The houses I knew best in my childhood were those of family and friends. Most early friends lived in houses like my parents’ house or a mirror image of it. For a long time any dreams I had in houses were in my parents’ house. Occasionally I have dreamed about my grandparents’ stone-built house. This was a repeated dream, where the house had narrow passages, which I had to squeeze through. I do not believe there were any such passages, although there was a stream (known as the brook) running below the cellar. Even after I had been married for a number of years and lived in other houses, those hardly ever featured in my dreams.

My childhood home was a writing prompt. I haven’t seen it for well over a decade. I was surprised to learn recently that it is being converted from a three-bedroom house into four two-bedroom flats. The garden, which my parents looked after for over half a century, growing vegetables, flowers, apples, pears, raspberries and strawberries, is being divided into three. Or at least, what will be left of it is after the building extensions and parking provision. There was space on the lawn for a few children to ride around on bikes and the mature apple trees gave shade to budding artists sitting at a small table with paint and paintbrushes. Our grown-up children remember playing there too on summertime visits and possibly once in the snow.

After a property has been sold, previous owners have no say about what happens to it. History cannot be frozen. More homes are needed. The space is available and someone has spotted an opportunity. I wish them well. The architects’ plans are a great improvement on the ramshackle appearance of the temporary extensions on the photos submitted to the planning authority.

The neighbours, seeing the work in progress, believed that there would be two more houses next to the original one. Presumably two doors to the new flats had appeared. I had to smile, when after a few months my mother told me, “You were right, it is four flats!”

I had consulted the plans, after all.


Adam’s lament

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It was all right in its way being the first man. At first that is, before all the trouble that came my way. Paradise, they called it. And so it was.

Going first has its disadvantages. You have to set a standard. That’s OK if you do well, but what if you fail? There’s no going back and getting it right the second time around. You have to live with it – or die…

Eve and I had no idea. We made some wrong choices.

Then we lost our beautiful home. Our sons were our hope for the future. Why Cain had to do his brother in, I’ll never understand. It’s not the sort of thing you expect in a family. As for getting over it, that could take for ever.

I sometimes wish I had never been born. (What’s that? No, I wasn’t, I was created.)

I still wonder about my descendants. What hope is there for the sons of Adam? A faint song reaches my ears, as if coming from a distant time or place.

“A second Adam to the fight and to the rescue came.” *

Now what’s that all about?

* (A line from the second verse of John Henry Newman’s hymn, Praise to the holiest in the height.)

(Inspired by Genesis Chapters 1 to 4)

This year for the A to Z Challenge I have taken my 2013 Challenge as a starting point for most of the posts. I have written a post based around something or usually someone from the Bible. Sometimes it is a fictional story, for example when I have added some back stories (as a writing exercise). Sometimes it is a summary.

I hope my readers will be challenged to consider the original texts in more depth.

My A post from 2013


How to take control of your own (computer) updates

Every month I read the same complaints – mainly from writers – that they have been interrupted from working due to updates being installed.  Every month I refrain from replying to them with unsolicited advice.  Instead I decided to put up these guidelines!

Whatever electronic device(s) we use, they all have to be updated from time to time.  There is not much more annoying than finding that just as a Skype date (or even worse an interview) is looming, for example, the computer decides to update Skype without asking permission.

To avoid this and other more seriously disruptive updates, it is necessary to check one’s settings.  There is often a setting, which stops automatic download and/or installation of updates.  It is particularly important with mobile devices to make sure that updates are only allowed over wifi and not as data from a mobile provider.  Also when travelling, it is often useful to turn off automatic updates.  A roomful of people sharing a wifi connection may be slowed down by someone downloading large files.

I have heard stories of inconvenient upgrades to a new version of Windows.  I wonder how many people, who have been inconvenienced by having to wait for an automatic update to complete, have bothered to take preventive action afterwards.  To be inconvenienced repeatedly is not necessary.

This is not a technical article.  There are plenty of forums, help pages and the like, which may be found to address specific update settings problems.  What I am trying to do is increase awareness that electronic devices are tools, which we are able to control.  We do not have to allow them to disrupt our time management by leaving default settings unchanged.

On the other hand the updates are provided for good reasons.  It is always a good idea to install updates which address security soon after they become available.  My own view about accepting new systems, such as Microsoft Windows 10, is to wait until others have been using it for long enough that any teething troubles will have been fixed.

Sometimes updates are issued between the usual monthly updates for Microsoft, but usually these are on a Tuesday in the second week of each month (if you are in the US time zones) or the next day (Wednesday) in the UK.

I also like to check that all the updates have been installed successfully.  Occasionally there are problems. Persistent problems may be sorted out after consulting help pages or forums.

I hope you found this latest update to my blog of some interest.  Do you have any stories about ill-timed computer updates?