Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bonfire of the vanities, the blog roll - and some have detachment thrust upon them.

It would appear the cosmos is seeking to teach me yet more lessons in detachment. I logged on this morning to find that my sidebar blog list feed thingy, which had served me well in keeping up with almost all of my blogging friends and acquaintances for many a long year, had completely disappeared. I was thrown into a flat spin, quite discombobulated - or should that be discomblogulated?

An odd thing about this was that just yesterday I was indulging in a characteristically whimsical exchange in a comment thread with Robbie (Roderick Robinson) about visiting defunct blogs, of friends and contacts who have disappeared either from actual life or from the blogosphere, and how poignant it was scanning the list to the bottom - I had it set to display the most recent twenty-five blogs to post, but the 'view all' function showed over sixty, many of which had not been updated for several years. I said:

And that's only a sample of all the 'trépassés' whose blogs languish there. At one time I might have cleared them out as link-rot but now I can't quite bring myself to, it feels like a kind of betrayal. There are also many who update quite regularly but I seldom visit them any more, again, it would seem disloyal to delete, and I like to know they're still there. 

Despite the fact I should really be concentrating on getting on with our final move back into our own house which we are just now undertaking and other things, I could not rest until I had  gone onto Blogger help, where I received the very inexpert 'expert reply', did I mean the blog archive? And that I could always add it again. Of course I could, but the information, the URLs of all the blogs on the list, was lost, and just relying on my 'meat' memory to recall what was on it would not really be adequate. Oh, and they told me to back up from time to time, horses and stable doors and all that.

After a bit, however, a more helpful non-expert (this has happened to a number of people and seems to be something to do with an 'it-ain't-broke-but-we'll-bugger-about-pretending-to-fix-it-anyway' change to the search box widget which has spilled over into the links list) suggested searching out a cached copy of the blog and getting the html from there. I had no idea how to do this but found out about the first bit and quickly copied all the URLs into a notepad thingy, so I've saved the data if Blogger can't fix it.

But this would leave me with the question, what do I keep on the roll and what do I let go? While the redundant links were just sitting there, I could just leave them and not make any decision. If it came to putting them all back, do I just shunt them over, or should I have a cull and a clean out? In digital microcosm, it's the same as the stuff in the house really. How much should sentiment stop you from getting rid of the unnecessary?


As I say (do I use that collocation too much?), it's not as though I don't have other things to be doing. We are officially out of here - the gite - tomorrow. The electrician took it to the wire (!) and finished the wiring and putting all the stuff he'd bashed up back together this afternoon, I had thought we might sleep there tonight but I've bottled out, though I have made the bed up. Tom's been working flat out to get all sorts of jobs finished there and being upbeat and brave and energetic and I know I'm in danger of giving into being fearful and difficult and tedious. Getting back and getting on with it has simply got to be done and at least there's plenty of clear and present work to be busy with; it won't be so bad once we've been there a day or two, the gite has been getting a bit cramped and boring really, though we've appreciate much about being here, and in Hénon. And the house really is beginning to look very fine, especially the new light oak staircase, the beauty of which we can just stand and gaze at. Even the new fuse box is rather lovely in its well-labelled order, and the rest of the repairs and re-painting should be done in the next month or so, ready for it to be put on the market and for us to leave it for good, as is the plan.

Then Tom yesterday started getting weird black floaters and the odd flash in his eyes, which have been giving him some trouble with blurring and tiredness all summer, so that was my cue finally to get on to the clinic where he had his cataract ops done pronto; the ophthalmologist there had a look and said he was not in fact suffering a detached retina (more detachment!) but would need some minor corrective laser surgery next week. 

(Turns out he's just posted about this, he wasn't just doing on-line sudoku after all,  and we've both employed the same lame pun. Not altogether surprising).


Catalyst said...

Do I have this right? Have you been fixing up the house where there was a fire only to sell it?

Nimble said...

Keep and cherish (even if worn or not useful) or let go? We face that question every day even when we don't realize it. Often the decision is taken out of our hands.
And change is hard, where is my home routine?
Good wishes for all the movement.

Lucy said...

Thanks both.

Cat - well yes, that's about the size of it! It might seem odd, but in fact the fire kind of precipitated a decision we'd have had to make sooner or later, but which it was difficult to think about before. Having to make a complete break, and having professionals move in to get jobs done or re-done that had sometimes been hanging over us for years as well as repairing the damage, and very largely bringing it up to a finished and saleable (we hope) standard, seems to be a good opportunity, particularly as the insurance will have paid for much of it. And sometimes things happen which just sort of change everything, I can't really feel quite the same about life there now, though perhaps some of those discontents were moving under the surface before.

But we find we'll be able to pass it on to someone with pride, and look forward to a simplified, somewhat smallified (I hate the word downsized!) new life somewhere else, not too far away but far enough to make it a new adventure. We just hope it sells quickly, things don't tend to move very fast out here.

Nimble - that's very true about those choices, but it seems to me at certain times one is more aware of them. I think sometimes younger people are far more keen to hang on to things and get upset at parting with them than one does as one ages and accrues more baggage. As you say, sometimes the choice is taken out of our hands, or something comes along, like the fire, which precipitates it and makes it more compelling. I've found this period of obligatory change in fact very liberating, and part of my discomfort about returning home is a fear of sinking back into everything as it was before, and of losing the momentum I've been given. But I'm sure it'll be fine. Thanks for you good wishes, and your perspicacity.

marja-leena said...

