Survival without the Internet

While reading this post you are connected to the internet, a service that we all seem to take for granted today, but what would you do if suddenly, without warning, your internet connection was taken from you?

The following is what happened to us on Saturday 28th September 2019 and the experiences of having No Internet after just 6 hours. I will post my short story when we are reconnected and would be very interested to read what you would do if you had No Internet for X days.

Saturday 7am, I always rise early and enjoy an hour or two with my two faithful companions Dylan and Alfie before my wife starts her day sometime after 9am. Living in rural France and at this time of year I can already hear a chainsaw doing its work in the distance. After enjoying my Weetabix and a large mug of Yorkshire tea I settle down with my phone to read the BBC news and check for emails before moving on to Survive France to browse the topics.

My wife is not a fan of Coronation Street so I have the ITV hub app to watch the soap at a time of my choosing and this morning I can watch Friday nights offering. I am not a huge TV fan but I do love my Corrie and was happily viewing when suddenly, No Internet , nothing. I glanced to the Orange black box to see that connection had been lost, but why? After a reboot still No Internet, nothing. I look out of the window and in the distance I can see where the hum of the chainsaw is coming from and instantly realise that the telephone line that serves our house passes beneath the large tree that is now lying horizontal in the road.

I jump into the car to take a look and sure enough the telephone line has taken a direct hit. I explain my annoyance to the 2 chaps who have perpetrated the crime and wonder if they actually noticed what they had done as my one sided heated debate was met with looks of indifference before being told that I should contact the Maire to sort out my problem.

Our Maire in a kindly and helpful sole and as usual listened to what I had to say. He explained that before anything could be done he needed the unique number that is displayed on every telephone pole and advised that he would deal with it. He bid me good day but not before I got my point of view across that IMO the 2 chaps were amateurs who should not be let loose with a chainsaw. I thought of my comment later and realised that my accusation actually encompassed probably the vast majority of rural men in France.

Our Maire was on the case straight away but being Saturday morning I knew that re-connection to the outside world would be days away so what to do now?

We’d been away the previous week and had rain every day since so dirty washing was piling up. Better just check the weather app to see if today is going to be a good washing day but, No Internet .

I am currently writing my latest book on family ancestry which requires a continuous cycle of research and write and yesterdays writing efforts were up to date so today is a research day but, No Internet.

Our internet connection is extremely good here even though we are in a rural location as the exchange is reasonably close. Away from WIFI 4G is gettable in the garden providing I stand on one leg looking north while leaning at 45 degrees over the fence into the adjoining field but it’s useless from indoors so, No Internet.

My wife appears from her slumber and following a warm and friendly greeting from Dylan and Alfie she turns to me and asks, why the long face? And I explain, No Internet.

Later my wife settles to her art room where she spends many hours producing canvas creations of all sorts. I know her mood from what she’s painting. We have the BookBeat app and my wife listens to spoken books while painting. She has just finished listening to the current download and asks me why she is having trouble with a new download and I reply, No Internet.

I am a list person and always have one on the go that tells me what jobs should be done around the house and garden so as we have No Internet I decide this is the perfect opportunity to work my way through it. My leaf blower is currently away for repair in the next village and should be repaired by now so I’ll give the man a call to see if it’s ready but, No Internet .

The reality of the situation starts to sink in, together with the realisation that we will probably have No Internet until well into next week, or the week after.

The websites I use for my ancestry research are on monthly subscription and currently have 2 weeks to run which until today would have been ample time to gather researched information that would last a while to write up to allow a break from the monthly subscriptions but now with No Internet my subscriptions are wasted.

Lunch over and the sun is shining so the garden beckons, my to do list will reduce quickly today. Just finished servicing the ride on and now need to order new blades and oil filter in good time for the next service, I’ll do it now before I forget. I curse at my laptop as the site I normally use for spare parts cannot be reached; my wife reminds me, remember we have No Internet.

My wife is excited as the World Athletics Championships are on the TV today and at least having No Internet will not affect us, she says smiling. Yes I say, thank goodness for satellite TV, she replies: and as we still have TV we can watch the next episode of that series we are following on Netflix, No I reply, No Internet .

Sunday 29th September 2019, we have survived 24 hours now with No Internet.

