3. I get a headache just READING about computer problems!

    But one thing that solves a headache for me, is reading a good book, and I, too, love second-hand book shops. We still have a couple not too far from where we live, and it is one of my most favourite things to do -- browse (the book shop, not the internet!)! My book shelves are full, too, and I would most gladly give some away, if someone would take them. I rarely read a book twice -- it has to be REALLY good for me to do that! The only books I would keep are those from my childhood, like the Swallows and Amazons series, for example.

    By the way, Snafu, I think the rest of your blog followers should stop lurking and start commenting - what do you think?