Thursday 30 June 2011

Held hostage by the internet or not as the case maybe...

My cyberlife is in melt down. I have been sobbing in sheer frustration and utter despair for the last half hour; it's not a pretty sight. I even got on the phone to my husband and caught him still on the train, where of course he could not talk to me, as I ranted about the unfairness of it all.
It has been a bad eight weeks, a cyberlifetime, if you get what I mean. Unable to comunicate across the ether, a hostage to my ISP. The sheer frustration.
I begin to look with more than envy at those with uber fast broadband. And I realise how incredibly precious it has been for me; what a life line it is and how when it goes awry, how utterly vulnerable I am in my splendid isolation in Suffolk.
For without it I cannot work. It's that simple.
No reliable internet and I cannot work, there is no income for me.
Maybe my husband does earn enough for both but that is not the point. Without internet I have NO choice.
It was brought home to me very forcibly when we got back from a weekend in Serbia  (it was for a family christening) and I read that the publisher of my magazine was restructuring and getting rid of a lot of print versions as these are seen as passe and frankly don't generate enough profit. It looks like my job is on the line but there again withtout the internet my job was already on the line.
And as for  blogging, something I love, well that's on the line too.
I feel like I am stranded on an island and I am watching the ship sail away....

Monday 20 June 2011

One sided conversations…with my ISP provider

Ring ring ring ring…
Hello this is the O2 Answering service. I am sorry but the person you are calling is unavailable. Please leave a message after the tone with your name and number and the person you are calling will get back to you as soon as possible.
Oh um yes Hi ISP people. It’s me Tattie Weasle. Um calling about the fact that I am not connected…
I called you yesterday and the day before and um in fact I’ve called you every day for the last fortnight but um you haven’t called back.
Are you still trading?
It would kinda be good to know so that if you are not trading I can try and get connected elsewhere. I’d rather not be connected elsewhere because I feel I’d be jumping from the frying pan into the fire but you know at least I know more about the frying pan than I know about the fire, if you get what I mean, and anyway I am not sure the fire can get me connected even though it says I can because the woodsmen (aka BT Engineers) say that the wood used is not the right wood and wouldn’t get me connected for anything despite what the fire says…
OK maybe you are not good on analogies but basically if you don’t contact me I will be forced to go elsewhere even though there isn’t really anyone else I can go to and I know that you know that that is the situation…
(For those out of the loop, due to the quirks of BT you cannot get a halfway decent landline broadband connection where I live so I have to connect to the internet via a complicated and frankly archaic ground-based satellite hop which costs me an arm and a leg. I am not kidding when I say you get better and faster and more reliable connection from the top of Mount Everest)
God I love the countryside! (Not)
So Um ISP people call me, anytime, I have nothing better to do because now that I have no reliable internet I am more than likely to lose my job and all my friends and get had by the DVLA and the HMRC ‘cos you know they think everyone has been connected because it’s something they say should happen but you know it’s all talk….
Well have a nice day and feel free to call, or post a letter, or a carrier pigeon…
Nothing else to do. Really nothing …But wait for you, you know to contact me, the person who pays… the customer….Bye now. Call anytime. Bye. ….

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Take That and party on!

At Christmas I squeaked when I opened my pressie from my sister, tickets for Take That in Cardiff. I was more than squeaking tonight seeing them live on stage. What a party!
It was breathtaking. Just amazing.
And despite my neighbour, a man clearly dragged to the show against his better judgement, I had a total blast.
Any vestiges of frumpy forty five year, old mum were lost mile by mile as we travelled to Cardiff. My sister and I became quite giggly and tempers which would normally have frayed when she overshot Cardiff completely were shrugged off with good humour and just added to the adventure.
We shopped, we tried on clothes, sunglasses and gorgeous Jo Malone scent, we ate and explored and reckon that Cardiff sure has changed for the better since we last visited in the early nineties.
And then it was with the crowds to meander our way to the stadium, surely the whole city was there or certainly most of the female population with a good smattering from Swindon, Bath and Bristol as we'd spotted them on the motorway on our way down. It became quite a game spot the Take That fans! (many thanks to those who made it easier by wearing their t-shirts loud and proud!)
And oh the music and oh Robbie! What a reception you were given the roar swept up the stadium and rocked the city! What a showman, such a wicked man but such a smile, yes you truly could get away with anything.
I forgot how good Take That were and being Robbie fan ( in case you didn't spot it), I was stunned. My words could not do justice to the night but I know that I will forever be a fan...

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Being a parent - what does it mean?

