One cannot imagine the joy having such an author as Peter Maughan for a friend. Aside from the obvious, I so enjoy his “style” as he expresses even mundane things and issues. This communication is one that makes the point. He and I have been writing back and forth concerning his computer problems and the challenges of being “older” and “subject to whims of the techno-savy world.” But no matter the problem, when he writes about it, or on any subject actually, I am often wiping tears from my laughter, which is ofen sustained beyond the actual read. I decided to give you a “taste” of my enjoyment” as he tells of his latest “Encounters of the alien computer kind”.
It’s troubles, computer troubles (something Shakespeare was spared), not sorrows, which for me lately have come not as single spies but in battalions.
My son’s attempt at resuscitation of the first machine (this, upon which I type, is the third machine: the history of that to follow) failed; the patient died on the table in front of us, its brain at the end throwing up a mad blitz of numbers and meaningless (to us, at any rate) sentences (it could be of course that there are more of them out there, and that was a last attempt to ‘phone home’) before finally suddenly expiring, shutting down in a way which left no doubt that it was permanent.
So I bought another machine, euphemistically described in the shop as re-conditioned – meaning we’ve run a cloth over the keyboard, switched it on, and it seems to be all right, so, ‘We’ll call it seventy quid for cash, shall we? Can’t say fairer than that, can I?.’
I soon learnt that he could have said fairer than that, because not long I sat down to address a backlog of work, it started to present (as the doctors say) symptoms of nervous disorder – not too far off my condition by then, man and machine meeting in a universe neither understood but sharing for that brief while a sort of demented kinship (Joyce, if I’m boring you, please feel free to make a cup of coffee). So, back to the shop, to explain that he could, after all, have said fairer than that, and would he mind doing so.
Anyway, (in case you are by now back from your coffee) I left it with him, for its re-conditioning to be re-conditioned. But it was found to be beyond even his expert wit, and after several phone calls, with my patient and manners becoming increasingly strained, a new re-conditioned machine was finally produced in exchange.
And here it now sits, in all its re-conditioned glory, doing what I tell it to do when I tell it to do it. For which I am pathetically grateful, and gushing as a new lover in my praise of it.
Will it last, this new-found re-conditioned love? Or is it (to bring Shakespeare into it again), ‘Too rash, too sudden. Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be.’ We’ll see.
There is one thing, Joyce. During all this upheaval I seem to have managed to lose a memory stick, on which I uploaded for safety your two chapters. I wonder if you’d mind terribly, when you have a spare moment, sending me then again?
Hope all is well with you and yours. (the church bells are ringing here, the full peal of six for the Queen’s Jubilee, the sweetest of sounds to my ears),
Fond best wishes – Peter
The Cuckoos of Batch Magna By Peter Maughan
The best novel of rustic roguery since The Darling Buds of May
“A marvelously descriptive writer …” Laurie Lee, author of Cider with Rosie
Available in paperback and electronic versions from Bewrite.net, Amazon and all major online stores, and on order from all major high street bookshops