Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

***t happens

October 5, 2017

It was all going so well, we had the buses and trains all sorted by doing a dummy run on Monday so we knew how long we should allow to catch the Eurostar across to Lille on Tuesday. Tuesday morning, we were all packed and ready to go, Ian kindly dropped us off at the local train station to save us getting the bus and we were soon on our way to St Pancras station.

We had only gone through a couple of stops when we realised that Roy had left his phone on the table at home. Damn. A quick phone call to Ian confirmed that it definitely was on the table. We quickly arranged for Roy to get off at the next stop to return to the station where Ian met him with his phone. Meanwhile I continued on the train to Cannon Street Station where we change from train to tube and I would wait for him to return. It didn’t take him too long to return and we were back on the tube and into St Pancras Station.

View from the train crossing the Thames, with London Bridge in the background.

As alway, mind the gap!

We arrived in plenty of time, in fact we were early but we were allowed though passport control and inside to wait for the train. We had a drink and a bite to eat and soon we were off, whizzing through the English countryside before heading into the Chunnel. I tried taking pictures out of the window but at 296km/hr and with reflections from the window my photography skills were not great.

We arrived in Lille exactly on time and we headed straight for the car rental places. Ouch, they want an arm and two legs to rent a car for a few days but we inhale deeply, and go with it. We could not hire a small car and so had to go with what they had, a Nissan Qashqai, with all the bells and whistles. First problem….we could not work the inbuilt GPS. I managed to change the language preference to a English but it would not register where we were wanting to go, which was Langemark-Poelkapelle in Belgium. Roy went and got one of the staff to help, oh, we just have to change country option for the destination moving from France to Belgium. Sorted.

Take a deep breath Bernice and drive on the right, remembering to change gear occasionally, with Roy keeping an eye on the upcoming GPS instructions. We managed to find our way with only slightly raised blood pressure, sweaty palms, a dry mouth and a complete feeling of nausea!!!! Our Airbnb Host was waiting to let us into the apartment and after a quick guided tour we were on our own.

The apartment.

As we started to unpack and sort our gear, with sickening reality it became clear that Roy did not have his iPad, everything was carefully searched but to no avail…….oh no, where had he last had it? at St Pancras Station? he must have left it behind. We put in the call to the lost property department in the hope that someone may have handed it in, and sent email enquiries. Alex is also going to ring the station in the morning to see if it has been handed in. We tried doing the “find my iPad” thing but we could not work out what the hell we were doing so we gave up.

After a very restless nights lack of sleep, Roy was up at his usual early hour and went off for a walk. He was soon back, oh no, what happened this time? His glasses had broken in half straight across the bridge! By 9.30am he had found a local Optometrist who had a frame that would fit the not so old lenses, and he would have them repaired by the afternoon. Meanwhile he is wandering around wearing his reading glasses.

Just as we were about to head out for a walk around the village to check out the market, I had a sudden brainwave…..”Roy, did you check the car for your iPad as I am sure you used it to find the telephone number for the Airbnb yesterday”…….sure enough, there in the back of the car was the ipad! 🤦🏻‍♂️

As for the title, well sometimes things work out!!!

Yes, we did go and but a lotto ticket, it’s up to €190million!

PS. Yes, we have worked out how to locate our phones and iPads, simple really!!!

PPS. New glasses have been collected and look very swish!

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Techno upgrades

January 13, 2017

It’s a sad day when your headphones no longer work and you cannot fix them.  Damn, cos they were really good ones that Antony bought me a few years ago, and I really liked them as they were comfortable.  It seems that there is  a broken wire somewhere as first one ear piece had no sound, then it was both ear phones, although I did manage to get them working again intermittently if I wiggled the cord a bit and held it in the right place and hoped the wind didn’t change!  

In the end I gave up and headed off to buy a new pair, this time wireless headphones so no wires to break.  I don’t like the in-ear phones, they just annoy my ears besides one ear bud never seems to fit properly and they always fall out, after looking around and checking out different types and brands, in the end I went with the same brand and style of my previous ones.  

