Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Holy Internet Grail

My daughter spotted the sign in Oxford Center: internet in the basement only 75p. Looking both ways, we crossed the high street. Not so much to see if anyone shady was watching us, but to make sure we weren't flattened by the bus on the wrong side of the road.

In the shabby convience store we paid the cashier before desending narrow steps. Flourescents buzzed, paint peeled, carpet stank of mildew, and the computers were as ancient as the chairs. You get what you pay for, but I'm not complaining.

At Starbucks the WiFi hotspot must have been refering to the burn in your wallet. At £5 (or $10) just for the privildege to connect with your laptop, I thought the barista was joking. Free WiFi does not appear to exist in England.

I'm only here because BT won't connect us for WiFi at home until Friday after hours and hours over days of waiting on hold for the appointment. Send me anyplace in the world but keep me connected. I start most of my research on line to find people to interview or books to order. I'm a huge fan of Wikipedia. The internet is my umbilical cord to my friends, family and agent. At least the isolation is only temporary and snail mail and phone are working just fine.

I can't blog about our lovely village or share my photographs in this den of cyber-antiquity. I will post a more cheerful blog soon, I hope. We are doing well and settling in with the kids starting school tomorrow. Transitions are difficult, but the hardships provide the best writing material. For now, I sign off. It's midmorning back home in Maine, but tea time here.


Anonymous said...

Hello Sarah Laurence!
I was searching for peter rabbit nursery bedding on google images and saw the hedge hog picture and clicked just to view it and up came this fabulous account of living in England and you blogging about the non existant clothes dryer..Wow! It was such deajavou...we visited in 1998 for a week in Wycnor Park timeshare. Same experience...no dryer. We hung the clothes on a line in the little living room. Not sure my sons jeans ever got dry. Ha...but it was such a beautiful place and fabulous view. In 2001 just my husband and I went to a time share near Cantebury..called Broom Park a large country house that was converted into a hotel and time share. The same experience with no dryer but this time it was winter...burr. We finally found a washing drying place and got the underwear done. Even with this inconvenience I would not trade the vacations for anything...I love the English countryside and next time I go...when our dollar comes back (if ever) I am going to stay near Beatrix Potters in the Lake District.
So glad to have come across your blog!!!

Sarah Laurence said...

Thanks! I too would love to visit the Lake District, but somehow even with a full year to enjoy, time is going too fast. We feel happily settled half way through our stay. Luckily, with family in England we shall keep returning for more.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah....two years later i found your blog...yes we have free WiFi in nearly every major place.....including Starbucks...must have been just Oxford. I live in a place called Brighton which is a Georgian city by the sea....by that that i mean it is listed....hope you enjoyed your time here.



Sarah Laurence said...

Lenica, welcome to my blog! I've been to Brighton years ago when I lived in London. Lovely place.

By the end of my stay I found a few places in Oxford with free internet. Before I returned to the USA, I wrote a post on expat tips for sabbatical in Oxfordwith all the info I wished I'd had back then. We had a wonderful time, and I'm now turning the material into a novel, NOT CRICKET.

I'm still blogging back in the USA.