We’re adjusting to life without our WIFI friend, or foe? Having lived the majority of our lives without the need for www dot, email, apps and Facebook although for exactly how long Google won’t tell me as we have No Internet, what I do know is that life before this technological age entered our lives was just fine and at a much slower pace. Yes, I can get used to this welcome return of days gone by, the peace and tranquillity of life without interference and intrusion but, I hope that we are reconnected to the Internet and the living world out there sooner rather than later!

Wednesday 2nd October 13.40 Hrs. Life has returned and we are back in the real world! France telecom have reconnected the broken wire with a temporary joint but the line still lies on the grass verge waiting for a permanent repair sometime later. We have had no internet for 5 days but to be fair to France Telecom they have reconnected us in 2.5 working days. I hope the lumberjacks get the facture as quickly.

Now to catch up with all the gossip on Survive France.

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I had this experience for a fortnight a couple of years ago - no telephone and no internet. Very tedious because all communication for work is via email, and there’s a lot of stuff I do on the work website, from home, after the actual working day on site is over.

How’s the mobile phone signal at your house?

Had something similar last year - turned up at the house to find the 'net and phone down. Some work had been done on the water mains and someone had clearly driven a JCB (or French equivalent thereof) through our phone line as it crossed the street to the pole, ripping the whole thing from the side of the house.

They had neatly curled it up at the base of the telegraph pole.

At least it only took Orange a few days to come and fix it.

I need reliable internet for work hence I have a plan B and a plan C for in case I lose my adsl connection at home. Plan B is an Orange Domino that I have had for donkey’s years, I use regularly it whilst travelling and working in the motorhome, and occasionally at home if there is a problem with the internet there, which inevitably will happen from time to time because no service is 100% reliable all the time. Would be expensive for anything apart from emails, sending and receiving files and surfing, but I don’t have TV in any case and I can live without YouTube.
Plan C is an annual subscription to the local centre de télétravail, which has a different internet provider to my own one, so it would be very bad luck if they both went down together. Also useful because if I am working on a big project it helps keep a bit of work/life balance if I book a desk there for the duration of the project.
So I think I’m as protected as I need to be against loss of internet. But I do love switching off completely from cyberspace when I go away in the van at weekends, it makes my mind and soul feel lighter and freer somehow.

Not bad but as I didn’t have a smartphone until about 10 days ago it was rather limiting!

Something similar here last February, phone goes through the WiFi, and no mobile phone signal here either. Initially I thought it was just us (well me as I was on my own here at the time) but a short treck to the neighbours identified they had problems too. Went up to the village to phone my husband and let him know he couldnt contact me at all, and spent the next few days feeling a little vulnerable and no wanting to take risks, but otherwise quite happy being reclusive. If I had needed to work it would have been another matter though.

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Mine was ripped down by an enormous machine (vendangeuse) but now I think about it on another occasion we also had a few days without electricity (and no telephone etc) when a tree came down on the chemin that leads to my house, tearing the lines and snapping the concrete poles. EDF were very quick about replacing everything, planting new concrete poles etc. Orange took longer.

We were without phone and internet for 11 days , got it back last week. Tree down on the line through the forest. As we also have no mobile signal, orange said they would deal with it as a priority…to be fair, they did send someone the same day, but his ladder wasn’t long enough, apparently.

I didn’t miss the phone in the slightest. No internet was a PITA

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When we bought our French house seven years ago, I was still tax resident in the UK, but was technically able to give online lectures to my Continental European Open University students from anywhere in the world with decent internet (Art and Visual Culture 1100-2010 - Great course! Even if that endorsement sounds a tad Trumpish).

Anyhow, when ourFrench internet went down, in the absence of a local internet cafe (which in any case, isn’t really suitable for this sort of thing) I drove 20kms to the MacDonalds in Figeac and used their wifi, that reached into their car park, to deliver my live online PowerPoint lecture from the front passenger seat.

I was thereby spared the embarrssment of being seen entering MacDonalds and hopefully wasn’t recognised in their car park (a possiblity as they’re next door to Aldi). In addition, I didn’t put any money into their bloated coffers and most importantly, my students got their lecture on time.


For a bit more class and style, you might have a Norauto’s Car Wash somewhere nearby? I was astonished by strength and clarity of www to my aged tablet from close by, but not actually IN the machine.
(I had a car, then).
Was on my way to McDs, too, for the same purpose, my dog always refused the chicken nuggets, but I’m fine with caramel sundae and strawberry milkshake plus several hours of free WiFi …although very few, if any, French McDs, are all nighters.