You may have noticed that I have been absent a while — there are two reasons for this. The first was losing my internet lifeline — the first storm of the season rendered our already stressed internet connection null and void. 13 kilometers of line had to be replaced along with some of the electricity lines.
There is no rush here in Portugal to undertake such work — SAPO who own all the lines and infrastructure are next on the privatization list and do not want to invest in capital at present — the internet providers who have to use the infrastructure, and pay to do so, quite understandably have no desire to fix a problem that is not theirs.
So what do you do when your life is so tied up in technology and it vanishes for an extended period of time?
We can all cope with an hour or two without being continuously connected, possibly even a couple of days without getting really cranky — but when it comes to a week or longer, you have to put coping strategies into place.
We were at a double disadvantage, leading into the second reason we were so totally offline. I foolishly did not renew my contract with the company that provided my alternative access via USB dongle. Now corrected. As well, our mobile phone does not have internet capabilities. It is a dumb brick — a brick, though, that works to give you calls and texts but nothing more.
We live in a rural area. We are one of a few houses that have an internet connection. The neighbors do not have computers, and even if they did, they would have suffered the same problem as we did.
There are no internet cafes or wi-fi hotspots within 30 miles — or not that we found — those that might have been available in local holiday parks had already shut for the winter.
Next, we made a Wishlist of what we needed to avoid this situation again. Renew the dongle contract. Done. Get ourselves a phone that has internet capability — currently being saved up for and researched. These are all premium items in Portugal, and the mobile companies really sting you on tariffs.
Now I’m moving all online information and contacts to an offline file AND onto paper .
While offline, we spent a lot of time getting the house in order as much as we could — my laundry was all done, the house was cleaned, the garden tidied, books were read and TV and videos were watched.
We have a horrendous mobile phone bill as all our calls had to be made that way — including overseas to the UK and France.
I cooked a lot — disposed of apples, tomatoes, potatoes, lemons and oranges — I passed on the peppers.
We went out a lot — I photographed, I wrote, and we planned and made lists.
We also played games offline and did jigsaws, and we resolved never to get caught in that trap again — but just in case — I welcome your ideas about what to do when you lose your internet lifeline for an extended period?