Last week I found myself unexpectedly perving over King Triton’s torso whilst watching The Little Mermaid II with my kids. Which was something of a surprise, even to myself. A cartoon character – who knew? As he waggled his way into shot, I was taken aback by the broadness of his chest, the abs definition, the slenderness of a waist that tantalisingly led the eye down to his thick, smooth…
Is it weird to wonder about sex with a merman, and a cartoon one at that? It feels odd to have (very minor) levels of arousal over someone who’s half fish and I’m annoyed at Disney for putting me in this position in the first place. Why did they have to draw him with the most buff upper body the cartoon world has ever seen? It’s just not on. Don’t make fantastical part-animals sexy is what I say. I never had this hot-under-the-collar problem with Mr Tumnus from Narnia.
Morally it feels a bit off, because surely sex with a half-animal is (trying to follow logic, here) a sort of half bestiality? Or even full bestiality, because really the part you’re “engaging with” most is the non-human part. You can very well kiss King Triton, and King Triton can very well honk your boobs with his human hands (this is how I imagine he shags – all whilst bellowing out a sea shanty), but when it comes down to it, you’re going to be shagging a fish.
I also feel bad because (in The Little Mermaid II) Triton is a white-bearded, protective and loving grandad, and so it’s a bit like fancying Santa. Except Santa with the body of Jason Momoa.
How did King Triton even get that ripped? I can imagine that upper body strength for a merman would have to be phenomenal, because effectively your legs have been replaced with a giant flipper, but still. There’s upper body strength and there’s the torso of a man who’s been lifting articulated lorries for the past ten years. And there ain’t any articulated lorries on the bottom of the ocean, I can tell you that for free.
(Actually there might be. It could have slipped off a sunken freight ship. And I suppose the mermaid community would only need one articulated lorry in their workout area. The MerGym. They could lift oil drums or boulders whilst waiting for the lorry lift, or use the resistance bands. Which would be made from those thick, shiny strips of seaweed.)
(Sorry, I’ve got an image in my head now, of all of the fitness fanatic merpeople hanging about in their outdoor gym, an underwater version of Muscle Beach. They’re all side-eyeing one another and drinking green protein shakes out of conch shells. Although: do merpeople drink? How could you drink liquid when you are quite literally surrounded by liquid? You’d open your mouth and all of the seawater would pour in – how would you selectively imbibe a particular liquid? I suppose you’d just have to use a straw.)
Anyway, sex with King Triton: it would be totally inappropriate. Even on a practical note, things aren’t plain sailing. Where is his willy? Could it be hidden beneath the scales of his tail, like a pop-up surprise? Or do merpeople have no reproductive organs? How do merpeople mate?
Wait. Google is my friend here.
There are a LOT of theories. It’s mindblowing. People do know that mermaids aren’t real…don’t they? Because there seem to be thousands of mer-believers out there. Anyway, the two most popular theories (and I suppose only feasible theories when you think about it) are that the mermaid lays a mer-egg and the merman comes along and basically spunks over it, OR that they mate like a human, with the merman’s penis concealed in a sort of sheath, like a dolphin’s.
I feel queasy, for some reason. I think it’s the idea of being penetrated by a sheathed dolphinesque penis. Would it have scales on the actual shaft? Would the scales feel like sequins? Risky! You’d be absolutely in tatters down there. Unless your own vaginal passage was also scaled, in which case it might be somewhat protected, but then would the scales clash and catch on one another as the penis was withdrawn? What if the sequinned penis became trapped inside the sequinned tunnel? There’d be trouble then!
Do you think there’s an A&E for mermaids? I like to think that Disney would have that all drawn out – the octopus receptionist with her many telephones, the swordfish surgeon with his scalpel nose.
“Ah, King Triton! What can I do for you this time, Your Royal Highness? Sequin penis stuck inside a sequin vagina again? You need to be more careful! Nurse Pufferfish, just roll them over this way, that’s right, easy does it – and fetch the KY jelly!”
Oh, I’ve gone off on a real tangent with this post. I only meant to ask around and see who else thought King Triton was hot. Which, incidentally, I have already done on Instagram but with slightly disappointing results; King Triton was not top of the hot-cartoons charts. Aladdin cropped up quite a bit, and also the general from Mulan, but I think that the most popular cartoon crush was Robin Hood from Disney’s Robin Hood. Who happens to be – get this – a fox!
What is it about anthropomorphised animals? A few people also said “adolescent Simba” from The Lion King, but more people willingly and enthusiastically aired their fancies for the beast from Beauty and the Beast. But only AS the beast, mind; he seems to lose his sex appeal when he becomes human again. Apparently.
Giving it some (extended) thought, the beast is pretty broad across the chest. Nice and stocky. I kind of get the attraction. Moody, damaged, good head of hair, massive castle with full staff including a wardrobe that talks. But Robin Hood the fox? He of the smug smile and overly-confident swagger? Nah, sorry. I’m lost on that one…
I was going to order some little vintage side tables last week but the delivery time, from the Netherlands, was estimated at 4-5 weeks. Considering that the tables are already made – they are secondhand – what in heaven’s name mode of transport could possible take 4-5 weeks? I could construct my own tables in 4-5 weeks, whittling the frames from wood that I have painstakingly collected from the garden and dried out in the airing cupboard. In 4-5 weeks I could do a crash course in glass blowing and make the bloody tabletop!
At the very least I could hire a van and drive over to the Netherlands myself, and back, and that would only take two days. In fact: Google Maps informs me that it’s about eight hours one way and so I could feasibly do it in a day if I mainlined Coca Cola and didn’t stop for a wee.
What transport method could possibly take 4-5 weeks then? I’m finding this hard to fathom. Let’s say it goes by boat, which I’m guessing is the slowest way, how long could a crossing from the Netherlands possibly take? Is it going by rowing boat? Canoe? Pedalo? Is the boat the sort of boat that goes around the houses (or the coastline), picking up other bits and pieces from other ports before finally, thankfully, sliding wearily into the harbour at its final destination? Is it a bit like when you agree to share a minibus to go home from a wedding and a ten minute journey ends up taking three hours because you have to go to Leytonstone via Putney, Notting Hill, Maida Vale and then Putney again because Jeffrey and Toni passed out drunk and missed their stop? Is it like that? Does the boat go all the way up to the east coast of Scotland to pick up some huge crates of frozen organic salmon, and while it’s in the harbour all of the furniture from the Netherlands can be heard grumbling from below deck?
