Getting happy

Friday April 28, 2006

Darn it. Stubbornly resisting everything I can do to provide it with a working signal, including carrying the laptop all around the holiday camp and sitting down with it in the most unlikely places and situations, the Vodafone 3G Data Connect card will not work here at St Audries. Worked perfectly in the dining room of the little house by the fens. Doesn’t work here. Thus are the best plans of poets laid low.

Plan ‘B’ was to use Graham’s 3G mobile phone as a modem and communicate that way. Not enough signal for that, either.

Plan ‘C’ is to borrow a phone outlet, connect the laptop to it and dial-up the old-fashioned way. Graham has a suitable outlet in his office, it seems, so I can walk over to the club house each morning, bearing lap top, and do my upload there. I can, manifestly, write the journal and do the photographic side here in the caravan, but talking to the Internet looks likely to have to be a once-a-day affair perched on a corner of someone else’s desk.

We shall test out plan ‘C’ tomorrow. No reason why it shouldn’t work, and we have the whole weekend—another Bank Holiday Saturday-through-Monday affair—to set it up and test it out. I should have a regular updating routine worked out by Tuesday.

I’m not bothered by the thought of only one on-line session a day. I’m going to be busy, let’s face it, with house-hunting starting on Tuesday. Even so it’s disappointing not to be able to connect in the caravan. I’m toying with the idea of going out for a mid-morning breakfast each day to a place with good mobile phone coverage and doing my online stuff there.

We shall have to see.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, we spent the morning putting the caravan to rights and then took ourselves out for a shopping session in Taunton.

Dolly has taken to trailer life like a duck to water once more. She loves it here, and doesn’t seem to mind at all even when we go out, just snoozes happily on the bed until we get back and then comes along for a cuddle and a good long drink at the cold water tap, asking sweet as sweet to be lifted up onto the counter top. She can jump down perfectly safely but she’s not able to leap up without some kind of aid. Mature Maine Coons tend to be heavy beasts, lacking somewhat in leaping abilities.

In Taunton we had some routine banking and Post Office to do and then we strolled along to take lunch at the Wimpey. To our horror it has closed. Another British institution fallen foul of globalization, I’m afraid. I’m sorry to see it go but realistic enough to know that if you can’t compete in today’s world you’re going to find out the hard way, sooner or later, that you are bound to fail.

So we had a toasted sandwich in Starbucks and I indulged my good coffee famine by sinking a long-planned vente Americano, with two extra shots. I felt better for that.

Then, to the big out of town tin sheds that sell white goods, television sets, and all kinds of home entertainment goodies.

In common with mobile phone coverage, television reception at the holiday camp is poor, coming across the water from Wales and being comprised mostly of Welsh channels. Graham had already determined that this wouldn’t do and, after research, had discovered that the new ‘free’ digital TV channels—about thirty of them—are available if you have a suitable receiver. Our target, then, was to equip the caravan with an all-digital setup, to include a VCR and a DVD player, and all at the best price we could manage.

We managed to put a darn good small, caravan-size setup together for less than £190, which exceeded our hopes. You have to keep up with these things to have a clear idea of the amount you need to spend, and that amount seems to reduce steadily month by month.

After driving home, we should have been able to put our feet up and call it a day, resting after our efforts yesterday. Graham had to open the small bar for the evening and serve booze to a steady trickle of campers as they arrived for the holiday weekend. That was sad.

So it’s been a full day, settling in and getting happy. Getting happy here is an easy process.



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