It’s an inauspicious start to the New Year. The 17,000 km ACE submarine internet cable that connects Europe with the west coast of Africa, including The Gambia from where I’m writing this, is once again under repair.

In practical terms it means TNPS will be running at quarter speed – on a good day – for the next week or so, or however long it takes for the repair vessel to arrive, identify the problem, and fix it.

Until the fix is sorted I’m on what is probably worse than dial-up, for those old enough to remember such things, and for most of the day cannot even open or send an email – this post being written and uploaded before the grinding to a halt that will come with dawn, but will still probably take several minutes to upload.

I also of course have nursery school and other children’s commitments here so working through the night when the signal is just about usable is not an option.

So, not for the first time, and no doubt not for the last, I ask for your patience while the tech team behind the ACE cable work their magic out at sea.

TNPS will meanwhile appear whenever it can be managed, with some short posts jotted offline (like this one) and squeezed online when the signal allows, and it will return to its usual semi-erratic schedule just as soon as conditions allow.

For anyone awaiting responses to emails, the same applies. Literally hundreds of emails coming in every day and even opening them, let alone replying, is a challenge. Inevitably some will get lost along the way as the backlog becomes unmanageable. It’s not personal!

Thanks again for your patience.