Dangling the Dongle in the Olive Groves

This is my first post for two weeks. Followers must think I’ve vanished from the cyber-sphere! Not quite - I’ve simply moved to Italy, a country where the internet is still advanced technology rather than an everyday convenience. Once you get away from major cities such as Rome, or Milan, telephone lines capable of broadband transmission simply don’t exist. Most people use the new plug-in ‘dongles’ for wireless internet using the mobile phone network.
So, on my first day here (after queuing for an hour) we acquired a mobile ‘dongle’ for the laptop which promised immediate access on a pay-as-you-go basis. The only problem was that, after a whole evening deciphering Italian cyber-speak for beginners, it didn’t work. After several phone calls and visits to the shop (more queuing, more frantic flicking through the dictionary) we still didn’t have a connection.

Now (more queuing) we have another one from another Italian server and - after another wait - and a lot of dangling the dongle out of the window for the best signal - we finally have email!!! You really do begin to wonder whether there is a conspiracy somewhere to keep Italians off the internet.

It’s frightening how cut off you feel without access to your email; how frustrating it is not to be able to look things up on Google (let’s not mention Wikipedia!) - I suddenly realise how cyber-dependent I’ve become.
Apart from these struggles - it’s good to be back to the alternating storms and sunshine of the Alpi Apuane. One moment the sun is shining - the next it’s thunder, lightning and torrential rain. The olive picking is in full swing everywhere and the grapes are off the vines and beginning to appear as red frothy liquid from the vats in the Cantine. I haven’t seen much of it, because I’m glued to the computer going through the editorial alterations on ‘Katherine Mansfield: The Storyteller’ and already planning a Homicide - but more of that in my next post!


  1. Ah, the joy of dongles . . . or perhaps not. Have recently returned from the Highlands, staying in a spot where I was assured the dongle would work. It didn't but then neither did the mobile phone. (Dongle didn't work en route either - out of range at every overnight stop.)

    I hope you manage to raise your head from the computer just often enough to enjoy your surroundings. Loved your posts from SE Asia but was in the throes of moving back to Devon and then driving to Scotland and back . . . so didn't manage to comment.

  2. Aren't dongles frustrating? but I'm counting my blessings, since I'm online again if only intermittently. I loved your photographs of Scotland - such a beautiful country, just a pity about the midges!
    Looking forward to keeping up with your blog now.


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