The Texas Trail

Written by James Collins

The Texas Trail

A few weeks ago I received an email from my ISP company. For those who don't know what that is, it's a company which hosts websites. This particular organisation is very large and very well known. I'll call it 'Wahoo!' The email was torepparttar effect that due to an error on their part, Wahoo! had not been billing me forrepparttar 118138 last six months. Sincerepparttar 118139 fault was theirs they were going to cut their losses and not charge me.

Very civilized of them to write offrepparttar 118140 back-payments like that, I thought, and then I forgot about it for a week in my usual efficient manner. After all, we were only talking about a few dollars a month. A week afterrepparttar 118141 first bland and kindly email another one came. No more Mr Nice Guy. This one announced that Wahoo! intended to delete my site in three days, and would I like to back up my files? Ok, I thought, no problem. I should have backed up my files some time ago; this would teach me a lesson.

It was only when I sat down to begin saving my pages that I realized I didn't know how to do it! I called in a friend who was attending an evening class in computer maintenance, and he couldn't do it either. I should explain here that I started my website two years ago and there were now 112 pages on it. Some of these were link pages and some contained only one image (enlargements of smaller images), but still - a lot of pages.

Having begun in complete ignorance I'd like to think that now I'm almost an expert in designing web pages, or at least my own pages, although I'm not sure I would have started at all if I'd known how much work was involved. Onrepparttar 118142 other hand I'm not so good onrepparttar 118143 basic, ordinary computer operations, as I was finding out.

By this timerepparttar 118144 cut-off point was just two days away and it wasrepparttar 118145 week-end, as it always is whenrepparttar 118146 ship starts to sink. I now pressedrepparttar 118147 panic button. You know when Ripley clicks homerepparttar 118148 detonater in 'Alien' andrepparttar 118149 klaxon starts up,repparttar 118150 ship fills with steam and that annoying 'speaking clock' voice starts to count downrepparttar 118151 seconds? That was me. (Nobody can hear you scream in your computer room). At least Ripley had a gunrepparttar 118152 size of a small car to give her confidence. Anyway, I finally managed to find a professional who was willing to give up his week-end to help out - for a price. Even he took a day to figure out how to save my pages.

Out of Africa

Written by James Collins

Out of Africa An Improbable Tail A few weeks ago there was a small stir of excitement in our area, which briefly lit uprepparttar gloom of our northern Scottish winter likerepparttar 118137 Northern Lights, which are quite visible to us at this latitude. Apparently a man - a Marine, no less - had walked, wearing nothing but a grin and a beard straight out of Lord ofrepparttar 118138 Rings, fromrepparttar 118139 south of England into Scotland, up past Loch Ness andrepparttar 118140 Highlands where I live, and on torepparttar 118141 very northernmost point, John O'Groats - in winter. A Scottish winter, at that.

I'm not sure where his starting point was but he must have walked about six hundred miles. Forest Gump would have been impressed. It was either a very brave, or foolhardy course of action, depending on your point of view but it certainly bought him his fifteen minutes of fame. There he was on TV, being carefully filmed fromrepparttar 118142 waist up,repparttar 118143 way they used to film Elvis Presley inrepparttar 118144 early days. "Everyone", he said, "should be free to follow my example if they've a mind to". 'Not even as a joke', thoughtrepparttar 118145 whole of Scotland, 'and even less in winter' The police didn't seerepparttar 118146 funny side of it either. He was arrested five or six times and spent several nights in prison cells, covered by a blanket (the police's idea, not his). I remember scanningrepparttar 118147 local papers forrepparttar 118148 headline 'Man arrested for palely loitering', but it wasn't to be. I still think they missed one there.

" He was certainly persistant. He finally arrived at his destination and no, he didn't throw himself off a high point intorepparttar 118149 North Sea, which some people thought (I won't say hoped) might berepparttar 118150 logical end to his journey. As far as I know he got dressed, took a train to his hometown and quietly faded back into obscurity, leaving us with a memory, likerepparttar 118151 Cheshire cat's grin. All this was, I suppose, to makerepparttar 118152 point that he hadrepparttar 118153 inalienable right to freeze anytime he had a mind to. Well, point taken, but this little saga set me thinking. Why have we never had our own coat, like other animals? 'But we do', I hear you cry, 'and anyway I'm not an animal'. Oh yes you most certainly are, Madam, and besides, I meanrepparttar 118154 kind of coat you're born with.

"Almost every animal, from a mouse to a moose has a coat. Ok, elephants don't, and maybe hippos, but I suppose they have extra thick skin to compensate. No, beyond dispute, we arerepparttar 118155 only animal that has to keep warm by getting dressed every morning byrepparttar 118156 fire. The reason we are coatless seems fairly obvious. Didn't we start out underrepparttar 118157 hot sun of Africa, and so had no need of a natural coat? Hmm... then how about gorillas, who share 98% of our genes? They're pretty hairy, no question, so why didn't they shed their coat? You don't see them prancing about in their bare skin?

Alright, let's try it from a different angle. Why did we move out of Africa? I have a theory. Supposerepparttar 118158 other animals started snickering behind their paws as they watched us tottering around on our spindly legs? Or maybe we just thought we detected a sardonic look or two. No, really, I'm serious. Anybody who's ever played tag with a dog inrepparttar 118159 garden knows how clumsy they think we are. Just watch as Bracken feints torepparttar 118160 left and then effortlessly switches direction in mid-stride as Master sprawls intorepparttar 118161 rosepatch. And they're our friends.

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