‘Fuck’s sake, Coffeetable. I told you we should have gone in the van with the bedstead and the floor lamps. Sideboard Bob will be officially an antique by the time we get to Shoreditch.’
‘It was cheaper this way, Brass Barcart, I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to say…’
More Google Map research shows that I could actually walk to Amsterdam in 79 hours. How mad is that? I’m guessing that with two solid brass side tables strapped to my back it might take just a bit longer to walk back again, but still, I reckon I’d do the whole thing in less than two weeks. For free. There is actually a collect in person option, so maybe I’ll surprise them.
‘Hi there, I’m here to collect the brass and glass Jean Charles side tables?’
‘Oh hi, yeah, they’re right here ready to go. Can I help you with them into your van?’
‘Nah, no worries. I’m on foot.’
‘Yeah, it was only ten days delivery time rather than your 28-35 days and I thought I’d save on postage. If you can just hoist them up onto my back there and pull this dubious-looking abseiling strap around to secure them, that’d be great.’
The only transport method I can think of, where it would legitimately take that long to send something from the Netherlands to Somerset, is this: sparrows. It’s a bit of a James and the Giant Peach scenario, but bear with. You tie a load of sparrows onto the tables using fine pieces of thread and when you have enough sparrows the tables lift into the air. They all fly, ever so ever so slowly, across land and sea and land again, but they don’t know where the hell Somerset is and end up in Barcelona. By then, some of the sparrows have perished and so the Spanish branch of Overpriced MidCentury Classics has to catch the tables using a man with a hand glider, attach more sparrows whilst in mid-air and send them off again in the right direction.
Another method slow enough to take 4-5 weeks would be by magical van. A van that can do all sorts of amazing things – turn into a musical fairground carousel, become a submarine, change anyone who drives it into a talking squirrel – but can’t drive in a straight line. Magic van can only drive in ever-widening circles, which means that the end destination has to be carefully calculated using the on-board Spirolometer and extra time has to be allowed for all of the pissing about the van has to do before actually getting to the place it needs to go. It wastes the first week driving around and around the bicycle lanes of Amsterdam, much to everyone’s annoyance, and once it gets to the UK the magic bus spends a good while doing both the North Circular and then the M25. Clockwise.
Give me strength. Literally. I’m setting off to get the tables tomorrow and the last time I walked more than ten miles I twisted my ankle…
I’m offline for a couple of weeks after this post – I’m working on something magnificent and it requires my full concentration. I’m sure that you can all survive a fortnight without my ridiculous posts on nipples, orifices and social distancing problems, but as a parting shot to see you through, here I am on video, cutting my own hair with (completely inappropriate) paper scissors.
Some will have seen this on IGTV but I am well aware that many of you don’t use Instagram or Facebook (sensible probably – they are the biggest time-suckers!) and so I’ve uploaded the whole thing to Youtube and embedded it below.
See you all later, alligator: if you need me urgently then ring my Mum! But don’t knock for me, I’m not allowed out. Hohoho…
Remember the absolute mortification when a friend called for you but your Mum wouldn’t let you out because tea was nearly ready? And you’d hear your Mum say
“No, Sean/Lee/Nat/Jamie, she can’t come out now, her tea’s nearly on the table.”
“Oh OK,” they’d answer, “can she come out after?”
“Maybe,” your Mum would say, “depends.”
“What time’ll she be finished?”
“Not sure yet, Sean/Lee/Nat/Jamie, maybe you go and play and if she’s finished she’ll come and find you.”
“How will she know where I am though?” Sean/Lee/Nat/Jamie would say.
From your position at the top of the stairs you’d just about be able to see their bike lying on its side in the front garden, the wheels still spinning. And you’d be thinking bloody hell Sean/Lee/Nat/Jamie, you’re pushing your luck with all of these questions! Back away from the door and save yourself!
To be fair, my Mum was a very patient Mum. Maybe because she was a teacher. She could deal with a whole barrage of pointless questions and she always managed to keep her voice steady and kind. I’d lose the plot if people kept knocking on my door now. Not least because the dog goes crackers anytime anyone approaches and then someone else has to shout at the dog to stop him from barking and someone else always has to say “he’s only guarding!”: it’s a right old performance. So if I had been a mother in the eighties, with no Great Uncle iPad and only three telly channels, then I’m sure I’d have been a very short-tempered and highly-stressed sort of mother. I’d have been leaning on that doorframe with a Benson & Hedges dangling from my lower lip. Smudged eyeliner, hair wrapped in a handkerchief, glass of 3pm sherry in my hand.
“I said she’d be out after tea, didn’t I? NOW PISS OFF YOU LITTLE GITS!”
On that note, here I am massacring my own hair. It was actually looking rather nice before I chopped it – let this be a lesson to you!
After twelve weeks of complete isolation I decided to go to the post office to do some urgent returns. (I actually had to send back some clothes I had ordered and never unboxed. Because who needs clothes in a lockdown? Not I, apparently. Apart from a few special occasions, I’ve almost worn the same two outfits on rotation; the first a dress that looks like a sack, the second a pair of shorts that have taken on the actual shape of my arse, so that when I remove them they stand up proud upon the rug, and an old t-shirt that has holes in the armpits. For chillier moments, both outfits have been worn beneath the world’s ugliest cardigan.)
So I went to the post office, which is buried deep within a village shop so tiny, and so crammed full with shelves and carousels and whatnot, that it’s almost impossible to walk through it without touching anything. Which doesn’t bode well for social distancing compliance. And I have to admit I was concerned about my visit, having heard tales of people completely ignoring all distancing guidelines now that we’re allowed to fire up the BBQ and – er – play golf; what would I be confronted with? In my mind, the world had gone rogue whilst I was locked inside – it would be a Mad Max scenario, with modified sand buggies revving around the country lanes, rams’ horns stuck to the bumpers and post-apocalyptic flesh-eating zombies hanging out of the open windows.
It was fine though. At the start, at least. There was a “queueing system” outside of the shop door, so I casually merged myself into it, trying desperately to look like someone who had been outside of their house before. For some reason my legs didn’t quite work properly – they felt like cotton reels threaded onto pieces of elastic, which I think was nerves, but nevertheless made me look like a newly-born Pinocchio.
Unfortunately, abiding by the two metres rule meant that I had to position myself almost in the middle of the road, for there was no place to stand to the left or right of the queue that was prominent or obvious enough to signal my presence to queue newcomers. Queuecomers. And that’s important, isn’t it? In a country where we are borderline obsessed with queue etiquette, it’s essential that everybody – everybody – knows that you are, in fact, in said queue. This is usually conveyed with a nod and a smile and a small, pointless, forwards or backwards movement, just a very slight one, to draw attention to your presence.
