The hardest 24 hours of my year

30th April: It was a challenge that proved harder than I ever imagined.

24 hours without the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been without the internet before. Holidays are usually accompanied by a self-imposed internet blackout. But at home? At a weekend? No internet?


It all came about after a story in the news. Apparently lots of people would rather do without heating and running water than give up the internet. And in some countries, access to the internet is seen as a basic human right.

Jez couldn’t believe this. I, however, was unsurprised. I rely on the internet. It’s my lifeline to the outside world. So to give up the internet for 24 hours was a very big deal for me.

It was also a very big deal for mum of three, Aly from Chippenham. Aly joined me on the ban. Here’s how she got on:

Ally from Chippenham's Internet Ban

And here’s how I managed:

Friday, 8.30pm: The internet’s only been off for 30 minutes. But already my phone is taunting me. Every tweet and Facebook notification is like a jab in the ribs, poking me, going, “Go on, you know you want to have a look. See what you’re missing? There’s a big party going on and you’re not invited!”

Friday, 8.45pm: We go to order takeaway from our favourite Chinese, before realising we don’t a menu or the phone number. We catch ourselves just before we head to the internet and end up frantically searching the house for a copy of Yellow Pages. We can’t find it, so we resort to ringing a directory enquiries line and asking the man at the Chinese to recite the menu back to us. He’s not happy.

Friday 9pm: Our plans for the evening have gone out of the window. We were going to watch a film. But then realise we can’t do this because we can’t watch it online. We end up trawling through our tired DVD collection and picking a film neither of us really wants to see. My husband is a bit miffed. I’m feeling very deflated.

Saturday 9am: Planning the meals for the rest of the week, I’m in need of some inspiration. My recipe books are non-existent so I decide to find some tips online. Except I can’t. Oh.

Saturday 12pm: My daughter’s doing something funny and looks really cute. I immediately head to my phone to take a snap on photo sharing site Instagram. I catch myself just before I open the App. No internet = no Instagram. Oh dear.

Saturday 3pm: In the supermarket, my husband decides to check his bank account to see if we can afford some fizz as a treat for the evening. Just as he’s about to check the App on his phone to see if he’s been paid, we realise it’s not allowed under the internet ban. He has to abandon the trolley, go outside, queue up outside the cashpoint in the rain, check his balance and come back inside. 30 minutes later he’s very grumpy and very sick of the internet ban.

Saturday 5pm: I get a text message from my sister asking why I haven’t replied to her Facebook message. I’m in trouble. I’m also starting to panic at the fact I haven’t been able to check my emails. What if a writing client is trying to get hold of me? What if I’ve missed a really important email I need to reply to? AGH! I put off the worry by going into the rain-drenched garden and doing some weeding.

By the time 8pm rolls around and the internet ban is over I’m exhausted and a nervous wreck. So much so that all I can manage is a little tweet before collapsing in a heap on the sofa.

How do you think you’d do? Could you manage 24 hours without the internet?