It is very easy for me to get frustrated about with how things are going when they are going badly and for those things to dominate my thinking from then onwards. As I have been having a tough afternoon trying to setup a server for work I thought it would be good for me to sit down and review the day a bit from a less involved perspective, in the hope that if nothing else I might sleep a little easier.
Today is Saturday so cue a lie in and, because my wife went out for a walk with friends, thinking time for myself. Now thinking time is not always productive but today seemed pretty good with ideas buzzing around. I have been musing on the thoughts generated by the Terry Pratchett memorial programme and in particular the channelling of anger to create something. I decided that I need to create a set of characters and let those characters tell stories around environmental issues. My cartoon drawing taught me how important it was to have a character driven story so I am deliberately letting go of creating a storyline and purely concentrating on characters. This morning it seemed to me that in fact I really needed a central character which will spin off other characters as needed. It seemed obviously to me which character this would conceptually, but I wanted to know what they looked like. I had a few ideas about appearance but I was dissatisfied and felt that I shouldn’t let conventions dictate my character’s physical look.
At this point I felt I should get up and do something a bit more practical. I felt the need to achieve something physical as well as taking a break from thinking. There have been two large boxes and two small packages in the hallway this week and with my wife away it seemed like a good idea to do something about them. One pair contained the basis of a new server for work, whilst the other were components for converting an old mountain bike of mine (in an effort to try something new but not buy a new bike!). It felt optimistic to do both these tasks and to be honest even one of them felt like a challenge to get done over a weekend. Building bikes and servers can be a relatively straightforward process but for someone like me that does these things with gaps of years there always seems things that should be simple but turn out anything but.
With the potential to go wrong in mind, I decided that I need to start the day with something simpler; I decided to water the houseplants. To make it a bit more challenging though, well to be honest I am trying to be less reliant on my right hand due to the arthritis in my third finger, I operated the watering can left handed. This cackhandedness did result with some water going over the floor but on the whole, it was a success. I don’t know if it was the plant theme or not, but I also felt I need to spend some time outside, so I made the decision to do a bit of gardening.
The front garden is looking the worst for wear. With temperatures one week in double figures and the next hovering around zero, the plants don’t really know what to do. The weeds however do seem to feel like it is time to grow. The potential for a total takeover is only a few months away. The problem I find with gardening like so much in life is that it can feel overwhelming once one looks hard enough. What felt like an easy task like planting a one foot high rowan tree turned into a fight with the couch grass. One patch done but a swift look around the garden showed most of the borders are infested. I really must spend more time on my garden.
Despondent I concentrate on something more manageable, tidying up a three-foot shrub of lavender. The success of this leads me to pull out some more dead stuff and cutting back a dwarf escalonia (though I have to say the arthritis made this pretty difficult). I am feeling a bit tired, it has certainly been longer than the 30 minutes’ minimum I set myself and head inside for a cup of tea. A part of me knows that I might not be doing anymore gardening because I won’t feel like it now I have stopped, so I tidy up what I have done just in case this is true.
Over tea I muse on my character and have some ideas about how to progress it, but it turns out to be more complicated than I thought it would be. I make a few lists and turn my thoughts back to the garden. What else could I do that wouldn’t be too taxing? I think that maybe I could prune my pear trees. I try looking how to do this on the internet but find this laziness is not rewarded instead I find my specialist book I bought last year and look up what is to be done. I am reminded yet again, how wrong I was in leaving the three year old pear tree with such a long stem. For some reason cutting fruit trees also seems a bad thing to do, but I take the plunge and with my secateurs cut the branches to an outward facing bud in an attempt to keep the centre open. Standing back it seems obvious I have over compensated for height of the trunk and shortened the branches rather more than the book suggested. At least the tree is unlikely to die, even if it doesn’t fruit much.
At the bottom of the pear tree is a hepatica with its small deep blue flowers. I look around the garden and notice the yellow clusters of aconites and elegant snowdrops. Why haven’t I taken any pictures of these flowers? I dispose of the tree branches then head indoors to get a camera. I take a few pictures of the aconites and snowdrops then notice a red plant flowering pulmonaria . I play around with depth of field, then realise I haven’t take any pictures of the hellebores flower right beside the rowan tree I planted. These photos need to be taken right from ground level looking up to see inside the flower heads but the brightness of the sky makes the exposure tricky. I activate the built-in flash but it doesn’t fire so then I go hunting through the menu system and discover an HDR setting and try this instead. It seems to work okay with the hellebores but I am not so convinced by images taken of lesser contrast scenes.
Time is moving on so I decide to start building the server. It takes several trips upstairs to my storage areas to get all the bits and pieces necessary. Just when I think I have everything I can find the mouse that should be here. Backup upstairs. Didn’t I have a keyboard here? Back upstairs. Where’s the monitor cable? Back upstairs. A larger screwdriver? Back upstairs. Eventually all the hardware is connected up and I turn it on; well actually I just plugged it in, it seems to decide this is enough to turn itself on. It takes a few minutes to start up but I take it into its smart setup programme. There is a warning that no hard drives are detected. I don’t remember having this issue last time I did this but this was a common issue in times past, so I have a few ideas.
Unfortunately my ideas proved futile. My last hope is to install a firmware upgrade but what should have been a simple automatic process and been thwarted by the hardware manufacturer now insisting that you have to have a right to access these things thus disabling the automatic process. I strive in vain to overcome this restriction, proving that I do indeed have a right of access but still cannot do the upgrade. Hours later of watching videos on the internet and reading blog posts it seems I could do this is if my setup was different but as it is I am going to have to wait to buy something tomorrow.
In the meantime, I download a large software patch in which I put my faith to fix the server. I also fit a new disk drive to my games console and update some programs on it; it all works smoothly. I even spend some time with my family eating paella and watching a programme on a trip through the Caledonian canal. I once did this trip with friends and my daughter. I found the boat rather dull (a motor caravan really) compared to the sailing boats we usually used but I cannot deny to beauty of the scenery, though I have to say we didn’t have brilliant sunshine all the way unlike the TV show. The dog got brushed too.
And now I have finished a bit of writing. Yes the server was incredibly frustrating, but it wasn’t the only thing I tried today and on the whole I think I achieved quite a lot; not least the feeling that actually today was pretty good.