Shorn of Technology

I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this, but Elaine has been in a bit of a huff for the last couple of weeks. She’s barely speaking to me at the moment. But I daresay she’s been chuckling to herself, because trying to get about at night in the wilds of Vermont without her has proved quite challenging. 

Or maybe she’s on curfew. If I go out in the evening, she seems happy to explain how to get to a restaurant. And I try to remember landmarks for the return trip. But, after dinner, everything goes very dark indeed, because streetlights are scarce here. Which means that Vermont is great for stargazing. But I’d like to get home first before I do the stargazing. 

And lack of lighting is not so great for getting home because I can’t see the landmarks I remembered. So it should be Elaine to the rescue. But she just looks back at me in silence. 


So I have to rely on the compass in the rear-view mirror. So at least I know whether I’m getting lost in a northerly, easterly, or southerly direction. (If I get lost in a westerly direction, I’ll be in Lake Champlain.) 

I just mistyped that as Lake Champalin. Now that’s definitely a lake I wouldn’t want to fall into. 

I’m faring even worse when it comes to using my phone for its nominal purpose. I have hardly been anywhere in Vermont where I can get a signal, so calling and texting has essentially been reserved for Maine and New Hampshire. Maybe Vermont has declared independence, but no-one knows about it because they couldn’t get a signal. 


Internet access has been problematic too. At my current place, it’s great. But elsewhere I’ve needed to be poking my head out of an attic window, or lurking in the corner of a verandah. Otherwise I am likely to see the dreaded words: Connected. No internet. Honestly, I’ve been tempted to pluck a few of Strudel’s whiskers to see if I can fashion them into a decent aerial. 

Strudel has let me know that she isn’t keen on that idea. But I don’t really think she’s got a leg to stand on. (Well, alright, she has four legs to stand on.) 

She’s been shedding the Great Moult of 2019, and it’s not a pretty look. Think shaggy camel and you’ll have more-or-less the right idea. There have been so many tufts coming out in one go that I’m wondering whether she’s done a deal with Gillette to produce shaving brushes. 

I have tried negotiating with her to see if she’ll shed a few whiskers instead of some hair. But apparently it’s no dice. Not that dice would make a good aerial anyway. 


At least lack of technology means that there is no risk of being taken over by some force of artificial intelligence. Which is quite a relief really. I am still getting over the fridge I had to deal with for my first two weeks in Maine. 

For a start, that thing was massive. And getting the door open was a real challenge. It felt like I was fighting with a triffid just to get some milk for my tea. 

And then it would get a little too friendly and start walking towards me. Well, actually, it felt more like it was waltzing towards me. The harder I pulled the door, the faster we danced. 

On the first couple of days, I did end up getting my milk. But I also ended up with the fridge in the middle of the kitchen. Then I had to really take the male lead and dance the thing back into its rightful position. 

After that, I realized that the best technique was to sneak up and surprise it. If I got it looking the wrong way and had my wrist action right, I could yank the door open before it knew what had happened. 

Unfortunately, though, this didn’t always play well with items stored in the door that needed to remain vertical. But at least I didn’t need to ask Elaine to know where they were supposed to go.