My tablet died overnight. It was perfectly fine yesterday. I played Sudoku in the evening, and left the tablet on charge overnight so that I could listen to the film programme podcast today while planting mallows in the daffodil lawn. This morning I was all set up to go, trowel, trays of plants in their nine centimetre pots, packet of mycorrhizal fungus, kneeling mat, shears to tidy up the whiskery bits of lawn as I went (keeping an eye out for approaching kittens), big green bucket for the rubbish, radio, jack plug lead, tablet. Lights, camera, action. Only when I swiped my finger across the touch screen nothing happened, and after I'd dried my finger (which was not even wet) and wiped the screen with kitchen roll and spectacle cleaner still nothing happened. The little padlock remained firmly in place in the middle of the screen and that was that.
The Systems Administrator tried every technique in his armoury, from switching it off and switching it on again to attempting to reinstall the entire operating system. Nothing. The tablet is dead, defunct, no more. It had done us pretty well, since I'd had a couple of years' use out of it and before that it was the SA's for about three years, but even so. How dare it break? It had all my film programme podcasts on it.
I am not having a good six months for electronic kit. First of all it was my phone, going into a mad spasm and eating its entire battery in a few hours. Then my iPod went into a fugue so that the only thing it would do was play Philip Glass. And the battery in my garden radio got to the point where it wouldn't last a morning before it flattened. The radio problem was easily solved by installing a new battery, its fourth. I was relieved the SA could refettle it yet again, since it is a good chunky radio. After I bought it the SA was so impressed that he bought an identical one for his bathroom. The model has been long discontinued by the manufacturer, but I think its modern equivalent would set me back pretty close to three figures, so a new battery at twelve pounds something was a bargain.
It didn't seem worth buying a new iPod, when I thought about it. I hate wearing headphones, which is eccentric in this day and age but there it is, I can't help it. And I don't want to listen to music on the move. When I'm out and about I'd like to hear what's going on around me. Eccentric again, but that's how it is. So I listen to the iPod when I'm indoors and stationary, either cooking or ironing. On that basis buying a small CD player was easier and cheaper than getting a replacement iPod. I am slightly sad to see it go on purely artistic and cultural grounds, since an iPod and docking station were featured in Grayson Perry's tapestry The Vanity of Small Differences as middle class signifiers, but I can't see him bothering to include a mini CD player any time soon.
In total I probably don't spend any more on electronic equipment than I do on gardening gloves, but it still riles me when it breaks. Gloves are disposables. Electronics are capital equipment, they are supposed to last.