Living in Portugal we have made great use of the internet. We send emails most days, we use it as a library, and there are no high-tech products in the shops in Lousã or Coimbra or Fundão so we shop on the internet. We use it for banking, for booking flights and hotels, we half our phone bill using VoIP, and more recently we can see and talk with our family through Skype. When we are at the quinta none of these things are possible, and as we now spend half our lives there internet access has become a high priority. So on Monday 9th Nov we went to Fundão market for our local veg, then visited the Portugal Telecom shop (staffed by three girls) to request the installation of a phone and t’internet. We paid €50 and were told it would all happen in a week’s time.


The posts arrive

On Friday a PT engineer arrived, to discuss the location of the poles we would need. He also put a connection box in the granite house. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Sure enough, on Mon 16th a PT lorry brought our posts and these were planted five feet deep by hand -none of your namby-pamby drilling lorries and cranes for these men! They ensured it was upright by comparing it with a plumb line.

One of the workers is a university student, who studies electrical engineering for two days a week and works with PT the other three days to pay for his education. After graduating he will return to his home in the tropical colony of Cabo Verde -he says Portugal is too cold!


In the afternoon the engineer returned and finished the connections. He plugged in our modem, made a test call and gave us our new phone and its number, and drove off away from the sunset – our main driveway heads east from the house.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried connecting to the internet and was asked my username and password; not recognised! I re-tried, again and again, then rang the Sapo (Internet  Provider) helpline, who said they had activated my account now and would phone to confirm. On Tuesday a text arrived to confirm. I tried the internet again, same problem as before, so went off to the PT shop in Fundão again and asked them to sort it out. The girl accessed my details and said they had been incorrectly recorded compared to the forms I’d signed. She would get it corrected and we would have the internet.

We returned to the villa for a week, during which Janet had a phone call from Portugal Telecom to say they would come and install the posts next Thursday !

When we returned I tried the net again – “Please confirm your details” so I did, and moved on to the second of eight pages – what??! On page four Sapo would associate my new email address with my user account, so what’s the password? “Not recognised”. Nor on the umpteenth attempt, “The address is already associated with an account” -mine, but Sapo’s computer hadn’t worked that out. After nearly forty attempts to “get on t’net” we returned to the PT shop in Fundão yet again and asked them to sort it out. It was now the last day of November. The manageress emphasised that you have to use their Client Helpline whilst seated at the computer, whilst a second girl busily typed at her terminal using the details I’d written for her. The boss said she was wasting her time and nothing could be achieved. The girl told us she’d annulled some details and try again at home, where optimistic but armed with our details and ready to use the new telephone, I turned on the laptop. It went straight into my homepage. Well ! On our next trip to Fundão she will have a bunch of flowers, given in front of the boss.