Communications restored



How dependent on the internet we’ve all become! Somewhat over a week ago, my telephone landline ceased to operate and so concomitantly did my broadband connection. I could no longer send or receive e-mails or perform online searches. On the positive side, no one could bother me with telephone calls.

I went to a neighbour’s house and phoned the British Telecom repair service. To be more precise, I spoke to a machine with a soothing voice, on which I felt a mounting desire to inflict damage. I gave the neighbour’s number for a return call. Said call duly came. I was told my phone and internet service should be restored within five days.

In the interests of research for the novel I then went to Colchester, Essex for a couple of days. The fine weather was conducive to improved wellbeing, and it was fascinating to make the acquaintance of the oldest recorded town in England. (Roman historians referred to it as ‘Camelodunum’ in the 1st century BCE; its ruler, the chieftain of the combined Belgic tribes of south-east England, they called ‘the king of Britain’. His name was Cunobelin, rendered ‘Cymbeline’ in Shakespeare’s play of that name, and celebrated in nursery lore as Old King Cole. None of which has anything to do with research for the novel.)

At least, I thought, my internet will be working again when I get back home. Not so, however; phone was still dead, no broadband connection. Further inquiry of BT advised me that the service would be restored in a further four days. Actually, it came back on yesterday (Saturday) – or at least the phone did; I still had no internet connection.

This morning I checked the viability of the modem (all was well) and then replaced the home hub… which did the trick. So I’ve now caught up on my e-mails and, lo and behold, I’ve been able to post a blog!

6 Comments

  • I sometimes miss the “simple” days before we were all so dependent on internet–though certainly I don’t know what true depravation is, having been born in 1970 and growing up with phone and TV. I recently went to the store five minutes from home, and had brief and minor panic attach because I HADN’T BROUGHT BY CELLPHONE WITH ME!!! Holy crud. Used to travel hundreds or thousands of miles from home without it…

    That all being said, and as much as I like the gritty research of books–I’d be lost without google and Wikipedia.

    As for the aside, I wonder if Camelodunum is the source for the (apparently) mythic Camelot…? (Etymologically speaking, anyway…) But it must be neat to live somewhere with thousands of years of history right under your feet; here in Wisconsin, we’ve got about 170 years–and before that there was absolutely nothing! (It’s true, just ask the Native Americans–they remember when there was nothing here…)

    Butanyhoo…

    Happy Vertumnalia!~

    • Mark Henderson

      Being longer in the tooth, I recall childhood in a small house with no phone, no electricity, no hot water, and an environment pocked with bomb sites. War damage had yet to be repaired. Yet I too find it hard to leave home now without my transportable phone, with which I have a love-hate relationship. Research in libraries, research with feet-on-the-ground visiting scenes intended for novel, stimulate me more than Google searching, but I rely more and more in the internet for background information. Technology permeates our lives.

      The location of Camelot is much debated (to state the blindingly obvious) but Camelodunum, alas, isn’t a candidate. It was in the part of England well settled by Anglians by the end of the fifth century and couldn’t have been a centre of power for a Celtic warlord. On the other hand, it does have the ruins of a fine Roman temple (on top of which the Normans built a castle in the 12th century) and well-preserved stretches of Roman wall.

      As you say, to live with so much history under one’s feet is something to cherish. Numerous shortcomings and chequered history notwithstanding, I love my country.

  • I’ve heard stories from my parents — with regard to things like not having a TV ’til they were seven or having to go out to use the outhouse during the night, but in the winter you just really tried to not have to go to the bathroom… but, yeah, yeah — no, no bomb sites here. (As someone of predominantly Germanic heritage, I would just like to point out that I had no direct ancestors who served in either World War…) Though I have never visited in person, I love your country, too… (my own has largely gone astray — but we won’t get into that).

    I do agree “real life experience” is much better for research in writing — but given the nature of my fiction (witty banter / slapstick humor), it actually detracts to get too detail oriented… so faking it with on-line research generally suffices. Although, if I ever actually write the Shakespeary-Russian myth novel I have percolating, even though it will be humorous fantasy, I’ll probably want to take the quality of my writing up a notch (or 2 or 3…).

  • (Amendment: I had no direct ancestors who fought for Germany in the wars… though my maternal grandfather served state-side in the 2nd one… [Sorry, Grandpa -- didn't mean to besmirch your service record like that!])

    • Mark Henderson

      Amendment noted!

      The quality of your writing isn’t in question, Mishka, though for the “percolating” novel I agree you’ll need an amended style, with less of the slapstick and, as you say, more contingent detail of location etc. But I hope if you bring the manuscript to a happy conclusion it will bear the unmistakeable mark of a Zhakarin story.

      It isn’t only your country that’s gone astray, it’s also mine and indeed – in assorted ways – most others. I feel I’m loving both a gifted child who’s gone off the rails and a revered parent with skeletons in the cupboard!

  • And that seems a very apropos description of life in the West these days. There seems such vast potential, yet it’s never quite realized due to beligerant ego, lack of focus, or skewed perceptions of what should be important… (and, of course, everyone’s notion of “should” differs… though that doesn’t always have to equal stagnation,corruption, or decay).

    All very frustrating… and so I’m just going to go write my own little worlds and let the real one sort itself out!~~~

    Happy writing, Mark!

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