I was reduced to tears of frustration yesterday with yet another challenge of living remotely – failed internet. The trauma of having no internet for several days (and therefore no phone or mobile connection either) was bad enough but the exasperation of dealing with an utterly dysfunctional internet provider makes this pale into insignificance. Hours were spent trying to sort it out, sometimes standing in a field in the wind and rain to get a signal on the mobile. This was followed by a ‘no-show’ from the engineer yesterday. “The next available appointment is in three days time” I was informed.
I gave myself a good talking to, had a piping hot shower and supper to lighten the mood but I was still a long way off laughing about it. It felt like the final straw. Exhausted from dealing with the relentless bad weather, I have definitely been suffering a sense of humour bypass! Four bouts of snow were followed by arctic gales, non-stop sleet and rain and rounded off with thunder which shook the house, lightening which caused several power cuts and hail of biblical proportions which I thought was going to destroy the roof. There have been only a few let-up days in the last six weeks and the sun made an appearance once – what a difference it made though! The weather has dominated each day’s activities and made it impossible to have a routine with the horses and therefore any decent gaps in the day to do other things. Each day has been different, trying to get them them out of their stables and ride whenever possible.
I digress! After supper, I thought I would do some work off-line such as video editing, resizing pictures, or writing a blog (to vent my frustration) but WRONG! The desktop computer refused to boot up following a considerable amount of work to get it in tip top running order including two visits from a local computer geek. I wanted to throw the wretched thing out of the window! So that left the tablet which didn’t have any editing programmes. I gave up and fell asleep in front of the fire.
This morning, I had a brainwave. I had a spare (previously faulty) router which I could try to see if that was the problem. Lo and behold, the blue light shone and I was once again connected to the rest of humanity. Why oh why didn’t anyone of the multitude of people I spoke to at the internet provider suggest this? This is the most recent of many internet issues and I have had enough. I am resolved to get away from the telecoms industry, so am now investigating the possibility of an aerial attached to the chimney to get 4G instead and run the internet off that. I have previously installed satellite internet as a backup and would have switched over to that had I not expected an imminent solution from the telecoms company, though it’s not ideal for the location I am in.
Still on the subject of technology, there were more frustrations trying to research what bits of kit would be helpful for a variety of different filming scenarios. Endless internet searches and video tutorials raised more questions that they answered, as I did not know if the spec of this or that was suitable, or compatible with existing devices. So another visit from the local geek helped me to work it all out. I have concluded that for anything more than the most basic requirements, technology is unfathomable to the uninitiated; changing my phone recently has further substantiated this opinion and in truth, I am not that uninitiated any more!
From technology to things mechanical and I am pleased to say I have found some solutions to a few of the puzzles on house issues, after months of bafflement and trial and error. So this should hopefully be the final update on the ‘flue’ drama! You may remember there was a weird noise in my bedroom that I thought at first might even be my heart beating….and if it was, I probably wouldn’t be alive! It has been going on since I moved in and was bad enough to wear ear plugs at times, which didn’t eliminate the noise as it was in part a vibration which I could feel through my body.
The Rayburn chortling away was one possible cause, though it’s at the other end of the house. As it had already been serviced twice (because of an unrelated issue of oil smelling in the house and outside), other maintenance was done such as cleaning filters and draining water caused by condensation from the oil tank, though there wasn’t much to be found. A new cowl was then added to the chimney to help with the oil smell and see if it made any different to the noise. It didn’t. An old aerial and Sky dish were removed from the roof over my bedroom but the noise persisted. So could it be wind swirling around in the flues of one of the wood burning stoves? New cowls were fitted to those. The noise was reduced but it was still there. So a second new cowl (a more effective anti-down draft one) was swapped onto the Rayburn chimney and one of the wood burning stoves and bingo, no noise. Hallelujah! The jury is still out regards the oil smell though, as this has been intermittent but I am crossing my fingers and toes as it’s been good so far in a variety of weather conditions.
But that wasn’t all. Meantime, the Rayburn wasn’t heating the water and it took me a few days to remember I could use the new biomass boiler to do that instead. Also, the biomass boiler wasn’t firing up the central heating. It’s all so frustrating and complicated! These problems were eventually remedied with a new valve on the hot water tank. Naturally, none of these issues are is in the budget. So I am praying there are no more mechanical and technological problems for a very long time.
Changing the subject – on the horse front, I managed to get a bit of jumping filming done with Talisman (which is posted on YouTube) and Talisman is having his first outing since last summer later this week, when we go to a dressage clinic to experience working with other horses. The trainer is a previous member of the GB team for Working Equitation, a sport I am interested in trying, so it will good to use the opportunity to find out more.
And what of Madame La Piplette? She is coming along nicely, leading politely and accepting being tied up now. I really didn’t appreciate how ‘feral’ she was and what a ‘stress-head’ when she arrived looking so cute! We are coming to the right understanding, namely that I am boss and she can trust me.
Otherwise, I have made the acquaintance of a couple more locals recently, Derek the molecatcher is one. For the first time, I have molehills on my land which is a bummer! i also met Trevor, who will do periodic maintenance for me. Coffee and cake always help to discover people’s stories and there are so many interesting tales to tell. I have realised it’s best never to make assumptions about strangers!
Pics: Talisman jumping and working during filming; intrepid Pete replacing a cowl; cat chasing pheasant in the snow; Bryngywn chooses the Rayburn over the arctic weather; Madame La Piplette; Talisman and I make a video about Rituals.
NB. Micro blogs and photos are published on Facebook daily, if you would like to keep up with my life and times between blogs which are published several times a month. Videos are also available on my YouTube channel (some though not all are on the Vlogs page here). Since my last blog I have published the following new videos: Rituals; Jumping for Joy; Tigger Take 2; Landscape of the Soul; Rome wasn’t built in a day; Running Wild (trailer). You can subscribe to my YouTube channel to receive notifications of videos when they are published.