My internet dilemma and why I’ve been absent for a month

Wow! It’s been a month since I’ve posted here. I never intended to take a month off. The last time I wrote I mentioned that we moved into our new flat and that the internet would be hooked up while we were away on holiday.

That’s how it was supposed to happen. Instead this is what occurred.

A technician was scheduled to activate our phone line on June 23. The person staying with the boys waited for five hours, but the technician never arrived.

I didn’t find out until I returned from our trip. I called our service provider on June 30th and asked them to send another technician. They said there was no need since the tech was able to activate the line from outside.

I asked, “Why isn’t my internet working if the line was activated?”

He asked if I had a dial tone. I informed him that I didn’t have a phone for the land line. We both have cell phones and don’t need a land line.

There was a pause. Then the guy said he’d test our phone line from there. It came back as active. Then he ran a test for our internet. He then said the issue was our filter and he would put a replacement in the post and it would arrive in three to five business days.

The new filter arrived on July 5th. Still no internet.

I called the company the following Monday. I had to go through the whole history again and then I asked for a tech to be sent to activate the phone line. The person asked if I had a dial tone. I said I didn’t have a phone since we had two cell phones. Another pause.

Then the person said they can’t send a tech until they diagnose the issue on their end. I said they weren’t good at that since they already said it was the filter and that wasn’t the case. The person ran more tests. This time she said I needed a new router. The warranty I had for my router just ended so I would have to pay for a new one.

I did since I didn’t have much of a choice. It arrived two days later. Still no internet.

I called my company again and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in a good mood from the start. The woman wasn’t in a good mood either and started yelling at me right off when I said my internet wasn’t working. She said, “I see in your file you just received a new router. Don’t call and say your internet isn’t working. Call and say I just received a new router. I had to waste my time to read your file.”

Wow, I’m really sorry I wasted her time and didn’t know the proper procedure. She ran a test on the new router and then she asked if I had a dial tone on my phone. If she read my file she should have known I didn’t have a land line phone. I explained.

I asked for a tech to come to the flat to fix the issue. She refused. In fact, she refused to do anything else until I purchased a phone and tested the dial tone. Now I was fairly certain the line had never been activated. Part of me wanted to lie and say I didn’t have a dial tone. But I’m not a good liar. Not even on the phone.

This started an argument. I dropped an F-bomb. I was told not to swear at her. In my defense I said I didn’t want to buy an effing phone. I know it’s not nice to swear, but if the woman knew how many F-bombs I held back she may have forgiven the one I let slip out. I apologized.

She kept saying “Go to Tesco and get one. They’re only five quid.”

It wasn’t the money. I don’t like being told I have to buy something I don’t want. And it’s not just five quid. Not only did they waste my time, but each phone that’s made uses resources. I’m not the biggest environmentalist on the planet, but I don’t like buying things I know I won’t use. It’s a waste of resources.

I asked to speak to the woman’s supervisor. I was put on hold for several minutes and then the woman informed me that every supervisor was in a meeting, but they would call me back. I said don’t bother. She asked when I’d buy the phone and she would call me to see how it went. I said I wasn’t buying a phone and I needed to talk to my partner about cancelling our account.

I did call the better half and asked if it was possible to borrow a phone. It was.

Guess what. No dial tone!

I called the company the next day and informed them that we didn’t have a dial tone. The gentleman on the phone asked if I hooked up the phone properly. I haven’t used an old fashion phone in a while, but they aren’t that complicated. I said yes. Then he asked if the phone was actually plugged in. I told him I could see the time and date on the display so I was fairly certain the issue wasn’t my phone but their line.

Finally he agreed to send a tech to the house. The very next day. I was shocked by that.

The tech arrived. He said, “Oh, yeah, this line has never been activated.” Within thirty minutes, I had internet. I thanked the tech profusely and he said it happens all the time.

So that’s why I’ve been absent for the past month.

