March 3, 2015

We’ve been visiting my parents’ for the last few days, enjoying an enforced broadband holiday due to either incompetence on BT’s part or the incredible coincidence of my parents’ router stopping working at exactly the same time as their engineers were doing something to the lines locally.

I’d love to say that I took the opportunity to free myself from the tyranny of the screen, reconnect with my loved ones, and made the most of this opportunity to get on with the things that really matter; I’ll leave it up to you to imagine how much time I instead spent pecking away at emails on my phone and fleeing to the free WiFi (but rather expensive beverages) of Costa Coffee in Berwick when things got out of hand.

However, it has allowed me to boil my blogging down to the following concentrated essence. I might not have gained much time out of the experience, but look how much time you have saved:


potato day sold out

Potato day. Starts at 11:00 am. Do not, whatever you do, arrive any later than, say 11:15…

Sally Port gate in Berwick

You’ve got to love a town that reserves a special gate just for you

snow on hills

Home again. Clouds gathering over Bigtownshire, as per usual

Rural Household Gets Phone Line Shock

June 13, 2008

Yes, it’s true. I got back to find that, a scant six weeks after moving in – and no more than two and a half months after ringing up BT and asking for one – we have a telephone line. We can now commence the long and lonely wait for broadband.

On the downside, this has now doubled the number of swallows that can simultaneously crap on our shiny new car, but every silver lining has a cloud…

What’s in your Toast Rack?

June 8, 2008

The upgraded BT poles – just like the old BT poles, only browner – have been marching slowly up our road these past few weeks. The other day, they reached our gate and, seeing a BT man descending from a ladder by one of them – we accosted him for a progress update. His part of the work was done, he said (I’m translating freely from the Scots here) and we should be hearing from head office soon.

Sure enough, on Friday I got a phone call from one of the nice young men that BT reserve for calling customers who’ve been waiting weeks and weeks for their phone line. The line was almost ready, he told me. All that remained was for us to make a date for an engineer. Finally, I said. We fixed on next Thursday, but I was going to be away. Could I give them the other half’s mobile phone no as he would be the one waiting in? I could. The only problem was that I didn’t know the other half’s phone number, and I was going to have to find out. The nice young man said he’d hold. The other half shouted out that it was on the card in the toast rack*. After a bit of hunting around – it was in my blind spot – I found it, and read out the number to the nice young man, but he had forgotten he was a call centre operative and had reverted to being a human:

‘Did he just say it’s in the toast rack?’
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Why, where do you keep your mobile phone numbers?’

And we completed the call with the mutual giggles. I hope this means we still get the engineer, and more importantly the phone line. But it’s nice to know that somebody whose job is basically ringing up irate people and being nice to them had a bit of amusement in his day…

*Look, toast in our house has a half-life of thirty seconds and is usually consumed standing over the toaster, waiting for the next round to be ready. It does not survive long enough to go into a toast rack. But we got one as a wedding present and jolly nice it is too, and it seems a shame to waste it, so we use it for holding important things, like mobile phone numbers and unpaid bills.

Pole Position

May 9, 2008

Brring Brring – another call from BT, somewhat more apologetically this time, to update us on the great telephone line saga. It seems that our innocent request for a phone line was the metaphorical straw that broke the camel’s back, and not just the cable but all of the poles from here to eternity will have to be replaced, possibly by the end of this month. And sure enough, when we set out this morning, there was a great big BT pole-replacing machine, working its way up our road. All this big machinery for little me…

Coming back much later this afternoon, (having angered the TomTom woman by missing her carefully selected turnoff and being sent down smaller and smaller roads until we were driving down something with not just grass, but a fine crop of dandelions down the middle of it – a blog entry in its own right one of these days), we inspected their handiwork. Alongside the old wooden poles with arms sticking out*, were new wooden poles with no arms sticking out, presumably the upgraded poles although their improvements weren’t really visible to the naked eye. They had done two. There are a lot of poles.

This could be a long month…

*You’ll have to excuse the technical language here. I’d have taken a picture but I don’t have all week to watch it upload to flickr…

A Moving Tale

May 2, 2008

Hmm. Top tips for moving – don’t get some sort of long-running stomach bug two days before the move. Also, when BT say that there is a phone line in the house you’re moving to, and everything will be set up in time for you to move in, don’t believe it unless you have it signed in the blood of the entire board, and have a couple of their first born held hostage as security to boot. Now that we’re actually moved in and I have book to launch, BT’s cheery assurance that all will be fine has turned into much ominous teeth sucking and talk of replacement poles. I have a bad feeling about this one. It may well run and run. Actually, both of them might.

BUT. We have moved, all of our stuff is safely in, the lambs are gambolling in the fields around us* and it’s only rained twice – once for two days, and once for one. The surrounding countryside is a wonderful flourescent green from all the rain and the hills, moors, rivers (sorry, burns), trees, flowers and decoratively placed cattle are all doing their scenic stuff. I can’t quite shake off the sense that we’re on holiday in some curiously shambolic holiday cottage. I thought it was down to all the scenery, but on second thoughts, I think it’s due to the faint but all-pervading smell of damp.

*Slight artistic licence – I’m actually currently staying tonight with another blogger in a desperate bid to get broadband.