Sunday, 19 October 2014

Living Like The Smallholding Folk Long A Go.

The landline is still not working since the lightning a couple of weeks a go.  The telephone company texted the wife's mobile phone on Friday saying that "they had fixed the fault".  So we duly plugged in the handset and it was dead.  So the missus rang the telephone company and explained that she couldn't phone her elderly relation in dear old Blighty.  The lady on the other end said:

"Can she not ring your mobile?"

This is like you going in B and  Q and they tell you to buy your paving slabs from Wickes.

Any road.  The land-line woman told us that our phone problem is a private problem.  So we will have to wait three or 4 days for this to be resolved.

I am in a good mind to let them fix it and then tell them to take the line down.

The gale season is here early this year.  Britain and Ireland is supposed to be getting battered by an Hurricane from Bermuda on Monday night.  No doubt this will mean flooding, structural damage and power cuts due to falling trees?

I was sat there the other night after the lighting struck the power lines with candles lit and torches on the table.  No phone to look at blogs, emails and no television and no peace to attempt to read.  I thought:

"This is what it must of been like before electricity".  You would hand milk the cows and then relax watching the fire under the glaze of your candles and paraffin Tilley lamp.  No doubt hoping somebody would call to put the world to rights.  Wouldn't it have been boring?

Could you manage without electricity or television or broadband?  The joys of country living eh?

36 comments:

  1. When we first arrived here we didn't have any electricity (just two wires swinging in the breeze), no roof (we lived in a tent for a week and then a caravan for three years), no mod cons AT ALL, and only an outside cold water tap with no proper shower for four years. What did I miss? Yep!! It was the internet access. Didn't mind not having any electrical appliances, cooked on a calor gas stove, used torches to see our way to the porta potti at night, but not to have the computers,.....well we managed about four weeks! So, can do without everything else, including a 'proper' toilet, but not to be able to use the internet or work on my computer.....yoweeee!

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    1. I'm with you there Vera, we had what we call our eight year Spanish adventure, the first four years in Catalonia, we moved to an 8 acre finca, no power and no chance of having it , no water and no chance of that either, first three months were spent sleeping in our van, cooking on a small camping stove in a 8 x 10 casita, during this time we erected a 20X12 wooden shed which we lived in for 18months whist building the house. The first thing we did after moving into the 'shed' was to get solar power and then micro wave internet connection, it was three years before we got TV.
      When we moved back to Ireland number one priority was the internet.
      Could not live without it. All other modern necessities can be improvised on.

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    2. Your Spanish adventure sounds amazing, Anne. I have often dreamed of buying a finca in Spain or Portugal. Is it difficult to find work there and was the language a problem? Thanks!

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    3. We lived in two different places Dave, four years in Catalonia and four in Galica, in Catalonia just about every Brit that did not have a private income became either builders or estate agents, the tales we could tell would make your hair curl. It is almost impossible to get work in Spain unless you have CELTA, which is a higher form of TEFL ( teaching English as a foreign language) Celta is required by all public schools and academies.

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    4. Hi Anne. I know of similar tales of people coming from the UK to Ireland and not being able to get employment teaching because they didn't speak Irish. My friend teaches TEFL in Poland. So I know a bit about that. I think most rural areas in Europe have big unemployment problems.

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    5. Yes Dave the language was a problem, Spain has so many different languages, in Catalonia the first language is Catalan, followed by English and then Spanish (Castilian) Galicia is Gallegan which is more like Portuguese, then you have the Basque country, their language is Euskaei, Valencia is Valenciana, and Madrid Madrilenian. There are a couple of others as well, does not make for easy conversations.

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    6. The languages do sound like a major problem, Anne. I suppose the heat is also difficult to cope with? It would be great to live somewhere warm in Winter and Ireland or the UK in summer. I hate the dark nights and gales and the rain.

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    7. May through to Sept was hell for me in Catalonia, far too hot, the winters are very cold with lots of snow. For acceptable weather I think you have to head for the Mediterranean coast line.

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    8. I have read Goerge Orwell's: 'Homage to Catalonia', Anne. Set during the Spanish Civil War. We visited the Algarve in Portugal (obviously) last April and I fell in love with the place. It's my ambition to maybe live in a 'doer upper' Finca there one day. I suppose it would be difficult to find work unless we lived in a touristy English speaking area? At least you had the get up and go to live in Spain. Thanks for the advice, Anne.

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  2. We tend to think mod cons like electric have been around for ever, but I remember as a child not having electric in our house, it was wired in the mid-50s. We did have mains gas, quite a rarity and confined to places where the had "town gas", in our case a product of the local steelworks, it was also used to light the gas street lights.

