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A world of flavoured teas and laptops

It's Friday morning, 6am, two days and three hours too late to be a Simon and Garfunkel song. I woke an hour ago, remembering that, if I was to go away for the first half of the October break, I had better do something about writing an article.

I'd had a few ideas, but decided to brainstorm as I lay awake.

Unfortunately, I must have drifted in and out of sleep. A bizarre dream involving rebuilding East Kilbride shopping centre and what appeared at the time to be perfectly rational themes for my few hundred words - three packets of flavoured tea and a way of making gloves out of bubble wrap - did not stand up to close scrutiny once I was up and about.

I blame eBay for the tea and the bubble wrap, though not for East Kilbride shopping centre. I've been using the auction site a fair bit recently, mostly because of my bargain laptop (and Mrs Steele's liking for flavoured teas).

The computer I refer to was being decommissioned. It still worked but, being five or so years old, was hopelessly out of date and it would not have been cost-effective to upgrade it. It would not have been cost-effective to upgrade it if you had to use conventional suppliers. I snapped it up and went on to eBay to see what was available.

Thirteen quid later and the memory was tripled to the point where it could run Windows XP. The same again bought a USB 2.0Firewire adapter that was more problematic. But the pound;15 I spent on a TV card was money well spent, especially if you like recording old episodes of Star Trek onto your hard drive to watch again when you're ironing.

I'm not losing you here, am I?

At this point, I should have a Thought for the Day-style denouement. "Of course, my laptop, written off as a hopeless case, was like the girl in S4 who kept getting 7s for her physics tests." Or: "Like the curriculum, my aged laptop has had small investments here and there and is now being made to do things it was never really designed for. I should really start again with a brand new Laptop for Excellence, but I am reluctant to abandon what I've built up."

It's a quarter to seven. That is when I have my breakfast, so denouements will have to go on hold. Meantime, if anyone knows how to solve the problem of accumulated perspiration in a pair of thermal gauntlets fashioned from two Jiffy bags that once held computer audio cables, drop me an email. My new laptop is, of course, internet-ready.

Gregor Steele has gone to get his Bran Flakes and a (non-flavoured) cup of tea

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