November 3, 2011

Last week my phone line went down. I should’ve seen the signs. My email and browser had been working intermittently for a while, but on Wednesday night they finally gave up the ghost and stopped altogether. I checked my router, then my line. The box was fine, but the line was not. I called BT on my mobile (ker-ching!) to report the fault to an automated service (natch) and was assured it would be sorted out within three days. Three days! I’d been without t’internet for 20 minutes and I was already climbing the walls. You don’t realise how much you rely on email and an Internet connection, until you can no longer receive it.

Red phone

Hello? Hello? Hellooooooooo...

A friend suggested I use an Internet café, or the local library, until the line was fixed. Are you kidding?! Packed like sardines, next to goodness knows who, at a keyboard that’s been used by thousands of people, with no privacy whatsoever? And if it’s a library, they’re no longer places of silence and solace. My nearest one is totally open plan with a (usually noisy) children’s corner. If you’re unlucky enough to be placed at a computer close to that area, you can’t concentrate. I’m not doing that. As I don’t own an iPhone/iPad/whatever so I can be a roaming net head, I prepared for cold turkey.

The day after my original report to BT, I received a text cheerfully telling me the line would be fixed by no later than Monday. That’s three days later than originally promised. It also meant a weekend without email and Internet. If I were a smoker, I’d have been hitting the Marlboros hard. On Friday, while I was at work, I received a voice message on the mobile telling me an engineer would be coming to my home on Tuesday morning. One more day without Internet – terrific. I was to call a number from my landline (which wasn’t working!), or a special number for mobile phones, to confirm or cancel the appointment. Apparently, if the engineer arrives and finds the line to be OK, I would be charged the princely sum of £130.00 for a false callout! So I called the number for the mobile, only to be told by yet another automated message that the number didn’t work on my pigging network! Staring into the bottom of a whiskey glass after several shots, Don Draper style, suddenly became a very appealing proposition – and I can’t stand whiskey.

I was sooo looking forward to my weekend without Internet. I needed to find other things to do: there’s a limit to the amount of ice-skating practice a Pie can do. Maybe I could start knitting yoghurt. It was Saturday afternoon when I decided to pick up my phone to hear the silence of a dead line once again, just for a laugh. But what I heard instead was the familiar burr… my phone had reconnected! Tentatively, I opened up my email and fired up Firefox. All hail the Internet! It’s back, and so am I. No Marlboros or whiskey required.

The final thing I had to do was call BT to cancel the engineer. I got through to a call centre in India and spoke to a lady. She was working to script, of course, but she was so sincere and polite I just went with it. Not only was the appointment with the engineer cancelled, I was promised a rebate on my next bill as I had lost four days on my line. And at the time of posting, I’m still connected to cyberspace – result!



  1. There, there. I’m still out here….wherever here is…

    • Who knows where the hell ‘here’ is. I’m just glad I’m back and ‘here’, in the moment, whatever the ‘moment’ is. Thanks for being… err… ‘here’ to hold my cyber hand and give me support. Much appreciated.

  2. Lost in Space! Feeling your pain where BT is concerned but happy that it finally worked out for you. And us!

    • Yeah. They were hairy times, but all is now well. It’s been nearly a week since my phone line cut out and it’s still connected – deep joy!

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