I've said some things about British Telecom in my time, as long-serving readers can confirm, and not entirely without justification.
However, when there is cause to praise, I hope I'm just as ready to shoot.
I came home from work yesterday and - after my customary restorative mid-afternoon nap - went to make a phone call, because my energy supplier wants to do safety checks on the meters, and I needed to arrange an appointment...
Dead. Not a sossinge. Router line light off. Thod!
There have been BT Openreach bods working on the cabinet across the road nearly every working day since about mid-August, and there were a couple of them there just packing up to leave. I approached.
"'Ey up, lads, have you cut me off?"
They denied it outright, with one of them saying that they were having a lot of faults in that cabinet, and that I should "phone it in".
Nice idea, but a non-starter. As I've also mentioned before, I'm one of the last seventeen or so people in the whole developed world who doesn't have a mobile phone. So, this presented a certain practical difficulty.
My tea was cooking, so there was little I could do for the moment. After my tagliatelle, I went across the road to my neighbour Phil (one all-round damn good bloke) and used his phone. I dialled my own number first, and it rang out. I then waded through the totally-computerised process for reporting the fault, encountering on the way helpful advice about how I could report the fault online. The pseudo-female at the other end ran some checks on my line and found - would you believe - that there was a fault on it. Isn't technology wonderful? 'She' then advised me that the fault could take up to three days to be dealt with. That, I thought, would most likely be that until Monday.
I came back home and brooded for a bit, left about as incommunicado as it's possible to be nowadays if you're not in Belmarsh. No news, no access to e-mails, no easy way of knowing what was going on in the world, and not even able to carry out my modding duties at 45cat or 45worlds. Luckily, I thought of a project I could progress a little without having to have net access, and I spent the evening doing that. As I went to bed at 22:00, I - for possibly the first time in years - put on the radio to hear at least the news headlines.
I got up this morning and spent far less time than usual over breakfast, because there was simply no point in firing up the rig if there was nothing much I could do with it, and so was out of the house about ten minutes earlier than normal.
The one thing about going to work was that there I could at least check the news out, which I did both at the beginning of my shift on the shit-face and at the end of it. I didn't know how long I would be unable to catch up on the known universe at home.
I got home at about 15:00 with no great sense of optimism, but found a card shoved through the letterbox. It was from Openreach and bore the comforting message,
"1.30 p.m. 23/10/14. Line now working. Thanks! BT Engineer!"
with a little smiley drawn on it.
I was moved. No, really I was. I always am when faced with other people's little kindnesses.
I went into the living room and lifted the receiver. Dial tone! I looked at the router. Line light green! Yay!
I went across to tell Phil, and he said that the Openreach guy had been up a ladder to do something to the little doobrie which the line goes into before it enters the Holy Premises, so I can only assume that the winds of Monday had worked something loose.
So, I'm back. Did you miss me?
If you did, don't worry; there's plenty of time for you to reload.