Yesterday was a lovely warm sunny day here in Umbria, and I had a few things to do out and about, including an obscenely early rendezvous at he electricity offices in Perugia to try and sort out this irritating supply problem.

I left home early and drove in glorious sunshine over the hills through spectacular scenery to the far side of Perugia to the offices of ENEL(1970s concrete and steel) the electric supply company where although the office had been open only five minutes there was already a substantial queue, so I took my ticket, number 17 – they were currently dealing with numbers 6 & 7, not too bad….

Amusingly  there is a choice of tickets, blue or orange.  To me the dispensers were clearly marked, instructing you which colour  to take depending upon your enquiry ie, existing customer – cancel contract – change contract – discuss contract – resolve billing problem – cup of tea and chat etc. orange ticket and blue ticket for moving back to or from ENEL from another electricity or gas supplier.  Simple huh?  No, no no no… the small lobby quickly filled up with people complaining that the ticket system was unclear, they had taken the wrong tickets and hence were back to the beginning again – by now the dispensers were issuing numbers in the high 60s- and the office closes at 12.30!!  Add to that a sexy sleek computer screen that displays the ticket numbers called- only it doesn’t ‘cos somebody in the office has forgot to reset it and the set up screen is obliterating the main screen.  To resolve this problem is a three man job, one man in an office with a mouse, one man in the lobby standing under the screen shouting directions to a third man holding the security door open who in turn relays by shouting, the instructions to the mouse man.  For those of you old and British enough to remember it was like the 1970s tv programme ‘The Golden Shot’  up a bit left a bit down a bit no too far, right a bit, click!  well one shot in five was not bad and it did cool the heat in the queue.

Technology huh!

Anyway my turn came and I was politely informed that this office could do nothing at all to speed up my application, it is in the system, and a ‘techno’ needs to action the request, not my department I’m afraid.  Where is the department?  Can I speak to them?  Rome NO we cannot communicate with them.  It seems there is no way of circumventing the twenty days that ENEL require to give me a quote for changing an electricity meter, yes all they have to do is change it, disconnect the old one unscrew it off the wall and screw a new one to the same place and  connect the same wires…  hard and complicated eh… and tell me how much it is going to cost….. TWENTY DAYS Then I have to agree the quote and fax it back.  and I don’t have a fax….. aarrgghh….

What is a fax???

I know I’m old and my brain is addled so I sat down and went through my memory, and yes lo and behold I remembered that I had a fax machine in my first hotel in Scotland in the 1980s when my mother in all seriousness asked how the paper managed to shrink sufficiently to pass through the wires and come out the other end…  Well here in Italy they use faxes still, to do everything.  How I have survived all these years here without one is a mystery to my friends.  So I went off to buy one.  Now it seems to me a basic fax machine with a cost of €55.00 represents poor value when for €115.00 you can have the latest cool looking sleek multi-function colour printer/scanner/fax/copier and it is wireless, yeah wireless.  Yes, a no brainer it had to be the Epson BX320FW and I could connect it to my wireless system here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House and work outside whilst sending commands to print, copy fax and scan all without wires.

For the sake of your sanity I will gloss over my attempts at shopping for jeans, hampered by an adonis of mouthwatering beauty trying on a pair of light grey cargo pants (he looked soo divine) that he completely put me off my stride and I failed to buy jeans or anything else.. and jump to the I got home bit, unwrapped the new all singing gadget and went to my apple macintosh computer.  Now I know one of my computers has a broken CD drive, but the shop assistant assured me that I could download drivers from the internet.  Right I thought, get the gadget working with the other computer then connect up my favourite computer and download the drivers off the web.

NO INTERNET….  AGAIN this is the fourth time in a week and the fault lasted until this morning.  I cannot begin to tell you the intense feeling of frustration and helplessness!  Of course the printer drivers loaded from the CD, they appeared on the network but the computers could not communicate with the printer.

I did have a brief wobbly when searching for Epson drivers online – the US and UK sites do not list my printer – puportedly just new and recently launched – so new that there is no mention of it on the Epson sites at all. But hang on, yes there is in the Italian site – fax access only!  Two hours and much patience later all is working, including the internet, but for how long?  And will the all singing/dancing machine let me answer the telephone or will it send those annoying bleeps down the line before I get to the phone?  At least now I can fax a complaint letter to TechnoAdsl my intermittent communication internet hosts.

– and for those of you regular readers still awake, no I have not yet heard of a delivery date for my iPhone 4…..  The offer finishes on Sunday, doubtless on Monday there will be a glut of iPhone 4s and I will be placing an order for two dozen white collar doves, a much more beautiful way of communicating.

btw.. in case you are beginning to feel sorry for me life is not all bad this is the view from my kitchen window as I am typing here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House, near Gubbio in Umbria.

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