Ten years ago I would have scoffed at the idea of confessing that I really missed the internet. But I do. It's not been there for me when I've arrived home this past week. In fact, it disappeared from the house while I was on holiday. Yet had been working perfectly reasonably before I abandoned it for a fortnight. No longer.
I returned home to find a message from one of my daughters who had, during our vacation absence, occasionally availed herself of the domestic services present in our humble abode.
I know nothing about computer technology but in a ham-fisted way I made various attempts to get my internet connection working again. Secretly I suspected the family interlopers, including 12-year-old grandson, of being culpable in the collapse of my link to the ethernet world.
Anyway, my techno fumbling was all to no avail and, curiously, each evening I returned from work I felt more and more frustrated by the blank screen.
In the end I bit the bullet and rang my internet provider. It was an overseas call centre which sounded as if every man and his dog were ringing in simultaneously. As I talked through my dilemma carefully – and loudly – with my adviser on the other end of the telephone, it felt as if I was talking to a bloke in a very big pub with a very low ceiling. Anyway, we soldiered on, him repeating instructions two or three times, me, cack-handed, trying to hold the phone and follow his intricate keyboard manoeuvres at the same time.
This went on for a while. Quite a long time, actually. So long, we were on first-name terms.
Then, in an instant, he pulled the plug on the proceedings. Fed up at achieving absolutely zilch progress with my malfunctioning machine he told me there was no more he could do. Contact a computer technician, he said. Which is who I had thought I was already talking to.
And that's where we're at right now. Me pondering whether it's more economical to thumb through the 'phone book (can't use the internet, you see) for a costly techno-geek or bite the bullet and go and buy a new PC.
The latter means being a really sad soul and plodding around computer shops in the lunchtime and being confronted by assistants eager to flog you a new gizmo.
I'm still looking but have already realised that this grim domestic situation does have one positive.
My wife, an avid book devourer, has been unable to downloads dozens of tomes to her Kindle. The money saved has been astonishing.