The past few weeks saw a cataclysmic perfect storm for my hubby Brian.
First of all he dropped his mobile phone. Losing your preferred mode of communication is disastrous for most of us but to Brian it's akin to losing your right arm. A new one had to be sent out and, as he's even less technologically-adept than me, he had to wait to get into the store to have it all set up for him with contacts and apps installed.
Meanwhile the signal began to be interrupted on our Sky system and channels began to disappear on our television. This is where he made his critical error - he left me in charge when the Sky engineer was called to solve the problem. It was a female engineer - nothing wrong in that but she was very nervous and obviously new to the job. It didn't instil confidence when her opening gambit was that she had been awake all night worrying about this job! She spent a lot of time wandering around our garden trying to get a signal and conferring by phone with her manager before concluding that the trees had grown up and blocked the signal. Scurrying around like a frightened rabbit because she obviously had a time allocated to each visit and was already late - she mumbled something about cancelling the contract, threw some wires back together and left. End result - no channels at all on the television. Bad enough at the best of times but on the weekend of the US Open Golf Championship..........ouch! Brian was not best pleased.
Now he may not be technologically minded but I have noticed with Brian that where there's a will there's a way. He managed to identify a wire that hadn't been fixed properly and did manage to get some channels back but still not the vital Sky channel needed for the golf. He was not a happy bunny. I cleared out back up to the cottage while he summoned the engineers back, but the first available appointment wasn't until the end of the week - eternity!
He joins me at the cottage just as Nicola Sturgeon, our First Minister, is announcing further lockdown measures to address the rising number of cases of the virus that we've been experiencing. Like many countries, Scotland is becoming increasingly polarised into those that prioritise health and those that prioritise the economy. Brian sees further constraints as an attack on his personal liberty. Stuck at home with just the wife for company, no phone and no television......could it get any worse?
And so the scene is set for a walk through the beautiful Cairngorms on a lovely day in mid-September. Brian has his own personal little black cloud sitting above him and eventually his negativity gets to me and we have the argy-bargy - or in our case because we're spouses - the "domestic"! He walks off and I think I'd be better talking to myself or, as so many people are doing these days - I could go virtual and film myself live on Facebook.
I start guiding - talking into my phone as if it was a group of tour members - and suddenly something surreal happens. People begin to appear. They reach out to me. They send me nice messages. They're interested in what I have to say. Amazing!
To cut a long story short - that little video clip has now been seen by nearly 4,000 people. 4,000!!!! If I live to be 100 I'll never be able to figure out social media. I love doing my stravaiging blog for this little group - it's personal. I know you and can share things with you that I'd never put out on other channels - like my story today.
Brian's phone is now back up and functioning. He was around the next time the Sky engineer called and persuaded her - same female but accompanied by her manager in person this time - to fix the satellite dish to a telegraph pole where it's working perfectly (for how long is questionable as it appears to me to be hanging out into the road). With communication functioning again he can even tolerate spending time with the wife - he has a smile on his face and life is good once more.
The live stream is now up on my Jaggy Thistle Facebook page and flushed with success I thought I'd try another. So this weekend I travelled to Loch Ness - further blogs to follow - and filmed as I walked down the side of the Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus towards Loch Ness. It's a disaster - bad sound and terrible video! Back to the drawing board and I'm trying to fathom out how to use a gimbal - a device to stabilise the phone. I'm going to have another attempt on Friday morning when I'm travelling on the Strathspey steam train from Aviemore to Boat of Garten, which some of you may remember from a previous post. Watch for the result of my efforts on my FB page!