Thursday, 23 October 2008

Never lend me your Rolex

When I was a kid I used to have a problem wearing watches. Apart from insisting on wearing them on the inside of the right-hand wrist (a five-year-old’s assertion of individualist identity that I’ve stuck with to the present day, with inconvenient consequences at the keyboard), sooner or later they’d stop working. An adult who knew about these things (people did in those days: they still made them) told me it was something to do with the electro-magnetic field around my body.

That was the best possible explanation I could have hoped for – short of being the adopted son of parents from the planet Krypton. Wind-up watches didn’t work on me because I had an invisible force surrounding me that stopped them ticking.

I’m still not entirely sure whether it was me that was being wound up, but I’ve long since fallen out of love with electro-magnetism. Part of the reason for going a little quiet on the blog recently (apart from spending a fair chunk of the time fell running in the Lake District, avoiding coming last in my category in the Northern Veterans 10-mile road championship and taking my grandson, aged one on Monday, up his first Wainwright – Loughrigg, 211th out of 214 in height order; he slept through most of it) has been a kind of reverse Midas touch, whereby everything electronic I come into contact with stops operating.

The car, computer and even the kettle have all given up the ghost in quick succession – so quick that I’ve almost convinced myself that my electro-magnetic field has gone into overdrive again. Losing your computer hard drive when you’re 300 miles from anything resembling a back up is bad enough, but have you ever tried to organise an auto-electronics spare parts delivery when you’re halfway along Striding Edge? Not helped by the fact that while there are scores, probably hundreds, of companies with variations on the name ‘Ford Electronics’, hardly any of them appear to be a) in this country or b) in the business of electronics for Ford cars.

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