Posts Tagged ‘Internet’

Ferry Rage!

What a fiasco. The first time I boarded an LD Lines ferry from Le Havre to Portsmouth with the laptop in tow, I was excited to be able to use the onboard wifi to contact clients, as well as family whilst on the move. So – I duly presented myself just a few short months ago to the Information Desk on board the Norman Spirit, and asked for the connection key. ” What operating system are you using, sir ? ”  Asked the lady receptionist, to which the answer was of course, Vista. It being a new laptop, and this being the 21st century. “I’m afraid that our network won’t work with Vista, sir, sorry.”  was the reply. Somewhat deflated, I volunteered to drown my sorrows in a couple of pints of Stella instead.

So, the last time I came to cross the most expensive stretch of water in the world, just a few weeks ago, I left the laptop in the car, opting instead for the relative ease of an MP3 player and a good book to pass the time instead. Out of curiosity though, I ventured up to the Information Desk simply to see if they’d rectified a glaringly obvious mistake in not being able to pander to the whims of the majority of the pc owning public. “Yes sir”  was the correct answer. “You can connect now using Vista, do you have your machine with you ?”  Grrrrr ! No, it’s in the bloody car, four decks below because the last time I was on board you told me it wouldn’t work !

Anyway, I’m typing this sat on the floor on the Norman Spirit on my way to angleterre once more to attends a family wedding. Why am I sat on the floor ? Why am I typing this on MS Word, instead of using my WordPress account ? I’ll tell you why. Having been told that there were no plugpoints available where I could charge up my laptop using my french plug, I parted with €8 for an adaptor. Only to walk out of the shop, and turn left to find a french plug socket ! That’s why I’m on the floor, cross-kegged, attracting the curious stares of passengers as they fight for the rear doors in order to fill their lungs with nicotine out on the poop deck !

Why am I typing this on MS Word instead of directly into my ‘blog on WordPress ? Because once again LD Lines have managed to leave me confused and baffled at their inability to provide a basic human right ! Internet access ! Having struggled to connect right there on the Information Desk, I was told with a sigh by the same receptionist that it was “probably down again”.  But, if I paid €7.50, I could go upstairs to the Cotton Club lounge and use their internet computers for free !  Result, except that I really need to use my own laptop, with all my various log-in information and passwords safely stored therein. “OK, no problem, simply unplug the connection from the pc up there and plug into your own laptop, sir!”  was again the correct answer. So, I duly stumped up, donned the little sticker that broadcast to the world (or just the bouncers on the door) that I was a fully paid up member of the ‘Cotton Club’ and away I went.

To tell the receptionist’s colleague that she’d sent me and that I could use my laptop up there, in comfort, and for free.

Except the colleague said “no, it wasn’t possible ! ” but only after ordering a coffee for €1.95 though. I told them that the lady downstairs, who’d just rang them to let them know I was coming up had said that “yes, it WAS possible!”

No, I had to use their own PC’s – there they are look, new and shiny. And Norwegian! Yes, for some bizzare reason, a Louis Dreyfus Armature’s ferry sailing from France to the UK, with a crew of mainly Spanish and Portugese has English 3-pin plugs everywhere, and Norwegian PC’s. Google Norway is the portal to ‘wherever you want to go today’, and the service was so interminably   s         l            o                   w   I’d drunk my coffee before I could even manage to load ‘Twitter’ to tell my Tweetfriends of my imminent landings on UK soil ! Pathetic really. Pathetic in that I really, I mean REALLY wanted to ‘blog live from the boat, and pathetic that we can put men on the moon, find cures for cancer, blast each other to kingdom come with WMD, but we can’t have internet access on an LD Lines ferry.

Come on Mr. Dreyfus – must do better !

Until the next time, au revoir.


All content © Le Chant d’Oiseau, 2006-2009


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When you move to a different district, or town, or maybe even a different county it’s often difficult to maintain the contact with family & friends that you’d otherwise have. It’s harder by far when you’ve moved to a different country altogether. They say it’s the age of cheap travel nowadays courtesy of Messrs. Ryanair, BMiBaby et al but to be honest, it’s still an expensive ‘do’ when you factor in the hiring of cars, fuel, nights out, shopping for the family ‘neccesities’ back home…We went back to Blighty the weekend before last to help celebrate a good friend’s 50th birthday. We met up with loads of pals there and enjoyed a night of drunken debauchery (or so I’m told…) before driving back down to Yorkshire to see my parents and sisters, and their new husbands. We also surprised another set of old pals by upsetting the game of cards they’d been happily arguing over before we arrived on their doorstep. A very pleasant evening ensued before we departed in the early morning for Stansted and the delights of the unfathomable level of security recently implemented there. Even Ryanair are complaining about it. It’s only this one airport in the UK that’s paranoid to this level. Anyway, not even that could dampen the warm, fluffy feeling of seeing loved ones again, only the thought of when we’d next be in a position to see them all could do that.

You see, my two sisters both got wed this year. They’ve both been engaged to the same pair of lovely lads for quite some time, and we’d been urging them to tie the knot for ages before they announced the dates. They chose last year to announce the dates. The very year we said ‘au revoir Angleterre’, the year we took our big plunge into the unknown. Both in the same year, one at the beginning of our busy period, and the other as the end of it! Inconsiderate pair, eh? Anyway, they’re both happily wed now, and we do keep in touch. We’re very close in our family, and always have been. The Internet is a marvellous tool for keeping in touch, and my younger of the two sisters devotes quite a bit of time to it instead of being a receptionist within a very busy General Practice. She then prints off my missives to circulate around the rellies! We’ve also started writing letters, yes, proper letters with joined up writing and stamps and everything. We’re now probably in danger of being soundly beaten when we do get back to the UK, as we’re making people write back too. Properly. Honestly, I’d spend hours sat at my PC communicating electronically with a mate who lived over the road! Seriously! We met them at the birthday bash last weekend too, and they said the same. How ridiculous is that?

Anyway, in this modern-day age of Internet, txtspk, and skype (‘Google’ it…), I received a text from the older of my two sisters, asking me to call her tonight. Nothing was wrong, but could I give her a ring? So, after the usual Wednesday rush of dropping Niall off at footy practice, then rushing back to pick up Syb & Hannah in order to drop them off 6 miles in the opposite direction for Classe de Danse, I gave my sis a call. I couldn’t spare her the time to chat for ever, as it’s Wednesday, and I had to remind Liam to put the quiche & pizzas in the oven (Wednesday night is quiche & pizza night) before rushing off to pick up Niall from footy practice and drop him back here before rushing off again to pick up Syb & Hannah from Classe de Danse. You’re still with me, right? Then we had no diesel, so we had to go to the garage because there won’t be time at 7:15 in the morning when I’m taking Hannah to Collège in Saumur for 8am, before doubling back to drop Niall off at École in Longué for 8:30. We have to do this otherwise Niall wouldn’t get to school as the bus picks him up while we’d be almost at Saumur….Anyway, I’m going to be an uncle. I’m very, very happy about that.

Until next time,

Au Revoir.


All content © Le Chant d’Oiseau, 2006.

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