Internet At Home Without a Phone Line

Our house move is nearly upon us and the telecom line has yet to be installed. Rather than panic, I set up a wireless network backed by a 4G mobile/cellular data connection.

The resulting connection is enough to work with but I still look forward to having a physical line. The laws of physics mean a physical connection will always outpace a wireless one.

Simple Approach

By chance I had a spare TP-Link TL-MR3420 bought for family but later no longer required. This surprisingly inexpensive box did exactly what I needed and with almost no fiddly set-up.

If you are looking for a fast, simple to connect solution, buy the TP-Link TL-MR3420 or whatever is the latest model. The low price of the TP-Link box is because you will need a separate USB 3G or 4G mobile stick. The USB stick is plugged into the TP-Link box and the box shares the mobile connection through a wireless network.

This means one mobile connection is shared across all the devices you have.

TP-Link TL-MR3420 + USB 4G modem = Easy Wireless Network

Want a more capable but more complex set up experience? Consider a RouterBOARD.

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Malevolence

6ème has a reputation of being a nice arrondissement of Lyon. Like any area of a city, 6ème has its better parts and worse. When we moved here four years ago, I picked it based on research; the location had all we thought we would need.

6ème’s reputation reached further than we expected. An electrician involved in our house build knew of 6ème and joked that it was a nice area so he should charge us more.

On Monday, two men attempted to burgle our apartment while I was home.

The attempt was not the first incident in this building and our neighbours tell us this is not isolated to this building. Nearby buildings are also suffering increasingly from theft and vandalism.

Like any area, 6ème has better parts with buildings showing off carved façades and pretty squares. In particular I think of Brotteaux and towards the parc de la tête d’or; areas that sustain luxury car resellers and fancy boutique stores.

Brotteaux, Lyon, at night
Brotteaux, Lyon, at night
Entrance to 6ème's mairie
Entrance to 6ème’s mairie

The two men who tried to break into our home were opportunistic. The circumstances that led to them singling out our apartment are clear to us and unfortunate. I do not think they began their day considering entering another’s home but they did not set out that morning as saints either.

Numerous postboxes in our building were forced open or destroyed. What they were looking for I am not sure. What is of particular value in most people’s postboxes?

Our building is old, poorly maintained, and far from being considered a better part of 6ème. The residents are not wealthy or well to do. Our street has multiple laundrettes, a tattoo parlor has recently opened nearby, and graffiti provides a visual backdrop.

Woman walking near graffiti in 6ème, Lyon
Woman walking near graffiti in 6ème, Lyon
Tabac hoarding covered in graffiti
Tabac hoarding covered in graffiti
Man skateboarding along the street at night.
Man skateboarding along the street at night.

I should have called the police there and then.

Up until the last moment, I thought it a mistake. The actions of error or farce, not malevolence. Until the last moment I expected the situation to dissolve.

I was however ready. I knew I would have no opportunity to flee, so fight was my only option. The intruders would block my exit.

Recycling

Being out of the apartment at odd hours shows you a different city.

Our early morning runs reveal an activity I suspect most are unaware of. Bins are systematically checked by organised groups. Those involved are often well dressed men, frequently dragging a wheeled shopping bag, who work their way through bins left out on the street for collection. When sighted, they shroud their activity but often too late to go unnoticed. The streets are long and a runner approaches quickly and treads quietly.

I expected them to extract cashable items, such as broken electrics or reusable items, but they do not. I do not know what they are fetching.

Police

The two men suddenly gave up and ran back down the stairs.

Since then we had our first interaction with the national police. A new experience for us and one that I would like not to need again. A dossier will be created, a reference number assigned, and a record kept. Another statistic augmented.

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Frozen Once Again

2017 started with a wave of glacial weather passing over Lyon. This time I did not get a change to see if ice was floating down the river but we did go to the local park.

The biggest city park in Lyon is called parc de la tête d’or and within the park is a sizeable lake. This winter the lake froze from edge to edge. Small patches of open water remained where circulation pipes kept the water moving vigorously enough but elsewhere a few centimetres of ice formed.

Ice in parc de la tête d'or.
Ice in parc de la tête d’or.
Thick ice formed over the water.
Thick ice formed over the water.
The lake is frozen edge to edge.
The lake is frozen edge to edge.

Bubbles of Warmth at the Market

During the coldest days the number of market stalls was reduced as venders chose to stay away. Of the stalls that did appear, many had surrounded themselves in plastic sheet. Inside powerful heaters pumped out warm air creating a bubble of warmth for the staff and customers.

Reduce number of stalls. Many covered in a bubble of plastic.
Reduced number of market stalls. Many covered in a bubble of plastic.
Inside a market stall. Heater just visible on the left.
Inside a market stall. Heater just visible on the left.

The glacial temperatures have gone now and I am grateful.

Ice covers the pavements.
Ice covers the pavements.

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Happy Christmas

The last twelve months have been a momentous year. Next year will likely see little rest until the house is done and we are settled within – and that may devour most of the year.

Happy Christmas! We hope you are enjoying the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Strand, London
Strand, London
Shopping street decorations in London
Shopping street decorations in London
Shopping street decorations in London
Shopping street decorations in London
Christmas decorations on London street
Christmas decorations on London street
Nutcracker decoration within London street railing
Nutcracker decoration within London street railing

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Photos from Fête des Lumières

Lyon’s Fête des Lumières, festival of lights, returned this week. For the last few years I have filmed the exhibits and shared the films here. This year I tried something a little different.

Heightened security had cancelled the festival last year; so 2016 saw a reduced three day schedule with more check points. I was relieved that the increased security did not diminish our experience.

This year I wanted show more of the crowds that flow through the city streets. The number of people moving around the centre is impressive.

Crowds move through the streets of Lyon.
Crowds move through the streets of Lyon.
Crowds fill the streets of Lyon during the Fête des Lumières.
Crowds fill the streets of Lyon during the Fête des Lumières.
Cafes attempt to attract passing festival traffic.
Cafes attempt to attract passing festival traffic.

Place des Terreaux

Crowds are funnelled towards Place des Terreaux.
Crowds are funnelled towards Place des Terreaux.
Large projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
Large projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
A projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
A projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
A projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
A projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
The Owl is projected onto the buildings of Place des Terreaux.
The Owl is projected onto the buildings of Place des Terreaux.

Place de la Republique

An illumination in Place de la Republique.
An illumination in Place de la Republique.
Lanterns spans rue de la Republique. in Lyon.
Lanterns spans rue de la Republique. in Lyon.

Place des Jacobins

A man photographs the illumination at Place des Jacobins in Lyon.
A man photographs the illumination at Place des Jacobins in Lyon.

Odds and Ends

Detail of a Christmas decoration in Lyon.
Detail of a Christmas decoration in Lyon.
Lights shine out over the River Rhône.
Lights shine out over the River Rhône.
Red light illuminates a street wall in Lyon.
Red light illuminates a street wall in Lyon.

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