Sunday, September 18, 2016

"Michael Heseltine's machine" goes to the great network in the sky

A family computer which we nicknamed "Michael Heseltine's machine" has just been taken on it's last journey to the great network in the sky, less any parts of it they can recycle, via Frizington household refuse collection centre, after more than two decades of good service.

When the computer concerned was new, having been custom ordered with a particular set of drives and video cards designed to allow it to run both certain contemporary items of software and the then current video CDs (this was shortly before the popular release of Digital Versatile Disc technology) there were some teething problems getting the various components to work together.

I dropped the computer off with the seller on my way to Conservative conference in Blackpool to have some of these issues addressed, asking if I could collect it on the way back.

On collecting the computer, now working perfectly, I was told with a grin how the company which sold me the computer had ensured that their own supplier moved quickly to get the relevant parts and software sorted out during the conference: they had explained to the supplier what the timetable was for sorting out the problem and implied that the computer was the personal machine used by the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and President of the Board of Trade, Michael Heseltine! Apparently they had been very impressed and pulled their finger out.

I was always grateful to Michael for the fact that his mere reputation got my PC fixed on time!

It was a well-made piece of kit which served us well for about 21 years before finally ceasing to work earlier this year.

It's always been my policy where possible to buy computers from small businesses which you know and trust and can offer decent after-sales service rather than big chains, a policy followed from the day I bought one of my first PCs from a small business in St Albans more than a quarter of a century ago, up to and including yesterday when my wife and I ordered our latest family computer from a small business in Whitehaven. But I will always remember "Michael Heseltine's machine" of an example of the lengths to which some small business will go to give good service to their customers!

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