River Wissey Lovell Fuller

One Thing Leads To Another

June 2003

The benefits (and pitfalls) of computer ownership

When our daughter finished at university, moved into a rented room and began her working life, the computer that she had used for her studies whilst at university, came to lodge at our house. Now my wife and I had not used one of these new fangled machines before. Always preferring the good old pen and paper. Anyway we had our basic instructions from our daughter for the word processor programme. This we soon discovered was very useful for several reasons the main one being that my wife likes to do a Christmas letter each year to distant friends and family, and as your friend and mine 'Arthur Ritis' is troubling her hands, this was a great help to her. As for me, well it meant that I didn't have to keep rewriting my letters every time I made a mistake, (which was quite often I might add), and I could keep a record of what I'd written.

This was fine until our daughter moved to larger accommodation and said she wanted her computer back. Well we couldn't say no could we! But it was quite a wrench, and we missed our new 'baby' terribly. Back to the old pen and paper, plus scribbling out!!!

Imagine our joy when she rang up one day to say the her future intended, (as he was then), was getting a more advanced, mega memory, all singing all dancing, new computer and would we like the old one back. Well of course we said NO! (I tell a lie, we said YES PLEEEEASE!!! ! !! ! !! !!!!)

We got out the table it had sat on before so it wouldn't be homesick or terrified at being put in strange surroundings, I mean you've got to make them feel welcome haven't you otherwise they can throw a wobbly. And being new 'Computer Parents' we'd have no idea how to cope, or what to do if it did.

So safely ensconced and typing away again, my wife thought it would be a good idea to learn how to use it better. Seeing a free taster course on offer she signs up and completes the course. Not to be outdone I sign up for a course called New Clait, (please don't ask me what it means), which is the first rung of the computer qualification ladder. Also an Internet taster course both of which the college was offering as free courses with just the administration costs to pay. I always was a sucker for a bargain!!

Things are ticking along nicely. Then we start to think things are a bit spread out on the table and worktop, it ought to be tidied up a bit. It so happens one day that we are chatting to this chap in Downham and he says, 'You don't know of anyone who wants a computer table do you? I'm getting a new one and want to sell the old one.' Now you know what we said to that don't you!

In comes the new table (second hand really, but don't tell the computer) and everything gets put in its place, the cables are all neatly tied out of the way and 'Compo' (that's the computer's name) seems happy. Which is more than I am because the power socket is low down on the wall behind the table and as the printer has a transformer, rather than leave it on all the time (electricity bills you know) I have to switch it on and off each time I use it.

This is definitely not good for a senile old arthritic like me. As someone once said, 'getting down is not too bad as gravity is there to help, but getting up again is a different story!' To solve the problem I had to go and buy a twin surface mounted socket and backplate, some cable, and a plug. Fixing the socket to the table within easy reach and plugging into the wall socket I no longer had to become a contortionist to use the computer.

During the months that the above has been happening I have been sitting on a stool. When my back started to ache I changed the stool for a chair and when my behind started to go numb, a chair with a cushion on it. When the new (sorry, new second hand) table came, it was a bit taller than the original table. So I had to use several cushions to raise me up in order to use my bifocals comfortably. Now I've purchased a second hand chair with a built in cushion that can be raised or lowered; the chair that is, not the cushion.

Where, I ask myself will all this end. We have endeavoured to make Compo as comfortable as possible and ourselves with it, but there's talk now of Compo having his own room as he's getting older.

However there's one thing I am sure of, we are both too old now for it to lead to us having any more little Compo's, and that's a fact!!!!


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