Sunday, 9 March 2008

Shocking blogger

ABOVE: I , along with our holiday rep, follow John and Tina as we make our way to a mountain- side cafe on the Tuesday evening. It was a 30 minute walk and as a reward we had a gluhwein and a couple of schnapps there before flying down the same road we had walked up on a toboggan. It's a frightening but exhilarating experience and something we do every year.

Apologies, apologies! The lack of entries on this blog is a disgrace and I have quite rightly been branded a "shocking blogger". But there are mitigating circumstances and I shall now tell you about them.

OK, hands up, at the end of January I was finding it difficult to write anything without referring to the minor troubles the BNP had experienced just before Christmas. Suffice to say that I was initially hurt, and then angry at the betrayal of my Party and an ideology that I have been working to promote, mostly as a full time worker, since 1976, by four former work colleagues. But I was getting over this temporary writer's block when one morning my trusty AppleMac gave up the ghost.

Now, I bought my Power Mac G4 back in 1999 when it was a top of the range model. My Indesign 1.0 and Photoshop 5.0 software were the latest issues and for the next eight years I produced 68 issues of Freedom and 20 issues of Reds Review, a magazine about Workington Reds. Although the equipment was long out of date and some time during 2005 I stopped accessing the Internet because it kept making my Mac crash, it still produced a fairly good copy of Freedom for the printers.

At the beginning of February I was busy running off pages of the March issue of the newspaper for proof reading when my Mac made a whirring noise and then appeared to shut itself down. There was nothing I could do to revive it so I called a local computer shop and they said they could probably save my files and replace the hard disk. Unfortunately however, after a number of round trips to Whitehaven, 20 miles down the coast, I was forced to accept that while the computer was working as such, my software had lost a lot of its functions and the files of every previous Freedom I had produced were damaged or incomplete.

The computer failure had set me back at least two weeks. I had been hoping to finish the March issue before I went on a ski-ing holiday at the end of February but despite working 15 hour days it wasn't quite possible. Freedom will be out next weekend.

The up-shot of my troubles was the blog and any local political activity was shelved as I battled to finish Freedom on the patched-up Mac and with damaged software. But now, thanks to the BNP, I have a new computer and the latest software to continue the Freedom production.

With our two daughters at university, the annual family ski-ing holiday to Kuhtai was just for Tina and I and our son John, but we were joined by Freedom journalist and long-time family friend Steve Johnson. Kuhtai is in Austria's Stubai mountain range and at 2, 200 ft the little village is guaranteed snow whatever the weather elsewhere. I can thoroughly recommend it for intermediate skiers, with no queues, no ski buses and excellent ski-to-the-door hotels. We have fallen in love with the place and couldn't think of ski-ing anywhere else.

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