Monday, 10 September 2007

The Case of the Missing Post Office or How We Lost Our Broadband...

If you’re thinking this title sounds like the start of long, long story you’d be right! So many things that happen to us are incredibly involved and sometimes quite convoluted and try as I might, I cannot reduce them to 250 words in short report format! I sometimes wonder if our future family members are going to be interested enough to wade through the mountains of words it takes me to effectively describe some of our more bizarre occurrences. Nothing tidy going on here, no way! We like it complicated?

Back in 2006 when this house was advertised, it came with a tiny post office and village shop attached. Sadly the post office had been closed some months before, the little shop had ceased to trade and all the post office equipment stood mournfully piled up in one corner of the empty room. We stacked these remains neatly and covered them with a dustsheet and went on to use the room as a workshop while we went about dealing with the business of getting the post office re-opened and earning a crust.

I won’t go into the minutiae of this struggle but it occupied both M and myself and our long-suffering landlady for almost a year. And at the end of August, our collective perseverance finally paid off! Senior post office officials, including our area manager, came to inspect the premises and assured us that this post office would be able to open again. After this initial meeting, things began to move quickly; the old equipment was taken away and the old phone line was disconnected so that it could be upgraded and this is when we hit the big glitch!

The old post office line was the only line…and the number that was activated for our service provider! Whoooops! Well, it was a case of now you have it, now you don’t…so no real warning. The phone company, BT, was great; the phones were off on Thursday night and by Monday we had a new line but the service provider needed ten to fourteen days to switch their service so dial up was the only way.

All in all, although I whined and whinged like crazy, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The biggest concern for us was linking up with our houseguests for that weekend, an American family who had travelled halfway across the world from Tanzania and whom we had never met. We couldn't rely on cell phones; out here, cell/mobile phones don’t really work and inside our building the thick, stone walls effectively block any hope of a signal. But the visitors made it all the way to Otter Ferry and the weekend went off without a hitch. Best of all, we finally got to meet (and thank) the missionaries who looked after our son Joshua when he had malaria earlier this year, and share our little patch of paradise with them.

Now, a few weeks later, the whole phone/broadband incident is fading. There are a lot of exciting changes happening around here, the best of which is the anticipated opening of our country shop/gallery/post office, hopefully before the New Year! And overdue updates about my very mixed results with gardening in this unknown (misunderstood) climate – speaking of which, it’s getting cold so I’m off to bring my (very tender) un-named mint inside for the night!


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