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A Long Time Later

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It is ages since I last wrote anything here. That's not because I haven't been writing. During the first 100 days of Spanish lockdown because of Covid I wrote a daily blog to a circle of about 40 people; family, friends, other OU students. All of those posts are now gathered together into my ´Plague Diary´- a document saved on my computer. I have also completed an initial version of my ´growing up´ memoir. That is now 80,000 words long starting with my birth in 1937 and going as far as the first year of my professional life in 1960. In fact, I've been writing so much, that I have burned out my beloved iPad. As a result, I have invested in a new laptop computer which I am enjoying a great deal, although there are irritating features due to my lack of computer/technology expertise. 

At present, the main problem is that I don't seem able to access the App Store. There are four pre-installed apps which announce that they need an update and when I ask for the update, the computer refuses to update saying that the apps were bought by an identity different to me. When I ask to install different apps - like my banking apps - the computer says they don't exist. There will be a solution somewhere, somehow.

However, I am enjoying the keyboard, despite the fact that it is a Spanish one with Ñ and Ç, ¿ as well as ? and ! as well as ¡. In fact, I am enjoying the keyboard so much that I am well on the way with my account of the chaotic life and premature death of my bi-polar friend. I am at the stage where I have written chapters reflecting on the documents I have relating to her life and chapters emptying my memory and my wife's memory of her but now need access to some key milestone dates. I hope that her sister will be able to provide information regarding those. At present, I am a little over 13,000 words.

One way or another, I have been spending a lot of money recently. The Open University has a further six thousand, six hundred and sixty pounds sterling of mine; my registration fee for a further year of study. This new computer cost one thousand four hundred euros. And, as my son was on holiday in Southern Spain with his wife and daughter, I travelled by train to see them. Train fares and two nights in a hotel added about four hundred euros to my spending. But it was worth it to see them.

My train journeys were interesting. It is the first time I'd been in an AVE train, the Spanish high speed train. Because there is no direct cross-country line from Alicante to south-western Spain, it was necessary to go via Madrid. The Alicante-Madrid leg was very fast, even with several intermediate stops. The train from Madrid to Jerez de la Frontera was long but given I was travelling in an Alvia Media Distancia train it was remarkably quick. I have no idea how fast the AVE was travelling as the display system was not working. However the Alvia display worked and there were frequent instances of 250 KPH. However, at no time were there refreshments of any sort on the train - a Covid precaution. Another Covid precaution, after my ticket was scanned and verified, I was handed two hand sanitising towelettes. I was disappointed in Atocha station. It is complicated and long-winded. I thought it would be impressive with facilities. There were facilities - many of them closed. I had read a great deal about the architecture of the old engine shed - which was impressive - but most of the facilities there were roped off because of the virus. Despite the rules and regulations resulting from the virus, I was surprised how many people were travelling. Trains were not packed, but there were few vacant seats. I am very fond of Alicante terminus station. It is spacious, clean and has ample facilities. The station at Jerez was interesting for the wall tiles and its facilities were good.

So, this is me winding myself up for A803. It promises to be more demanding than A802 and that was demanding enough. I have been notified that I am fully enrolled. The module web-site opens up first week in September and the course proper the first week in October. A first assignment is due in November. I hope that new life breathed into writing already done might suffice for some of the many assignments on this module.

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