londonbard: walking tabby cat, (Tyger) (a guest)
Earlier in the year I was awake at 2 a.m. and heard strange noises outside. It sounded like someone digging the garden/a spade scraping against stone. (In a horror film someone would have been digging a grave - but here I'd have bet foxes, so I checked my clothes and possibly put on a coat and popped out to see what they were doing.)

There were two men standing together just beyond the garden railings, facing in. Both immediately
turned and headed away at a very fast walk, with very guilty body language. (Frankly, I'd have thought they were peeing, but there was no "period of adjustment" at all and their hands weren't near their relevant areas...)  There'd also been that sound - I just had a gut feeling about it so I rang the police.

 England still has 999 for police, fire and ambulance, but it's for emergencies; something like this is reported on 101. They told me a car was on its way and hung up while I was trying to say that the men behaving oddly had gone.  The car arrived very fast and they told me that Control had told them the men were breaking down fences! It isn't a fence; it's 14 foot metal railings. Nobody was likely to break those and they might be tricky to get over.

I was trying to tell them what had happened, especially that strange sound. I was saying it sounded like a spade/trowel against concrete and was trying to check the base of the railings. Neighbours came out and said it was foxes; police left so I went back in.

Next night I heard the sound again at about 2 a.m.; this time it lasted seconds - but I popped out to see very quickly. One of the men was crouching and, almost certainly, retrieving something from under the garden railings ...

(So, my guess, police car cruising around, two men (not youths) carrying something illegal decide to stash it down a side road; when the insomniac tenant goes into the garden they head away fast but can't run because of the police car. Police then arrive but don't investigate; one of the men returns 24 hours later and picks stash up.)

 I reported second incident to police - that one of the men came back and collected something - because I don't want criminals habitually hiding things at the edge of my garden (and the noise sounded like a trowel against the edge of the paving stones. How many people carry a trowel? They just might have intended to hide stuff there for someone else to pick up.)
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finding due North with a watch, point the hour hand at the sun and spang between the noon and the minute hand is North. 
londonbard: walking tabby cat, (Tyger) (a getting there)
I do apologise to everyone for posting and commenting so erratically for so long.
The problems were - I expected to be up-dating and writing a lot this year, so I got broadband on March 12th (after being on dial-up throughout.) That took me completely off-line.
I feel like an idiot writing this, but I didn't realise that it didn't work well enough to download anti-virus updates - but it did work well enough to download the virus that fried the computer.
I'm sensible (I used to think so, anyway.) I save to a separate large drive that potentially held more than I had on the whole computer. Unfortunately I was updating/working from that drive when it happened; I wasn't used to an "always on" connection that I'd have to opt to disconnect, instead of opting to go on-line...

The laptop was originally from PC World and it's "insured". The Tech Guys managed to save some of it but it's - well, the best word is probably, "struggling".  Microsoft said everything needed re-installing.  It then turned out that the re-installation discs had been stolen, (presumably during the long, l o n g move. I'd bought the Netbook after the move and it was actually here. That's where things got crazy, because that is here, it was still in the box - but the installation discs aren't. (OS XP so options limited; there's a trial of Office 2007 on it but no number to activate it.)

(Possibly the broadband ruined the desktop because it crashed/disconnected just as Microsoft sent their "genuine advantage cookie" and they declared the desktop non-kosher, afterward it wouldn't go on-line ... and it's possibly that which takes it all way over the top.  I know perfectly well that it's so much like an episode of a comedy that anyone reading this will probably be laughing by now.)

Anyway - although BT charges £32 for an engineer to set it the broadband up, I was told it would be £139 if they sent out someone to fix it and it turned out to be caused by something inside my home. It had bitten 3 computers, I have more than one phone and changing them over made no difference -but there's only on life-line alarm; I suspected it. Normally the engineer for that comes out right away, (free) but this time they kept breaking appointments. By that time I'd thought it through. If the BT engineer came out and any part of it was due to the alarm I'd be charged for the engineer - and if it still didn't work properly once the alarm was replaced I'd be s******.

To cut a long saga short, the continual disconnections were due to the alarm; broadband still didn't work but the incredibly slow speed was due to a fault between here and the exchange and they fixed that quite quickly. That left me with a working connection but no working computer...

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