Today’s theme was prompted wen I referred to something as ‘new-to-me’, correspondent had not heard that particular euphemism before, she referred to ‘previously owned’ or was it ‘loved’. Looking about me, the only two ‘things’ that I have had from new are the iPhone which is nearly 2 years old and the electric fire, bought for me when I moved into this flat January 2006 – almost five years ago – the gas central heating did not work – but I was so relieved to be in my own home after six years that I didn’t care. Happily the weather was unseasonably warm and because of the sheltered housing status, Mendip Housing soon sent a man to fix it. When I first moved in I was on quarterly billing but soon had to switch to pre-payment meters because had no experience of budgeting or many years or any kind of fiscal management for years and even then I was making enough money to not worry about bills. Never thought I’d end up living in a ouuncil flat but hey ho, that’s what social housing is for.
Surrounded by so much clutter, it’s hard to remember that this was once an empty flat. My daughter provided much of the stuff as she was merging her Surrey household into that she’d inherited from her Mum. No need for sentiment, I was very pleased to be able to continue to make good use of the things she grown up with. Looking around, almost every thing here is “pre-loved” as Loot and Freecycle users euphemise what to many others might be just old junk. Perhaps being a baby-boomer growing up in post-war England. Who could have predicted that tinkering with old wireless sets would stand me in good stead for living life in straightened times in 21st century Britain. I can light a fire, mend a bicycle and even a motor car but still know a little about the workings of computers. Fettling stuff is something i’me been doing all my life and I don’t usually need Swarfega after I’ve gone into a computer’s innards. I drwa the limit at making Christmas cards and have just bought enough. with stamps fot those I need to send to by snail mail. Sudden thought on the whole Crimble business; rather than send a round robin letter of what I’ve been up to, I’ll use http://warriet.com/ to post some sort of Christmas/New Year message (disappears momentarily to check Filezilla). Hurrah, it works and I can remember the password and stuff so perhaps I’ll start working on it tomorrow. Of course another consequence of a make do and mend mentality is that rather than curse an inadequate PC, I crawl around until I find software that brings out the best in whatever hardware is to hand. Although deprecated by the true Linux person (whatever he/she/it might be). Ubuntu 10.10 is definitely fit for my purpose especially since it enables me to run VirtualBox without having to go all geeky and start fixing things in root.. The point of mentioning is that such software is legitimately free – why pay money on an unfinished, insecure and hopelessly inefficient product that demands evermore expensive for its effective use? Perhaps Windows 8 will in time to save the day but meanwhile there is literally tonnes of perfectly good hardware going to landfill every day when it could be revitalized in an hour so. Which reminds me of something my daughter suggested a few weeks ago, nameky to create a local PC refurbishment outfit from which the increasingly dispossessed could get their first step to (re)connect to the rest of society.[mental note to go and see Furnequip next week]