In this case, there was nobody in line after me – yet! – but still, I had to stand my ground. There’s an art to queuing, after all, and one of the finest skills is ensuring that everyone who joins the queue after you knows exactly where you rank. But here was my first testing quandary/moral dilemma: to stand in the road, or risk weakening my queue presence by tucking myself into the nook-in-the-wall where the drainpipe runs down? To lose queue-face, or to be flattened by a DPD van?
The choice is yours!
In the end I opted for a bit of a compromise, darting in and out of the road like a demented badger. It was confusing for the drivers. I had more than one beep. A few motorists tried to wave me across, which meant I had to do the universal sign language for “NO! I’M NOT CROSSING!”
One mimed exchange was so painful that I just gave in and crossed the road, only to almost be hit by a fast-moving bike when I did an about to turn and crossed back again, such was my haste not to lose my earned place in the queue.
I lived to tell the tale, thankfully: it was inside the shop that everything went to pieces. I just didn’t have any experience in this social distancing thing – quite literally no experience at all. I hadn’t built up any etiquette, I hadn’t seen social distancing techniques in action: it was all entirely foreign to me. A new language. And so I entered the shop almost apologetically, creeping in an exaggerated, comedy burglar knee-lift knee-lift toe-point hop! kind of way. Bear in mind I was wearing a silk kerchief as a face mask and eyeshadow on only one eye and that I hadn’t properly arranged my nipples beneath my top so that one was about four inches higher than the other: I was quite the picture.
(Does anyone else now have to arrange their nipples to ensure levelness? It’s a right faff! If I just juggle them into position, you can guarantee that one nip will be far higher than the other, looking like a peanut has been stowed away for safe keeping. Gone are the days when they both just fell into place, like delicately-balanced teardrops.)
So in I went, my tote containing the parcels slung over my back like a swag bag, trying to greet the shopkeeper and post office man with just the joy in my eyes. Difficult to do. And then I got to the counter and it was as though a giant stopper had been removed from my brain, because the talking started. It started and I just couldn’t stop.
“I have some parcel returns! How are you? This is weird isn’t it? What happens to the protective screen once you don’t need it anymore, it would make great secondary glazing hahaha! So how many people a day come in do you think, I just need proof of postage for that one, thankfully they pay for the returns otherwise I’d be bankrupt because I pretty much do all my shopping online now, I expect most people do, which is good in some ways but not great in others. Alexa Chung was in here the other day wasn’t she? Did you serve her or do you know who she is, what is she doing here, everyone says you’re the man to ask because you know all the gossip!”
Honestly. The phrase verbal diarrhoea doesn’t even cover it. It was dysentery. Thank God for the protective screens, that’s all I can say. Even with the perspex barrier in place the shop volunteers (yes, they volunteer to serve morons like me, the mind boggles) were ducking beneath the counter, such was the ferocity of my stream of absolute crap.
“Please pop the parcel on the scales,” said the post office volunteer, which put an end to my impromptu monologue. There was a moment of awkward silence as he printed out the labels and busied himself with sticking them to the jiffy bag but then, scandal, a second customer entered the shop! Ignoring the queueing system and the one-in-one-out rule! They just marched straight up to the counter beside me and plonked down a loaf of bread.
How could I have been prepared for such a flouting of the guidelines? I’d prepared myself so well. Tied a silken scarf around my face like a luxury goods version of Butch Cassidy, queued outside on the road, to my absolute peril, and now – just as casual as you like – I was faced with a potential super-spreader. What’s the protocol for that then?
My parcel-returning finished, I was presented with the challenge of exiting the shop without going closer to the perpetrator than the prescribed two metres. Seeing as though the entire shop is around four metres square, I saw that it was impossible. It was like one of those Mensa puzzles they give to particularly bright children at primary school (just me? Oh lol! Sorry!) where you have to move the pieces about to get the square to the exit. Or something.
Anyway, the woman with the bread wasn’t bothered about distancing herself whatsoever and had started a conversation about deer hounds, so I was forced to plan my escape around her. But then the worst thing of all happened: she decided to use the post office counter! WHERE I WAS ALREADY STANDING!
“Excuse me,” she smiled. “If you’ve finished, I’ll just slide on over.”
Well this was a conundrum. The sliding over part sounded vaguely terrifying, but the bigger problem was where to put my body. I couldn’t very well disappear myself and there was no clear path past the super-sliding spreader – even without social distancing the passing of the two ships would have been tight.
She began her slide. What to do? Crash backwards through the bank of freshly baked goods? Send the Bakewells scattering, the sausage rolls tumbling from their pastry pyramid? Or should I Klinsmann-dive sideways over the tower of eggs and the boxes of potatoes? Neither option was favourable – it was the sort of evasive action you’d take if you were about to be steamrollered by an out of control lorry. Overkill, it could be labelled.
I settled, instead, for panic. I manically sidestepped one way and then the other, waving my hands in the air, looking for all the world like a crab on amphetamines. A bandit crab, complete with face mask, absolutely off its shellfishy tits, dancing to a song only it could hear.
The slider-spreader pressed herself closer to the counter, possibly out of sheer terror and I managed to side-crab my way past the baked goods and out towards the door. Another customer was about to enter, again flagrant disregard for the rules, but backed out with a look of surprise and horror as they saw the human bandit-crab side-lunging towards the exit. One eyeshadow’d, wonky-nipped, neckerchief slipping to reveal a mean, anxious mouth: small children wept, a border terrier whimpered, a man parking his bicycle stealthily hooked his leg back over the saddle and pedalled away to safety.
Haven’t been in to the shops again, obviously. You? How’s your lockdown going?
My children (three and a bit years old and almost five) have been learning to ride their bikes and it is at once a massively rewarding experience and a very new, very fresh hell. On the one hand, seeing them learn a new skill and become fully-functioning mini-people makes me brim with joy and pride; on the other, my nerves are shot to hell and I have more scratches on my lower legs than an intern at the Big Cat Sanctuary.
You have to wonder at the wisdom of putting very small humans in charge of what amounts to a welded-together collection of metal bars, sharp spikes and hard rivets. If you deconstructed a kid’s bike and threw all the pieces into a sack, it would be the sort of thing you’d have found being passed around the tavern before a medieval uprising. So you have to ask yourself whether it’s sensible to let a three year-old, who likes bashing pan lids into walls, sit astride this scaled-down weapon of destruction.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy that they’re racing along without a care in the world. Any milestone the kids reach makes me brim with joy and pride and seeing my only-just-stopped-being-babies careering away down a cycle path is somehow ridiculously liberating.
