Today's been fairly hellish. I allowed myself a little lie-in to clear a headache from the night before, and just as I was sitting down to start work with a lovely cup of tea, I heard a wailing noise coming out of Nathan's mouth...
To cut a long story short, he'd run out of space on his computer, backed all his recent files up on a memory stick and then deleted the lot. Unfortunately, it transpired that the memory stick was corrupt, and that everything he'd put on it and then deleted from the computer was gone forever. Everything. Forever. His knitting patterns, the quiz questions, his filmed tutorials. Everything.
He went into meltdown and I dragged him to the Mac Store in Covent Garden. I thought the clever people there would be able to reverse almost anything. I was wrong. They sent us to a data retrieval company in Tottenham Court Road, who couldn't help, but suggested a specialist company on the border of Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, more specifically, in the comically named village of Gamlingay, which I remember well from my childhood.
Nathan had to go to work, so the onus was on me to drive up the A1 and deliver the computer to the clever (expensive) people in Gamlingay. It was all a bit weird. I was greeted in a tiny, rather grotty vestibule, by a man who said he couldn't let me any further into the building because they were doing a "sensitive" job for the police. It all felt a little sordid; like I was depositing a computer which belonged to some kind of child killer.
Gamlingay itself looked as I remember it 34 years ago: sleepy, misty, boringly quaint. We once went there, at the end of the 70s, on the eve of a big thunder storm. We obviously knew the storm was on its way, so rushed home to our house in the neighbouring town of Potton. A warm, strong, circular wind was blowing in the garden, accompanied by a rather apocalyptic sepia light. I was nervous because I hated loud noises. It's funny what you remember...
I drove through Potton on my way home; past the old oak tree at the end of the estate, which was the edge of our territory, past Les' Garage and past the Hollow from whence every year on Bonfire Night, I'd have to be taken home screaming because of the loud bangs. One year my Dad put me in a pair of enormous headphones apparently to block out the noise; it did no good. I ruined yet another bonfire night for the family!
I don't know when the fear of loud bangs passed... Actually, it's still there in the form of experiencing absolute terror when rock music or club music gets too loud... But that's more because going deaf would end my career!
I made it back home at about 4pm, fully aware of the irony that my working week had both started and ended with lost days due to computer mayhem. God I hate technology! (And loud noises...)