Oh Joy!!!!!! I finally feel like I've made some progress this evening, and touch wood, the referring up the line to the Engineering section of Apple won't be necessary. I was already at 'sitting on the kitchen floor with a cup of tea' stage over my computer, and let's face it, who needs to go there. But having a problem that was going to drag on even longer was filling me full of dread.
I am tentatively saying (hopefully) that Mail doesn't hate me anymore. And so I am v cautiously calling a truce and saying "I'm sorry Mail, I didn't ever really hate you, but you were being utterly, utterly bloody for a while there".
The 2nd erase of the hard drive, and 2nd reinstall of the operating system looks to have worked. I didn't accept the prompts for iCloud yet, or put in my Apple ID, in case this is where the problem lies. At last Mail started, and didn't crash straight away. I've added both of my email accounts. I've also closed Mail down, and opened it back up (having to put my hands over my eyes and peek through my fingers, much like looking with a wince at your bank account), and it's all going ok. My emails have loaded (the ones still on the servers anyway), and I've successfully sent an email.
Actually I sent two emails. Because I got excited because the first one worked and sent. So I sent Brian another 'oh hurrah, my computer is finally speaking to me' email just because I was feeling triumphant.... Just a little bit of trivia.
Something made me want to hunt back through my boxes of old newspaper clippings and photographs that I painstakingly cut out and kept over the years. They go back all the way to Kingston, Dulcify and Manikato, with a break in the mid to late 1980s, and then there are a lot of clippings from about 1993 onwards. These days I'm trying to be more ruthless (successfully???). Because I'm on the subject of Mr Cummings' 60 year anniversary, I paused when I found this essay from Les Carlyon, on the day that Saintly's retirement was made public after he'd broken down again. I'd been inconsolable the day Saintly's original tendon injury was announced. This was Les at his finest:
"Before dawn at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, last Thursday, in the hour that's always blackest, the horse from heaven fell back to earth and we were left wondering what might have been. Bart Cummings isn't wondering too much. He thinks he knows the answer".
The progress in digital technology over film quality, and the progress of the cameras and lenses we use is also just so apparent when you look back. The images (I realise we are looking at newsprint quality, and the pages have aged, and printing processes are much better too) of Jeune and Vintage Crop in the wet show what a struggle it used to be to produce a sharp and memorable image in the pouring rain. We are fortunate to be working with the gear that we work with today.