|Work station in The Grant Arms|
Back from Edinburgh full of ideas and photos for blog posts, magazine articles and more I reached home to discover the phone wasn't working. A friend turned up soon afterwards. Big thunderstorm a week ago, he said. Lines melted, fused, destroyed all over the area. We were almost cut-off. In our fairly remote rural home the mobile signal is very weak - too weak for the Internet, except for occasional emails. The phone connection is very poor too, with calls constantly breaking up. Texts do work okay so that's been our main form of communication with the outside world for the last week. BT - our telecoms company - said the line would be operating again last Friday. The day came and went. No phone. BT's auto response was to apologise for missing the deadline but not giving us another one. I cycled out to the nearest call box, a couple of miles away. Brushing aside the cobwebs I ventured inside. It looked like something out of a Hammer horror film. A lonely call box set in woods far from the nearest house. I half expected to hear wolves howling and hear the echoing sound of horses hooves as a sinister black carriage pulled up. Cobwebs, dead flies, leaves and rust decorated the interior. No one had used it for a long time. Detaching the phone from its nest of cobwebs I was surprised to discover it still worked. All I got from BT was more apologies though. I noticed they had bothered to decorate the outside with a large poster advertising their sponsorship of the Olympics and the superfast broadband they supply (when it does work mine reaches a maximum of 1.1mb - average slow broadband would be nice).
Two days later, having patiently waited while BT managed to find a human being for me to talk to, and trying not to be irritated by the constant advice to go onto the BT website for information, I was finally told that the line should be working again 'in two or three days. We'll see. In the meantime TGO magazine final deadlines were approaching at great rapidity. How to send them my work, which was on a hardly portable PC. Transfer it to my netbook and find a wi-fi cafe to send it from. How do I do the transfer?? By wi-fi. Ah, but I haven't now got wi-fi. This was a dilemma my partner and I keep coming across, showing just how much we take internet communications for granted. I'll watch it on iPlayer, I'll look it up on Wikipedia, I'll get an online weather forecast. oh, I can't. Suddenly the radio and TV and DVD player take on greater significance. But these I realised are one-way only. You can't communicate directly with them, merely consume what they produce.
For my work dilemma I fished out an old memory stick and used that to transfer material from the PC to the netbook. Then I went into Grantown-on-Spey, five miles away, and settled into a corner of the very comfortable Grant Arms with coffee, egg roll and wi-fi, sent off my work and felt a great sense of relief. This will now be my workroom until the phone works again.
Monday, 27 August 2012
No Phone, No Internet
Posted by Chris Townsend