Mad as a fish

I was clearing out some old paperwork and came across the documents I had printed off when I used the aforementioned ‘Mad as a fish’ as my Internet service provider (ISP).

For the benefit of anyone under 30 struggling with the concept of what paperwork means, back in the day when you subscribed to or contracted with any kind of service you always got a pile of paperwork. It’s worth adding that all but the most diligent wouldn’t actually read it, but dutifully filed away…or for the less organised, shoved in a drawer somewhere.

I can’t quite remember why I signed up with them back then. I have long since moved on through quite a few other ISPs but not with quite such ‘off the wall’ names. It might have been the quirkiness of having a slightly strange e-mail address such as ugly.ocean-monster@madasafish.com . Although cyber crime and phishing e-mails (no pun intended!) weren’t really widespread then, even in those days it would have been a warning sign to get a random e-mail saying Dear Ugly Ocean Monster, it appears that your car tax Direct Debit has failed, please connect to this site and give us all your personal data so that we can hack you etc. Let’s face it…how many Ocean Monsters have cars, or can drive?

As I wrote on a previous blog, call me baked potato I am actually a big fan of having a random e-mail address or two to use when you are absolutely forced to give a contact e-mail for an unfamiliar on-line retailer or booking service even though deep down you know at best this address will be spammed with rubbish and at worst there will be attempts to scam you.

In fairness to fish, and using the context of ‘don’t get mad, get even’ rather than any kind of Mad Professor behaviour or other suggestion of not quite being in line with everyone else; most fish I have come across have been pleasant and very even tempered and if I recall Mad as a fish were quite good on customer contact and service. Glad to see that they still seem to be around.

These days many people tend to sign up with mainstream providers – in the UK it is often Sky, EE, BT (the original and largest fixed line and phone service provider) ; in the US it’s Comcast and Verizon and a whole host of other big names. If you live in China I think its just two providers . That’s some duopoly!

However in Switzerland , amongst the advantages of living in a country that is very good at Chocolate, Mountains, Trains that run on time and watches that are on time too but have eyewatering price tags, they had a start up ISP called Twifi which generously offered free WiFi for 18 years for anyone who named their child after the company. If you had a daughter is was to be Twifia, if it was a son, Twifus. All you had to do was send them a verified copy of your child’s birth certificate.

Such offers don’t seem to be available in the UK much to the relief of children whose parents signed up with Cuckoo Internet!

Our children were from an earlier era, and it was really just energy providers that were proliferating.

Thankfully for them such marketing campaigns hadn’t existed from the providers we had signed up with, otherwise we might have been proud parents of Octopus and Bulb..the big name providers of the time!

The dog has gone to the pub

It does sound like the start of one of these jokes ‘a horse walks into a pub, and orders a beer etc.’ but it does appear to be a true story.

We went to look at a new house to buy today and as we had run out of polite things to say to the owner, we shifted the conversation to dogs as she had mentioned they had previously owned one (we presume now gone to doggy heaven, or part of a divorce settlement and gone to live with her ex husband along with it seems also half a grand piano, the ties she had cut the bottoms off and the mid life crisis sports car that may have been the start of the the bad times that had ensued.

Anyway, back to the dog. The dog it seems was a Patterdale Terrier called Zoom. Quite why you would name a dog after an on-line conference calling application flummoxed me.

To be fair the dog had perhaps pre-dated the technology age, but it still seemed strange. Nevertheless, calling a dog Skype or Microsoft Teams would have been equally surprising!

As a previous owner of a Patterdale Border terrier cross, I know Patterdales have some endearing qualities to hopefully offset their not so endearing ones of chasing cats and terrorising other dogs who might dare to greet them. Patterdales do like to be liked by people and it seems Zoom was no exception. Being an intelligent dog he had worked out that when he was taken to the local pub, the kindly drinkers of the Fleece would make a fuss of him, let him sleep by the fire and feed him with some very tasty pub grub. In Yorkshire we not only give our pubs sensible no nonsense names like the Fleece, the Rams Head or the Shepherds boy; we also serve decent size pub food portions meaning there is often a bit going spare for a hungry terrier!

The downside of this great local hospitality was it seems that every time they returned home from a walk, particularly in wild and wet wintry weather when the only prospect for the dog was perhaps a bit of a cold hose down to remove mud, and then some not very appealing supermarket dog food, the lure of the pub was too much and he would run off there at the first chance.

So the moral of the story to us was…if you decide to live here and your dog goes missing…check the pub first!