Miles was thrilled with all the extra walks during this time.

Miles was thrilled with all the extra walks during this time.

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The good and the bad

The good news, we are moved into our new flat. The last few weeks have flown by. Yesterday we were running a few errands and the better half said, “It feels like all we’ve done lately is move from one task to the next. I need a break.”

So here’s some more good news, in a few days, we’re leaving for a much needed holiday. We didn’t plan on the moving right before going away for ten days. Luckily the boys have seemed to settle into the new flat.

Currently we don’t have Internet in the new flat. That was one of the tasks that got put on the back burner since we both forgot how much of a rigmarole it is to have an active phone line installed and then to have our service provider to take the time to flip the switch on their end. It can take weeks. But as I said, it won’t matter much since we’ll be gone.

I do miss visiting with all of you. I appreciate all the comments and well wishes about the move. You guys are the best. When we return, hopefully things will be back to normal. Take care everyone and I hope you have a marvelous couple of weeks.

Here are some random photos of Miles, including his train ride to the new place. As it turns out, Miles loves taking the train. Atticus insisted on taking a cab.

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Travel Memories: I want to be far away

I had high hopes for 2014. I knew I would be editing and then releasing a new novel. We had some trips planned. And the first few weeks of 2014 started off with a bang, with a visit from some very good friends. Then things took a turn. Both of us struggled with our health. Then the better half suffered an injury. Soon after that, my knee started acting up. Then I took a spill and injured the other knee. Finally, both of us were on the mend. Just in time to do our taxes. Tax season is never fun.

Spring arrived and the seemingly endless rain actually came to an end. When the sun started appearing both of us felt a sense of relief. We looked forward to our long weekend in Paris and then a longer trip mid-June.

Everything was coming together.

Until we got the letter. The letter that said our landlord decided to sell the flat we are currently living in and we had 60 days to get out. When we moved here a little over 6 months ago the plan was to stay for a couple of years. Obviously that didn’t work out. So now we are scrambling to get ready for another move. I hate moving. This past weekend we didn’t stop moving once, packing boxes, sorting things that we can donate, and organizing. I’m exhausted. We’ll be in Paris this weekend. When we get back we have a few days to move. Soon after that, we have another trip. Hopefully we can get settled before the second trip.

Both of the boys can sense something is going on and they aren’t happy. I wish all of us could get away. Some place far where we wouldn’t have to think about reality. How about Botswana? I’m behind on visiting blogs. My apologies. Once things settle down, I hope to check in on all of you.

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The Manor Bar and Grill

Recently we stumbled upon The Manor Bar and Grill on Tooting High Street. Prepare yourself for a really awful photo. The front looks much more inviting than my photo shows.

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We didn’t plan on hopping into a pub that day, but when I spied it, I decided, why not. It was a Friday afternoon and the place was nearly empty. That didn’t bother us one bit.

Before we left our flat, I had lunch, but like I’ve said before, I’m usually hungry. So I ordered the lightly crisp chilli squid and some skinny fries. The squid was delicious and fresh. The fries were tasty. It was a somewhat warm day so I enjoyed a cider with my snack.

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Before leaving I noticed that they had desserts. When I pointed to the chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream the better half didn’t say anything and went to the bar and ordered another round of drinks and my dessert.

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The other day, we were in the same neighborhood and we popped into The Manor again. This time I sampled the Rebellion IPA crafted by The Marlow Brewery, but skipped having food. Not sure why, but I think I had a reason. The IPA had a nutty and fruit flavor and to be honest, went down easily. I was expecting it to have a stronger hoppy taste and was glad it didn’t. Here comes another horrible photo.

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Each time we’ve been there, we’ve enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere. We haven’t been there in the evenings so I’m not sure how crowded it gets. If you’re in the area during the afternoon, I highly recommend it. And the chocolate fondant was pretty darn good.

