Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Week Without Internet

I know you've missed me while I've been stuck in some of the more boring parts of northern England, and I'm sorry - my Dad has no Internet (no mobile phone, even), so it's been a bit of a challenge to get online.

A couple of years ago, there was a community computer education place in the ex-mining village where my Dad insists on living, and you could get online there for as long as you wanted, for free. During a flying visit last summer, I found it had closed down, but was able to use an Internet cafe in Doncaster, the nearest town. This year, I found that last year's Internet cafe has gone, and I was unable to find a replacement. Never mind, there's a brand-new public library in the village - they're bound to have Internet. And indeed they did, but you had to join the library to make use of it. I explain that however unlikely it may sound, I am actually just visiting the village for a week. No problem, says the man, you can have temporary membership for a month. All you need is a proof of address; a utilities bill, for example. Oh, I say, they're all at home. In Madrid. Oh, says the man. But I expect, I say, that my Dad is a member of this library. He types our family name into the computer, but it seems none of my family is a member any more (I'm secretly relieved that they have no record of the book I borrowed and never returned back in 1976*). I tell him I'll return tomorrow, with my Dad and some of his bills in tow.

But I don't return, because later that day I find that one of the Wetherspoon's pubs in Doncaster offers free wi-fi.

The next day, I go to the pub, fire up my MacBook, and follow the instructions in the leaflet. Doesn't effing work. The bar staff have never used Macs before, and so are completely unable to help.

In desperation, I go to the Tourist Information office and ask about Internet cafes. Oh yes, they say, just round the corner, next to Barclays Bank. Unbelievable. I had been to Barclays at least three times in the preceding few days and never noticed the place. It was serviceable (although I couldn't use the mouse on its 6-inch cable because I'm left-handed), but very noisy with people making Skype calls to their grannies in Poland and Romania.

I did see adverts for mobile Internet dongles. One of these would have been ideal for the week, but the two-year contract put me off.

I must be an Internet addict - I feel like half of me is missing when I can't get online. So it was great to get back and find that Telefonica have suspended our ADSL.

*Bare-faced lie, included for humourous purposes only.


the real nick said...

Doncaster has a Tourist Information office? What for?

Stamford Wellbeing said...

you can get pay as you go dongles keffie