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Quote of the day: ‘If you think patience is a virtue, try surfing the net without high speed Internet.’ - Anon

Simon’s offering is very appropriate for me: ‘People say nothing is impossible. I do nothing all day every day.’

Great excitement today. We received delivery of a new toy. Our internet has been notoriously slow for many, many months reaching speeds with the dizzy height of 1mbps on a good day.

Apparently in terms a gardener understands, this means it’s very slow.

Our current provider is Bouygues and even with a 5G box, after a promising start, it’s all but dwindled into a miserable and occasional trickle. Particularly bad in the evenings and school holidays, which ain’t brilliant if you are letting out your gite to families.

Despite fibre optic being installed throughout Lot et Garonne, there do not seem to be any imminent plans for it to reach us any day soon. Plus, when the cables are finally laid, we have heard we would need to pay approximately 100 euros per metre to get it down the drive. That’s 400 metres of cable.

A big fat no to that then!

Whether one approves of old Elon or not, we have had scant choice but to bite the bullet, capitulate, bolster Mr Musk’s coffers still further and go for Starlink. Prices seem to have dropped so we have dived in and done it.

I’m looking forward immensely to soon being able to kiss goodbye to Bouygues and their good as useless, completely pants customer service. Eye-rolling comes free of charge, and you know how I feel about that!

Nothing with Bouygues seems to be able to be organised remotely or online. Well, without any internet it’s pretty difficult to effect that anyway. It has to be instigated by visiting their nearest shop. This necessitates a 30 minute journey each way into Bergerac, plus the inevitable waiting around in the shop for someone to finish shuffling in and out of the store room, or entertaining their friends. Then you have to wait for them to phone you when you are back home.

Last time the internet completely ceased to function, I made that journey there and back three times in one day. They say they can only test the line when you are at home. As our phone line wasn’t working, that was an impossible task. Nevertheless, I still had to return back home twice to prove they couldn’t do it. I could however get a mobile signal everywhere apart from home but that wasn’t any good unless they rang me, not the other way round.

After two visits and an hour on a mobile phone perched high in the vineyards near Bergerac, they finally yielded and offered me a code number to obtain a new 5G box from the shop. Only however, on the condition that I surrendered the old one to them beforehand. Yet another bloody journey home, back to the Bergerac shop and home again.

I was inwardly raging by the time I arrived at the shop for the third time. I have no idea how I held it together, remaining polite, factual and smiling, all expressed in French, despite the eye-rolling and shoulder shrugging from the (and I use the term extremely loosely indeed) ’assistant’. Begrudgingly, the non-assistant accepted the code I had finally purloined, done by patiently waiting for a call high up in the Monbazillac vineyards with my mobile.

It was a fine feeling indeed to walk out of there clutching a new box. I managed to suppress the urge to stick two fingers up at them, but only just.

My hopes were high.

The newer box helped but barely enough to make a difference. Not enough to warrant the aggravation, fuel, and time spent getting it.

This weekend, Simon will no doubt be shimmying up a ladder, drill in hand, to perform yet another varied and diverse skill. Unless the wind continues blowing as it has done for the last 24 hours.

What sweeter moment than kicking Bouygues into touch? Counting down the days!



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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