We have an extremely busy weekend planned so the chances of us finding a new pub this weekend is pretty much nil. Oh well, I have a few more I haven’t reviewed yet. Have a marvelous weekend. See you next week.

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Book Review: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Many years ago I read Ethan Frome and fell in love with Edith Wharton’s writing style. Last year I read and loved The Age of Innocence. Just recently I finished The House of Mirth and I have to say wow. Out of the three, this is my favorite. She has a few more books on my 1001 list so my favorite might change but I’m not sure how.

Here’s the Goodreads synopsis for The House of Mirth:

First published in 1905,  The House of Mirth  shocked the New York society it so deftly chronicles, portraying the moral, social, and economic restraints on a woman who dared to claim the privileges of marriage without assuming the responsibilities. Lily Bart, beautiful, witty, and sophisticated, is accepted by “old money” and courted by the growing tribe of nouveaux riches. But as she nears 30, her foothold becomes precarious; a poor girl with expensive tastes, she needs a husband to preserve her social standing and to maintain her life in the luxury she has come to expect. While many have sought her, something—fastidiousness or integrity—prevents her from making a “suitable” match.

Recently I review Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and I wrote that he really understands human nature. Wharton’s strength is her portrayal of society, especially from a woman’s point of view. The Secret Agent was difficult to read due the violent subject matter. The House of Mirth is difficult on a different level. It shows the difficulties of being a woman. The main character, Lily Bart, doesn’t always make the wisest choice. At times I cheered for her and other times I was cursing her decisions. However, Wharton deftly shows that the men in the novel could be just as foolish and yet they escape from their situations almost unscathed. Not so for Lily. The novel was published in 1905 and one may think that times have drastically changed. From my point of view they haven’t. Yes women have more rights. Yet, views of women haven’t changed that much. For instance a powerful man is viewed as successful. A powerful woman is more often than not labeled a bitch. If a man is promiscuous he’s considered a ladies’ man. If a woman is promiscuous, she’s a slut. I think you get my point.

I don’t mean to imply that reading this novel will make you want hit the streets and protest. Well you may. For me, though, I thought it was a beautiful story. I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen to Lily. I hoped for the best, but felt dread until the final page. It’s not a thriller by any means, but it hooked me. I finished the story over a week ago and have spent much time thinking about it. While I was reading it, I wasn’t focusing solely on the treatment of women. Since finishing it, I keep thinking of scenes and relating them to today. It’s depressing that things really haven’t changed all that much. I love books that linger and I have a suspicion that I’ll reread this novel again in the future. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Granted it’s not the most uplifting book, however, it’s such an insightful look into American society.

And I think I’ll stick with Wharton for at least one more book. Up next, a reread of Ethan Frome. I haven’t read this in over 20 years.

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Travel Memories: Good Times

Thank goodness it’s May. April was a tough month for us. We received one piece of bad news after another. You know that saying, “When it rains, it pours.” That’s been our life lately. I won’t burden you with our troubles, but I will say no one died, no one is sick, no one is getting divorced, and no one lost their job. Saying that makes me feel a ton better. Things aren’t that bad. However, I will say that we’re stressed, frustrated, and tired. At least we have each to lean on to get through this. That always helps. And I won’t lie, I could use a drink. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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The Albion

A few weeks ago we were out and about enjoying a lovely sunny day in London. However, a football match that we wanted to watch was about to start so we started searching for a pub that would have the game on. That’s how we discovered The Albion, near Blackfriars Bridge.

The bartender, a friendly Canadian, greeted us with a smile and a cold cider. The cider tasted good on a warm day. The game hadn’t started yet so we were able to find a table in front of a large TV screen.

I’m the type of person that’s always hungry and since we were going to be there for the entire match I decided to order some bangers and mash. The Better Half ordered some chicken wings and hummus. The food was decent and hit the spot.

