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.
We live on an island, as Shakespeare reminds us:
“This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,…
This precious stone set in the silver sea.”
But we don’t appreciate it! What do we do when we need/want to travel? Do we use the lovely stuff that is all around us? No! We rush off to wait for hours in queues in the likes of Heathrow and Gatwick and cram ourselves in metal boxes to be flung across the sky. How much better to travel by sea? To enjoy a relaxing time on the ocean watching the sea, the weather and the sea creatures.
Once upon a time travel by sea was the normal way to get around. (I don’t juse mean in the days of the Vikings!) In the 1900s if we are to believe the tales of P G Woodhouse people travelled from Liverpool to New York by steamer. It must have been pleasant – at least if you were one of the upper class waited on and cossetted.
At one time you could get a train from London to Fleetwood and then board a boat to Scotland. If only that were still possible!
You could go further afield too. Kipling writes of:
“Great steamers white and gold
Rolling down to Rio.”
It’s such a shame we no longer have vessels like these.
Now I’ve reached retirement I have time, time to spend as I want and travel as I please. I am not constrained by a nine-to-five job or family commitments. I’d love to travel by sea in a slow comfortable vessel something like the lovely Calmac ferries sailing to the Shetlands. But there aren’t any transatlantic ships now only cruise liners, huge floating hotels with hundreds of staff and thousands of passengers. Not a pleasant prospect. Such a shame.
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!”