Just a quick note to fill you in on my current lack of obsessive blogging: Contrary to what some of you might think, I have not gone over the edge and finally lost my mind, resulting in an enforced stay at the Beaver Valley Home for the Emotionally Turbulent. Rather, I am in the midst of a much-anticipated vacation abroad. At the moment, we are running amuck in the United Kingdom, doing our best to determine exactly how far one can go before we irritate the locals enough that they throw us on a boat and shove it back toward The States.
I had originally planned to do a “live” journal of our adventures, annoying everyone on WordPress and Facebook and Twitter with daily tidbits of this and that (rhapsodies about regional cuisine, snapshots of buildings older than dirt, mug shots that may or may not arise as the combined result of stout adult beverages and a lack of quality decision-making). But in the planning of this grand travelogue, I failed to consider one thing: Timely, award-winning reportage from the field requires a somewhat decent connection to the real world.
We have not had that for several days now.
Firstly, I would like to congratulate the folks at T-Mobile for successfully instilling in us a belief that all was right with the world and that we would have crystal-clear service throughout our travels, that our reception in Ireland would be magically delicious, and that the power of our coverage in Amsterdam would outshine the Red Light District. We quickly learned that this assurance was nothing more than the hissing of a punctured tire. (To be fair, we haven’t yet made it to Amsterdam, but based on the experience in Hemington and Belfast so far, the light at the end of that particular tunnel has most likely been extinguished as well.)
Secondly, thanks to our lovely hosts, the Lady and Lady of Aten-Shearwood Manor, we have managed to have brief moments of connectivity, the result of high-jacking their wi-fi here at the estate and not due to any weak surge of a signal from T-Mobile somehow managing to get through the apparent Denial of Service Dome that shields this part of the world from the Modern Age. However, as is the case with domestic wi-fi, it only works whilst in the domicile. When we journey beyond the ancestral gates of the manor, the Aten-Shearwood Telecom must release us from her tender bosom.
Thirdly, when we are out and about, there are brief moments when I am taunted with signals from a far galaxy. Apparently my phone, unimpressed as it is with my inability to rectify this situation, has taken it upon itself to search diligently for a reliable portal, and it takes unsupervised action when it finds one. For instance, I was innocently strolling about the Titanic Museum in Belfast, reading a placard about how poor people once again gave their lives so rich people could continue living in comfort (sound familiar?) when my phone went into convulsions, lurching about in my pocket. I wrenched the savage beast into the chill Irish air and watched in amazement as hundreds of decaying text messages (“Why aren’t you answering me, you horrid man.” and notifications (“16 people have left comments on your latest blog post. You haven’t answered any of them. They are now trashing you on Twitter. Have a good day.”) went flying up my screen.
Then there was another convulsion, the signal bars vanished, and darkness ruled the land once more.
Fourthly, I realize that unsatisfying reception should be of little importance on a vacation, unless I happen to trip over nothing and fall off the ramparts of a fourteenth-century castle and suddenly require at least a modicum of medical attention. Ideally, the concept of vacation means getting away from it all, including the blogs and social media accounts I pretend to professionally run when not attending to my “day” job. And the vast majority of time, we’ve been too busy doing whatever, dashing down cobbled streets or reviewing the actual site where William the Strange did something very important with a sewing bobbin during the Battle of Foggy Bend, for me to care very much about it at all. But when I want to share a snapshot of the rusty bobbin and make a clever comment about it, and I can’t, that’s when I use adult language and order another pint of Scrumbucket Thistle Blend.
Fifthly, and finally, I get to the actual purpose of this entry, which was not meant to be about my rude placement in Telecom Time-Out but, as is well documented, my tendency to ramble had us visiting all points of the alphabet instead of the simple navigation of Point A to Point B. Let’s summarize:
I am currently out of pocket, in a land where phone sex is not as easy as it should be.
The folks following the Crusty Pie blog will be happy to know (and hopefully have noticed) that I pre-scheduled posts to regularly appear on that blog for the duration. They may be unhappy to know that I most likely will not see their likes or comments until some future date. This does not mean that the likes and comments should cease. In fact, please continue to make them. When my phone does manage to succeed in its renegade mission to achieve greater heights than me, it makes me happy when the notifications hit me in a deluge. Consider your acts of kindness to be charitable contributions toward the therapy that I most likely need.
For the Bonnywood Manor blog as well as the Twitter feed, things are a bit more sketchy. This is where I had intended to do the daily travel updates, a vision which was quickly scuttled when things hit a brick wall once I realized “hey, I wonder why my phone hasn’t been dinging since we landed?” If the signal situation suddenly improves, I may be able to get a few things out, possibly cross-posting some snippets from Crusty to help fill the void. Otherwise, the posts might be a little sparse until our meandering journey is over or we get detained for one of those poor entertainment decisions. (Do prisons have w-fi? Hmm. I might have to make arrangements.)
Until then, raise a pint and carry on.
P.S. Oh, right, about that picture at the beginning of this post: This is a snap of the lone pub in the hamlet of Hemington, where the Aten-Shearwood Manor is located. Since there are only a few hundred citizens to begin with, and only a certain percentage of them drink, it’s a high probability that the Ladies Aten-Shearwood will know everyone who stumbles into the pub courtyard, seeking refreshment. It’s a hoot to just sit there, sipping, watching the intricate social dance that results from the pub being the only game in town…