7 August 2011

What a difference a week makes! Last week we were still basking in the glow of the memory of Tuscan sunshine; this week we have come back to earth and reality – arguing and negotiating with our broadband provider, our telecommunications provider and BT (British Telecom who provide all the infrastructure for the various providers to utilise) over who should rectify the fact that we have intermittent or no internet access.

On Wednesday it rained after an extended dry spell. On Wednesday, after weeks, months and perhaps even years of almost flawless service, the internet started playing up. In the past when we’ve had internet or telephone issues the fault has always been located in the junction box on a telephone pole on the other side of the road. Of course, one cannot simply telephone BT and report a fault in any of their equipment; one is required to jump through various hoops with either the broadband provider and/or the telephone provider to determine whether the fault is internal or external to the house. Our experiences in the past would suggest that the fault was likely outside but we still need our providers to confirm this. So, on Wednesday we telephoned support. The problem was that the fault was intermittent and, in fact, the internet was working more than not. So, after a few pointless investigations, we crossed our fingers, held our breath and all of Thursday and Friday it was fine. Then, on Saturday it started again and we were back (a) on the phone and (b) swapping out every piece of equipment in an effort to try and determine where the fault lay. After several hours of fruitless investigation (which involves climbing into the loft and plugging equipment into the main socket) our broadband provider conceded that the fault must clearly be somewhere outside. So, over to BT to send an engineer which they will do . . . sometime on Monday.

Fortunately, Pete and Sally next door still have broadband so through their kind offices we are able to publish this week’s news.

Brit at the BallparkAnd speaking of Pete and Sally, those of you who follow Pete (or me) on Facebook will know that the book of his travels and adventures across the States has finally been published. I had an e-mail from Dad on Monday announcing the arrival of his pre-ordered copy and on Tuesday Pete had an e-mail from a friend in Pittsburgh who similarly had received his copy. Pete’s free copies were eventually delivered on Wednesday and, as they were out when the delivery man arrived, they were handed over to my care and attention. When I delivered them later in the afternoon there was a very happy Pete. Later that evening we had a knock on the door and our neighbour, the newly published author himself, was standing on our doorstep clutching an autographed copy of the aforementioned book.

Pete's inscription

For those of you who don’t know anything about all this, check out Pete’s website here and for those of you who do know something about all this, if you haven’t already done so, order a copy immediately. I believe you can get it through Amazon (but since I don’t have any internet access at the moment, I can’t check) but, if not, you can certainly order it through the publisher’s web site – http://www.mcfarlandpub.com I have to say, it’s even better than I had remembered!

I ran across the following cartoon the other day (when our internet was working!!) which I thought was an appropriate introduction to the latest round of rugby international matches which have just started in “warm-up” for the Rugby World Cup. Also thought it might be something Sandy might consider as a way of earning a bit of extra cash.

Rugby Lessons

And finally, I was amused to run across an article on the Guardian web site about the attempts to crack down on the somewhat less than salubrious souvenirs which one can acquire when visiting famous Italian landmarks. It seems that a pair of underpants with the leaning Tower of Pisa rising majestically from the crotch was too much for the civic fathers to bear and they want to take action. I have to confess, we did spend some time in Pisa particularly looking for the most appallingly bad souvenir we could find. While we didn’t see the aforementioned underpants, we did decide that our “favourite” was a t-shirt with a badly drawn Bart Simpson farting while attempting to straighten the tower. I’m not sure that Matt Groening will have signed off on that one.

Love to you all,




2 thoughts on “7 August 2011”

  1. No internet access all weekend, John. I had to do this week’s “news” off-line and then go next door to use their internet access to throw it up on-line (“throw it up” being a particularly apt description).

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