I had an Important Document to send off today so I took it down to Papershop Village knowing that the feral post office was supposed to be putting in an appearance there this lunchtime. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself at having remembered the post office schedule AND the Important Document, and rolled up outside the village hall where the post office makes its appearance just as it was due to open. The post office not being there yet, I went into the shop, got my paper, exchanged the statutory amount of banter, and went back out to find still no post office, but a couple of people waiting in their cars for its arrival. Fifteen minutes later, having checked with the shop and found that yes, it was supposed to have been open fifteen minutes ago but that it was a bit of a law unto itself, I decided to cut my losses and cycle home and send the other half to Notso Bigtown with the Important Document tomorrow instead. And thus are the rural postal services maintained, with maximum inconvenience to all concerned until finally the last customer gives up and they can quietly kill the whole thing off.
But never mind those old dead tree technologies, for the other half came back from Notso Bigtown last week with the exciting news that we are to get superfast broadband some time ooh at least this century. There was some sort of information stand about it in the supermarket car park and he had given them our postcode and been told that we would be having fibre put in ‘right to the premises’.
‘I’m not holding my breath,’ the other half said when I expressed some excitement at the prospect of being able to watch unlimited numbers of cat videos (and, indeed, get a nice smooth strip of tarmac all the way up our road to ride my bike on, which is almost as thrilling). ‘But I did get a free pen.’ And indeed, having checked the website it appears we are included in the ‘rest of Scotland’ part of the project, not a phrase which fills you any great sense of urgency. I did have a look at the map of the planned roll out and found that it would be much more helpful if anyone had bothered to label it with the names of the exchanges (or indeed, with the name of anything) so, as I have foolishly failed to memorise the shape and size of the area our exchange covers, I can’t quite work out if we’re getting our superfast broad band by the end of this year or sometime in 2017. I then tried to look on the BT site but that had an interactive map on it which – stop me if you’ve worked this one out already – doesn’t load all that well if you’re using rural broadband.
Still, at least we have our free pen. I could even use it to send letters while we wait to be connected to the 20th century, if only I could work out where our post office has gone.