I couldn’t describe myself as being a TV watcher, however, it is nice from time to time to sit for an hour and watch a bit of telly. Sometime about 6 years ago that habit flew out the window. Perhaps it something to do with TV Arabia. You try to work around it a little and your subscribe to a TV package that gives you additional channels, like Sky, BBC, MTV but that doesn’t quite work as censorship is so tight in Qatar that everything is edited. So eventually you give up, download a VPN to tell your laptop it’s somewhere else, watch whatever TV show you want and spend the duration of same scrubbing and buffing.
Then you’re in a friend’s house and you notice a little black box alongside their TV, they flick with ease through every channel imaginable and you inquire, as to where this genius piece of equipment originates. Nobody really knows the source but this guy, say, Mohammad, lives in Dubai and takes orders for delivering uncensored TV at a touch. Every channel from TV3 to Setanta available. So he takes the order, calls another guy, say Ahmed, to come and install the system, c. 10 minutes. When all the channels are fully ready, Ahmed slips you the bill and guess what, its payable to another guy, say, Ali, in another country say, Latvia. They’re an effective little set of dominos because within minutes you’ve 700 channels and you’re paid up for 6 months.
That was six months ago and TV life was restored. Bearing in mind that we were 3 hours ahead all winter and 2 hours ahead now, we’re watching everything a little late. The Late Late show becomes the Late Late Late show. The six o clock news, we watch at 8, Midday I watch in the afternoon and so forth. We had it all, when the kids were gone to the school in the morning and the husband at work, I would spend glorious mornings with Vincent Browne in a hotel in Moate or somewhere; listening to open talks between local representatives and the public. Debates about carer’s allowances, disability entitlements, potholes on roads, I was sitting in Qatar but the head was with Vincent in Moate. Ireland AM kept me abreast of general trends and goings on in Ireland and Midday fulfilled my appetite for girlie trivia. The kids watched Cula Ceathar na nOG after school and by evening I was looking forward to a nice cuppa tea in front of Nationwide to see how one community built an indoor stadium or something out of bits of timber they found. I couldn’t pull back, like a junkie, I needed my fix every day.
Utopia didn’t last long, there was an email, my dealer had got out. Left. Closed down. Finished. And I was left with a habit to be fulfilled and a deactivated black box.
Mornings weren’t too bad but the afternoons dragged on, the kids needed their fix too. If this cold turkey lasted much longer, the unthinkable would happen…………..my husband and I would have to have a conversation as entertainment, he reassured me saying there was no real danger, after all we still had our phones and an iPAD each. We opened the Love/Hate complete series, but it was running out fast.
But 10 days into watching Love/Hate on loop and I’m addicted, late to the party I know. I notice when I collect the kids from school, I drive like we’re in a getaway car, revving and speeding off, leaving a flume of sand behind. I’ve stopped regular curtsies like ‘hello’ and ‘hi’ and instead greet everyone with ‘alright man’. And my answer to every problem, is ‘take him out’. Whilst, making dinner my mind was tangled up gangland murders and feeding the baby just afforded me space to think about laundering cash in Brussels. Two weeks later, the whole five series was finished, no Nidge and no Vincent, only cold turkey.
In desperation I rang another supplier I needed my fix of Irish TV and fast. He came to install an equivalent TV system, ‘it should work ok ma’am, however, please do not hesitate to call my number, if there is a problem’ he said shaking his head, ‘a problem’ I said, ‘there better be no problems, this has to run smooth, ok man??’