The great unknown

A history lesson: 20-odd years ago, I worked in a newspaper where everyone used a typewriter. We had these great big machines that dominated our desks, desks already piled high with newspapers, bits of paper, notebooks that were the lifeblood of our day, cups (usually filthy) and pens and pens and pens.

Seriously, how cool is this look?

Oh and a phone too, with a rest on the receiver that let us keep our hands free to scribble down shorthand notes. It was just the coolest thing to use. Which is a wee bit sad to recall but those were simpler times.

When the company that owned us first talked about bringing in “new technology”, I was beyond excited about having a COMPUTER! Even one that carried the unlamented Miles 33 system. This would be so much better than playing Chuckie Egg on my brother Martin’s BBCMicro. I had no fears about mastering the technology, just wanted to have a go on it.

Every leap forward in technology I have embraced and, while never claiming to be any kind of expert, I usually only need to be shown once (or twice probably) how to do something and I can muddle my way through from there.

Thanks to my probably ridiculous decision to chuck in my journalism career just as we hacks were being introduced to uploading our own priceless prose on to websites, I missed that great leap forward into the world of CSS, SEO and hyperlinking.

So I was more than a little apprehensive when it came to creating my own website for Lead On. Don’t worry, I was told – there are sites out there that do everything for you, all you do is add your own words and pictures.

Two words: aye right.

The square root of hee-haw

This was a challenge I met head-on only to end up like roadkill on a busy motorway.

Faced with a bewildering array of instructions, acronyms and plain gobbledegook when all I wanted to do was add some text and choose – the cheek of it – my own font and size, I spent four long and painful hours creating the square root of heehaw before throwing in the towel.

Thankfully I was able to fall back on the rule that always serves me well when faced with what I consider insurmountable obstacles.

Get a man in.

I’m not even ashamed to say that the man (it could have been a woman, fellow feminists, all I ever need is someone better at that task than I am) who rode to my rescue – the inestimable Kevin Rush – isn’t even a website designer. Hell, he aint even a computer person at all. He’s just good at stuff. Stuff that I am not good at.

In the style of Carrie Bradshaw, that got me thinking: is there a cut-off point after which we can’t learn new stuff, hard stuff, stuff that needs more than just point and click?

I hope not. I need to master at least a little of the basics around the website Kevin so kindly created for me cos the limits of his patience are surely being tested by the 45 emails an hour I’m currently pinging his way!

On a less Luddite note, yesterday me and the van were on the road, helping our  friends Steph and Hayley of Snaffles Gourmet Dog Bisquits set up their stall at the Sutton Dog Show at the South of England Showground at Ardingly.

The wind would have cut you in two but the ladies did well selling their range while I got to wander round with Nils the gorgeous French bulldog and stick Lead On postcards on hunnerza parked motors in a bid to drum up business.

Phoebe - beyond cute

I also had time to meet and fall madly in love with Phoebe, the Parson Russell terrier*. Possibly the cutest wee dog I have ever met.

Having insisted to Debbie that our first four-legged addition to the family will be a rescue dog and having agreed to her request of following that with a Labradoodle puppy, she was not best pleased when I came home and instantly started Googling Parson Russell terriers.

Would it be too much to go from zero to three dogs in as many months?

*Parson Russell Terriers