29 May 2008

Hail to thee, blythe mobile

I am frequently to be found making obeisance to those great gods of the mobile telecom pantheon, Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile. Without them and their phones, data cards and dongles, it would be doubtful whether the two of us could enjoy as much time as we do on board the old girl. Well, we could but we wouldn’t remain gainfully contracted for long..

Now it is unusual for us not to have at least a good GPRS signal and more often than not we get 3G, with an increasing occurrence of the super fast HSDPA to speed things up even further. If someone a year ago had said I’d be downloading 450MB of Dr Who from BBC iPlayer with no hiccups, then I’d have impolitely laughed in their face. But it’s true and it has revolutionised our on board working capabilities. It has also made my life so much more bearable because up to now, I’ve had to endure, ‘I can’t work like this, I need to go home’, ‘What’s happening to this beeping, effing connection’ and ‘I’ll just give up work now, shall I? See how you like it then!’ and various other protestations about the inadvisability of trying to work on a narrowboat. Cue wi-fi in the marina, HSDPA dongles and we have a new contentment and harmony flowing from stem to stern. In fact, it’s now ‘Wow, this is quicker than the broadband at home’ and ‘I can really concentrate here – I get loads of work done, let’s not go home any time soon.’

Of course, you can see the drawback here, can’t you? What happens if we’re unlucky enough to get a duff connection? Well just don’t go there because we got jammed against the bank on the Shroppie in those high winds earlier in the year, completely unable to move for two days, and himself had the grimmest connection ever to go with his equally grim mood. There was all sorts of swearing as emergency after emergency piled in on top of one another - apparently (he’s a bit of a drama queen) - but you know what, the world didn’t end and he didn’t get sacked. But it was a useful reminder that when we go out on one of our work cruises, and there’s one planned shortly, my days will be all the more pleasant if we have decent mobile coverage. So forget the satellite signal, can he get four bars on his Sony Ericcson without having to do the old ‘trapezing yachtsman’ manoeuvre out of the side hatch?

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