You may have imagined from reading my blogs that my transition to life in Wales has been seamless. This is not the case and, this week, with my friends gone, the full implications of being far from home caught up with me.
You see, I had hoped to open up a UK bank account while in Wales but without proof of address (like a simple utility bill) this wasn’t possible. This meant I could only purchase an expensive, frequently expiring, pay-as-you-go phone plan, which cannot be tethered to iPads or computers. So…my McBook is dead. My iPad is dead. I have no WIFI, except in cafes, pubs and libraries.
Do I hear a collective shudder?
The man in the phone shop was terribly helpful and apologetic when he explained I could not have a proper phone plan. So, helpful and apologetic that when I asked him for an envelope in which to keep my Aussie SIM, he made me a little cardboard packet and stapled it closed. There was only one problem. He somehow managed to staple right through my Aussie SIM.
I was still in the halcyon phase of Eisteddfod and friends, at this stage. I filed my punctured SIM card away as a problem for the future – like when I got back to Australia. Veronica had left me a modem with a gigabyte of data per month. There was only one problem. I used that gig up in a week (no, I don’t have a problem). Then, on one of my trips to the cafe, I received an email. Someone had bought two copies of Grand Theft Auto on my iTunes account. I cancelled the purchase, marvelling at the ease with which this could accomplished.
Or … so I thought.
You see the Commonwealth Bank takes a dim view of people misappropriating credit cards. Within days mine had been cancelled. Fortunately, I’d just made a cash withdrawal. My Travel Card also worked. So, I wasn’t about to starve. I logged onto Netbank in order to update my contact details. This couldn’t be achieved without an SMS confirmation message. Which, of course, required my Aussie SIM card.
‘Have you tried your SIM?’ one of my friends asked.
‘It won’t work.’ I almost wailed. ‘I know it won’t.’
The SIM did work and, ten days later, when my new credit card arrived, I went straight to the cafe, Aussie SIM in hand, to reset my PIN. While in the cafe, Veronica (Stiwdio Maelor’s owner) called on FaceTime. I don’t know if you have ever used FaceTime but it rings on every Apple device you own. A little alarming when in a cafe with three devices pealing at once. I headed back to the studio, only to find one of our new artists knocking at the door. I wrapped my punctured Aussie SIM in its packet and shoved it in the cupboard. By the time I’d greeted the new artist and talked with Veronica, I was in no mood for internet banking. But I was down to my last £20 and needed to make a withdrawal next time I was in town. I grabbed the cardboard packet and headed for the single hotspot in the Stiwdio. Somehwere around this point, one of the other artists dropped her iPhone down the toilet. It was new! And expensive!
Are you getting the picture? We were struck in a kind of Apple users hell.
After discussing drowned iPhone remedies, I returned to my online banking. But when I opened the cardboard packet, my Aussie SIM was missing. It wasn’t on the work bench. Nor under any of the multiple notes I had been scribbling. I checked the bench again. Crawled on hands and knees about the studio. By this stage, my heart had started to pound. My throat was making funny little, strangled noises. I shook the packet, once, twice. Peered inside. Still nothing. Surely, I hadn’t dropped in the street? I sprinted back to my bedroom. Checked my desk, the bin, my bed, rummaged in the cupboard, upending my carefully folded woollens. And there it was, a glint of gold on the shelf beside my passport. I scooped the SIM card up, rocking back and forth. I heard people chatting outside the window, Stiwdio Maelor’s door opening and closing, laughter. Meanwhile, in the bedroom, I was quietly falling apart.
There’s nothing like a good cry to clear the system and, with a fully functioning banking system, I reckon I can survive on cafe and pub internet. Though, it’s possible I’m on a fast track towards alcoholism or caffeine poisoning. 🙂