After an hour or so working in the office yesterday morning, I looked at the PC clock and thought, “Right, I’ll stop for a bit, go downstairs and have a quick shower…”
As you also see the day got a bit silly shortly thereafter – as I explained about 45 minutes later in a Facebook message to my wife…
Yes, my wife found it funny.
* * *
“The house phone” is an inside joke. We have a landline phone ONLY because it is necessary for broadband. The only people who have our landline telephone number for phone calls are my mother-in-law and father-in-law. So knowing it is nearly certain to be one of them ringing, we jump to answer it as if it were…uh, the Batphone…
My in-laws also NEVER ring in the middle of the day, so my heart leapt into my mouth out of fear death or disaster had struck.
The reason they insist on using the landline is they are also uncomfortable generally in ringing a mobile phone. (Not that it would have mattered then, given I was in the shower.) I suspect that preference on their parts may have a lot to do simply with the sound quality being better on a landline than a mobile. They are in their 80s.
My father-in-law especially is also what you might term, well, a man of the, uh, 1880s. A new series of Victoria is currently on. As I think on that now, it may well be worth reminding ourselves that he was born just 29 years after Queen Victoria died.
Some years ago when he had wanted to speak to his son and members of their family, he was told to ring their mobile phones. “I don’t want to ring a mobile,” he declared indignantly. “I want to ring the house.”
As if “the house” would answer. Remember Carson in Downton Abbey, when the telephone was installed? That’s my father-in-law.
Don’t even mention email to him, or an iPad.
Even the satellite television is sometimes more than modernity enough…
“Robert, something’s wrong with the television,” my mother-in-law, frustrated, told me when we visited with them in north London a couple of weeks ago. “We can’t get Sky, only those free channels. Your father-in-law has had the book out for hours, and he has been on the phone to them asking them to send out a man, but they said they did some test and nothing is wrong. They hung up on him. I can’t get any horse-racing or the golf. Only the BBC…”
I turned it on using the TV remote and quickly I realized. “You accidentally changed the input button,” I tried to explain. “You’re on the HDMI2 setting, not HDMI1. See, this is where the Sky box is, on HDMI1. Just don’t push that other button ever. Don’t touch anything on that remote. Only use the Sky one.”
I felt like a NASA engineer as I got a blank look in response. And that’s NOT the first time that’s happened. More like “the eighth.”
* * *
After my wife had “LOL’d” me on Messenger in response to my message about what had gone on with her dad and the Royal Mail, it turned out it did not end there…
In moments like those, I tend to smile and remember my uncle writing from home . . . and trying to avoid distractions.
And as our parents and grandparents were and are of their times, so are we, of course. We should not be smug. What will be thought of us someday?
For instance, I noted also on Instagram in a comment earlier about this 300 year old house: insofar as I know it is nothing “special” – just a rural farming cottage, so, in a sense, it’s full of “ghosts”; “ordinary” people who certainly lived, but unlike those in a stately home they left nothing behind for us to see – no portraits, statues, etc. We all now salivate over finding a single 100 year old family photo. Will anyone care about us the same way?
200 years from now, courtesy of social media, we’ll probably bore the heck out of future generations: “Oh, look, here’s yet another on that ancient Instagram site of great-great-great-grandpa in Tenerife with a beer and an old-fashioned lampshade on his head.”😂Or someone will read this blog post and scoff: “For Pete’s sake, here’s that early 21st century American in that Hertfordshire cottage yet again…”😜
Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. 🙂