Safety in the Workplace


I used to think computers lived forever. Well, let me back track a little. I used to believe in Santa Claus and I used to write my stories with a ten colour biro.

Then, eventually, I acquired a typewriter. The first one, a pre-war model, was given to me by my then mother-in-law. The war it was pre was possibly the Boer War. Some years later I was offered a wide-body monster that my husband’s office were ditching in favour of something a bit sleeker. Actually I think they were  worried its weight was causing structural damage to the building.

Did it add any weight to my writing? I don’t think so. The ribbons were a bitch to find too. But I suppose that must have been the machine on which I wrote my first novel. Or perhaps by then I had a thing called a word-processor, which was like a jumped up typewriter with electronic pretentions. I do remember the day my beau, now my husband said, ‘Laurie, get real. You have to buy a computer.’

I bought it on easy terms, and there were some months when the terms didn’t seem so easy. Like all self-employed people I was never sure when the next payday would be. I imagine by the time I’d finished paying for it it was an antique. I’m now on my, what, fourth or fifth computer. And so came the day I discovered that computers die and often without warning. Here one minute, gone the next, and taking with them 80,000 words of your roman a clef. I learned the hard way about backing up.

So right now I’m in a fairly good place. I have a middle-aged PC which is my preferred work tool (though that ten colour biro was fun), I have a recently purchased laptop that still makes me a bit nervous, and I’m generally so backed up it’s almost a medical condition. CDs, memory sticks, and, my latest venture into the wild blue yonder, I save to a cloud.

As my son said, ‘Get you!’

However, yesterday I noticed  that my PC wasn’t her usual self. A bit slow, a bit of a cough. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to find her still breathing this morning. But I think it might be time to wheel her down to Computer Man, get him to give her the once over. Because let’s face it, without her what am I? A jittery, ten-thumbs old scribbler, that’s what. I may have saved to a cloud but as my old Mum used to say you can never be too careful.

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