I am a parent. I didn't really think about what that meant initially. I never read a job description, in fact I just did it. One day I was a pregnant woman the next I had responsibility.
I suppose because we can all do it no one ever actually thinks about it and certainly not in the excitement of buying all the cots, and clothes, and other baby paraphernalia. Being a parent sort of takes second place. I mean it can't be that hard, everyone does it.
Initially being a parent means feeding your baby and watching it grow but as they get older and change so does the parental role.
I was over at Living with Kids reading about going to childrens' parties and finding out they can be a lot more grown up than one thinks as parents give way to pester power and I understood why they did and realised that perhaps my thinking that I am too harsh is not so wrong after all.
I think of being a parent as being able to bring up my children to be responsible, compassionate adults who contribute to the world around them. It is a lifetimes work and it means that I will have to be more parent than best friend. It means I will be horrid and mean and that I won't understand. It may even mean that I won't be liked and maybe not even loved but being a parent is not about me it is about them.
They say it is the toughest job and I now think I believe them!

Monday 13 June 2011

Take that!

I am sitting here in my sister's spare room in deepest darkest Hampshire unable to sleep because tomorrow I and my sister are going to see Take That in Cardiff.
I mean come on I am a forty five year old mother of two and far to grown up for this sort of thing but I fear I am reverting really rather rapidly. I drove down tonight from Suffolk in three hours flat. And that is not good, for at some point I must surely have broken the speed limit in my exuberance. And it doesn't help that I was driving the MX5 on one of it's rare outings these days, it just begs to be driven properly, no mummy driving allowed. Milton Keynes was a joy just what the car was built for lots of gear changing, lots of tight manoeuvring, lots of corners and for once clear of small boys in the back each and every roundabout was a joyful challenge rather than a potential sickness hazard.
Then I arrive, welcomed with open arms and an open bottle of fizz perfect. But there was a tiny little fly in the ointment my sister has taken on the task of seeing Take That with military precision. She has downloaded the play list - I can cope with that.
She has downloaded the words to every song - I am not quite so sure about that as I have visions of her forcing large print folios in my hands in the middle of the concert so I can sing along without straining my eyes. (She knows I will refuse to wear my glasses).
However, I think I may be off the hook as she has already told me that she has the CD in the car so we cN sing along on our journey down. Bet she makes me sing each song until I am word perfect!

Thursday 9 June 2011

Am I out of the ether yet? The joy of living in a broadband black spot.

Call me odd but when I have no broadband connection I’m OK. Really. I. Am. Fine. I can’t work but everyone needs a break from that don’t they? All work and no play makes jack a dull boy and all that. Sometimes it is quite good to be in a broadband black spot.
But I get a tad upset when I am neither one thing nor the other. I get upset when I am nearly connected but not quite because that means I have to work even though my work isn’t actually all going to get there. Today I lost a potential job worth £200 because my broadband failed at the "moment juste" and I landed up missing the deadline. Great.
On top of that I got tagged but I don’t know why. It was exceedingly frustrating. I tried to raise twitter on my mobile but to be honest I’m not actually sure how to do that and all I got off Exmoor Jane’s blog was a rather alarming picture of a yawning cat. I do not know why I have been tagged and what that tag has to do with a yawning cat. However much I tried, and I promise I did try all day, I have yet to be illuminated on this point. I even went to such lengths as seeing if I could sneak a peek on one of the computers at school and failing miserably because twitter is banned as an inappropriate site. Thank God there are no wailing alarms on those machines as I don’t know quite how I would have explained myself and why I was hunched on a small child’s chair trying to hack into a site on one of the school computers.
I spend a lot of time waiting for my broadband connection to connect sometimes it is fantastic, sometimes slow and always it is unpredictable.
I get it through the ether as BT cannot connect me and as one delightful soul at their head office said once the only way they will connect me is if I move. Bless ‘em for their consideration.
I read today that Suffolk is to get some help to get connected, I won’t hold my breath. For even though the county may get help, it certainly won’t be to connect out of the way villages. Actually my village isn’t out of the way it’s just that it is at the end of a line and by the time it reaches us it’s exhausted and we barely raise half a Meg (512). I am at the far end of the village so that half a Meg gets disconnected a lot as well as more and more people try to connect to the outside world and even though TalkTalk and all the others say: “Of course we can connect you!” The tech boys who have to plug it all in say: “Don’t bother it won’t work.” So in our village I’ve heard that kids have to go and do their homework with friends in to other villages or else trek down to the library, which is due to close.
The reason why BT won’t do anything about it is there are too few of us to matter. So we go our own way and I get my broadband over the ether and pay through the nose for the privilege. Problem is when it goes wrong there is only a tiny little company that can put it right and I worry about their ability to stay afloat. I have to pray they will or else I will lose my job.
So does anyone out there know how I can get broadband without using a telephone line….I really do want to stay connected and call me weird but I also want to stay in my own home while I do it…

Just have a laugh!

