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Friday, November 26, 2004

Locusts have arrived at the airport. Fortunately their plane did not also land up here.....The Handsomes down on the eastern plain have found some - 'what's this?' screamed Mrs H, entering pursued not by bear but large yellow insect. There aren't any on Granny's land: yet; maybe there won't be. Landings due to the strong East wind yesterday - the Calima (almost certainly a corruption of Spanish 'calina' meaning 'haze'.) Yesterday the islands weren't visible, the volcanoes veiled, the sky murky and you could smell the dust in the air. Today the wind is still furious but south-east, so all is clearer and sunnier.

Granny looks up locusts in handy reference book, wondering whether the visitors might breed and swarm (there have been plagues of locusts here in the past.) She ends up none the wiser as to breeding: but definitely awed.

'The houses in Southern Russia had to be closed in 1879/80 in order to keep the masses of insects outside; the streets were impassable. Elsewhere it was necessary to filter tthe water, because canals and streams were full of dead locusts. Even the ovens were stuffed with masses of locusts, so that noone could bake bread. The railroad trains in the Don steppes ceased to travel; the rails were so well lubricated by the bodies of insects that the wheels had no traction."

Well, even given the disappearance of bread ovens here and lack of trains, that should do a lot for local tourist trade.

(According to same book locusts only swarm when over-populated. This, the author suggests darkly, might have implications for over-population of human beings.)

Granny's feelings are mixed as to outcomes. Horror at thought of her garden being decimated is one thing. But she is still mildly curious to know what it would really be like to experience such a biblical plague. Locusts are strange and interesting creatures. Beloved daughter used to be in charge of her school locusts in the holidays; they lived in a cage in her bedroom. But caged locusts are one thing. When they fly in the haze or half-dark - as they did last year after another series of calimas - they are creepy - the air is full of little ghostly rattles.

Telefonica engineer reappeared, amazingly. This must be a record. Even though he couldn't fix the problem -it's origin was in Madrid- Madrid in due course could and did. Granny can now write her blog without disabling the phone. He brought, though, a new phone to accelerate the connection process. Granny has been trying to instal this ever since - in vain; automatic installation process could only be done when using a serial port, while her system works with USB connections meaning it has to be done manually. By the time she had indentified this problem she had succeeded in getting rid of the driver for the new modem. Heigh ho. The wonders of technology are by no means equal to the horrors. In this case exacerbated by all instructions being in Spanish. Around 6 hours work and all for bloody nothing.

She rings Telefonica for help - first is connected to Broadband helpline and told she isn't registered for it. (She knows.) Goes back to Telefonica and is told her system cannot be used where she lives. (So why's she been given it?) Deadlock.

Contemplate enlisting help of expensive engineer. (Last one who came took two hours discovering that system to be connected was defective; charged 80 euros for information and went away.) So now what? Revert to old system. New phone sits reproachfully, alongside Feline Houdini, on Granny's desk. Grannyp

2 Old comments:

Blogger Deirdre said...

A big "Ouch!" on the telephone connection problems. Six hours would do your head in. And I don't know how good your Spanish is, but even English instructions are usually bad enough. Manuals so often assume you know all the fundamentals, which is not necessarily the case. I realised just how terrible they usually are when I bought a camera: it's got the best manual I've ever seen - clear, easy to understand, fantastic.

And you can see volcanoes (when it's clear)?? How amazing.

10:50 am  
Blogger granny p said...

Volcanoes much better than technology; especially not threatening to erupt. (Not true of all these islands.)

9:40 am  

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