Oh, dear me, the weather. If you should be reading this blog in Arizona or Marseilles, and think that the English are always grumbling about the weather, take it from me that this is exceptional. It is not meant to be like this in late March. It is technically spring, but it is blowing a freezing gale, with snow blanketing swathes of the north, and forecast for Colchester tomorrow.
The Systems Administrator was all lined up yesterday to help replace the broken poles in the fruit cage roof. They are hollow aluminium, like tent poles, and were bent out of shape by the weight of snow so badly the winter before last that it was impossible to straighten them by hand. A couple actually broke. It was my own fault for leaving the netting on the roof over winter, but I used to believe that it didn't snow that much in southern England. I bought replacements for the worst damaged ones, then summer last year was so unremittingly dull, wet and foul that I gave up with ideas of fruit, and never fitted them. The SA said that we could replace the poles without removing the netting from the roof, which would save us quite a lot of work, and I was about to go along with this when it struck me that it might not be a very sensible idea, not if it is going to snow on Saturday. To mend your fruit cage on 21st March and have it damaged again by snow two days later on the 23rd would just be perverse.
This morning the SA was all lined up to take me to the local garden centre in the truck, so that I could buy a bulk load of bags of mushroom compost, and not just as much as I could fit into the boot of the Skoda. As I lay in bed this morning listening to the wind howling, and trying to summon the energy to go and have a shower, it didn't sound like a very good day to go and load compost. Going outside to let the chickens into their run I found the wind had swung round to the north, and cut to the skin. We agreed to leave fetching compost to another day.
I thought that maybe the back garden would be sheltered from the worst of the gale by the wood, the house, and the lie of the land, and set out to plant more of the bulbs I've been growing on, and spread a layer of Strulch over the bed, but as I looked at a tray of rather nice Allium rosenbachianum it struck me that they probably wouldn't like being covered in snow, fresh out of the greenhouse. My plan was to plant before mulching, so as not to disturb the Strulch once it was down, so if I couldn't plant, I couldn't mulch. The cold was making my eyes water so badly I couldn't even see very well, and I gave up with gardening for the day before I trampled too many plants to death.
That left me with the rest of the morning to play with the new phone. As of yesterday evening it would receive e-mails but not let me send them. Apparently this is a well-know glitch of some Samsung Android products, though not one that any of the phone companies mention in the glowing product descriptions on their websites. Instead you can read about it in lots of chat-rooms where disgruntled owners compare solutions, most of which sound horribly complicated. The SA knew of a simple answer, which was to download an app that accesses e-mail via Yahoo instead of the e-mail icon that came ready loaded on the phone, and that solved the problem, but it seems ridiculous. Why can't Samsung and O2 just sell me a phone with an e-mail function that works?
I managed to text my own old phone, which was a start. I have not tried to transfer my old number to the new phone. Only about six people have my number so it's easier just to tell them the new one, and I can barely make the phone work as it is, without the added complication of trying to transfer numbers. Anyway, I needed the old number to practice on. My dismal failure to text the first friend I tried to contact turned out to be because I had typed her telephone number into my new Contacts list incorrectly, but I can't blame Samsung for that.
By lunchtime I had managed to download one free app, and was equipped to find any Art Fund supported venue within a specified radius. The SA, more prosaically, suggested I add one that would tell me the times of London buses and service status on the underground, and sneaked in the national rail enquiry service when I wasn't looking. It was the first time I ever looked in an app store, and it is not the most clearly signposted environment, but I suppose it is aimed at young people who grew up with digital technology and not fifty year old late adopters. It is tricky exploring a new touch screen device when every time you touch anything trying to find out what it is and what it does, something happens, and you find you are either apparently downloading something you don't want, or have rung somebody up you didn't mean to call.
In the afternoon I made the dough for another loaf of bread, but after the success of my last two attempts, this one is very slow to rise. It is that sort of a day.