    Trying to remember life without electric; the lighting was by gas mantle, heating by open fire, cooking by gas. I think people tended to go to bed earlier and get up earlier, pubs shut at 10:30 and the buses stopped running at the same time.

    TV was a rarity; mobile phones and computers still in the realms of science fiction; there were a lot of telephone kiosks, the old GPO red coloured ones, no longer in service but sometimes seen as garden ornaments, I saw one being used as a shower cubicle.

    Be difficult to manage without electric now though, we're well and truly dependent on it, just about everything we do uses electric, including our gas heating system.

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  3. Hi Vera. You should write a book about your smallholding in France. We had similar experiences when we moved into our little house in 2003. We had an extension lead for electricity connected to an old outbuilding, no floor coverings, toilet or plumbing and no internal doors. Then we went to see the local credit union who listened to us and loaned us 3 grand and made our dream come true. I am totally addicted to my computer and the internet. First thing in the morning. i check my emails, blog and read other peoples blogs. No I couldn't live with out the Internet.

    Thanks!

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  4. Thanks for that Cumbrian. The world seems to have changed more in the last 20 years than ever before.

    I remember when my grandparents were near the end of their live during the early nineteen seventies and me and my dad would walk quarter of a mile to phone a neighbours house in Ireland, where my uncle would be waiting for our call. Usually when we got to the telephone box it would be occupied.

    It's hard to imagine life without mobile phones or the internet. We don't even have a telephone kiosk for several miles or so. Aparrently they said that nobody use it? Crazy!

    I believe when they were connecting electricity power lines to a lot of the rural properties here in Ireland in the fifties and sixties. People said they didn't want it, because they had never had a bill before. It would be handmilking, rush and oil lamps, candles and perhaps a Lister engine milking machine.

    I remember visiting my grandparents when I was about five (1968ish?) and they only turned the radio on for the news.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

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    1. Yes, I remember the farms had the Lister generator, it was started for morning milking and that took all the power, then the house got the use of it if required, but limited to the what could be used. Most of them had coke-fired Agas for cooking and sometimes hot water.

      With the current price of electric, standing charge for the meter whether you use any or not, and no possibility of any reduction, I think some of the small farmers would probably gain by reverting to a pink (or green) diesel-powered generator system.

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    2. They still make Lister engines, Cumbrian. Our Smalley digger has a Lister engine. There's a company in Ireland that can convert your heating oil central heating system to cooking oil. I believe they are growing a lot of bio fuels in England these days. Thanks!

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  5. our TV works on and off and I refuse to buy a new one. If it decides on any certain day to have a black screen then I read my paperwhite kindle, light and the written word (some magic must be involved there...) the battery lasts for ever as well.

    But like everyone else, I don't think I can go back from having internet access. it really has changed the world.

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  6. Hi Sol. Yes kindle is very good. I also forgot to mention You Tube and all the free music that is available on-line to watch and see. I can even see concerts that I have been to because some body will put them on You Tube. I haven't bought a music CD for ages and bands have to tour now instead of just living off their royalties. You can't beat live music, but You Tube isn't bad either.

    The Internet is like the invention of the wheel, Sol. Like you say it really has changed the world.

    Thanks!

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  7. There is no mobile phone signal in this house and I really miss it because I used to use my mobile phone and unplug the landline where I lived before. Now I rely on the landline. But that drops down quite a lot and of course takes broadband down with it mostly. I didn't know any of this when I bought the house. I am glad I didn't because it would have put me off and I might not have bought the house but I really love it here. We are in a slight dip and that seems to be the reason for the lack of mobile signal. I hate being without the internet most of all though when it happens.

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  8. Hi Rachel. Mr Welbeck scored again. We have a broadband dish on the gable because the landline was always dipping and too slow. I get so annoyed when I can't get the blogs and emails on the Internet. Thanks!

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    1. Welbeck scored and saved them from what could have been an embarrassing afternoon Dave. WeI have been out this afternoon so don't know what has happened since yesterday but see that Harry Redknapp is due to be on Sky News at any minute. We have just watched Countryfile and are now watching Sky News! Greetings from England.

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  9. United are at West Brom tonight. I think Mr Wenger needs a big war chest in January. Chelsea look like they are running away with the title, Rachel.

    I also watched Countryfile. I liked the horse and vintage tractor ploughing and the turkey chasing Border Collie.

    Greetings from Ireland.

