On Friday afternoon the Internet went down. And it stayed that way for four days.

Wednesday 20th October 2021
On Friday afternoon the Internet went down. And it stayed that way for four days.. 

SUNDAY 13:00

On Friday afternoon I had to go to the Hospital in Bideford for the latest round of treatment for my poor, beleaguered feet. About an hour before we were scheduled to leave I noticed that—once again—the Internet was down.

We went into Bideford on schedule, and I took my trusty iPad with me, and at various locations I tried to get online. I can usually manage this on the National Health Service limited wifi, and on the wifi at various supermarkets, but on this occasion, NADA!

When we returned home we rang the BT150 number and were told that it would be an estimated 9 hours before service was restored, and by the end of the day, that estimate had gone up to forty hours.

First thing on Saturday morning the forty hours had – according to Graham – increased to ninety, but by the time I surfaced in the early afternoon (Saturdays is the one day I take off in the week) it had been revised to two hours, and as it has remained at two hours ever since (I am typing this at 13:00 on Sunday) I think that this estimate is not worth the electrons upon which I am typing this.

The obvious supposition is that once again we have been the victims of vandalism by the aforementioned person or persons unknown, but of course this is pure supposition.

With my journalistic hat on I would love to be able to write that we are in the midst of frantic riots by people whose Internet lifeline has suddenly been taken away, but this would be pure hyperbole. Not that I have anything really against hyperbole mind you, but Graham is the only person I have seen since I left the Hospital, and apart from dear old Ve Macrinnon who telephoned me yesterday to make sure that I was OK, I haven’t spoken to anyone else either.

I have a sneaking suspicion that on this occasion the problem may turn out to be more serious, and possibly more widespread. I tried to phone Louis yesterday afternoon on five or six occasions, but his phone would not accept my incoming call. And, according to Ve, he had similar problems telephoning me. Certainly we have not managed to communicate,

What this means for the production of this current issue of the magazine I have no idea, although, I assume that if you are reading this now then you will have an idea how it all pans out.

SUNDAY 17:00

A few interesting developments. I managed to telephone Louis in order to get a few important messages to the outside world, and it appears that the fault is with his phone not mine, and so one facet of this annoying affair is now explained.

However, whilst whenever I telephone BT150 it says that they expect it all to be fixed within two hours (as it has done since yesterday afternoon at least.) when Graham phoned the helpline on his number, it claims that it will take another sixty hours, which will take us well into Wednesday.


I am reminded of the experimental novel that Davey Warbeck is said to have written in The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. The one where the protagonist dies of starvation, exposure and loneliness in the wake of an unsuccessful Antarctic expedition.

No I am not. Not really.

I am happily eating Val Snape’s apple pie and reading Christopher Josiffe’s book about Gef the talking mongoose of the Isle of Man. And not a penguin in sight.

MONDAY 11:30

For some reason Graham’s phone has stopped dialling out, and so—although my phone still claims that broadband will be restored within a couple of hours (as it has claimed since at least Saturday lunchtime) – we have no idea what his line claims (yesterday it said sixty hours).

Graham went up to the village shop and has confirmed that, yes, broadband is out throughout the village and has also garnered the amusing claim that the lines had been chewed through by “super rodents”.

This is all getting rather Fortean, with the only two cited causes of the outage being people who believe that 5G transmissions are spreading Covid-19 or the predations of giant mutant rats.

Graham will be going into town in a moment to order my meds, buy some groceries, and check out the availability and cost of something called a “dongle” which, apparently could allow me to get online for short periods of time so I can, at least, get this issue of the magazine out vaguely on time. On top of this, Richard Freeman telephoned last night with the news that he has managed to get hold of an alleged almasty finger (an almasty, just in case you didn’t know, is the mythical Wildman of central Asia) and needs to bring it here to be photographed and filmed, and so we can write a press release. You couldn’t make this shit up.

And now, an hour later, Graham finally managed to get through to BT150 on his phoneline. Their latest estimate is 44 hours.

MONDAY 15:00

Sarah, my housekeeper, and a lady of whom I am very fond, has been and gone. She was full of the news that Bill Gates was having dinner with J P Morgan and Boris Johnson this evening. “This is where they put the next part of their plan into operation”, she said.

The conversation then went on to Prince Andrew. Shagging a seventeen year old isn’t paedophilia I said. Forty years ago I did exactly that on a number of occasions. He may be a sleazebag, and I know enough to suggest that this may well be the case, but from where I am sitting it doesn’t look as if he has broken the law in the UK. And I think that he is probably stupid enough to imagine that what is legal in the UK is also legal in the United States.

And no, Her Majesty the Queen is not a lizard, even though she has lived an extraordinarily long time. She just has good genes—but not reptilian ones.

Admittedly here, in the interests of full disclosure, Sarah and I were talking about a YouTube video she and her significant other had watched, and she didn’t believe it either.

There is something wrong in the State of Denmark when one can be banned from YouTube for saying something disparaging about the Black Lives Matter movement but not for saying that our beloved head of state is a cannibalistic reptile.

My producer Louis wouldn’t even let me make a joke about Cat Lives Matter in which the CFZ cats pushed a statue of Archie the dog into the goldfish pond, saying that it would probably get me banned from the platform.


One thing has changed. Both telephone lines now proudly proclaim that the powers that be confidently expect the repairs to be concluded within 26 hours. So, sometime early afternoon tomorrow we should see a return to digital normality. But I am not holding my breath

However, there is an additional complication: Tomorrow is full moon day, and I am likely to be as mad as the proverbial bagful of cheese. However, at least my antibiotics course finishes sometime in the next few days, and I can take recourse in my normal cure for such things.

My bloody feet have been hurting all night because my neuropathy is worse than usual, but what has caused this, and—more importantly– what I can do about it, I have no idea.

So, in the meantime, I am happily cuddling Lilith Tinkerbell and reading Rich Deakin’s book ‘Grebo’ which tells the sordid, but undeniably entertaining story of Gaye Bykers on Acid and Crazyhead. He was kind enough to send me a review copy, and I am enjoying it massively. With nothing else to do but read, that is exactly what I am doing, and I have caught up slightly with the ever growing pile of books that are scattered across the house waiting for me to write reviews of them.


My old friend Kaye, who is more like a sister than a friend, and whom I have known for just over fifty years, phoned this afternoon basically to tell me the details of her sister’s funeral next week. However, she also told me en passant that she had been told by BT that the internet would be back to normal by tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at ten.

I was sceptical because I don’t basically believe anything that people in the position that BT found themselves yesterday say. However, guess what?

Louis gave me a ring just before seven in order to see if I was OK. Olivia had phoned earlier for much the same reason. They seem toi think that I am incapable of looking after myself, and they are probably right.

But as I was talking to Louis, a whole barrage of beeps and clangs came from my iPad and the internet was back on.

The Dark Ages were over until next time. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that this is merely a harbinger of things to come. I think that this coming winter is likely to be very nasty with power and internet outages becoming the norm rather than the exception.

I still doubt whether dear Sarah is correct. I don’t think that this is the result of some great conspiracy. I just think that those who have been placed in power over us are generally crap.

Welcome to the new normal, which coincidentally is the title of this rather spiffing new album


More of Jon’s diaries 


Jonathan Downes
Cryptozoologist, naturalist, musician, singer, composer, poet, novelist and Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology since 1992. Jon was born in Portsmouth in 1959 and spent his infancy in Nigeria and his childhood in Hong Kong. His wife Corinna died of cancer in 2020, leaving him with two stepdaughters and a six year old granddaughter called Evelyn.