As you may have seen on my social media and #Project365 post, I have been struggling with positivity this week as we have had our phone, internet and TV connection broken.
For weeks, our local area has been under siege by ‘essential gasworks’ by SGN. There have been lane closures, huge holes in the road that make it very dangerous for cars and pedestrians, trucks and diggers blocking roads, mud everywhere. My parents’ phone was cut off and they weren’t even one of the roads being sorted! A friend’s house requires a new boiler as the new pipe is not compatible. Some local residents have said their gardens and drives have been dug up and then refilled days later with no work being done.
Our road is yet to be done but that did not stop us being cut off this week…
I was at a meeting on Tuesday night until 9.30. I was all set to write up the minutes on Wednesday morning and had arranged child care for Zach so that I could stay focussed. Just before 8am our connection was severed and had still not been reinstated by the time I’d finished the school run. I went around the corner to ask the contractors if they had damaged a cable and they denied it.
I got Chris to report the fault online and waited… Meanwhile I chatted to a number of other people in my street and found we’d ALL been cut off. I tried to do some work offline but had issues with saving it and then my laptop decided to restart and try to do updates! The work was autorecovered but I now had 6 different files open and was unsure if I’d lost anything. I decided it was best to wait for the connection to be restiored so that I didn’t lose anything.
I tweeted BT and got not response. At lunchtime a neighbour popped round to inform me that BT had told her the fault would not be fixed until Saturday: 3 whole days! I tweeted a further 3 times before getting a response the next day. The fault tracker on the BT website has a technical error so we couldn’t get updates and wasted our time trying.
I was able to use my mobile as a hotspot which allowed me to check crucial work emails but gobbled up my data allowance.
The children were a bit heartbroken, unable to watch TV or YouTube, unable to play their games, unable to complete their Maths homework online (ok, Anya didn’t mind that too much!). If I had been able to work, I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate as the kids were not distracted.
Around 4pm an engineer arrived in the street and I spoke to him. He informed me that the gasworks had shattered the internal fibre optics but the outer casing was intact. Hopefully repairs wouldn’t take too long as he seemed very positive !
On Thursday, I grabbed my laptop and Zach and headed to my parents’ house for a couple of hours online. I wasn’t able to work due to too many distractions but was able to catch up on a little of my blogging admin.
We arrived back for lunch and the excitement of the blue light was almost overwhelming! We were connected to the ouside world again, yay! Then it went orange again…
The internet and TV has been working intermittently since then and I still haven’t managed to catch up with work or blogging.
On Saturday, my mum phoned my mobile and said she’d been calling the landline. Turns out we have no dial tone, I hadn’t even checked! Although I had thought how nice it was not to have scam phone calls for a few days…
I tweeted BT who confidently told me it had all been fixed on Thursday. I corrected them 🙂 and now we wait for an engineer to have another look.
I have such mixed feelings about the past week. I am angry, I am frustrated, I am disappointed.
I also feel a little scared at how reliant we are as a family on having a connection to the outside world. I know it is a first world problem and doesn’t compare to the struggle for food or shelter, but the disruption has affected all of us and put my livelihood at risk as well as my health due to the stress.
I am also scared at the ‘what could have been’ scenarios. What if one of the schools had been trying to contact me due to an accident involving the children? What is one of my jobs needed me urgently (an Ofsted etc)? What if my mum or dad had been hurt or been taken ill? What if a brand needed to contact me about a post? My mobile is always on silent unless I am expecting a call as everyone uses the landline to contact us.
The thing that upsets me most is the lack of communication: my own inability due to the connection problems and the companies involved for having poor customer service.