ten things I have learned about having a lousy internet connection

“High Speed Broadband has arrived”, not in this pocket of County Durham it hasn’t.  It may be all flash downloads and wall to wall Netflix a mile away in the village but in our own little notspot carrier pigeons were more reliable and considerably faster.  Not for us a weekend binge of box sets and Sky on Demand. Estimated download time for a single film was over 10 hours.  On a good day we could get 1 Mbps on a bad day it just ran out of juice.

When the bad days began to outnumber the good days and the only way we could send work to clients was to use a dongle and sit on the drive (under an umbrella if it was raining) we decided enough was enough and took our laptops to a coffee shop with decent wifi and did a bit of research.  We are now the proud owners of a mastband internet connection.  We can watch films, we can send work without sitting in the garden.  We have joined the 21st Century.

However if you are still in the internet dark ages, these are a few things I learned.

  1. Nothing is on paper anymore.  If you need to know what time your local Tesco Metro opens on a Sunday you are going to have to go out and stand outside until it opens and note down the time for next time.
  2. Telephone directories were quite useful not just as door stops but also, oddly enough,  for looking up telephone numbers
  3. Social media has too many photographs.  Photographs, videos and pictures take ages to download.  My FB newsfeed had been visually redacted.  Great blank squares all over it.
  4. If you haven’t recorded it you aren’t going to see it.  Catch up tv services were not an option. “Listen again” was but a dream for us.
  5. Your children will fail all their exams.  Or so they tell you.  It is apparently completely impossible to revise for A-Levels without a functioning internet.
  6. Your children will have no social life.  Or so they tell you.  Unless they can sit in bed and watch Netflix with their friends they are social pariahs.
  7. You will spend a lot of time on the  phone playing solitaire on your (unconnected) lap top listening to a recorded message saying “all our operators are busy at the moment but you can resolve your problem by going to our website.”  Oh no I can’t.
  8. You can’t join in any conversations about online grocery shopping.  See above about pictures and social media.  Supermarket websites have even more pictures.
  9. You can’t answer those nagging little questions like “Who’s that actress on the left of the guy who used to be in Eastender?” or cheat on the Saturday general knowledge crossword by looking up the answer to “who invented the bunsen burner?” (Robert Bunsen btw).
  10. You cannot have more than one tab open on your browser and don’t even think about sending a file by email when somebody else is trying to download something on another laptop.  Multitasking on line is a guaranteed way to bring the network to its knees.

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But now, I can listen to the Archers podcasts.    I have a Spotify account.  I watched the first series of Fortitude in a box set binge and I have discovered there are pictures on Facebook – and a lot of them are of cats!

Love Gillie x

panic

I don’t do regrets.  I can’t see the point in looking back and getting upset about something that has already been and gone.  Today I am going to make an exception.

Why on earth did I go public about trying to go plastic free.  The more observant readers will notice the introduction of a new word.  Yup “trying”  because as the 1st September fast approaches I am starting to panic that it is all going to go belly up pretty fast.  There is so much plastic around us.

The project is not helped by the fact that I have three teenage daughters.  Three perfectly formed modern consumers who like stuff.  Not masses of stuff to be fair and they are discriminating about on what they spend their money.  But much of the stuff they like tends to come with plastic: toiletries, Haribou tangfastic; soft plastic bread for toast; cotton wool pads; fresh strawberries in plastic punnets.

They already think I am bonkers, the mention of the plastic free month was met with  much eye rolling, sighing and pleas to be a bit more normal.  They are fairly well resigned to the fact that all jams and jellies for example are homemade, but still look longingly at the jars of pap on the shop shelves.  I did suggest (as a joke) that we made our own Nutella (which as a plastic lid by the way), you would have thought I was suggesting they eat raw tripe for a month!

But I cannot put all the blame on them.  I have spent this month looking at everything I buy and how much plastic is involved.  Oh boy, there is so much and some is going to be very hard to avoid.

One area that I am really struggling with is cleaners and toiletries.  Not buying them, I can do that quite easily and make my own instead.  But the ingredients I need to make them come in plastic bottles!  Vinegar, surgical spirit, rosewater, witch hazel, beeswax, glycerine, oils.  They all come in plastic bottles.  I have to buy in bulk because I use so much so I have to buy over the internet and nobody is going to send glass bottles through the post if they can avoid it.  I’m wondering if I can send them back but I suspect the answer will be “no it’s too much fuss”.  Grrr