A Dark Forest, a Saw and an Apple Mac: A Hallowe’en Tale


I charged into the Apple store one minute before my appointment was about to begin.

“Tell me what you are experiencing,” the Apple-bland technician said to me.

“Fear,” I said. “Blind, uncomprehending fear.”

I don’t think that was the answer he was looking for.

A day or two ago, I opened my gleaming Macbook to begin my work for the day to find the screen white as death. Research revealed that this was indeed the White Screen Of Death. My Mac does not know its own hard disc.

His fingers flew over his iPad as he issued commands to my untrusty steed. And in no time at all a massive comic banner headline appeared on my Mac’s screen: FAILED.

It would take five to seven days to repair.

Five. To. Seven. Days.

I threw my head on my arms and wailed, there in the store. Do you do courtesy Macs? I pleaded piteously.

This is Apple. They make you do all the running. Think of that as their new strapline.

I was spooked, and I still am.The things that should spook me, don’t.

Like, all those horror forest stories you get told when you’re about 15? The ones that involve men in forests with saws and runaway insanity at twilight or later?

Hours after the carnage in the Apple Store, the dog needed walking. It was twilight. A bit darkish. “Maddie,” I said, “do you fancy coming to take the dog for a walk?”

She did. And we jumped up and readied ourselves and the dog ran up and down making preliminary noises and ran around in circles until the lead was on, and we stepped out of the door and off to the forest.

Ooooh, I said, just before we stepped out. “I nearly forgot the knife.”

‘The Knife’ is a cross between a saw and a penknife, just small enough to fit in a bag or pocket, but heavy-duty enough to saw up small logs. It has come in very handy plundering firewood over the last few weeks, but I am the first to admit it looks a little unsettling. I showed it to a work colleague one day last week and she blanched visibly.

Into my pocket it went.

On the tabletop of the hill fort it was light still.We trundled happily across the top and watched the light fade. And then I said, right, Maddie, I know where there is some great chestnut we can get for the fire. And I plunged down the side of the fort into the ancient woodland, followed by a slightly reticent daughter.

We arrived at a promising branch. I got out my knife.

I suppose I look a little focused when I am carrying out a task. Perhaps unsettlingly so. There we were in the rapidly fading light, me sawing away with my Jack Torrance stare, the shadows beginning to jostle closer.

My daughter began to breathe again when the log came free. She picked it up ready to leave with all speed.

But I could not stop at one log, and looking up we saw that the other end was grotesquely wrapped around the fork of a Β tree.

I wasn’t going home without that wood. I wrestled with the long-dead limbs and sawed and muttered and glared, and what my poor daughter was thinking as it became, to all intents and purposes, dark, I dread to think. I did not, as the Apple store tech, ask her to tell me what she was experiencing.

We got our wood. And we carried it home to the glowing lights and the warm fire and kittens sitting next to cuddly pumpkins.

So you see, the things that should spook me, don’t.

But I have no Mac: and I am mortally afraid.


52 thoughts on “A Dark Forest, a Saw and an Apple Mac: A Hallowe’en Tale

  1. Just awful. Last time it happened to me, Macless in Shanghai, I just bought a new one I could not well afford…. but yours is a new one… oh oh I feel for you

  2. Oh I just love this post!! The terror involved in being computer deprived is one known to most of us I suspect!

  3. Terminal deprivation (thanks, Sidey) is a terrible thing. I had a bad experience a few years ago when our machine went off to get fixed- 4 weeks they said- 4 WEEKS- and then it got lost… I was a bundle of rage the whole time, and that was before I started blogging. I shudder to think if it happened now. Be brave, Kate. Maybe take up yoga πŸ˜‰

  4. Mac, the knife, and the forest -> cuddly pumpkins, cute kittens, and warm fire -> aah . . . that’s better!

    Fingers crossed for you, Kate. Computers are a booger when they balk!

    1. It’s not. One gets habits, and beats little tracks through the software. One knows its every quirk. I am on a tiny notebook which overtypes my words every so often. Yuk.

  5. Love this Kate πŸ™‚ Brilliant post, beautiful pumpkin and adorable kitten! Even more impressive that you managed it Macless! Dave had a few desperate hours a couple of days ago after upgrading to the latest Mac OS, so can totally relate. Hope it’s sorted soon!

  6. When my big computer seemingly died (turned out several weeks later that it was okay), I became rather panicky. I was down to only one! With no backup if the laptop died!! I don’t think I’d last a day if I suddenly found myself computerless.

  7. I have a desktop and a laptop PC… I rarely use the laptop… it’s really just there in case anything happens to the big guy…. I could not be computerless!

  8. I got the blue screen of death on my Mac a few years ago…back when I didn’t regularly back up. Did the Apple Genius laugh out loud when you asked if they had loaners? πŸ™‚ I am delighted you’re carrying on with your forestry efforts! I think it’s got to be a good way to release frustration and then come home and create a lovely fire! The computer will be okay. Think of it having a little spa vacation. You work it so hard!

  9. I’m a PC gal often shaking a fist and cursing technology when it won’t speak with other devices and programs. My hubby is always bragging how he never has a problem with his MAC. Can’t wait to show him your blog. I’m truly sorry to hear of your loss, but honestly, I glad to have some proof that will stop his bragging Hope yours is well soon.

  10. I hope your problems are resolved soon. Last weekend we were without Internet from Friday until Tuesday morning. Not only that, but because we bought a “bundling” package from a provider, it affected our land-line phone and Netflicks as well. If I wanted to talk to someone I had to use our little cell phone or run out to the street and ask neighbors if the world had ended recently because we were without our usual form of communication. In olden times people used to write letters.

  11. I can relate to that feeling Kate.
    My ipad display turned pink and wriggly the other day and the Apple guys, pointed to a miniscule dent in one corner and threw up their hands with an offer to replace it at half cost! I was traveling the next day, so i politely declined and looked online for succour. Guess what the solution was? A hard smack – or two – on its back!!! No kidding πŸ˜€

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s