The euphoria walk

There now. Back.

This hideous long silence is brought to you by a defective internet. And lethargy. And a sick cat.

Living in splendid rural isolation is only a joy if you have a good internet link.

Our internet provider – are we allowed to invoke the name Orange aloud? – gave up on trying to connect us through telephone lines long, long ago.

Poor infrastructure repair schedule on their part (they don’t; why bother when ‘La Fibre Arrive’). Trees fall on wires, lightning strikes wires on our nearest pole four times in 17 years. (Not even a record for our part of the Ardèche) And after endlessly pestering help desks / call centres / front facing employees there is a happy ending.

At a great cost to one’s patience and mental health.

I think the good people at the Boutique Orange way over in Privas just became so fed up with me welling up and looking stricken in their shop. And endlessly reciting the mantra ‘I’ve driven a long, long way to have you solve this most recent and pressing problem’. I wore them down. So a fly box it is. And it has been utterly marvellous for years.

We seem to bypass the Ardèche wires entirely and just wave hello to the satellite in the sky and pay less per month that our previous subscription. With a mobile phone monthly SIM thrown in. Thank you Orange. And they didn’t even pay me to write that.

Until this month when the SIM card died and had to be replaced.

And with that loaded sentence only a few of you will know just what it takes to come to the happy ‘we are back’ ending.

Three round trips (80kms, 50 miles) each time to see to the box itself. Replaced. Back. Still doesn’t work. Back to the shop. New box. Still doesn’t work. Oh, ‘maybe the SIM card itself is defective, let’s try a new one this time’. Third time lucky. Except it’s only a temporary SIM and the new one is in the post. And you will have to replace it and re-register and it may knock out your extender links in the house again…

Luckily it’s August so general speedy admin in the sending SIM department is not happening and hey, it works. We dare not tinker …

But we did have a time when the internet only worked in one end of the farmhouse and I was frankly perching on uncomfortable bits of furniture to try and get a signal. And wafting my phone in the modem’s direction and cursing thick stone walls. And generally having an electronic strop.

But we’ve all calmed down now and can attend. I love being back in my office with a large screen and a cornucopia of photos to fling at you. (I will, promise. Soon.)

The euphoria walk is the one I take through the forest to visit our neighbours.

I have managed just one walk this month. Just one!

I can’t believe it was a daily delight before I did a face plant onto the wet deck and buggered my knee.

(Dear god that sentence that makes me look old and crotchety. I’m fine on the flat, honest, even if it’s sore. But we have no flat. Just rough stony paths and tricky places for your feet. So with my daily exercise bike workouts, ice packs and arnica and trying very hard, I’m getting there.)

I promise to get back to garden updates now I’ve re-connected.

But just to finish our shitty month. Here is the worst shot of our poor, poor cat.

A trip to the vets. Eye infection. Her second time ever in a car. And I’m hoping it’s the last.

Cat box, the journey (you should have seen her trying to burrow her way out of a moulded plastic cat box while I was driving, so heart breaking), the dripping blood from my wrist and finger as I stupidly tried to assuage her horror by stroking her through the bars.)

The yowling, the fury, the fear.

And of course on the examination table she was a darling of placidity and delight. Vets. They have magic powers. It’s truly amazing.

And our local vet is a cat lover who can actually put antibiotic cream into The Creature’s eye without her so much as shredding his flesh or flinching.

Or trying to burrow out of the room.

We are not so successful.

Here is her hiding technique. Under every chair in the living room because I have locked and closed all doors and windows and I have to drag her out while apologising.

It’s a twice daily distress for all of us. There are tears and sobs and poor cat-wrapped-in-blanket technique on our part. And how many linen shirts with puncture wounds from cat claws does one need to own?

It’s really distressing. I can’t believe she hasn’t upped sticks and taken to the Euphoria Walk and moved into our neighbour’s farm instead.