So many changes for you this summer, moving from house to house, and still once more! Even housekeeping on the blog. Sorry I am now one of those who updates rarely but I do still reads everyone on my list.

Best of luck to both of you with the continuing changes!

Pam said...

Oh goodness, moving! We would like to move nearer our Edinburgh (but the other side of Edinburgh) grandchildren - in fact, back to where we came from (for the sake of good schools for our children) 27 years ago. But the thought of buying and selling and moving... can we face it? Not to mention clearing out 27 years' worth of stuff. I can understand why you might feel that now is a good time, though. Good luck with it all!

Zhoen said...

Careful, there. Moving can get strangely addictive.

No, no, it can't.

Catalyst said...

Well, I'm glad to hear the move won't be far from your beloved Brittany, anyway.

Jeff said...

I admire your sense of adventure, Lucy! It's something I wouldn't have understood before a year ago, when I did something similar. It's lovely what you can do with a like-minded partner by your side.

Avus said...

I understand your thing about old blogs Lucy - and the slight poignancy of visiting them and finding they have not posted for years. Have they just stopped blogging, gone over to the "dark side" (Facebook), or have they really left us (died)? I know of only one, for sure, who continued to blog from her care home and whose daughter posted a goodbye on this, her mother's blog to let all know of her passing ("Walking Prescott"). It was a strangely satisfying closure.

the polish chick said...

oh my, i feel as though the rug's been pulled out from under me! and i've only ever known your house from your blogs. sigh... i do understand though that sometimes one must move on. i wish you all the lucks. every last one of'em! to sell quickly and find something that makes you happy!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Beth, I do understand the moving syndrome all too well but in my life, the moves have always been positive, even if difficult. So while I already feel nostalgic for the sense of 'home' that your posts always convey so brilliantly, I'm also excited about following the new adventure you and Tom will be embarking on. Hoping you'll find exactlt the right new place and that the selling/sailing will be smooth and trouble-fre.

About the blog-roll disappearance: oddly enough, this happened to me too in the last few days. I was grinbding my teeth and suspecting Google (Blogger's owner) of dastardly plots. Still not sure what's behind it all but will try to remedy.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

OMG, Lucy! So sorry I addressed you as Beth. I can only apologise, red-faced. I was definitely speaking to you but I may have been commenting over at Beth's earlier. Am I becoming prone to Senior moments? I certainly make lots of typos and hit the 'send' button too soon. Anyway, I hope you forgive me for this lapse of attention. At least you and Beth know each other and can shake your heads jointly about my...erm... dotage?

Zhoen said...

Story about attachment, detachment and retrieval.

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

ML - it's much better to be back than I expected it to be, there's much to be done still, but we're generally quite well motivated. I don't know when the next move will be, we have to finish the works, and put the house on the market, which we should be able to do before the end of the year, then who knows? I think blogging has moved into a different phase, but there are many friends made, whom it's good to know are still there, and you are certainly among them.

Pam - we've been here nearly twenty years now, and I'm not sure how we would ever have got around to thinking about moving if we hadn't been so forcibly and violently uprooted temporarily, which kind of shocked us into a different state of mind. But it the big clean up, clean out is something to be taken advantage of. At first I just wanted to flee the place, but now I'm quite positive, even happy, about being back, but with a view to moving on.

Z - it's a funny thing, I used to be a fairly compulsive mover, couldn't wait to shake dust from my feet over and over, then we came to rest here, and I couldn't really imagine being anywhere else, but the knowledge that the change would have to be made was probably always there. I feel now as if we're moving towards rather than moving away.

Cat - we thought of other places, though never of returning to isolationist Britain, but we kind of know our way around here. It's also less hassle to stay in the same departement, and we wouldn't really want to be too much into deep France or too far from the sea. But we would like to be a bit closer to a town of some kind too.

Jeff - thanks! Once the plans are afoot, for us anyway, there's no going back. True about the like-minded partner, I'm glad your adventure has worked out so well.

Avus - I remember Walking Prescott, GrannyJ! She was great. Other blogging friends now have also blogged almost right up to the end, and their families have closed the chapter for them. It's quite important, if you can do this, I think. We've all been hanging out here quite a long time, haven't we?

PC - I guess home has been quite a bit of what you see of us here, but it will be so somewhere else too, perhaps with a new lease of life in a new place, who knows? Thanks for the wishes.

Natalie - thanks so much, mostly people have reacted sympathetically, I think. The blog roll thing is a google mega-cock-up, it seems. They assure that they are working to restore all the lost data, but there's nothing we can do about it but wait! I hope my e-mail has reassured you as to how completely uninsulted I am by being called Beth!

Z - that's fantastic! I hooted aloud. I'm also rather charmed that a resident of SLC should be putting me onto a story in a newspaper in Tenby, used to go there on holiday when I was a kid.

Roderick Robinson said...

Just watched Mel Gibson's Hamlet; apart from ten minutes near the end where he slipped into an abominable fake English accent, he was OK. The blue eyes helped.

But do you think your archive loss was a message from a Higher Being? That you should be addressing more serious subjects? That you should get thee to a nunnery?

Here's a message from a Lower Being: don't go.

Anonymous said...

New adventures, what Larks!
Love HHB

marly said...

What a lot I have missed, fire and moves and more. Hope Tom's doing well (those lights and floaters sound like vitreous detachment, which is what they have meant at my house. Hope all is fine now.) Good cheer and happy, easy selling to you.