Friday May 5, 2006
“Not sure why, but I like the look of this one,” Graham said, leafing through the fistful of house details I’d brought back from Taunton.
“Well, it looks solid. It has all the accommodation we need and the location looks green and leafy.”
“You’d better go see it, then.”
So, I picked up the phone and made an appointment to view on Sunday afternoon. There was another in the stack that Graham thinks I should see but something about it makes me want to drag my heels. If I can fit an appointment around the other visit I’ll go see it but I don’t think it’d suit us and I’m not going to bust a gut over it.
Taunton was bright and sunny today, but not too hot. Just as well because I flagged very quickly as I dragged myself from agent to vacuous agent. I did steal forty minutes to drop into the library, to enjoy the airconditioning and work through my email and routine surfing. It’s a darn good library, at county level, and I really wouldn’t mind it being at the end of a bus ride. Especially as I can get a pensioner’s bus pass in Taunton, giving me free rides all over.
By the time I’d done all but one of the agents I was feeling weary and put upon so, when I looked in the window of the last one I was delighted to find that they deal only in residential lettings and so I had finished the job. I walked over to the closest café and took my lunch, enjoying an ‘all-day breakfast’ mightily. Strangely, they will only serve the eggs scrambled, so I’m not likely to visit them again. The eggs were perfectly well cooked but I like mine with the yolks glowing like a pair of little suns on the plate.
From thence to Marks & Spencer, to pick up some socks for Graham and a bag of goodies for my dinner, and then back to the car to drive back to the caravan. It was getting a little hot and sticky by then so I switched the airconditioning on, set the player to whisper Haydn at me, and drove home along the country roads, revelling in the riot of green leaved trees and hedgerows all the way. I’m so glad I insisted on having airconditioning in the little silver Ford. Summers seem to be getting longer and hotter and it’s a total tonic after a trudge around hot pavements to be able to relax in the cool air whispering from the vents on the dashboard.
Back home I found Graham all of a dither, having finished his morning stint which included interviewing an applicant for a job as assistant barman.
“I really didn’t like him,” Graham said, “and neither did anyone who met him.
“Has he been taken on?”
“No. Not yet.”
“Good, you’ll not have to fire him, then. It’s never pleasant having to fire someone. Get in touch with him and tell him he’s not got the job.”
“But what reason can I give? There’s nothing actually wrong with his application.”
“If you want to be kind, tell him he’s over-qualified. Alternatively, you can say you don’t think he’d fit in with the team. Just be firm. Kind, but firm.”
“You’re right. Thanks.”
“Can’t say it’s a pleasure. Brings back hire-and-fire memories I’d rather not rake over.”
“Well, I’m glad you still remember all that sort of stuff. Be a dreadful waste to forget all that experience.”
“Mayhap. Fancy a nice cup of tea?”
Once he’d gone off for his evening stint and before I went up for my daily pint, I set to the task of finding out why my mobile phone connection to the Internet has been costing so much.
I’d already determined that, while I’ve been connected, one or more ‘hidden’ system tasks were diving off to check for updates and such, adding a massive overhead to my bandwidth usage. Perhaps three or four times as much as I’ve been using to upload the journal entries. I fine-tuned the Explorer settings, and then took a look at iTunes, Real Player, Quicktime and Windows Media Player. All four of them seem to chatter avidly with their host sites at every opportunity. I deleted the first three, and told the Media Player not to check for updates. So, with all automatic updating I can discover eliminated, I connected, looked at my web page, did a bit of commenting, and checked the small number of emails that’d accumulated since I cleared the backlog at the library. Brilliant. When I’d done, I checked the usage and found that, instead of the usual 1.5 to 2.5 megabytes of data transmitted, I’d clocked up only 400k or so.
That’s a big relief. I was worried that I’d not be able to post even small pictures but at that rate I am happy to do so.
The laptop and the Vodafone card work flawlessly, connecting immediately and functioning perfectly. It’s strange to be working at 56kbps once more but I pay for bandwidth, not connection time, so it’s bearable now that I have the system tamed and compliant to my wishes. The only automatic update process I’ve left running is the Norton virus database. That’s a comparatively minor load, though, and I’d feel nervous about turning it off.
The conclusion I draw is that portable Internet usage is perfectly viable if budgetary considerations don’t matter. If they do, it’s still viable, but you have to work at your system to avoid running up big bills.
On that entirely satisfactory note I took myself up to the clubhouse for my evening pint of ice cold Foster’s, than back to the caravan for my dinner and a big snooze-and-cuddle with Dolly until Graham finished shortly after midnight.
I’m taking a break from estate agents over the weekend and, apart from a viewing expedition on Sunday afternoon, will be putting my feet up and resting before next week’s effort.
This past week the holiday camp has been occupied by a convention of organists, holding three concerts a day along with a number of tutorials. The load on Graham has been relatively light but constant, and demanding. They all depart tomorrow, to be followed by a one-day event for a Somerset Veteran’s luncheon. Starting on Sunday the twice annual transvestite festival will be upon us and Graham won’t have a minute to himself for the whole week ahead. Think Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, multiply the three-man cast by a factor of about fifty and you’ll get an idea of what it’s like. That number of transvestites can and do shift an awful lot of booze.
For the following four or five weeks the camp is occupied by a succession of closely chaperoned schoolboy group holidays and the load on Graham disappears almost to nothing. Once he’s recovered his energy we propose to get ourselves out and about, possibly house-hunting but most definitely taking time to relax and enjoy our new landscape. That’s when the cameras will start clicking. Since we’ve been here, just over a week now, I’ve been busy every day, all day long and, while I’ve enjoyed the scenery in passing, I’ve not had time to stop and study it, least of all get the camera working on it.
So I’m looking forward to the pace relaxing a little, for both of us. I especially look forward to having time to stand and stare once more. Standing and staring is one of the things I do really well. Snoozing is another thing I do well. Snoozing is good, and I’m darned if I can see why Dolly should monopolize all the snoozing round here.