I’ve been trying to tidy up the mess of files on my hard disk. Gods forbid someone else ends up trying to go through it in the event of my untimely death. That sounds morbid and prompted by recent events but it’s more just a turn of phrase.

Last time I was at my childhood home I picked up a load of old files in order to properly archive them. I have all sorts of odds and ends, many of which probably shouldn’t see the light of day. At the time they were written they were fine – these days they might make the authors cringe.

What interests me though is that during that period technology was also awkward. Floppy disks hadn’t quite died out due to the cost of flash disks. They were becoming affordable but sharing them wasn’t uncommon. Other times floppies would be cleared and reused (but not shredded, leaving residual data).

As a result I have some odd files whose origin I simply cannot put my finger on.

For example, I have a file from June 2004. It’s an Excel spreadsheet created by or for my old housemaster. It has all the names of the boys in the boarding house and whether they’d be away for “study leave” or not. I seem to recall “study leave” was essentially an week off before external exams (GCSEs, AS, A2). It seems to have been created for him, perhaps by one of the house tutors? I don’t think I had a laptop until the end of 2004 though so it’s a tad unclear as to how this file got onto my machine.

That at least has a connection to me. There’s other things like “On Call.xls” that leave me truly perplexed.

It was created by “Mr. Hanley” and features the phone numbers for three locations:

  • HillGate Farm
  • The Stubbs
  • Crows Nest

I’m obviously not going to publish the numbers. I’m more interested in what this was all about. They all seem to tie into Da Capo Caring For Kids. From what I can tell it’s a tiny independent school “for pupils who have complex special needs” (source). How did I end up with an old rota for it? (Ostensibly from 2001 or so)

Did someone I know once work there?

Mundane to others, I guess, but trying to piece together the narrative rather interests me.

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