IT Skills Course

I was up at the school again yesterday, for another session. Four people turned up – I don’t know what the charity’s expectations are, but that doesn’t seem like many to me. Our village has about 5,000 inhabitants.

As I see it, possible reasons for this are:

(i) that there is no interest in the sbject matter.

Maybe. People do become set in their ways as they get older. Maybe once you reach a certain age, such-and-such a problem doesn’t seem wirth the effort? But at the same time, some people have travelled quite some distance – from our local city (Salisbury) and beyond. So to come that far, some people must want to pick these skills up.

(ii) that our village lies in the back of beyoud

This is obviously possible, since we do! A few people on the course have actually come looking for it, so maybe there just aren’t enough people locally to generate the numbers for the course?

(iii) location

We’re in a school which has quite an impressive computer room. There are lots of PCs there, all running Windows 10. I can totally understand why you’d want such an environment to prepare students for the business world, but possibly our target audience has different needs? Unfortunately, I missed the first session, but I did suggest that it should cover things even more basic than computers, such as plugging a router into a phone socket, and getting an internet connection in the first place. If you dropped someone in their home environment, gave them a computer, and told them off you go, there is still some more knowledge required. But I’ve also heard a couple of people say that their internet (which they obviously have already) was set up by their children. so I have no idea whether these people would want to find out about how the connection works, or whether the fact that it just exists is enogh for them.

(iv) changes in the session times

we (the volunteers) ourselves were a little confused, because whilst most of the sessions were on a Wednesday, there were a couple of sessions on a Thursday. I can’t imagine that this is at all fatal, and certainly a phone call to the Age UK office would clarify things, but by the same token, the arrangements were more complicated than they could have been.

(v) rubbish tuition!

That the students are taking the lead role as tutors here, and I think they were brilliant. So if there was a problem with the tuition, I misread the situation.

A New Day

So after the rare excursion into Salisbury on Tuesday, I did my regular drop-in yesterday up at the hospital. Of course, I looked again at my number of steps: 5000, only half as much as Tuesday, but still quite significant for me these days. Most of those steps were walking between the house and the bus stop, and of course the heat too is swelterig at the moment. No respite from the sun. And at the hospital, where it is always mega-hot anyway, I saw lots of electric fans.

But after two “active” days, I’m now looking forward to a few more restful ones. I haven’t even bothered to put my watch on yet today, so I can confidently say that the number of steps so far today is zero!

So, quiet days planned. There are a few things I’d like to get on with. I’d like to get one of my bikes out (I’ll get the thing out OK, but there’s a high probability I won’t be able to ride it) and, I bought a weatherstation a couple of months ago which is still in its box. I have a pole to stick it on, but I need to cut a small groove into the pole, to stop the station from moving around. Then, of course, I need to align the thing toward north, just so it can give a vaguely accurate wind direction, but that should be easy enough. But maybe, just maybe, it is too hot for all that?

Concerns

A mixed day yesterday, but ultimately rewarding.

The heat – it is topping 30° here – is making it difficult to do much, including sleep. Ultimately useful, because it was an early start to catch a lift into Salisbury. I had an Age UK meeting at 10 o’clock and figured I could go in early, and have a leisurely breakfast beforehand.

Unfortunately, with the clock ticking, I had to forego the help of the FES, whose wires got lost somewhere under my trousers. I must have mentioned before that the FES is beneficial when walking, but that there is a trade-off in terms of getting the thing set up in the first place. And yesterday was the final straw, and there was lots of shouting and swearing and stress – and all at 7am! So I now need to contact the FES people, cancel future appointments, and arrange to return their kit to them.

Having abandoned the FES, I managed to get myself ready with just a couple of minutes spare, and caught my lift into Salisbury. A relaxed breakfast followed – calm was restored – in Costas. A nice cup of coffee but a “yesterday” croissant – stone cold, even if they’d just blasted it in their oven for a minute to freshen it up, it would have been better. Still, I was able to enjoy their wifi for the duration……

On to the Age UK meeting, which was a talk by a clinical psychologist from Salisbury Hospital – the art of conversation. Useful to formalize it, although there was not much new. It was also useful because this woman ran a team of volunteers at the hospital, so the talk was also applicable in terms of my Stroke Association work. They try to meet people who they think could be depressed, but by their own admission, the service is patchy and stops at the hospital door. Very unjoined – something they are acutely aware of. But yeah, implications for both stroke survivors and senior people.

Finished, out in the midday sun, and straight off to find a barber. Not a bad job, and cheaper than my normal local barber. Then a few hours browsing the shops, watching the market, and just generally finding seats to rest on for a few minutes. But when I looked last night, my watch (which knows these things) told me that I had walked 9,000 steps, an awful lot for me these days. I ended my day off as I started it, with a refreshing iced coffee, whilst I again waited for my wife and a lift home.

Whilst, of course, in the light of what has happened, I can think of these things in terms of “progress”, I must admit to being anxious about what the future may hold. I enjoy volunteering, and I think I’m helping people, but I’m conscious that it’s never going to pay the mortgage. And I’m acutely aware that even though I can offer a full stack of cards intellectually, there are limitations physically. Would an employer pay for this? I do find it totally unsurprising that this speaker finds so much trade in the hospital – these things really are difficult to get one’s head around. I know that, when faced with a massive project, the trick is to split it all into smaller, manageable chunks, and the only way to complete the project as a whole is to develop tunnel vision to complete each chunk. But maybe those people who get depressed are just the people who concentrate on the big picture, not the tiny details? Maybe those of us who get tunnel-vision are just the thicko worker bees? It is surprising, but as I get older the more readily I am to question the views that I have held all my life. Aren’t we supposed to get more entrenched?

Anyway I am going up to the ward again later, so I need to wear my happy face.