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7 June 2003

I think Misha is dissatisfied with my performance as chatelain and helpmeet. I keep finding her sitting in my chairs, keeping one move ahead of me all around the house; I suspect this is to remind me who wears the fur in this house. As if I needed telling. Trouble is, I can't buy her off with treats, special food and such, she's not interested in that. What she wants is company. There's a natural limit to how much I can be around, and even when I am, I cannot always have her sitting on me. These days I can't even have her in my lap when I'm working, she's too fidgety and distracting; so I throw her off, and she scrabbled at my leg for a few minutes, and then she curls up on the floor directly behind the right-hand castor of my chair, so that she's always in my eyeline if I glance downward and I daren't shift the chair a millimetre backwards for fear of agonised yowling. Actually, those times I've been careless, I'm fairly sure that she whisked herself away a moment before the castor would have touched her, but she yowls anyway on general principles, and then has to be comforted, and - well, has anyone got a temperamental toddler they'd like to swap for a middle-aged cat?

Had a good day today, though, after the miserablenesses of the recent few. Spent much of it being smug, on account of my poor agents have been afflicted with a virus (Bugbear.B., apparently it's all the rage among you Windows-using types), and there is nothing like someone else's catastrophe to make you feel cocky that you have avoided same. I suppose that's bad, and we should rather feel humble and grateful and there-but-for-the-grace-of-God - but this really is a matter of choice, and those of us who have chosen to use Linux did so partly at least for these reasons, that we avoid the plagues and tempests that Windows is heir to. No doubt we're heading for a fall here, and when it comes it will be appalling; but meanwhile I wander around with this happy illusion in my head that it never will come, that the whole structure of society militates against it. People write viruses for Windows because it's easy, and because they have this vast soft target to aim at so they really can't miss, it's that childish satisfaction of only playing games that you know you're going to win. People don't write viruses for Linux because the target is small (an installed base of what, millions as against hundreds of millions? That sort of proportion) and difficult to hit (much greater security inherent in the software, and a much more security-minded user base) and it takes work to learn how to do it - and this is probably fantasy, but what I like to think is that by the time would-be virus writers have got that far, they are of necessity so deep-sunk into the Linux way of doing things that actually they figure out it would be more fun to be a contributor, part of the community, writing real code with real functionality. Ach, just call me a dreamer, what do I care? I am watchful, but there are still no viruses knocking at my door.

So yes, general bouncing on my Linux toes today, feeling that for once in my life I made a right choice there; and I bounced all the way into town to the farmer's market, and did some happy shopping. Mostly herbs, little creeping varieties of thyme and rosemary and mint for this fake rockery I've put together with old compost and concrete rubble, and very nice it looks all planted up. No idea if the plants will survive, but hey, this is all learning.

And this afternoon I baked a cake, for dinner at Kate's tomorrow; and I have decided to call it a St Clements cake, on account of the oranges and lemons that went into it. If it's nice, I'll post the recipe here; if it isn't, you will never hear of it again (unless of course it's a total disaster, in which case I promise you the whole story of my humiliation, you'll like that).

And all the while I was listening to the cricket, and that was good too. I should really be there, the first-ever test at Chester-le-Street, just down the railway, first stop from here; but I have my tax returns to do, so I have to be here, in order to avoid them properly.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.