From STD to GPS

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Whenever I read or hear the term STD I immediately think of Subscriber Trunk Dialling. Trunk calls, as they were called, as opposed to local calls, allowed you to call people in other areas of the country by putting your finger into the appropriate number on the dial and turning it until it couldn’t go any further. I explain this because a few years ago I observed some schoolchildren in a museum looking at telephones throughout the ages. When they came to use the black Bakelite one; similar to the above; they just couldn’t work out what to do with it.

Anyone born after the 80’s will be used to pushing the buttons on cell-phones that have GPS satellite signals enabling them to call anyone, anywhere, anytime. Since observing those children, though, I now find the boot is on the other foot.  The reason is, those app phones and tablets with touch screens, I simply cannot work out how to use them. I have a bog-standard pay-as-you-go mobile phone which allows me to receive and make calls, along with sending and receiving texts. What more do I need?

Okay, I might need some information – I have my computer for that, or books to search through. Books? Books? What are books? I have noticed my grandchildren hardly ever pick up a reference book. They all seem to get their information from their app phones. It is very instant, and they seem to spend a lot of time on it.

Call me old fashioned, and I may be stuck in the past, but this troglodyte still marvels at how technology has progressed over the past 20 years, let alone the past 60 years, when at the time only one household on our street had a telephone. People have always wanted to communicate with each other. The native Americans did it by smoke signals, the cave dwellers did it by drawing pictures onto the walls of their caves. Nowadays we have the world at our fingertips, and what a world we live in: so colourful and rich in differing cultures.

So, you technological geeks out there, just give a thought to this silver-surfer, who can change a wheel on a car, can operate a circular saw without chopping her fingers off, can just get by in French, German, Swedish and Urdu, but still cannot set the timer on her oven.

Bucket List – revised.

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There are five things on my bucket list: things to do before I die – not that I’m thinking of kicking-the-bucket any time now, or in the immediate future for that matter, but my last post spurred me on to look at it again. Two I can already put a tick by.

The first was learning to ride a horse. I had always been rather scared of horses as a child, mainly because they were so big, and my parents would occasionally take my brothers and me, in the car, along with a picnic, to the local racecourse. My father didn’t smoke, nor drink, but he did like a flutter on the gee-gees. He would study the ‘going’ with my grandfather before picking their horses, which they mainly backed ‘each way’. He was good at it and quite often won. He never bet large amounts, God forbid, my mother would have killed him, but I found a lot of this information had sub-consciously penetrated my brain as even now I can somehow remember horses and riders and which horse likes soft or hard going, or whether they’re flat-racers or hurdlers.

Anyway, on holiday in Devon one year we decided to go on a little trek across country on horseback to fulfil the first of my bucket-list. I had left Captain Birdseye at home – aka Hubby – as he was working hard to send me on holiday. My sons had never been on the back of a horse and the eldest, although a Gulf War veteran at the time, said he was not going on that’ thing’ as it scared the shite out of him. My other son totally bottled out, too. I took up the challenge and the stable girl gave me a large horse with a broad back which I had to mount with a set of steps. We set off with the stable girl instructing us all the way, and if we were going down a steep hill we novices were told to lean backwards, which to me was the most logical thing to do as I would have ended up being catapulted over the horses head to land on my arse.

After a few days we decided to take another trek, but this time we managed to cajole my eldest into having  a go. The stable girl gave him the horse I’d had on my first trek, thereby, giving me something like the horse in the picture above. I again mounted it, but it was so frisky I kept slipping off the saddle. I gave up in the end. The thing is though, my eldest, a few years later, married a woman who owned four horses and he now sometimes swans about our village on horseback, sitting on a western saddle, looking like something out of a spaghetti western, while his wife sits on her English saddle with proper headgear.

It’s now back to work, and the work-outs.

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The view across the lake is the Portland Building, Nottingham University, the day after Boxing Day when the campus was covered in snow and the lake frozen. This is one of my favourite spots.

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The granddaughter trying out one of the slopes on her sledge.  

The first few days of the New Year have proved to be quite peculiar. Hubby has decided to grow a beard and is now sporting a thick grey one – I am thinking he is already preparing to play Santa next Christmas. What gave it away was when he came back from the shops with a bundle of red material and some white fake-fur.

Then when coming out of the hairdressers’ in town, I was approached by someone from a local radio station shoving a microphone in my face asking me to do an Elvis impression. I politely declined, as I’d left my rhinestone studded jump-suit at home that day, and I do like to be in character. I’m not very good at doing impressions anyway, or regional accents, unless I have a stock phrase to repeat. My best ever impression was when I stuck a French beret on my head and said I was going to do an impression of Chuck Berry. I then took off the hat and threw it across the room.

After the sledging, it’s now time to get back to work and the work-outs, which leads me on to my visit to the gym yesterday. I had not visited the gym since November – the whole of December for me, revolves around family and Christmas, and yippee, no freezathon this year. I swam 16 slow lengths of the pool with this fit guy in the next lane doing three to my one. I could cope with that as I had sons older than him. But it’s when you’re overtaken by your ten year old granddaughter that it gets a little embarrassing. To top it all, this morning I could barely crawl out of bed. I don’t feel any pain sitting at my computer; it’s when I have to get up to make a brew I seize-up.

I am wondering now if I ought to re-evaluate my bucket list.