But at the same time I’m proudly watching them power away on their own steam, I’m usually pondering the new depths of pain and discomfort that I’ve managed to plunge myself into. It’s almost as though, as a parent, you have to give yourself something to make life more awkward. Sleeping through the night? Tick! Nobody biting on your nipple? Tick! Stopped having to wipe poo off the carpet? TICK!
What can we introduce now, I wonder?
I’ll tell you what: bike riding. The fear of them falling off and smashing something or other on the path, the fear that they will wobblingly meander into the path of a proper cyclist, like a drunken badger staggering into a dual carriageway. And then there’s the worry for your own wellbeing – the worry that you’ll trip over their back wheels as you jog along behind them, or get your shoelaces caught in their spokes, or have a nasty run-in with the stabilisers.
Oh, stabilisers. Stabilisers are terrifying, with their jagged metal hinges and their fast-moving wheels of certain laceration. Pushing along a child using stabilisers (this is the four year old, actually – the three year old has a balance bike) means taking the survival of your ankle bones into your own hands. You thought you were going for a pleasant Sunday jaunt to breathe in the scent of meadow flowers and look at the freshly mown fields, but really you’ve agreed to sacrifice the flesh on your shins, ankles and possible knees. But once you’re out there, with an enthusiastic cycle maniac, there’s no turning back. There’s no escape. It’s like finding yourself inside the Colosseum with one of those chariots that had the spikes sticking out of the wheels – if you’re taking a kid for a bike ride with stabilisers then you’re basically Gladiator.
And that’s not the only physical torture involved. Remember Quasimodo? That’s biking-expedition me, pushing a four year old up a hill when she’s too tired to pedal the bike. Bent double, shoulders hunched, face twisted into a terrible expression of pain and humiliation, staggering sideways in great, ungainly leaps.
“Here she comes everyone! The troll of the tow path! The bells, the bells!”
The three year old on the balance bike presents less of a problem, physically. He just races off, his little legs working away as though he’s powered by clockwork. But then his batteries run out and he gets tired and Mr AMR ends up with child on shoulders, child’s bike in one hand, dog lead (with dog attached) in the other. Like some sort of circus act.
And I’ll be bringing up the rear, huffing and puffing along, near-prostrate in the wake of the Queen of Sheba who is oblivious, upright on her cupcake bicycle and singing songs about how wonderful the world is.
“And I wake up, yeah, and the birds are amazing, the birds are great, the birds know my so-ong and the birds love my dolly, oh yeah, oh yeahhhh.”
Not a care in the world, just comfortably watching the hedgerows whizz by as I expend approximately the same amount of energy as a small shire horse ploughing a field, pushing with a gentle hand on the small of her back. She obviously has no idea how tiring the pushing is – she had the audacity, the other day, to actually yawn as I was navigating a particularly steep slope.
I fear, though, as with all things child-related, this phase will be fleeting and before I know it we’ll be onto the next level, where they race off without us, and another tie will be painfully cut. Another phase will be just a beautiful memory. I’d take lacerated ankles in exchange for a slowing down of time. Any day of the week….
I think I need a lawyer. Not because I’ve done anything illegal recently (unless plotting to kill the man who keeps strimming his bushes at night counts. Who the hell strims in the dark? Surely as an activity that presents so many dangers that it makes the whole endeavour entirely unfeasible? Decapitating badgers is one peril that comes immediately to mind. Slicing hedgehogs in two, like they’ve unwittingly volunteered themselves as participants in a magic trick with the world’s worst magician, is another. Then there’s obviously the danger to your own limbs. Although…the perfect murder seems to be developing in front of my very eyes!)
Where was I? Lawyer. Yes, I’ve decided that I need a lawyer and I need him or her to follow me around 24/7. Not for legal advice, you understand: merely to get me quickly and efficiently out of conversations that I don’t want to have and/or prevent me from doing my usual “nervous rambling on for twenty minutes at the end of meetings to the point where everyone else on the call/in the room can’t wait to get away from me” trick.
I don’t know whether it’s because I spend a lot of time alone, but as soon as I’m thrown into an intense conversational situation – whether work or social – I go into meltdown towards the end. The part where I know that someone – everyone – is going to have to say goodbye in an elegant and gracious manner.
I just can’t do it! Either I feel bad, as though I’m snubbing the other person by wanting to go, and so compensate by being overly nice for five minutes too long, or I begin to panic that I’ll be trapped for hours and hours and so say something stupid.
Which is why I need one of those shit-hot lawyers – preferably an American one – to extricate me. Whether it’s a meeting in person (you know, in the future) or an informal phone call, I want them there, smelling of Tom Ford Private Blend and writing stuff in their Smythson notebook with a golden pen.
And if all of this is confusing and you haven’t got the faintest clue what I’m on about then you need to watch more American crime series on the telly. Because if there’s one thing that you can rely on in an American crime series (and many of the British ones too) it’s that the lawyer will always know when to cut a meeting short. There’s no situation too tricksy for a Netflix/Amazon Prime attorney – if they want their client out of the room then they just utter three words:
“We’re done here”.
We’re done here is lawyer speak for “I know my client’s rights and we don’t have to say any more so there, we’re off matey!” but in television, it’s also code for “the writers have trickled out all of the tantalising evidence they want the viewer to see but are now too lazy to think of a good way to get to the next scene whilst retaining that nail-biting sense of mystery and suspense”.
“I think we’re done here.”
Ugh, so sauve. So assured. The cops never argue with it – the lawyer is usually scraping back their metal-framed chair as they say the magic sentence, standing up beneath the unflattering interview strip-light and gesturing to their client to follow them. It’s so brilliant! Just a few words and it stops everything. It’s like when you’re little and you wouldn’t go to sleep so your Mum would call your Dad and you’d hear him coming up the stairs and he’d say “that’s enough now, get to sleep” and that would be that. Eyes closed, no arguing, asleep in sixty seconds.
Bad analogy, possibly, but you know what I mean. There’s a sense of authority and “don’t mess with me f*ckhead” when the lawyer on the telly says “we’re done here”. Sometimes they get called out – we get double-bluffed and the detective has more damning evidence on the criminal/murderer/trickster than they initially let on – but not often.
