Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Greenery around a pond
Groombridge Place, June 2013
The week following Lola II's visit is a busy one. Work then badminton club #1 on Monday, work then a badminton match with club #2 on Tuesday, work then choir practice on Wednesday, work on Thursday then...

It’s a nightmare. Thursday night: no Internet at home. I’m off to badminton club #2 so I don’t mind so much, but when the Internet hasn’t returned on Friday night, it becomes serious. Mr A was at his work’s Christmas do on Friday night, which involved bowling, dinner and an overnight stay, all paid for (that’s the private sector for you) and I was looking forward to an evening to myself. I had various online jobs lined up, among them blogging and creating the family calendar, which is a fairly long and tedious process (although well worth it for the results in the end). So I had to phone the ISP.

Part of the pain of investigating the issue is that the Internet wifi router is in Mr A’s office, which is full to the brim with ‘belongings’. I imagine Mr A and I use different words to describe the contents of his office, but even aside from that, the overhead lights do not work and it is dusty; very, very dusty.

First of all, the operator in the ISP's call centre did not recognise our phone number. The address and post code did not help either. I started to imagine that our account did not exist, which would explain the lack of service, but when I fished out a bill (thank goodness I had printed the bill, otherwise things would have been even more difficult) and quoted the account number, my existence was confirmed.

So then: the usual tests on the router, for which I had to wear a head torch (no overhead light) and take time out to sneeze repeatedly (the dust) combined with picking my way through the ‘belongings’. And then find the phone (sneeze), to discover there was no dial tone. Although Mr A had recently managed to replace the batteries, I could not trust just the one handset, so had to unearth another (sneeze), but still no dial tone. So it’s the phone line that’s faulty, and I was given a timescale of two to four days for repair.

What can you do with no Internet? I could use my data plan via mobile phone, but the screen is so small and I can’t bear to type on it, plus the blogging account is different from my email account so there’s lots of logging in and out and trying to remember passwords. “I know,” I thought, “the pub next door advertises free wifi! I can go there!”

Of course it is Friday night, one of the busiest times for the best pub in Leamington, but I managed to find a spot to set up the laptop – unfortunately not near an electrical socket, so I had just an hour or two while the battery lasted. It would be rude to take advantage of the free wifi without buying a drink, so I treated myself to a pint rather than my usual half pint, on the basis that it would have to last a couple of hours. And then the computer wouldn’t connect to the Internet. Rebooting, ‘repairing’ the connection, ‘resetting the IP adapter’ – nothing. The battery was pretty much exhausted by the time I had finished trying, so I had no choice but to finish my pint and go home, still Internet-free.

So I resorted to sitting on the sofa and watching a film instead, which was fine but didn’t get the calendar done. On Saturday, it meant I had lots of time to clean the house, and I’d rented another carpet cleaning machine, this time checking that the plug was as it should be. Mr A collected the cleaned and shortened curtains, so they had to be adjusted and re-hung, and the carpet cleaning machine taken back to the rental shop, and then I couldn’t stand it any longer and went to the library for two hours to use their wifi for the bare minimum of tasks - uploading the last blog post, Facebook, downloading podcasts, and some cash needed transferring between accounts.

No Internet service on Sunday either, but not too bad because I was off to a lunch in the occasional series hosted by H&B oop north. Travelling by motorway on Sunday morning wasn’t bad at all, and I arrived early in order to impart some of my diabetes dietary wisdom. Unfortunately for the other guests, this meant that their attention was repeatedly drawn to the carbohydrate content of various snacks. It was a pleasure to mingle with such a pleasant group of people, though.

On my return – still no Internet. Things were getting desperate – I’d cleaned a lot of things in the house already, and eventually I was forced into writing Christmas cards. I don’t think I’ve initiated the Christmas card writing session in living memory; it’s one of the things that Mr A does. It made me think how useful it would be if the Internet were to disappear at the time of the Tax Return. Then we watched another film. Still no family calendar.

Monday – no Internet. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting any progress over the weekend, and the four days I’d been quoted wouldn’t end until Tuesday evening. There was badminton anyway, so I had no problem occupying myself. And by Tuesday, when I was bracing myself for a difficult conversation with the ISP call centre about why it hadn’t been fixed, it was fixed.

But there is no time for family calendars on weekdays; there’s barely time for blogging, and catching up with the four days missing from my online life. It will have to wait until next weekend.

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