If you read eighteenth or nineteenth century novels you might notice the references to postal deliveries. Now we are some used to electronic communication that the simple idea of writing a letter, using pen and ink and sealing it – with sealing wax -anyone under forty know what sealing wax is, let alone what it is used for?
But back in those golden days when people still wrote letters to each other – or “corresponded” as Jane Austen would put it, there were several postal deliveries each day. Now we are lucky to get one and that at a seemingly random time. But I shouldn’t grumble. I’ve got electronic communication in all its varied manifestations, email, twitter (for twits), Facebook , whatsapp, instagram and umpteen others that I don’t use and don’t want to. We’ve even got the good old fashioned telephone, the sort that sits on a table in the hall and you actually dial the number you want, rather than just inputting it via a keypad.
Yes, like about 99% of the populace I have a mobile phone. Not a “smart” phone, just a dumb gadget that I can use to send and receive phone calls and send and receive text messages. And that’s all I want from a phone. I don’t use it to tell the time – I’ve got a watch; I don’t use it to surf the internet – I’ve got a desk top computer, I don’t use it to take photos – I’ve got a camera for that. I’m a firm believer in one gadget – one function. It’s bad enough that we now get our electricity from the gas board and that an “address” means more often than not some weird string of letters ending “.co.uk “
Oh for the days of Postman Pat with his black and white cat!
They come to your doorstep these earnest young folk
To ask “Have you been Saved?” (It isn’t a joke!)
They stand there and argue, they stand there and pray
They’re courteous and charming, but won’t go away!
And always they choose just the worst time of day.
When you’re right in the middle of cooking or baking
And your children are home. From the row that they’re making
They’re trashing the house the foundations are shaking.
You can hear in the bedroom the baby awaking…
Were I more assertive, I’d swear and I’d shout.
But one day by chance I found the way out…
One day I was home. I’d shampooed my hair
And set it in rollers with infinite care.
I spread on a face mask that claimed to cure spots
And pimples and wrinkles and blackheads and blots.
I smeared it on thickly and lay down to rest
As advised on the packet and then – I’ll be blest
If the bell didn’t ring. I went down in my vest
To see who was there. I was most impressed
The lass on my doorstep took one look and fled
At the sight of my face and my hair-rollered head.
I must write to the firm that make this great goo
It gets rid of spots, that claim is quite true
And not only spots, some other pests too!
This was an entry for a poetry competition some time ago to write about what you could do with a broken tea-pot. Here are my suggestions:
You could hurl it at your husband
In a fit of wifely rage
You could plant it up with kitchen herbs,
Parsley, thyme or sage,
You could keep your trinkets in it,
Brooches, rings or owt
Or keep a ball of string in it,
The end poked through the spout.
You could paint it blue and silver
And put it on display
Or use it as a piggy bank
For the proverbial rainy day.
It would make a nice container
For a floral decoration
But the use for an old tea pot
That shows most imagination
Is one most economical,
It will not stretch your purse,
Just take your pot and make it
The subject of a verse!
T The ties that bind us together
E Ever strong, ever there
T Twining, twirling, teaching keep us tethered
H Having one purpose only to keep us together
E Eternal vows, everlasting promises,
R Really these are what keep together a love, a life ,
a marriage .
Sometimes duck eggs are set under a broody hen to hatch.
It’s claimed that ducklings attach themselves to the first large moving object they see when they fledge and regard it as their mother.
I’ve never actually witnessed either phenomenon, but they gave me idea for this rather dippy verse.
Young Don was a strange kind of duck
Instead of a “quack” he said “cluck”
He’d been hatched by a hen
Which impressed him and when
He first tried to swim he got stuck.
But Don was a brave sort of duck
Not lacking in spunk or in pluck
But he hadn’t much sense
When he perched on the fence
He fell beak over tail in the muck.
I’m beginning to think the first two initals of BBC stand for Big Brother.
Today I wanted to catch up on an episode of “The Archers” that I’d missed. Previously you could simply click on the schedule for a programme and listen again. Not any more. You now have to be registered and and each time you want to use the catch up facility you have to sign in with an email address and password.
How long I wonder before this extra piece of unnecessary bureaucracy is spread to all BBC radio and TV services? I bet it won’t be long before we will sign in with username and password to watch BBC News or Eastenders. We’ll probably have to identify ourselves just to check the weather forecast or the traffic reports on local radio.
What will happen to people who don’t use a computer? (There are such folk, though they are rapidly dwindling minority!)
The BBC seems to be following in the wake of Google – they say they are going to “personalise” my “account”. In other words they will look at my record of listening and viewing (incidentally as I don’t have television my viewing figures should be zero – but I bet it won’t be!) They will then decide what I am interested in and push these programmes at me. No thank you, Big Brother, I prefer to make my own choices.
I’ve has enough of clever computer algorithms deciding what I want to see – Facebook gets some very odd ideas about what sort of articles are suitable for an elderly pensioner.
When I was asked for personal data for my account, date of birth, gender etc., I admit I was very tempted to put in false info just to be awkward. What would the computer make of an obviously fictitious date of birth? January 1st 1066 for example? Probably just send me a patronising “Oops, you’ve got it wrong again!”
Yesterday I went shopping in town. Not a big town, a town not a city. I live in a rural area on the outskirts of a village and most of my day-to-day shopping – bread and butter, tins of beans and bags of potatoes and veg is usually done in the small market town two miles down the road.
Yesterday I went into a larger town and only after I’d done it did I realise just what to experience would be like. I’d forgotten what it feels like to be surrounded by people you don’t know. For various reasons I’d not been far outside my local area – I suppose what some people would call my “comfort zone” for quite a while.
I’d forgotten what the larger department stores were like and just how difficult they could be to navigate. One thing that struck me and that now really worries me is that there is no indication of the nearest exit. When I’ve been in a public place -anything from a small village hall to a sports arena or a theatre one of the first things an organiser does is point out the emergency exits and tell you what to do and where to go if a fire alarm sounds. I could see no evidence of this in the department stores I visited. Yes, there were signs, plenty of them, but they only told me where the food hall, the lingerie department, the restaurant, the children’s wear etc were located. Nothing as far as I could see indicated which way was OUT.
If the fire alarm had sounded I would have been totally lost and wandering futilely round the different departments. We are told not to use the lifts in a fire. I don’t know if the same applies to the escalators – do they get automatically switched off when the alarm goes? Do customers have to find stairs to escape and what about those, like myself at the moment, who can’t walk fast or run down a flight of stairs?
I can only hope that if the stores had to be cleared members of staff would run round shouting “This way…this way out…follow me!” and lead the customers to safety. Even then, would I be able to fight my way out or would I be mown down by crowds of shoppers behaving worse than they do on the first day of the January sales?