Anyway, I digress. I want one of these lawyers to follow me about, to sit and listen to what I have to say (God, how boring!) and then, when they can see that it’s time that I shut the actual fcuk up they could just put a steady hand on my shoulder, look directly at the person I’m babbling to and say, confidently,
“I think we’re done here.”
To be fair, one hundred percent of the time at the moment that person would be my husband, so I’ll allow them to be a bit softer – maybe “I think we’re done here?” with a question mark – but if I’m honest, in lockdown the lawyer is needed more than ever. The number of conversations about bins, painting, hedges and grocery orders that should have been pretty straightforward but that have turned into full-scale wars could have all been avoided if we’d both had a sharp-suited LA attorney next to us.
“Oh that’s right, you always do the bloody bins don’t you and let’s not forget it! Well let me tell you sonny-Jim, doing the bins isn’t all that, because back in 2005 I did the bins for a week so I could -“
Weighty hand on my shoulder. Stern nod. “Ruth, I think we’re done here.”
Could have saved me a dozen arguments, nearly all my fault. Although, thinking about it, maybe I’d have won them more often if I’d had a shit-hot Bosch-style lawyer in a ten thousand dollar Chanel suit! And imagine all of the awkward questions that could have been avoided – all of those ones that tell you you’ve lost before you’ve even begun:
“Erm, did you actually remember to order the dog food when I said because he has none left and it takes a week to be delivered.”
Shit, shit shit.
“No….I think we’re done here.”
Ha. Wouldn’t it be great? I’d definitely my lawyer to sit in on all of my Zoom meetings, which seem to turn me even more random and rambling than usual, if that’s possible. I just can’t shut up! But sometimes it’s other people who can’t shut up, and in that case my attorney (I’m going to call her Barb Wire) would just raise an eyebrow and inch ever so slightly closer to the laptop camera:
“I think we’re done here.”
Bam! Goodbye. I’d never be the last one in the Zoom Room! I can never work out how to exit the bloody thing without looking like someone who has accidentally pressed the “change PIN” button on the cash machine. Fumble no more, my friends, Barb Wire Esq. is here to cut this meeting off at the knees! At the first inkling of anyone beginning to ask what everyone’s up to at the weekend,
“We’re done here.”
The entire group has started to talk about Love Island or I’m A Celebrity?
Oh! Here’s the best one. Barb can’t stand it when a pointless meeting is called – usually to “talk over” a presentation that has already been sent by email. She hates those meetings with lots of people on speakerphone, when one assigned representative reads out the presentation word. for. word. The presentation you’ve already read thoroughly the night before and now also see before you with your own eyes. This one calls for an early exit, if Barb is involved.
“Okay everyone, thanks for joining! I hope you all got the email with the PDF of the presentation attached – if you haven’t seen it then it’s on the email titled PRESENTATION ATTACHED. What we’re going to do over the course of this call is a) talk about what we’re going to talk about on the call and b) talk through the presentation word for painful word until your eyes and ears are bleeding and c) any questions? Yes, Barb, fire away!”
“We’re done here.”
Four times in the past week my children, who are almost-five and three years old, have unknowingly grabbed onto one of my nipples to stop themselves toppling over. 75% of the time it has been when I’ve been putting their shoes on, which is always a precarious sport – and also explains why my nipples have been within grasping reach – but there was one particularly memorable case that saw my right nipple used as a sort of living climbing hold so that my youngest could scale my body like a mountain and sit on top of my head.
I’ll stress again that neither child has the faintest idea what they’re holding onto in these fleeting moments – for all the world it could be a button or the end of a zipper. On reflection, it took me a few seconds to work out what they were grasping in their little hands, mainly because after two solid years of being gummed and chewed at (referring to breastfeeding, obviously – Mr AMR isn’t some kind of low-key sexual deviant) my nipples tips have almost no feeling.
They may as well be steel-capped. If I was into body piercings, I’d have no qualms about getting some hoops through them – maybe then I could thread a dainty rope through the hoops and tie it around my neck, giving myself a free breast lift!
So anyway, the nips seem to have suddenly gained an extra practical use. And I’ve realised why it’s sudden and a brand new phenomenon: it’s because for much of the day I can’t be bothered to put a bra on. Previously my nips would be incased in a t-shirt bra, safely behind moulded cups. And now they are swinging free, a good four or five inches below me as I duck and dive to successfully complete the Crystal Maze Shoe Application challenge.
It’s a tricky old manoeuvre, isn’t it – putting small kids’ shoes on? There you stand, prone and vulnerable, your face necessarily next to the back of their head, which is for all intents and purposes a huge, solid, fast-moving canonball, ready to smash into your nose or eye socket at any given moment.
For it is impossible for a child to stand still whilst being shod; they toss their heads around, bob up and down, jig on one foot like a demented goblin. And the one time that you want them to move – “bend your leg! BEND YOUR LEG!” they stiffen every muscle like a board, knees locked out, so that you have to give up and plonk them on the table to get at their feet.
And even though you couldn’t be more clear which foot you’re tapping for them to raise – “THIS ONE” – they always lift the other one. And then they lose balance, because it’s all so overwhelmingly complicated, because their brains are (rightly!) wholly concerned with the mystery of “why bees don’t ride about in helicopters to stop their wings from getting tired”, and then a tiny hot hand shoots out and grabs onto the nearest convenient thing.
Pendulous, available, dangling right there like a welcome hand-strap from the ceiling of a packed London Routemaster. Topple, tipple, grab my nipple. It’s a wonder they’re still attached.
I’ve (perhaps unwisely) started testing out online exercise videos. There’s a whole other post to be written on the various hazards to be avoided when partaking in Youtube workout classes, but I have a pressing question about the fundamental essence of my being and that is this: do I, Ruth Crilly, have the emotional maturity of a fourteen year old boy?
Am I hopelessly, embarrassingly immature or do other people chortle their way through the workouts, smirking at the utter smut-fest that is the running commentary? It’s like innuendo bingo! I have to say, too, that it is almost always the videos from the US that have the richest array of double entendre – the instructors across the pond seem to have absolutely no clue that what they’re saying sounds like it has been lifted from a porno script.
Here are some choice cuts from the Youtube videos I’ve been testing out this week:
“OK, I’m really feeling that in my booty right now, guys. Wow, that is deep, I can feel it deep inside my butt.” (Glutes exercise.)
“Oooh, that is good in my butt right now!” (Plank with mountain-climbing legs. Don’t ask. It’s no wonder the majority of people give up exercise after January.)
“Mmmm, okay, now let’s pump it, pump it, pump it, PUMP!” (Sumo squats with a “pulse” at the bottom. We will talk about “pulses” in my next exercise post when I’ve thought up enough expletives.)
