I was stuck indoors all weekend nursing a horrible cold (donated by Son Number One). I couldn’t get to church, and there was definitely no gardening. That was a wrench, as during the week the weather was perfect for a late autumn tidy-up. I was looking forward to gathering leaves and putting everything to bed for the winter. We’ve had brilliantly starry nights and clear, cold days. On a couple of occasions the gate has been frosted shut when we headed out on the school run. While all that was going on, I was sitting behind a computer screen and looking forward to Friday. By the end of my working week, the bug struck. I lost the urge to do anything outside. Instead, I tried tidying my office. That’s a never-ending task. We don’t have much room, so my desk is squeezed in between an enormous chest freezer, the telescope my OH’s dear father refurbished forty years ago (and we can’t bear to lose), the Christmas tree in its box and all the decorations ditto, and any number of other useful bits and pieces which can find no other home.
My trouble is, I can’t bear to throw anything away. I have boxes and boxes of children’s drawings, birthday cards and other treasures. These can’t be sacrificed, so it had to be my stack of magazines. I’ve kept every one to which I’ve contributed over the years, but this was the time to say goodbye. As a compromise, my published articles now fill one box file instead of a tottering heap of publications.
While I was emptying my filing cabinet, I came across six, closely written foolscap sheets. There were columns for ‘page number’, ‘query’ and a big space for ‘remarks’. In seconds, I was taken right back the nineteen-nineties. That was when I used to write historical novels. I love research, but these pages were an illustration of how difficult it was back then. The good old days? I don’t think so! With no access to the internet and only a small dictionary, the only way I could double-check every historical fact and spelling was to make a sixty mile round trip (babies in tow) to the county library. That took ages, and we all ended up over-tired and frustrated. Now everyone who has access to a computer can find information on anything, in seconds. It’s a wonderful invention. The only question I’m left with is…weren’t computers supposed to herald the paperless office? It certainly hasn’t worked in this house!
Have computers made life easier for you, or just altered your workload?