Reality Check

So a few weeks ago I went to my parents full of anticipation of the retro goodness that awaited me.  After the usual pleasantries I look in the corner of the lounge where the computer had sat alone, forlorn and unloved for all these years under a pile of papers and other boxes of unknowns.  After a bit of scrounging I accepted the fact it was no longer there, and upon asking was informed it had been packed away under the house.

A shudder went through me as under the house was most definitely the last place things were ever seen, as I swear that the spiders under the floor fed not on flys and their own children, but paper, plastic and choice bits of metal.  I clung to the assertion that it had only been put away recently, so was hopeful it hadn’t succumbed to rust or was being used as a nursery for god knows what.  Anyone remember the old show ‘The Trapdoor‘?  Kind of like that.  Oddly I was a garage sale the other day and they had a cassette tape of that show, which actually turned out to be a game for the Commodore 64.

Anyway, I grabbed the torch and the key for the lock.  Need to replace that lock one day as it looks about as secure as one you would find in a Christmas cracker and is purely there only to deter people with no arms or legs.

I only had to go in a metre or so on my hands and knees before finding a worrying small box labelled ‘BBC micro’.  I quickly hauled it out and brought it back into the house.

I started rummaging through it and discovered the following:

  • Like most things at my parents it was dusty as hell, which is worrying when one of the major components is a 5 1/4 inch floppy drive that is older that Generation Y (but luckily much more robust)
  • In order to save space my dad threw out all the plastic jewel cases for the software, leaving the folded inlay wrapped around each floppy disc which were then piled together in a plastic bag in a vain attempt to keep the dust in, I mean out
  • There was not a single book – including the user guide.  All I found were a couple of smaller manuals for the DFS (Disc Filing System)

It was at this point that a horrible thought, which was already brewing at the back of mind, came fully to the fore: I had thrown out all the 20 or so books that I owned about 8 years ago.  Until this moment I wasn’t sure if I had thrown them out but clearly they weren’t here.  Obviously I didn’t rate that as the smartest thing I ever did, especially when weeks later I realised the price that some of them were going for on Ebay and Amazon second-hand.

I was already pretty sure I had thrown out all of magazines which included about 4 unbroken years of Micro User and a heap of others.  However I have just had a thought that I may have in fact given them away to someone – I must chase them up as he is probably lining a litter tray with one as I speak.

Nevertheless I had a box containing my original BBC Micro Model B, complete with a singled-side disc drive and about 10 original games or compilations and a couple of boxes of backups and software I written myself or, if the title ‘Typed Out Games vol. 1 and 2’ is anything to go by, had been typed out from magazines.

I triumphantly loaded the car and took them home where they have sat in the entranceway of the house until just the other day…


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