I’d like to add that all of these things are said quite breathlessly, by women wearing lycra so tight you can see every gynaecological peak and trough. Nothing remotely wrong with that in itself, obviously, but it’s more than a little off-putting having a visual as well as the soundtrack. Puts me right off my stride! It’s almost impossible to balance on one leg and outstretch your arms “like an aeroplane” when you’re shaking with barely-contained mirth.
I find the word “pump” amusing in almost all circumstances, to be truthful, irrespective of accent. Depending on where you’re from you’ll know that “pump” is an alternative word for trump, parp or – as I insist on it being called in this house – bottom burp.
Unfortunate, really, when “pump” is such a commonly used word for…loads of things. Petrol pump, air pump, pump up the volume. I can deal with all of those versions, it’s just when someone’s talking about the action of pumping. Oh, the number of adverts I’ve filmed with beauty brands where I’ve had to say something like
“do two or three pumps into the palm of your hand!”
“spray two pumps onto your face and breathe deeply to inhale the scent!”
Kills me every time.
Anyway, back to the “feel it deep inside your booty” gang: surely they know what they’re saying? Do they come out with things like this deliberately, in a wild stab at humour, to get you through the workout? Or do they just assume that 99% of viewers aren’t as immature as me?
Answers on a postcard please. And happy Easter. I did mean to do some sort of intelligent, heartfelt post about new starts and beautiful life and #thankfulness but this issue seemed more important.
It’s life update time again, and rather than bore you with all of the tantrums and CIA-level negotiation we’ve been having to do around here, with our three and a four year old, I thought we could talk about bedtime routines and (more specifically) some of the crazy things I’ve done to get the kids to bed over the years.
Because the other day I suddenly realised that I’d almost forgotten the first little baby bedtime routines. The ones that we started right in the beginning. Those halcyon days when you could just plonk them in the cot and they couldn’t get out. Bliss! Now the routines are more like challenges on Crystal Maze; “can YOU get your three year old boy into his racing car bed without cracking a dent into one of your shins and saying F*CK F*CK B*GGER at the top of your voice whilst managing to give him a drink of fresh water and not allow it to spill which would mean changing his duvet? Work it out, release the crystal and I’ll stand here outside the bedroom door tootling away on my flute.”
I’m not saying that the baby days were easier – the crackling of the baby monitor, half an hour after you thought they were asleep! The feeling of utter weariness at having your three hour window of “me time” interrupted again! – it’s just that bedtimes now are so much more demanding. I’m like a court jester crossed with a minimum security prison officer. I love it and treasure the moments, because I know that in the blink of an eye they’ll be teens and I’ll be barred from even entering their rooms, but my God is bedtime intense!
I’ve nearly always done my daughter’s bedtime, mainly because my son, who is eighteen months younger, never used to go to sleep until he had breastfed from me for hours on end, and so when he was about ten months old Mr AMR started to give him a bottle to make things easier. We then inevitably ended up splitting off into our separate teams in the evening – one child each, and each of us with our own little bedtime quirks and (probably inadvisable) habits.
We’re very lucky in that – mostly – both of us are around for bedtime and so we’ve kept up this “girls’ team / boys’ team” sort of split. Trying to put two young children to bed on your own is chaotic and soul-destroying in equal measures, like herding cats, and I absolutely doff my cap to anyone who does it on a regular basis. Or all the time.
But let’s rewind back to the first proper bedtime era that’s still reasonably fresh in my memory: we can call it the Robot Head Cinema Era. I had bought the kids an Early Learning Centre plastic robot that was large enough to house a moon buggy (toy, not real one) and spacemen figurines. I worked out that if I opened up the doors on its head, the resulting space was exactly the right width for gripping my iPhone horizontally.
And so I used to fire up iPlayer, select a trippy programme called In The Night Garden (if you don’t know what this is then I recommend a viewing for research purposes, but only if you’re not taking mind-altering drugs. It would be enough to send you permanently bonkers) and we would watch baby TV from inside a plastic robot’s cranium.
Total madness, really. I would sit there hunched over, watching along with her (I have no idea why we did this on the world’s smallest screen when we had a huge telly directly beneath us, and a comfy sofa, and a roaring fire, etc etc) and I would feel my neck begin to slowly fuse to my shoulders and my lower back go into spasm, but I was always too tired to shift position.
Then there was the “rap song nursery rhyme” phase. I have no idea why I started this, and it’s the sort of thing that really you should take to your grave, not write about to hundreds of thousands of people, but anyway: I used to do this very bad “beat box” thing and then rap out a version of Little Miss Muffet.
Don’t even ask me to do a rendition, it is never happening and so it’s pointless going there. (I can tell you though that after the “whey” I did do a very funky “hey, hey-hey-hey!” I also did a vague form of twerking when the spider “sat down beside her”.)
The rap rhymes started off a new phase, what is now known as “doing the lullaby”, and we’re still going strong a couple of years down the line. Ah, that’s sweet! you might think, especially as my daughter is going to be five in the summer. But no. It’s not sweet. It’s a magnificent feat of poetic improvisation, that’s what it is. Because not only do I have to make up a new song ON THE SPOT every night, the song also has to rhyme and it also has to be relevant to the chapter of the book we’ve just read.
So, for example, we did a great lullaby about George’s Marvellous Medicine and the horrid grandma, although admittedly I did completely crib the tune (and some of the words) from the CBeebies Christmas panto. (Sniff-Sniff, Delicious Children!)
I sang about Grandma’s puckered mouth looking like a dog’s bottom and her face being as hairy as a mole, except that I had to make “bottom” rhyme with “mole” so ended up saying “bottomhole”, which isn’t ideal.
But it’s actually a very good brain workout, making up rhyming songs with no notice. Firstly you have to think of a tune (usually I nick one from an advert or popular song du jour) and then you have to – completely on the hoof mind! – come up with some lyrics.
And it’s not like Baby 1 is a particularly easy customer – she frowns at anything resembling a half-rhyme and definitely picks up on nonsense words that I’ve just thrown in because I’ve gone into panic mode.
George stirred his pot all day and night
Grandma was really in for a fright!
He stirred it with his wooden spoon
And even put in some of the moon…
“Mummy what? How did he put in some of the moon? Are you sure he did that?”
Anyway, it’s fun and I wanted to write it down because one day she won’t want the lullaby, she’ll say “ugh, you’re so embarrassing, get OUT OF MY ROOM!” and my heart hurts to think of that so I want proof that it happened.
