I know nothing about computers. Hard to believe, I know, looking at this polished, professional web-page (quit sniggering), but my entire knowledge of computers is this:

RS232 Interface Lead

Monty, on the other hand, knows everything there is to know about computers, and having lived with the bugger for the best part of 20 years, you would have thought that at least some of this would have rubbed off on me, by osmosis, or telepathy, or some sort of exchange of body fluids. But no.

Now, give him his due, Ol' Monty has tried. But three things have prevented Dear Flo from becoming computer literate, the first of which being that when Monty gets excited about silicon life-forms, he tends to start talking in numbers, and Flo can't do numbers, and as a result, her brain packs its suitcase and goes to Skegness for the weekend. (We have a protocol to deal with this situation at The Towers. That is, if in the course of any conversation it becomes apparent that it consists of more than 50 per cent numbers, the aggrieved party is given dispensation to stick a large whistle in his/her mouth, blow it loud-and-piercingly and shout "FOUL!!" You might like to try this if you have similar problems.)

Secondly, every attempt at explanation by Monty assumes some sort of knowledge on my part, and therefore, he starts IN THE WRONG PLACE . No amount of patient reiteration on my part that as far as I am concerned, a route is something the No 20 bus takes and a bat is a flying mammal ,appears to cut any ice. Over the years, this has from time to time produced within myself the strange, creeping, interesting-shade-of-mauve feeling that there is one hallowed piece of information which I am missing, and just as soon as I find out WHAT THE HELL IT IS I shall be omnicompetant in matters of a computer nature, and possibly even slightly taller.

Thirdly, I am not interested. Well, that was the case up to the point where we got trawled by the Net. Whoopee, what a toy!!! It's amazing what a bit of motivation can do! Pretty soon I was so damn hot on computers I could even send e-mail to the right person four times out of five!! Welcome to the computer age, Flo! Realising that in order to satisfy my megalomania by having my very own Web Page I was going to have to delve into the murky world of routes and bats, I began to quiz Monty in the hope of gleaning some information. This is what I discovered:

Where it all goes:

"But where does it all go?" I asked, peering suspiciously at our putty-coloured box

"It's all in there," Monty told me, unhelpfully

"But where?? I mean, is it all swimming around in there, like... like.. things in a bag? Or is it all knitted together?

"It's all neatly sorted, sort of.. " Muddy scratched his head, "like... socks in sock drawer" He cast a glance in the direction of my exploded chest of drawers with Fang-the-cat snoozing peacefully in the open drawer amidst sundry ancient smalls. "er.. no... forget that. It's... well... it doesn't matter where it is, because there are signposts.."

I gazed at him sternly. "How does that help? I once ended up in Kirkintilloch following signposts for Bishopbriggs!"

"But it remembers, you see," countered Monty desperately, "Computers are good at that... that's what they do"

"Yes, but that's no use to me, I can't remember how to make it remember!"

Monty blinked, and I took pity on him.

"So, it's all in there, swimming about in the bag, not the sock drawer. With signposts. Fine. Now how does it work?"

Monty sighed heavily.

How it all works

"I mean," I continued, "how do the things in the bag decide what they are going to do? Do they clip together like lego? "

They, er.. point to each other.." said Monty. He was sweating a bit by now ".. and when you run a program.."

"What's a program? Is it like a magic spell?"

Monty nodded weakly "Yes, just like a magic spell..."

"So, " I was on a roll now, "you put the magic spell in the bag, it swims around a bit, pointing at other socks, knocks over a few signposts, follows the No 20 bus route and remembers its anniversary!! " I beamed broadly, understanding dawning at last "Now tell me about the bats.... Are they fruitbats, or vampire bats?"

Monty fainted.

Post Script: Since becoming a computer expert I have acquired a magic spell which turns tippy-tap on the keyboard into Homepage and learned to put lots of things in bags, occasionally the right ones. I am well on my way to becoming Galactic President.


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