still point, world turning


Weirdness happens when one is disconnected from the web for any length of time. It happens, too, when one finally reconnects with one’s neglected blog and notification of two old posts suddenly appear in email (why did this take so long?) It also happens when one’s computer has a nervous breakdown. It especially happens when these two things coincide and, just to intensify the weirdness, one’s trusty iPad also decides to have a little techno-glitch. This leaves one’s very ancient secondhand iPhone as the slender thread through which to communicate with the wider world. This becomes extraordinarily challenging when one is located in what I think of as the Bermuda Triangle of Cyberia, where a cell phone signal is very erratic and ‘data’ for the mobile phone is extortionately expensive. Thus, silence from the blogger.

It went something like this: mostly, the best spot to find a signal to download emails (very, very slowly …) was by walking up the farm driveway to the neighbour’s gate, which was on a very slight rise. Fortunately, this gate had a tree on either side of it, providing much-needed shade as the downloading minutes ticked by. This shade became my office. For much of the time, it was a peaceful and pretty place to be – an opportunity for practising patience and acceptance in the cool sea breeze, a beautiful view, me and the young calves in the field nearby regarding each other with curiosity … But sometimes the giant dogs decided to accompany me and then it was less peaceful, especially when chasing the calves became a fun thing to do. Or when the electric fence proved to be decidedly not fun at all. Or when barking at the neighbour’s dogs (including a very scary-looking Pitt Bull with pale eyes) became the most exciting thing to happen all day, immediately shortening my office hours.


My office – photo courtesy of Genevieve BlackĀ 

Sometimes one’s heart would leap with excitement when a signal registered much closer to home (in the garden, for example – did I mention that no signal penetrated the house itself?) but this could soon lead to a rather unique kind of disappointment. Standing perfectly still (so as not to become disconnected from the signal) could prove quite hazardous to one’s health, and I’m not referring to the issues surrounding the questionable safety of using a mobile phone. No, this involved extreme weirdness of a different kind, weirdness involving other forms of life.

It would happen thus – as one’s eyes were scanning the incoming messages (with difficulty on the tiny screen), one would become aware of some discomfort happening in one’s lower legs. Eventually one would investigate and one’s brain would have a little what-IS-this? moment, for it would seem as if one’s calves were somehow shimmering or moving of their own accord. Closer inspection revealed that one was standing in a nest of the tiniest ticks imaginable (they were like tiny grains of pollen) and that a huge number of them were now happily taking up blood-sucking positions around one’s ankles and calves. Thus would end the internet connection, as water, scrubbing-brush, and lavender oil were employed to rid oneself of the pestilence.

So next time you are having a moment of frustration concerning your web, Skype, email or phone connection, spare a thought for those who have to overcome many hurdles and great expense to keep in touch with clients, friends, family, and fellow bloggers.


Giant dog on a hot day


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