Soon more people straggled in. By the end of the game, many people were standing to watch. It wasn’t overly crowded but I was glad that we arrived in time for a table.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the pub. It was just the right size to watch a game with a crowd. Not too big or small. And the staff was excellent. I would go back if the opportunity arises.

This weekend Liverpool plays Chelsea. This is a big match. Liverpool is ahead of Chelsea by five points and if Liverpool wins they have a decent shot of staying in first. Keep your fingers crossed for us, unless you’re Chelsea or Man City fans. I understand.

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Review: The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

I’ve been slacking quite a bit on the reading aspect of my 50 year challenge. I started the year off well and then hit a wall. Part of the problem was I started reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. It turned out to be the wrong book. I read at night to unwind and Walden is not the type of book that helps me unwind. Usually I hate to set a book aside, especially when I like it, but I needed to since I wasn’t reading for this challenge.

I picked up The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. I hadn’t heard of this novel before moving to London and last year when I was in a bookshop in Bath I stumbled upon a decent used copy so I purchased it. This novel is about Mr. Verloc, who is a secret agent. Mr. Verloc’s employers want him to make a statement by destroying a building. The secret agent sets out to blow up the Greenwich Observatory and everything goes wrong. Drastically wrong.

When the novel was first released in 1907, the action in the story takes place in 1886, it didn’t fare too well. In fact, during Conrad’s lifetime the sales picked up some, but not a whole lot. Today many think The Secret Agent is one of his best novels.

Personally I can see why it didn’t sell all that well when it was first released. For me the issue is that Conrad understands human nature. There’s a reason why I hate watching the news since each evening there are stories about how humans can be so deplorable. This novel demonstrates this. Conrad wrote at a time when terrorism was on the rise and maybe the public wasn’t ready for such an honest portrayal of terrorism and anarchism. Today terrorism is such a constant in our lives, however it doesn’t make the subject matter easier.

This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the novel. I did on a certain level. It’s the type of work that really makes you stop and think. It also made me cringe. I didn’t like many of the characters in the novel and I’m pretty sure we aren’t meant to like them. And the descriptions of life in London are difficult to read.

I noticed on Wikipedia that Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was a huge fan of Conrad’s novel. He identified with the Professor, who is an anarchist who specializes in explosives. Kaczynski asked his family to read The Secret Agent so they could understand him. After his arrest the FBI learned that Kaczynski actually used Conrad, including different variations, as an alias.

Would I recommend this novel to others? Yes and no. It’s a difficult novel to read due to the subject matter. However, it is insightful. It’s hard to avoid all things that are ugly and maybe we shouldn’t. This novel is referred to a lot and if you’re curious to know why, then I say give it a go.

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Wooohooo! A four day weekend!

Happy Friday! I know technically it isn’t Friday, but we have a four-day weekend starting tomorrow. Initially we wanted to go out of town for the Easter holiday and many of you offered suggestions of places we should go. However, life conspired against us and we’re staying in London, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Last weekend we had a great sports weekend. On Sunday we made our way to the Walkabout near the Temple tube stop to watch some of the London marathon. This joint is a massive Australian bar that caters to sports. We sat inside and watched the progress of the race and then hopped outside to cheer on the runners. We had to take turns since we didn’t want to give up our table.

Then we stayed to watch the Liverpool v. Man City game. We’re Liverpool fans and currently Liverpool is at the top of the table. I was mighty nervous about the game last Sunday. Man City is a tough team to beat and lately they’ve been on fire. It was fun watching this match with a large group. When Liverpool scored the winning goal late in the second half everyone cheered.

I want to wish all of you who celebrate a Happy Easter. I won’t be on the computer much, if at all, over the next four days. See ya Tuesday!

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Travel Memories: Relaxation

I hope all of you had a wonderful week. I’ve been feeling super lazy lately, hence this post. I’m not sure what our weekend plans are yet, but I have a feeling I won’t be too inspired to do much. Have a fantastic weekend and if you get a chance, relax a little.

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