The show must go on – or not in some cases

Have you ever had one of those weeks? I recently arrived in a town not especially near me to deliver a talk and discovered that my notes were fifty miles away. Those of you who have heard me present will know that I don’t very often use notes but for this particular talk they were pretty necessary for the first twenty minutes. What to do? Could I wing it? Ah, then I realised that the text of the talk was on my computer, which I have with me for power point purposes. Fortunately I was early enough to copy up the basics on to a purloined piece of paper. This was more difficult than it sounds because I can’t read my handwriting at the best of times and this was not the best of times, as I was wearing contact lenses and had not brought my reading glasses. By extending my arms and squinting a bit, I managed with a combination of speed line-learning and scribbled headers in large letters. Hopefully my audience did not notice the join.

Then I was due to present a Hangout-on-air. By its nature, this requires an internet connection. I returned from a few lovely days in granny mode to find that I had no electricity. An adjustment of the trip switch and it was restored – so far so good, hurrah. It turned out however that my router was deceased. I sneaked to the village shop, laptop in hand, to gain sufficient internet access to find the required telephone number. A quick call to an offshore call centre. ‘How old is your router?’ I am asked. Well I don’t celebrate its birthday but probably pretty old. Is this relevant? It is dead, whether it died of old age or not seems immaterial. ‘We will send a replacement in three working days.’ Unlikely, as this would be a Sunday but I am at their mercy. ‘Helpfully’ they tell me that I can track the progress of the delivery online. This does of course require me to be able to get on line. The good news was that it arrived within 48 hours. The bad news was that this 48 hour internet black hole coincided with my need to present the Hangout-on-air. I couldn’t even prevail on a neighbour, as it turned out that a severe local storm had knocked out numerous local routers. I did my best but sometimes technology (or lack of) gets the better of us.

I have now had confirmation that I will be giving two presentations at the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa conference in September. These will be in person this time, so not dependant on the health of my router.

For those who are waiting for the electronic version of my ’Til Death us do Part booklet on historic causes of death it is now available.


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