Reach for the Sky and then break it

Where to begin? Well, we are in and finally, we have tv, phone and broadband! Woo hoo! The saga of getting Sky to get their act together is tedious and very, very long. Over the weekend, Ms Marsden sends me the email address of Jeremy Darroch, Chief Exec of BSkyB so I email him a lovely, polite letter which, if you want to read it, you can find here.

The result of the letter is that I am contacted by a nice lady called Karen who apologises and tries to get things moving. I explain how useless the weekend Sky Help Team have been over the weekend and, essentially, how rude they have been. Telling someone without a reliable phone or broadband connection to ‘speak to the team you last spoke to’ is really, well, taking the piss. Karen seems no nonsense and takes on the challenge of dealing with the numerous people who need to come to the house and drill holes through the wall, plug things in and climb up the telegraph pole outside the house. The week is so chaotic with things to do and phone calls to make that I can’t remember exactly what happened or in what order. We have a lovely man from BT who comes to assess the situation and we have a lovely chat with him. He explains the technicality of the situation and promises to try and escalate it for us. He also tells us that within a year or so we will have fibre optic broadband as he knows which exchanges it is being installed in. As he is not selling us anything, we believe him.

In between the Sky fiasco, I order a new bed from the Memory Foam Warehouse. A couple of years ago, we bought a fantastic mattress from them and now I want a bigger bed with the same fantastic mattress. It is all due to be delivered on Monday. On Monday, a very nice delivery man arrives with the mattress and half the bed. He is very obliging and carries it upstairs for us. I get on the phone to the office to tell them only half the bed has been delivered and we put away the spanners and other tools so that we don’t dismantle our bed without another one to get into. By Wednesday, MFW decides they will just despatch a whole new bed for us. Karen from Sky keeps badgering those who need it and Mr Mason ferries things to either the local tip or a charity shop. I order a new freezer and a tall fridge for the kitchen.

Our postman arrives and introduces himself (his name is Tim) and we have a bunch of flowers from the local Methodist church plus wine from next door neighbours and a whole sheet of information from Andrew who runs the local Friends of Bolingbroke Castle, telling us about meat and organic vegetable deliveries which are made to the village together with which days which wheelie bins have to be put outside. It is incredibly helpful and very touching that people go to such trouble to welcome us to the village.

We have a visit from another BT engineer who is also extremely helpful and he drills holes and puts the cable where the previous engineer says the best place will be. He tells me about which country shows are worth going to in the summer and leaves having set up everything he can possibly set up. After he leaves, we pull phones from their removal boxes and plug them in and, lo and behold! They work! Very shortly after I have a call from Karen who sounds quite triumphant and excited on my behalf that, at last, we have a phone service. Things are progressing. The only downside is that as I exit the room while the engineer is busy with cables, I inadvertently break wind rather loudly. I hold my head high and continue with whatever I am doing. Mr Mason says as long as the engineer didn’t cough or pass out, I am pretty sure to be undetected.

By Friday I am thoroughly sick of the MFW bed people. I phone them 3 times and each time am told the same thing – that they will call the bed distributors who will endeavour to find out where the second bed might be. On the third call, I have a minor explosion. I speak to a nice lady called Elizabeth but use rude words and tell her in no uncertain terms how fed up I am and that if I ran a company such as theirs, I would track items in and out of a warehouse rather than let them go willy-nilly. She promises she will see what she can do and will call back on Saturday. We go off to register with a local GP practice and apart from taking insufficient paperwork, they ring me as we are making our way home to tell me that the GP will not be able to prescribe any repeat medication unless I have proof from my last GP that I  was prescribed it, just until they receive my notes from London. I think this is in case I ask them to prescribe a shit load of controlled medicines, even though I look like a mild-mannered middle-aged woman. I cannot take any more complications so I decide to think about this on Monday when I have an appointment. At least they are able to give me an early appointment – take that, London GPs! At home, as I sit down, I notice there is a third light shining on our router and yay! We have broadband! It’s too late to call Karen or for her to call us but we connect up as many unpacked devices to it as possible.

Saturday dawns and we wait for the bed people to ring. They do not. In the end, I give up and call them myself, speaking to Jed, one of their customer service people. Mr Mason and I both spoke to Jed on Friday and when I called a third time, not one of our calls was logged meaning, to the layman, that nothing had been done. I have had enough of Jed telling me he can do nothing until Monday and I ask to speak to someone who knows what they are talking about. He does not sound best pleased but I really don’t care at this point whether I ruin his entire weekend with a mis-placed comment. He passes me to Lee who clearly, by his tone, has been appraised of my mood. Lee gets both barrels, together with the explanation that I am not angry with HIM but I am just expressing myself. He promises he will look into things on Monday and gives me a number he says is his direct line.

Not wishing to waste the day, Mr Mason and I decide to move a bookcase from one sitting room to the other so we can site it behind the tv and phone. It’s not heavy but a trifle awkward and we manage to shunt it from one side of the house to the other without breaking anything. In order to make things neat, I disconnect the aerial so wires can go through the bookcase and then I plug the phone back into the socket. We make sure the bookcase is lined up properly and before we load it, I ask Mr Mason to check the phone is working. It is not. Neither is the broadband. I must have plugged the phone in wrong. I try to pull the plug out and it won’t come. It’s stuck. I must have pushed it in the wrong way round. Calamity ensues. I find these days I can’t take set backs any more. Everything is like a disaster. There is no leeway, no give in the fabric of my life. We pull the bookcase out. We unscrew the cover to the socket and then try to remove the plug. It won’t come. I try banging it with a screwdriver at which point the whole cover comes apart with bits flying everywhere. Now I have really broken it. Mr Mason fetches the pestle from the kitchen and bangs it with that, eventually getting the plug out. Now I have to reassemble the socket, putting in a springy bit of wire that holds the flap closed. I can’t believe that after all the problems we have had this week, I will have to ring Karen to explain I have now broken the bloody socket and it’s hard to mend things with tears in your eyes. However, I calm down and start to work out how it goes back together again, managing to fix the little flap bit and pop the back onto the cover. We have a spare plug so decide to use that and not to push the bookcase back so hard this time. I reassemble everything with Mr Mason’s help and then we check the phone. It works! I check the broadband. It works, too! I am an engineering genius.

Our saga continues but the main thing is that the house is good, we have enough space and the air is fresh and clean. I am tired (bed by 8.30 most nights – truly a Mrs Dormouse) but in a good way. And at least I still have a bed for the time being.

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