What will you do when digital technology eats itself?
We all know that viruses and malware are an ever present danger in today’s world, and this fact was brought home to me when the Toppled Bollard itself – that most British of institutions – was disabled by hackers from the recently formed revolutionary republic of New Northamptonshire.
Naturally those of us who frequent the esteemed hostelry on the peat and bog hinterland that separates north Northamptonshire from the Noble Republic of Rutland did multiple tuttings and shakings of the head as we considered the implications of this dire event.
The tills would not work, and suggestions to our esteemed pal and landlord Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw that everyone should be given a tab were rejected with a look so stern that several species of wildlife known to inhabit the Bollard are now no more.
Yet so broad and devastating was the attack that it also took out most known variants of mobile phone systems and the local landlines, not to mention the plumbing.
Naturally folk at the Bollard are made of strong stuff (one has to be, given the type of beer Billy provides) and quickly a number of parlour games were instituted, although that was stopped when the fighting over who had won a game of snakes and ladders resulted in six decapitations. They take their games seriously in these parts.
But then, suddenly, and to everyone’s surprise, a team of swarthy gents from nearby Corby burst in carrying boxes, asking for the Bollard regular, Sir Hardly Anyone, who often knocks out his football tipster column on his laptop while sitting in the saloon lounge.
Sir Hardly smiled and in that genial manner inherited via fifty generations of inbreeding, tipped the delivery team sixpence in old money before with a look of superiority that did not enhance his reputation one iota, removed a portable typewriter and ream (as I believe it is called) of paper.
Well, I am sure you can imagine the fuss! Youngsters gathered around, gazing in awe of the 1964 Remington which Sir Hardly expertly unpacked and used to type out today’s Premier League gambling tips, explaining to us that these machines are still in daily use in the Farmer’s Republic to the north.
It was then that Sir Hardly provided those around him with a list of antique typewriter shops in the area and a number of regulars toddled off to get their machines. There was also much searching for a supplier of envelopes and paper (the hairdresser in the high street had a box, for reasons that did not become clear at this time), and a post office (which turned out now to be based at the back of the fish and chip shop).
Within days the Bollard was buzzing with the sound of two finger typists knocking out their commentaries as a whole new industry of “runners” developed, selling and delivering all the supplies needed. Within a week Billy had opened a sub post office in the lounge bar with a subsidiary selling “only used once” stamps at half price in the public.
It was, as the old Northants folk song of days past that might not have been, goes, “just like old times, but we never had any old times.”
Next I moved to Shetland where the offshore wind farms generate enough power to allow a signal to reach Norway which still has the internet. We are told the power stations in the rest of the UK are likely to be offline for a decade or two, so its not too bad.
For a while we took messages sent either via semaphore or hurricane lamp but finally we have relocated the Bollard to Allmenningen a minor village in Vågsøy municipality itself within Sogn og Fjordane county, in Norway. I’m sure you know it. It’s just off the A47.
If you want to know what else we are up to you could try clicking here.
The provisional revolutionary council now running Northamptonshire following its descent into bankruptcy has appealed for calm.