Sunday, November 28, 2010

All thanks to St Antony and St Jude, a mystery, and other bits and pieces

Walking  the approach to Bogard, on Wednesday late afternoon.

There is a poem in these poplar woods, but I haven't found it yet.  The gaunt old hamadryads are guarding it jealously.  Or I'm just not very good at looking for it.

That was the day when I perceived that something was wrong with the zoom and shutter button of the camera; the zoom was slithering about like a car on ice, and the shutter sometimes wasn't shutting.  Damage occasioned, I realised, the day before, when I had to throw a wet and muddy Molly over my shoulder to prevent her from getting into a fight with a neighbourhood German Shepherd dog five times her size.  She was not impressed and struggled and kicked, insisting that she be allowed down to give the young whippersnapper a good hiding and/or, probably and, die in the attempt, showering the camera round my neck with water and mud.

I was annoyed.  The camera is still under guarantee, but the German shepherd should be kept under better control, its owner is an unprepossessing halfwit with whom any kind of rational exchange seems to be impossible, and I would have to make a journey into St Brieuc with the camera and probably be without it for however long it took to service.

I set about looking for the paperwork for it anyway.  Bureau drawers, kitchen pinboard, dear little clip in the shape of a wading bird in the kitchen, shelves by the washing machine, bedside locker drawer, shelving units in my room, ancient cardboard wallet in plastic box upstairs with receipts from twelve years ago when Jean-Paul the mason knocked the holes in our back wall, plus the one from the last emptying of the septic tank - oops, was it really that long ago? - under the telly, behind the bookshelves... everywhere a piece of paper could be, and I found every bit of paperwork for everything we have ever paid for except that one.  I started to cast baleful and accusing glances at He-who-insists-on-throwing-things-out, especially empty cardboard boxes that things came in, while I wring my hands and say  'But if it goes wrong we'll need the box to send it back...'.  He maintained and I knew that he would not just have thrown out the camera box with paperwork in it, to say nothing of instruction manuals on disc and paper, spare cables etc, but in desperate times people are sometimes accused of crimes they haven't committed.

Anyway, I finally found the whole box complete with guarantee, receipts, manuals, cables neatly stowed in the shelving in my room.  Yes, I had already looked there.

But just by way of an experiment, I left the camera in a warm dry place with one of those silica gel packets on top of the zoom-shutter button, and by the following morning, it was functioning completely normally again.  I thought of burying it in rice, as I've heard that works, but I don't think I had enough rice avalaible, and I don't suppose green split peas would be the same.  So, do what they tell you and don't eat the silica gel, you never know when you may need it. 


I ended up cancelling work on Friday, it's really much too early in the season to be having to do this.  I spent some of the morning watching with interest and a gratifying sense of self-justification while other people tried to get their cars around the corner as their wheels spun merrily.   Charmless bulb grower gave up after one attempt, little Remy in his rubber-band-powered, sans-permis, not-so-smart car gave it four tries and finally made it.  The post girl did it OK in her yellow van, but they're made of sterner stuff.  On Saturday morning I ran out to meet her at the fence.

I can't believe I did this.  And I thought I had flat feet.  The yoga must be working.  Ten minutes later these footprints had disappeared.


Tom has just googled himself, for some reason this commonplace act of narcissism is one he has not thought of before.  Our name is not really very common,  I have a namesake on-line in the US, another in Australia, that's all.  He found someone who apparently shared both his first and middle names as well as his surname, listed as a company director (which he never was) in Gloucestershire, where we used to live.  There was a postcode, which he looked up, and it was for the road we used to live on, about sixteen years ago.  Sinister ideas of a supernatural kind about shadow lives and doppelgangers, and rather less supernatural but equally sinister ones about identity theft and false identities, are now causing us some unease.  


Dave said...

Damn, that is scary! Do you still know anyone in your old neighborhood who could check this guy out?

Lucy said...

I just had a look myself, it's actually a list of directors published by Companies House, the registration body in the UK, so people are traceable and can't do runners. I have a feeling perhaps it is an old record of Tom from when he lived there, though he wasn't a director and can't think how he got on it, but perhaps it was something else he was doing, a voluntary work connection from that time or something, he used to be a treasurer for a local youth orchestra his kids were involved with for example, which caused him to come under that umbrella.

I'll need to look into it, because it's not good to be down as living and being something you're not, and perhaps leaves you open to fraud, but it may not be as worrying as it at first appeared.

But thanks for your concern!

Zhoen said...

I had that happen during a week of rain in Boston (I know, shocking, it rains there!) and did the same with a gel packet in the camera bag. Worked a treat.

I've done the barefoot in snow, mostly at Lava Hot Springs, but yes, that makes me smile.

I think it's a good safety thing these days to oogle oneself regularly. One never knows what one might find. With my last name, pretty much nothing.

