Another day, another byte 
I've managed to dig out the old bicycle from the tangle of jasmine and got it working again. It was part of an office competition. There was a campaign to get people riding bicycles, and since we already had two keen cyclists, we decided the team might be in with a chance. Got second place in our division, largely because we got extra points for encouraging everyone to ride. And I finally made it to the top of the hill. I used to do a lot of cycling, but gave up when I came here because there's a big hill on every road out of here. But after several weeks getting slowly further, I finally made it to the top. Now I'm trying to keep it up by doing that once a day. Feel noticeably fitter now; it certainly helps after spending the day slaving over a hot laptop.

Got out my Dad's old clarinet too. Started playing it just after Christmas, and now I can play in six sharps. I'm focussing on sharps because it's a Bb instrument and I have to add two sharps to everything. Plus the guitars LOVE sharps. I should be fine, just so long as I don't have to play in flats.

The internet has been poor lately. We do have a copper line, but it kept breaking down every time it rained, and in the days when we had a standard phone, it was very good at picking up the radio. Then it was out for six weeks. The whole valley. So we managed to get a connection with Vodafone using a mobile modem. It's pointed at the cellphone tower in town, which is about 5 miles away.

It was good for a while, but then times changed. The town got congested, and we got crowded out. Some days we couldn't get anything at all. Other times, a packet eventually returned, grubby and trampled, over a minute late. Dad did his best to bring home a little bandwidth from town, but it was never enough to go round, and we had to sit hunched around the old satellite TV because it was the only thing still working. Some days, Sarah would go barefoot down to the village; on a good day you could pick up a few kilobytes down by the stream. But mostly, we had to satisfy ourselves with Rachael's pigeons. Old Mrs Simpson said we had it easy, and in her day they had to send email by smoke signals and the old Maori telegraph. Maybe one day they'll finally cut their way through the bush and run the fibre down the hill. We mustn't lose hope...


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