Saturday, 3 September 2011
My online presence has been rather subdued for the past ten days because my router decided to expire. Trying to convince my ISP that the router was at fault has proved to be difficult, despite the fact that both Mrs PM and I both work in IT and suspected the problem from day one.
Finally, last Monday, having performed many tests and "escalated” the problem, my ISP finally admitted that the router was the problem and sent me a new one. Of course, the Royal Mail then played its part and I only received my new router this morning.
But now I’m back, dear reader.
I can read blogs that I have missed. To be fair, I could have read them on my Smartphone but my mobile internet is so painfully slow that I have to seriously resist the temptation to hurl it against the wall. Also, my fading eyesight means that I struggle to read it on the small screen.
Of course I could have accessed the internet at work – and to be fair I did. The problem is that my company has decided that we can’t view personal emails at work and has banned access to Yahoo and Googlemail as well as other stuff like Facebook.
To add to the frustration I was recently offered a cut price online beginner’s course in Spanish and, having recently been to Spain, I decided to take advantage of it. Sadly, because of the lack of internet I have been unable to use it. I have, however, managed to use a couple of mobile applications to keep me going.
Thankfully all that frustration is over and I am back, dear reader.
To be honest, losing broadband has been like losing a limb and I have been asking myself dumb questions like “How on earth did I survive without the internet?”
The one good thing about not having internet is that I have been unable to be on call with work. Support relies on my being able to access systems in other countries from the comfort of my own home and I have not missed being able to relax without the fear of a phone call in the middle of the night.
Sadly, now that I have internet access again, I am back on call.
Oh well, you can’t win them all.
I have had other things to occupy my mind without the internet to keep me busy. The main thing is acting as a diplomatic mediator in a major – and I mean MAJOR – conflict in our very own house.
As you may know, we now have a new cat called Liquorice and she has upset the balance of power in the feline territory within our home.
The good news is that she has taken rather a shine to me, rather than Mrs PM, and she comes to me whenever I call her, as long as the other two cats aren’t in the vicinity. She purrs and rubs up against my leg and only scratches and bites when I deserve it (i.e. when I touch her unexpectedly or breathe the wrong way). I think I have sussed out when she will attack. She has a look in her eyes that basically says “Touch me and it will be the last thing you ever do with your hand!”
Also, if she is spooked she will attack anything within six inches of her.
Jasper is the alpha cat and treats Liquorice as if she is plankton. He watches her when she hisses at him but totally ignores her. She runs away rather than standing up to him.
Our other cat, Poppy – you know, the timid female who is scared of her own shadow – has revealed a facet of her personality that I didn’t know existed. Poppy and Liquorice are in the midst of a major power struggle and there have been a few clashes, dear reader. Poppy has launched attacks at Liquorice who has retaliated. Mostly, thankfully, they have just been hissy fits.
Most of these skirmishes have occurred in the middle of the night in or around our bedroom, waking me up in the process.
During the day, the cats retire to their favourite places and sleep; it is at night that they prowl the house and howl and spit at each other.
Thankfully, the feline fights are reducing in number and now that Liquorice has been outside, she now has another refuge. So the cat wars might be abating, finally.
I have to tell you about one skirmish though.
I came home from work on Thursday and walked into the kitchen. The floor just in front of the cat flap was covered in clumps of cat fur. To make matters worse, there were traces of blood on the cat flap itself.
“Oh shit,” I said before searching the house for the casualties of what must have been a vicious fight.
The first cat to appear was Poppy. I knew that the major battles had involved our scared little cat so I put some food out for her so that I could inspect her for signs of damage. There was none. There were no clumps of fur missing and no sign of scratches or bites.
“Oh no,” I thought. “Liqourice!”
I ran upstairs calling her and, sure enough, I heard her leap down from the wardrobe. She trotted out to see me. I kneeled down, wary that she might be in a savage mood and prepared to rip off one of my fingers.
She meowed and rubbed herself against my knee and allowed me to stroke her. And again there was no sign of injury and all of her fur was intact.
I found Jasper in the lounge and it soon became clear who had been involved in the fight. He looked fine but I noticed a clump of fur missing. What’s more, he had a lump of white fur attached to his neck.
I returned to the kitchen and took a closer look – the fur was black and white. It was then that I remembered the big black and white cat I had seen prowling around our garden. The cat lives three doors away and I have seen both Jasper and Poppy growling at him. He must have tried to infiltrate Jasper’s territory and been attacked by Jasper.
I told Mrs PM and she examined “her big boy” (not me you understand). There were a couple of minor cuts but it appears that the black and white invader came off worst.
And because Mrs PM loves cats, she is now worried that the invader might be really injured.
I reckon he’s alright and I think he will probably not venture into our house again. Besides, he’s had one rather nasty haircut at the hands of Jasper – I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want another.
I’m just hope that our three cats get along – and I think they are getting there. Liquorice is certainly allowing the other two to get closer before mutating into a hissing ball of fury.
And me? I have all of my limbs intact – despite losing my beloved internet for ten days.