Mind you, some nights I am totally not up for composing what amounts to an eighth of a low-budget West End musical on the spot. Especially if the chapter we’ve read, the chapter that must (it’s the rules) provide the inspiration and bulk of the content, doesn’t quite lend itself to a lullaby.
Last night I read the bit in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Grandpa Jo uses his last pennies to buy a chocolate bar for Charlie, in the vain hope that there might be a golden ticket inside. It’s called Chapter 10: The Family Begins To Starve.
Not so jolly.
“Do a lullaby about the chapter, Mummy!”
“Why don’t we do yesterday’s chapter, about Charlie’s walk to school and the smell of the chocolate? Sniff-Sniff, Delicious Chocolate?”
“No, it has to be about the old people in the bed and the cabbage soup and the snow. And don’t sing it in the Oompa Loompa tune again!”
Last night’s lullaby tested my artistic talents to the max, I can tell you. I’m the flipping lullaby master. I know you’re desperate to hear some of these lullabies, but again: not going to happen. Satisfy yourselves with the knowledge that I sang about cabbage soup to the tune of a Les Mis hit and managed to rhyme “cabbage” with “baggage”. That has to be enough.
The current nighttime routine doesn’t end with the lullaby however; I then go into Baby 2’s room, negotiate his floor, which should be called “The Torture Garden” because you can’t go two steps without spearing your foot on the upright plastic ladder of a toy fire engine, or the spines of a toy Stegosaurus, and I have to sing him a lullaby.
He only likes two tunes: the first is Soldier Soldier (won’t you marry me with your musket fife and drum? Oh no sweet maid I cannot marry you for I have no [insert item of clothing] to put on)
and the second is Five Little Ducks (went swimming one day, over the hills and far away. Mummy duck said “quack quack quack” but only four little ducks came swimming back).
With both songs, I have to think of more and more outlandish versions to keep him satisfied. In terms of the soldier’s clothing, we have moved on from actual items (pants, socks, a gaberdine) to abstract ideas (sadness, time, reluctance); last night the solider had “no happiness to put on” and had to get himself a “loud thunder” from the grandfather’s chest.
In the “five ducks” song, the ducks have become dinosaurs. Which would be find, except that they don’t quack, which totally bollocks up my rhyming pattern. I can’t work like this. The pressure is too immense. Especially now that “five little dinosaurs” have become “five big stegosauruses” and they stomp instead of swim, roar instead of quack. I should be paid for this level of superhuman lullaby effort.
Anyway, I’m sure this is boring you to absolute tears, so I leave you with the comforting fact that the bedtime routine, including fetching dolly from two floors down, then coming back up and going back down to fetch Calpol, then coming back up and going back down to find Batman, Bumblebee transformer and Heat Wave transformer, then going to the bathroom to collect fresh water – cold tap run for forty-five seconds to ensure suitably icy temperature – and then supervising various toilet trips and so on, consumes approximately 2,300kcal, which means that the many chocolate-based “evening snacks” I subsequently devour are completely A-OK and justified.
What’s your bedtime routine? Kids, no kids, dogs, no dogs; I need to know any weird, over-indulging stuff you do. If it involves a robot’s head, all the better.
Hurrah! I finally have internet speeds that are faster than the ones that we had back in 1999! And all it took was Mr AMR hanging precariously out of the top window, holding a 4G router above his head like a possessed telecommunications engineer. It’s the same router I’ve had for a while, but we had never tried positioning it 80cm outside the house before – more fool us!
Only others with painfully slow internet will share my joy in finally finding a workable solution to the problem – if you have internet, and it’s fast enough to do basic things such as watch a film on Netflix, then my revelation (indeed this entire post) will hold no interest for you. Move on, smugly, knowing that the next page you click to will take approximately 2.1 seconds to load and not fifteen minutes.
A bit of background, for those who are still with me: I live in a rural hamlet and we don’t have high-speed broadband. Our download speed with BT is around 5MB, upload speed is about 0.8. Netflix can be slow to respond, large files are impossible to upload and, if we have an important email to send with attachments, we find that it’s easier to dictate it to an aged monk and then summon a messenger on horseback to deliver the manuscript directly into the hands of the recipient. Godspeed, Cedric, Godspeed.
When we bought the house, we knew that the internet speeds were dire but the owners had installed satellite internet. Which seemed like a good fix. It really wasn’t – it was temperamental, didn’t like cloudy days and was very expensive to run. I think we kept it for a couple of months before realising that it was a complete waste of money and barely any faster than the bog-standard BT line. This might not be the case for everyone – it can very much depend on geographical position, whether or not you’re in a valley, for example – but the overall feeling about satellite internet, when you read online, seems to be that people aren’t overwhelmed with enthusiasm for it.
So what was my next line of attack? Well, I’ll admit that I was a bit stuck. The residents of my hamlet had been promised Truespeed, which is one of the providers trying to bring FTTP (fibre to the premises) to people in areas without any high speed broadband. They quite literally build the network, from scratch, and connect each home to a network that’s often higher than you’ll even find in the cities.
I have a love-hate relationship with companies such as Gigaclear and Truespeed and also quite a lengthy relationship. The village I lived in just outside of London didn’t have fibre (more forgivable in 2014, I suppose) and one day a meeting was held in the village hall about a high speed network that would be put together by someone called Gigaclear. So we all duly signed up and those of us who were desperate for it (freelancers, mainly, and people running businesses from home) even took it upon ourselves to go out personally and get new sign-ups. Everyone had to give their bank details, sign the forms – we were at 99% they told us! Only less than one household to go! – and it looked like a done deal. But nothing materialised. Even by the time we moved, in 2017, there was no Gigaclear. And I’ve just checked online now, in 2020: still no Gigaclear.
It’s the same with Truespeed. Promised it way before we bought our house in Somerset and for almost two years we’ve been receiving updates but there’s always one more barrier, one more problem that needs to be overcome.
So I had to put aside my hopes of getting Truespeed for now (fibre speeds of up to 200MB!) and seek other remedies. Thankfully, the best one – and I shall be eternally grateful – came from one of my neighbours, Adam, who had beaten us to Somerset by around four months and had therefore exhausted most internet-improving avenues. Now I must be clear, before you get overexcited: this method of gaining miraculously high speeds does depend on your 4G reception. I’ll admit that many rural places have crap internet and barely any 4G coverage, but for those luckily enough to have good phone signal, you’re in for a treat.
