SmartPhone Cold Turkey at Easter

I was well past 50 before the SmartPhone arrived. I had lived most of my life without one. I shouldn’t be missing mine so much. I had coped before. Why is coping now so difficult?


510750075_eeee488cd6_zI thought I could easily survive without it.  I was wrong.  I could survive, but it wasn’t easy.  In fact, I was surprised about how hard I found it.  It should have been a doddle.  It is not as if an iPhone has been part of my life for most of it.

I could be described as being in young old-age.  I can remember when we didn’t have a television, and how when we got one, our neighbours came round on a Saturday evening to watch the small, black and white screen.  I can remember the envy when some relatives got their first colour TV set.  I can remember my girl-friend at university spending hours using a calculator the size of a small house in order to process by hand the statistics needed for her research.

I can remember too the joy of the first personal computers – the ZX81, the ZX Spectrum (“What on earth do you want one of those for?  What good will it do?”) – and learning to use code to make machines do relatively useless things.  And then the big breakthrough, the Amstrad PCW – technology that actually did things that made life much easier for someone who regularly typed thousands of words. Continue reading “SmartPhone Cold Turkey at Easter”

Things I Learned While In Hospital

Trying to work out the names and roles of the many people who may briefly interact with you during your stay is like trying to master the full cast list of “War and Peace”.

27450950284_bb638e39fa_zDon’t get me wrong, I have many, many reasons to be grateful to the NHS.  It has saved my life on at least two occasions.  I wouldn’t be here writing this today if it wasn’t for the skill and care of paramedics, nurses, doctors, and surgeons.  However, having just spent 19 days in four hospital beds on four wards in two hospitals, I have had plenty of time to reflect as I gazed at the ceilings.  My random observations are listed below.

  • Spiders that crawl up the walls beside your bed in hospital appear at least twice as big as the spiders that crawl up your bedroom walls at home.  And there is also a clear correlation between your inability to move and the size of the spider.
  • The “call bells” are always there when you don’t need them, and always out of reach (usually on the floor) when you are in your greatest need.
  • The American military obviously first came up with the idea of using constant invasive sound and/or sleep deprivation as a means of torturing prisoners after a visit to a British Hospital where the use of quieter electronic notification means had not yet been considered.

Continue reading “Things I Learned While In Hospital”

Coffee Shops Are More Weird Than You Think

Now when paying enough to keep a small third world nation in military hardware for a year just for a cup of coffee, you still, in some shops, have to beg to go to the toilet.

426799067_55027d4244_zBeing in a coffee shop is like taking part in one of those Japanese game shows where they torture people for fun. They sell you liquid to drink, and then make going to the loo as hard as possible.

The whole experience is designed to extract as much humiliation as possible. Every little drop. Every last little squeeze of the coffee beans.

Wasn’t it bad enough at school when you had to put your hand up and ask permission and tell the whole class that you wanted to empty your bladder and avoid the long walk home in wet underwear? Wasn’t that bad enough?

Now you would think that as adults you wouldn’t have to do that anymore.”I’m a grown-up now. I can urinate anytime and anywhere – within reason – provided it doesn’t frighten the horses.” Continue reading “Coffee Shops Are More Weird Than You Think”