Sometimes you get sent things that just make you laugh at the absurditiy of life; today I laughed 'til I cried. It was great!
  • I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.
  • Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
  • The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
  • Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
  • There are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead.
  • Life is sexually transmitted.
  •  Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
  • The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
  • Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
  • Have you noticed since everyone has a phone camerathese days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?
  • Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
  • All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
  •  In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
  • How is it one careless match can start a bush fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  • Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"
  • Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there? I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its bum.
  •  Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
  • If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?
  •  Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?
  • Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?
  • Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
  • Why is 'simplification' such a long word?
  • If the bride wears white on the happiest day of her life, why does the groom wear black?
  •  What cruel sadist decided to put an 's' in the word "Lisp"...?
  • Why isn't there another word for Thesaurus?
  • If the product you're advertising is so much better than the leading brand, why isn't it the leading brand?
  • Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  •  Going to church does not make you any more of a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
  • Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • The Evening News is where they begin with "Good evening" and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk I have a work station.
  • When I fill in a form that asks who to contact in an emergency I put DOCTOR.
  • When you send something by car it's called a shipment, when it goes by ship it's a cargo. 
  • Hope you had a good one - it's good for the soul!

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Notes for my children: I am God

I am God. I am omnipresent. I hold whole worlds in my hands, even if they are only made of Lego.
I control all and everything in between. What I say is goes.
I say when you shall get up and when you shall go to bed. I can move time to fit in with my wishes so that on Thursdays you shall go to bed at 6.30pm and because I have dominion over both the day and the night and all the hours in between, it will be known as 7pm whatever the time says on the kitchen clock.
I am the giver and taker away of treats. Any infringement of any of the unwritten rules in my dominion can and will mean immediate cessation of treats with no third time lucky warnings. Catch me on a good day and your cups will overflow with lovely things, annoy me for no apparent reason and there will be no TV, like forever; forget the Wii and no it really IS the last time you will ever see the Ninetendo. And I don’t care if it IS unfair, for my will is all.
I am the great provider. It is I who places the food on plates before you and woe betide the child who fails to eat what there is. You should be thankful for ALL food on your plates no matter how unappetising it looks even if it is burnt a bit on the edges the great provider spent hours making it and does not appreciate derogatory comments about her abilities/inabilities on the cooking front. (The same rules apply to ironing, cleaning and general organisation.
The Great She God known as Ma, knows everything. Always. Even when you swear blind it wasn’t you. She can see through all lies and obsfuscation and knows when you have done something that you ought not even if she is not looking at you. This applies particularly in the car or have you not learnt that one yet?
Ma is everything. She is the healer of bumps and cuts with one kiss she can make it all better. She knows how to mend all toys even when the great Ma’s dog has got them and chewed them to bits for miraculously within 24 hours they look like new sometimes they even change colour. Ma does everything and does not make you car sick that is the Great Da’s job so sayeth Ma.

Saturday 4 June 2011

It’s such a perfect day….

I’m in the laundry room pulling the clothes from the washing machine when it strikes me that today is a perfect day.
The sun is shining; the breezes take the heat from it making it wonderful to be outside. I peer over the cardboard box that nestles in the corner of the room and look down upon seven new born chicks, I tap the feeder and croon to them hen like and they dash out from under the electric broody, perfect balls of fluffy grey, black and brown stripped down, with bright berry like eyes. Just born yesterday, total waste of time.
The boys are riding around the deck outside, one on a scooter, the other on a go-cart, a thousand tiny elephants trampling across a wood. There is giggling and laughing and screams of mock rage, then more laughing and shouting and the earnestness of competition as they see who can race round the outside table the fastest.
The dogs bask shark like in the lawn, immobile in the heat.
I hear the comforting burble of the cricket on the radio upstairs where Dear Charlie has his siesta as I make my way outside through the back door and down to the twirly washing line in the orchard. The sun shines brightly form a peerless blue sky.
I’d been woken at 6 by my eldest, I growled half-heartedly, they left me to wake up on my own; sheer bliss. I had sauntered downstairs at nine after lazily getting up in my own time, bathing without interruption. Small pleasures but each such a treat.
I’d hazedly picked up their clothes, made their beds and opened their curtains and felt so happy to be shown a story he’d written all on his own, the spelling mistakes did not glare as all I saw was the joy in his face ‘cos he’d done it all on his own. I felt such pride, such  unmitigated joy I positively floated downstairs for breakfast and the perfect day continued.
I’d been given time to potter about with my hens, feeding and watering them and taking time to see them all, no rush, no hurry.
Time to talk to the neighbours about goats and kids, to admire how pretty they are, to say I’d not seen any nearly so good at the Suffolk Show.
Time to see a beautiful newly finished wooden kayak being loaded onto the roof of a car, to be told that it was for his son who was coming home from Australia away for nine months he has been and during that time, this boat had been painstakingly made as a surprise. All through the winter, all through the spring, all through the dark days when his son was away ready now for his return. The excitement is palatable you can see it shining in his eyes. You want it to be a perfect day, tomorrow, on his return.
The boys had demanded to play Monopoly, I agreed to be banker. I had fun. Of course I cheated a bit no one should lose too badly, it’s only money after all.
I didn’t have to make lunch, far too menial a job for a banker. And although I did have to clear up, it didn’t matter today, it is far too perfect a day to sweat the small stuff.
And so here I am after hanging out the clothes reminding myself for years to come just what a perfect day today is…

Go on you know you want to...


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