4G coverage is ever-improving, so it’s worth checking coverage maps for all providers, not just the one you happen to have stuck with for the past fifteen years. See who comes up trumps on the coverage maps and then get hold of a pay as you go SIM card for that company and test out the 4G reception in all areas of your house.
The areas of the house thing is incredibly important, by the way; in my office, my 4G router gives me download speeds of 6.8MB and upload speeds of 0.98. If I shunt the router forwards into a front bedroom and balance it on the windowsill (or, even, out of the window on the end of Mr AMR’s arm) then I get a ridiculously speedy (for here) 12MB download speed and 26MB upload. (I have no idea why the upload speed is faster, I suspect it’s not a good sign but quite honestly I can’t be bothered to rock the boat when I finally have a workable connection!)
But I’ve gone too far ahead and missed out important information here: neighbour Adam had been experimenting with various internet things and had settled on the very satisfactory method of using a 4G data-only SIM with a router he had bought on Amazon. He was getting fast, reliable internet and paying around £25 per month.
I immediately ordered the router (this one here* (AD/affiliate link) in case you’re interested) and went for the same data SIM he was using (Vodafone, 50GB limit) and the next day slotted everything together and crossed my fingers. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the speedtest came back with 25MB download and 8MB up. Hurrah! All of my work (and Netflix) problems had been solved!
Huawai Router* + Data Only SIM + Reasonable 4G Coverage = Rural High Speed Internet
There was one more twist in the tale, though. Left to its own devices, my Macbook Pro was a champion devourer of data. It chomped its way through data like one of those people who eat hot dogs to break world records; the remaining gigabytes dissolved in front of my very eyes as my iCloud synced the ten thousand daily photos that I took on my phone and my iPhoto uploaded all of my DSLR photos to the iCloud and my iTunes did things that only iTunes really understands, because who can actually access any of their music anyway? It’s all locked up in some virtual shipping container somewhere and you can only play it if you ask really, really nicely, even though you spent forty-nine days importing all of your CDs into your iMac in 2004. (What a bloody waste of time! I swear, the number of weeks I’ve spent copying records onto tape cassettes, tapes onto CD, converting CDs to MP3s. Oh! And the brief yet painful era of the mini disk. Remember those? You couldn’t even buy music on a mini disk, so you had to make the world’s most labour-intensive mix tapes and the whole set-up only lasted for about a year anyway! Which meant that my in-car mini disk player and my mini disk walkman were both an epic waste of hard-earned cash…)
To cut a long story short, my 50GB data was lasting for around two days if I left my MacBook running. So I had to turn off iCloud, which meant I couldn’t sync my photos and I couldn’t see my emails either because they were burning up data like psychopathic data fire-starters. Unlimited data SIMs weren’t yet a thing, so I had to try and find another way to limit my usage. Firstly I bought two SIMs so that I would never run out – I just swapped them over when one ran out for the month. But then I looked into how to manage my usage and found a very handy app called TripMode. I can’t really rave about this app enough; it’s inexpensive, it works, it will probably save you tens of pounds each month, especially if you work from home.
TripMode automatically limits your data usage by blocking things on your computer (or phone) that are data hogs. So iCloud, for example, and Mail, and even iPhoto if you tend to take a lot of video footage and photos with large file sizes. You can preset which apps to block and toggle TripMode on and off so that if you do need to quickly email or sync something it’s easy to do. It also monitors usage and can set data caps – all for about six quid. (At last glance.) Find that here, it’s an absolute must if you don’t have unlimited data.
Luckily, more and more data providers are now doing unlimited data SIMs that you can slip, with an almost sexual level of pleasure, into your router slot. Oh, the thrill of knowing that you’ll be able to load a page on ASOS without getting the spinning wheel of doom! Oh, the sparks of passion that will fly as your fingers caress the keyboard and open New Tab, New Tab, New Tab, as you frantically absorb all of that internet information and even play a Youtube video in the background! Stick a fork in me, unlimited data SIM, I’m done.
Virgin do an unlimited data SIM for those who are already customers, SMARTY have one that’s very cheap and doesn’t have a contract (I found this the slowest for speeds in my area so cancelled), 3 have one, Vodafone have an unlimited SIM but they say it’s just for phones. I have yet to test this. For many, 3 will be the best bet – they have exemplary coverage when you look at their maps. I think that 3 own SMARTY, but I found speeds higher with 3. Go figure.
I hope, sincerely, that at least a few of you that have been struggling with rural – or just plain bad – internet will find this useful. Some will be eye-rolling and saying “duh, like I hadn’t thought of that!” but at least a dozen people in my immediate geographical vicinity hadn’t known about the router + 4G sim option, so I’m going out on a limb and putting it out there.
And at the risk of being even more obvious, I’m going to precis my rural internet findings below, with the Three Useful Things You Should Know If You Have Very Slow Internet. You’re welcome.
1 You can easily find out whether you’re in an area that’s being considered by providers such as Truespeed and Gigaclear. Just type your postcode into their websites (linked above) and it’ll tell you whether there’s a build in progress or any interest at all in your area. You can also (actually is maybe a better first call) check on Open Reach to see whether fibre is coming to your area, or whether your cabinet (not like a kitchen cabinet, it’s bigger and further away) is due to be upgraded. Check that info here.
If your community isn’t eligible for any sort of network building scheme then you could also look into Community Fibre Partnerships, which is when you all get together and basically foot the bill. I’ll side-step the politics on that one, because it seems slightly ridiculous that a community should be having to raise massive funds for something that others get for free… Trying to be all zen at the moment.
2 If you can get 4G signal then you are massively in luck, because you can try the Router + 4G SIM method that works so well for me. You can find 4G coverage maps for most providers here. If you have a reasonably strong 4G signal with one of them then you can buy a 4G router here (that’s the one I have) and data SIM cards from most mobile phone providers. If you want unlimited data (why wouldn’t you?) then try Three (here) and EE have literally just launched theirs onto the market, the deal is £34 per month here. (Please do your own checks as to suitability for your router and so on!)
3 If you don’t get any 4G reception then all is not lost. Though it may be a matter of doing some heavy research and/or digging a little deeper in terms of costs. If you want to try satellite, because you’re desperate (I found it twitchy) then try a larger provider such as Avonline. I also found this website incredibly interesting: ruralinternet.co.uk. You can also contact Open Reach and see how much it would cost for fibre to your premises privately – ie, the road gets dug up just for you, the price depends on how far you are from the nearest cabinet. I don’t need to tell you, I’m sure, that it’s probably going to be really, really expensive. There’s a rudimentary price list here if you can get your head around it…
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