Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Living at the edge of the world

Or so it seems! I am struggling to maintain my equilibrium against great odds - my broadband connection is practically non-existent at the moment. We have trouble with the connection if it's not quite the right kind of weather, if it's particularly dank, or especially windy and, despite years of battling with BT, the problem is apparently not amenable to improvement. A considerable quantity of phone wire and a wonky telegraph pole have been replaced, yet it continues to be as bad as ever. And this is why it feels like living at the edge of the world - there is no house beyond us. We are at the end of every supply line. The water frequently arrives at snail's pace, a weedy trickle of freezing or scalding water emerging from the shower head. Or not at all. We got broadband years after everyone else in the area. Power cuts are a regular occurrence.

Difficulties extend beyond the utilities, too. Post and other deliveries often take a day longer to reach us. Couriers frequently can't find us at all (although we are on the map!) and deliveries are preceded by phone calls from drivers who can never quite explain where they currently are, but it's definitely not here. Just to add insult to injury we have a ridiculous access which means that nothing heavy can be delivered closer than the farmyard and we have to exercise ingenuity - or more often, muscles - in getting things to the house. I had no idea kitchen worktops weighed so much. And it was jolly good fun when the skip lorry got stuck.

It's the broadband that drives me to distraction, though. Whenever I post anything, the file has to be backed up because I risk losing it altogether when uploading. There are whole days when I struggle even to pick up my email, which is awkward for someone who works largely from home. This morning it took over half an hour to order a Christmas present and pay for it - fortunately I was stuffing conference information into envelopes, so I could afford to sit and wait. They also gnash their teeth who only stand and wait, I thought, even Milton's patience would have been tried.

This page may have to be an image-free zone in the meantime - since I am hardly the area's most talented photographer, this will be no great loss, but I miss the odd touch of colour.


Lesley (El Zed) said...

Oh I sympathise - I really do. We have terrible, seriously terrible, plumbing in this house, but if the broadband were to go the same way, I'd be pulling my hair out.

And happy birthday, among your rather moist menagerie!

Ann Darnton said...

Happy Birthday indeed. I do sympathise because I know how cut off I feel if I lose computer connection at all. On the other hand, if this means that you've developed the habit of always backing up data this is no bad thing. I've worked with people who've lost everything because of a computer failure or having a machine stolen, including in once case, a whole year's lectures which had then to be re-written!

Nan - said...

We're at the end of the phone line and the power line, and when we lose electricity, we are often at the end of the line for getting it back. Our high speed internet is a satellite, and while I do bless that little dish on my porch, it still is unpredictable if the weather isn't just perfect. A little snow or a little rain slows us right down so we can't even get email. So you have a kindred spirit miles and miles away.

GeraniumCat said...

Thank you all for your sympathy - it really is being very trying!

Lesley, the plumbing's not great, either - makes me wonder, sometimes, why I wanted to live here, and then I look at the view.

It's interesting that satellite isn't reliable either, Nan, because I've sometimes wondered whether it might be a solution. But it sounds as though it would go down at the same time as the broadband.

Ann's reminded me that I have some serious backing up to do!