And they are brilliant, as well as being very comfortable they are very clever. Not only can I adjust the volume from the earpiece controls, I can also pause and restart whatever it is I am currently listening/watching.

Whilst I was in the store I happened to spy the new iPads, I currently have a mini iPad which has served me reasonably well over the past couple of years but I have run out of space in it.   I like it because it is just so much lighter than my previous iPads and it fitted comfortably in my handbag but of course the new iPads are just as light and thin….so yep, you guessed it I now have a new iPad, and cover of course, to go with the headphones. 

Waiting for its new cover to go on.

I am just going through the process of transferring everything off my old iPad to the new version.  Then I can wipe everything off the mini and donate it to a worthy cause – in this case, Antony!  As he has surgery and a long recovery coming up, he will be able to use it for watching movies and reading.

To top it all off, we have also purchased Chromecast, a device which allows us to stream wirelessly from our iPads directly to the TV.  Goodness, we won’t know ourselves soon.  We are certainly not missing usual TV watching at all, and certainly not missing ad breaks every 10 minutes.  


Of course summer is here now which means more time is spent swimming and being outdoors and away from devices, but I’m sure they will all be well utilised.

We have data!

January 3, 2017

We have leapt into the real world and now have lots of internet data!  You see, up until a few months ago we have only had limited data (6GB/month) available through the mobile phone network (at exorbitant rates) and to access more we have had to make use of free wifi spots at libraries and the like around the country to satisfy our internet needs or pay through the nose for extra data.  However, a few months ago we became aware that there were other options available.  

We waited until the dust settled on the debates around which options were best and which company to go with before making an informed decision on what was best for us. As loyal Vodafone customers we also approached Vodafone directly to see if they were offering a similar package, however, after many phone calls and checking with many levels of management it seems that yes, they do offer a package for their customers however their modem is geolocked which means you cannot use it outside a specific area.  And yes, they know about the other companies offerings and no, they are not about to offer similar services any time soon!  So guess what? They have now lost these loyal clients, and we have changed our phone plans which means we are saving ourselves plenty, well, enough to boost the happy hour funds!  

With now just the two other options (and yes, we understand Spark is also trialling a similar system) we had to make a choice on which company to go with.   Both options are utilising the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) which is the government’s initiative to provide fast broadband to areas outside the urban copper and fibre networks. It uses long range fixed wireless towers to provide broadband coverage to receivers  within range. 

After much debate and checking out our options we have gone with a company called  Netspeed.  

We rang them to get ourselves sorted which was done quickly and efficiently.The modem arrived the next working day to our designated mail pick up point, where we returned with it to the van, plugged it in, another phone call to Netspeed to activate and voilà, instant internet access. As we already have a Yagi directional aerial set up for Vodafone, if it is required, but at this stage we have had no problems with access to good fast internet anywhere we have been. Although we have put it up whilst we are here at Shakespear as we are parked in a bay which is surrounded by trees and the signal is so much faster with the aerial up.


At the moment it sits on the sunscreen visor at the front and is plugged into the 12v adaptor.  We haven’t mounted it permanently as we have found that depending where we are in the country it works better in different locations in the bus. For example when we were at Rarawa, it worked best when it was located at the rear of the van in the bedroom.  And whilst we are here at Shakespear it doesn’t get moved, nor does it get turned off!

Now we don’t know ourselves, having gone from only having 6GB a month to 120GB peak hours plus another 50Gb off peak (10pm – 6am – perfect for the lark of the touring party), we can watch movies, catch up on TV series and generally waste time to our hearts content 😉 and all for a similar price to what we were previously paying on our phone plans.   

We have also given up Sky TV (until the netball starts again!!), and as a result we have decided not to bother with a Freeview box either so we are a TV free zone and not missing it one iota.  We sometimes have a feed running from the computer to the TV to watch the news on demand, but most of the time we don’t bother.  

So if any of you have any recommendations of movies or series we should watch, then let us know.