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  10. I like living in what I refer to as semi-isolated rural areas and taking the rough with the smooth - my inner happiness is not geared to the frivolities of life.
    Yes it's a different way of life when there is a power outage, we get a number of those during the stormy weather - it's then I start thinking of how lucky I am for there are candles in the cupboard, sufficient dry food to keep us going for days water in the barrel and a fire in the stove the pipes won't burst I fitted a safety valve. Did I forget to mention that there is a battery powered radio in the drawer and loads of books on the shelf and a mirror on the wall to reflect extra light. Failing that we can always tell stories to each other for we have fertile minds, us being - herself an artist and me a poet.

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  11. Good on you Heron for being artistic and having fertile minds. I love Progressive Rock music and Folk music. This weekend a friend told me about the English Folk singer Anne Briggs. I have never heard of her. She reminds me of Sandy Denny. Take care during the Hurricane tonight, Heron. Thanks!

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  12. Sandy Denny ! I think she and I met once upon a time.

    Hurricanes come and go and one day we shall have snow,
    The chill wind that it brings sets my cheeks aglow.

    Enjoy all life Dave for we are only here for awhile.....

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  13. You met Sandy Denny, Heron? I have walked passed Donovan here in West Cork. I am in awe. "As she moved through the fair" is one of my favourite songs of all time. Sandy Denny had such an incredible mesmerising and haunting voice.

    You're right, we should enjoy life.

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  14. What I have learn't in the last 29 years of living here, is that Ireland is very like Glastonbury - only larger!
    You never know who you are likely to meet or see when out and about. STARS major & minor going about their lives in freedom and people paying no heed to them - which is just as it should be everywhere.

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  15. Yes I think the Irish have it right like that, Heron. I also like Ireland because their doesn't seem to be social classes like England. I have thought of a few more celebrities who we have walked passed in the street. No doubt I stared at them but they just carried on. They are only human even if some of them have god given talents!

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  16. I think I could do without most yhings but I'd miss the broadband too much. Having all that knowledge there is juat so amazing. Whe I koved in wigh my wife I tried to convince her we didn't need a tv. Although I love watching some programmes I worry its all just one big waste of time where you never really learn much. Much better to go and potter in the shed!

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  17. Hi Kev. I am a bit of a telly and Internet addict. I think we could invent some great television programmes between us with smallholding and self sufficiency themes. What about a weekly programme rescuing old tractors and diggers from old farm buildings, hedgerows and perhaps showing enthusiasts collections? Or showing different walled kitchen gardens? I complained to Sky asking them where all the garden programmes have gone to and they never replied? Thanks for your comment, Kev.

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  18. Hi Dave, hope the storms didn't affect you too b adly. We city dwellers lost power for over 24 hours a week or so ago - over 85000 houses without power because of a substation fire. It certainly was a wake up call as to how much we rely on power - my car was trapped in the garage for a start! Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

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  19. Hi Carole. It will be your summer now, won't it? Ireland and the British Isles are getting hit by an hurricane from Bermuda tonight. We don't have any drinking water when we get a power cut because the pump in the well relies on electricity. I never thought about electric 'up and over' garage doors. We use electricity in every aspect of our lives. I enjoyed reading your last blog post: Carole's Chatter!

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  20. Hi Dave - Although I love summer - the warmth and sunlight - winter has it's own peace and attractions in the countryside - great fire in the hearth, books, candlelight, radio plays, stews,frost and the sight of the Milky Way!
    Talking with a woman the other day who puts her computer away in the winter to focus on other things.Take care.

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  21. Hi Jane. Good weather means so much living in the countryside. Christmas is so overrated and having no street lights means it's dark by four or five in the afternoon in winter. I think the computer is so important to communicate and view during the long days of winter. The hurricane wasn't so bad down here. Can't see any structural damage. Thanks for your comment!

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  22. Hello Dave,
    Agree with Jane, Kev and Heron.
    Love the dark of night, would hate to have street lights. Use candles and tilly lamps often, just because!
    No telly, no mobile, lots of books, crafting and firelight dreaming. Music and a glass or three of red.
    Have a land line and broadband. Avoid the media in all it's forms as much as possible.
    We do get rather a lot of power cuts here, I know not why, and the computer going down does annoy me.

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  23. Hello Irene. I miss pavements, public transport and street lights. I agree with you avoiding the media. It always 'Bad news'. Thanks!

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  24. I do hope that your life style does in some way compensate, Dave. I could do with some public transport as my eyesight will not allow me to drive.

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  25. Thanks, Irene. I think public transport is so important. Yet you see so little of it in rural areas. Seems to be the towns and cities get the infrastructure and the countryside gets very little. Thanks!

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