Pam said...

Argh - bare feet. I bet you regretted that!

the polish chick said...

i put my freshly laundered cell phone in a bow of organic brown rice and all it did was waste a bag of organic brown rice. c'est la vie, though. glad the silica gel worked for you.

i apparently have a doppelganger in toronto; i've been told several times that i was seen there when i was on the other side of canada, minding my own business. nothing sinister so far, though.

Meggie said...

Love those footprints! Amazing arches!!
I am so happy you tried the silica gel trick!
The doppleganger thing...spooky, and even more so with our daughter's professional wedding pics showing ghosts! They were taken in the Cemetary in the Park where they married.

Roderick Robinson said...

By now I am the most famous Barret Bonden extant and so there was no point in Googling my virtuality and having my self-satisfaction confirmed. But I did try my alliterative other self and this meant wading through the professional life - from sperm to worm - of an American football quarterback who had a short and undistinguished career. What can his parents have been thinking of giving him a name like that? Alas, there was worse. A suspected (or possibly convicted) paedophile, mercifully resident in a US state I have never visited. And then something about arson which I feared to unravel. Finally on the twentieth lurch backwards I found my real-name memorial: a story about a racing motorcyclist who found God and then started up a factory making plastic key-straps. If Tom wishes, we can swap virtual identities if he can live with the above.

But what do I find in this most revealing post? The high arches of someone seeking to be taller? A burst of uncharacteristic bad temper ("an unprepossessing halfwit with whom any kind of rational exchange seems to be impossible"). Revelations of a deep-seated pessimism ("But if it goes wrong we'll need the box..."). And a willingess to listen to old wives (I'm assuming the rice would be uncooked).

On the other hand, steadiness and clear thinking won the day, with a little help from silica gel. I'm delighted about that. And best of all, a reminder about that French breed apart, les factrices. Ours was good humoured, capable of critical-path analysis (as her delivery route proved), and was willing to play straight man to my jokes. She was quite pretty and once delivered the mail wearing a tight-fitting black cocktail dress. Don't get that in rural Herefordshire.

Far, far too long but then you're very good at baking madeleines.

Fire Bird said...

I can't believe you did that either...
Ugh! The creepy side of the internet again... Hope it's nothing.

20th Century Woman said...

What a varied and interesting post. What struck me the most was that your search for the papers and box, your suspicion that a more methodical loved on might have disposed of it, and your subsequent finding of said box and paper just where you originally thought it was, gave me deja vu all over again. I cannot count the number of times I have been through the exact same routine.

My British daughter, the one who lives on the boat and doesn't bother to post on her blog these days, had her identity stolen and all sorts of stuff billed to her that she never bought. The impostors get things sent to your address and then lurk around till the postman delivers and accept the package. My daughter spent endless time trying to sort the thing out. The police took little interest.

Catalyst said...

I have often Googled my name and find a plethora of news about Australian soccer (football) players! Which I have never done!

Bee said...

I will try to remember this good advice for camera restoration. I ruined my favourite Lumix at the Norfolk beach last summer, but I guess that there is no cure for sand.

Hopefully, there will be a good explanation for Tom's alter ego who is currently living in Gloucestershire. As long as you don't get stung for the 50% income tax . . .

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

The point was with the feet, I was still in dressing gown and pjs, and wearing only my favourite felt slippers, which don't have any kind of waterproof sole, so I needed to get to the posty quickly, as she doesn't hang about, and I wanted to save her putting the letters in the box and getting them wet en-route, so hence the bare feet. I think perhaps the high arches were the result of trying to make minimal contact with the ground.

We think perhaps it is just a record of Tom himself on that register; when he lived in that flat it was a shared freehold, and so everyone who lived there was in effect registered as a director of that concern, ie the property itself. The only other information given is that there is no directorship currently held, so it doesn't look as though he, or anyone pretending to be he, is considered to be in any way active or liable. However, we should probably try to find out more and ensure it's not a problem.

There's that novel called 'The Potter's House', about a doppelganger, where someone exists in two lives, a happy and an unhappy one, after a sad event that might or might not have happened, and then the two finally meet, but only one can go on. It's quite clever.

HKatz said...

The gaunt old hamadryads are guarding it jealously.

Maybe that can be the poem - you trying to wrestle it out of the hamadryads.

I hope the question of identities turns out to have an innocent straightforward answer.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lucy, this might be one of my favorite of your posts ever. Everything about it, the way it meanders from the search to the feet to the googling of one's name. . . it feels as if I could have lived this very day myself, except that my footprints would've been larger and flatter. Your list of all the places you looked for the receipt is somehow mesmerizing - maybe because I'm intent these days on winnowing my belongings and just spent two hours cleaning out a single closet? I do not know. But I love it.

marly youmans said...

Shades of Andy Goldsworthy!