I know, I know, Mistress Agnes has been uncharacteristically quiet of late. To be fair she has been suffering from some dreaded lurgy. You know the sort – you wonder why you are sitting around doing nothing, go to do something involving minor exertion, like walking across a room and realise just why you have been semi-comatose for a fortnight.
Despite this she has dragged herself off her sick bed to fulfil some speaking engagements, probably being generous with her germs at the same time. Pre-lurgy was the excitement presenting to the conference of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. Sadly I was not actually in Ottawa – maybe next year. I was delivering via Skype, a first for me and them. There were all sorts of minor panics about the technology. What if my laptop made its intermittent 747 about to take off noise, as it often does? Then there were the forecast thunderstorms – what if there’s a power cut? In the end all went well, although it was disconcerting not to be able to see my audience as I was screen sharing my presentation. Fortunately, when I switched back to normal view, the audience were all still there and awake!
Less luck with technology on other fronts though. What on earth possessed me to think that I could host an online course via Google+. I usually consider myself to be reasonably tech savvy but I am quite a baby at Google+. Firstly there were the preliminary ‘test the technology’ sessions with potential students, which, with a bit of effort, were successful. In the end, thanks to kind people who actually know what they are doing, most of us managed to be in the right place at the right time. Just as I felt I was getting to grips with this, I inadvertently deleted my Google+ account. Let me explain. I had a Google+ account that I used and another that I barely remember setting up, which I did not. It seemed sensible to remove the redundant account. Easy! A bit too easy. So easy in fact that I deleted the active account as well. You’d think there’d be one of those nanny state ‘Do you really want to do this?’ messages wouldn’t you? Not so. Normally I am irritated by such messages but just when I could have done with one it was conspicuous by its absence.
Received wisdom suggested that I should be able to retrieve a deleted account within five days and indeed the old account was still visible when you searched, even though I couldn’t access it as the owner. I followed every possible permutation of instructions on the absolutely no help at all pages to no avail. In the end I gave up and started a new account. So if we were in contact on Google+ you will find a new Janet Few has added you to her circles. At the moment the new Janet Few is contact less so please take pity on her and add her back. You will know you have the right one as Mistress Agnes is her avatar.
Whilst on the subject of media, I was involved in some more seventeenth century filming yesterday. It is always a tad incongruous for Mistress Agnes to be televised and I think her role will be minimal to non existent but it was fun as ever and you will see Master Christopher, even if Mistress A is consigned to the cutting room floor. We were working with the internet channel SW1tv and the programme, which is part of a series called ‘Things that go Bump in the Night’, should be online in December. Talking of things that go bump. Imagine Mistress Agnes’ surprise when she went to inspect her seventeenth century abode, prior to filming, only to find that a local badger had adopted our set as his/her sett. Whilst the hovel had been unoccupied over the last few weeks the badger had burrowed in under the wall and made itself at home. Despite living in the country, this was my first encounter with a live badger so I was excited as well as surprised. Let’s just say said hovel now replicates the smells of the seventeenth century.
The other excitement is that the Buckland Brewer History Group is now the proud possessor of four glass plate photographs of mid-nineteenth century residents of our place. We are hugely grateful to the person who rescued these from ebay, where they were way beyond our budget and donated them to us.