Thursday 9 May 2024

Dotage and Broadband

I might be considered to be in my dotage and I might still be deaf as a post. I'm hoping that the latter will be remedied next Monday (the former being incapable of a remedy) and that the 1½ litres of warm olive oil in my right ear and the Otex in my left ear will have done the trick and the nurse can syringe my orifices successfully. Until then I can't even hear the keys being struck on the laptop. 

However, I am really peed off today. I was up at 0630 with the intention of having a really productive day. After having abluted (which, rhymingly, is the ablative absolute) I started checking my emails. Then my broadband started dropping again. It's been doing this for ages and it's very annoying. I tested the speed when it came back and it was 4mbps download. I'm supposed to get about 30mbps but I've NEVER had more than 23 and I consider 15mbps pretty good as a rule. 

It was 7am. wotthehellarchiewotthehell why not waste some time seeing if I could get something done about it. I have had a Vodafone mobile phone since 1990 and have always been very satisfied with the service and value for money. When I started with Vodafone Broadband a few years ago it was great. Any problems (the line blew down one day for example) you picked up the phone and instantly spoke to someone. Forget it. You "speak" to chatbot or noone. (which given that I'm temporarily deaf is probably a Good Thing). However the algorithms don't contemplate the possibility that one may be having a sporadic fault so after ¾ hour of fruitless going around in circles it offered me the opportunity to speak to someone.......and then closed down. 

However when I tested my speeds again they were the best for months and, so far, my connection hasn't dropped out for over 30 minutes. 

As a post script I should add that I have discovered that if I put my earbuds in I can actually just hear someone on my phone so can at least communicate on the mobile phone if absolutely necessary. 

Sunday 5 May 2024

Disoriented by Deafness

On Wednesday I went deaf.  

It's not a permanent situation (I hope) but it is severe in that I am unable to hear anything at all unless it is held next to my ear and is very loud (my phone on full volume is just about audible but I can't hold a conversation easily). I cannot, for example, hear the living room television on full volume. I can't hear the kitchen television if I put it 1 metre away on full volume. I can't hear traffic coming near me if I'm on a pavement. I can't hear the warning beeps in the car. 

Worst of all I cannot hear anyone 3 feet away unless they are shouting. A quiet coffee at The Woodlands is not possible at the moment.

I have always said that one should never assume anything about a person until one has experienced what that person has experienced. That can be anything from depression to the pain of childbirth or in a man's case a kidney stone. 

At the moment I have become acutely aware just how much my life would alter if I were profoundly deaf. Because I will hopefully only be deaf for about 10 days I don't have the anxiety of what life would be like if I were permanently deaf. However, it's definitely a good insight into what deaf people have to endure. 

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Phonaholics Anonymous

When I leave the house I take my diary and my iPhone. I usually carry my wallet too but that's less important. These days I rarely use cash for anything other than gratuities and I keep £ coins in my coat pocket for that purpose. 

Yesterday morning was perfect gardening weather but I had to make a quick visit to town to the medical practice, to The Woodlands to collect something from one friend for another friend, and for a few groceries.

I did my shop and went to the till and put my few things through and into my bag. It was at this point that I realised that I forgot my phone and therefore my store and payment app. Fortunately I had my wallet in my pocket.

I had to resort to my credit cards in my wallet. However neither had been used for the supermarket before so needed the PIN number. I use them so infrequently I had no idea what they were. I needed my phone for that! Fortunately my debit card worked. 

I spent the rest of the day realising just how dependent I have become on my 'phone. What has really frightened me, though, is the fact that my brain couldn't see past the absence of the phone. I had sufficient actual cash in my wallet and pocket but it actually never occurred to me to check. (Since I wrote that I have realised that the self-service checkouts have no provision for cash).

I am off to join Phonaholics Anonymous. 

On the way home the cherry blossom calmed me down:

Sunday 21 April 2024


I have always written a lot of letters. I use a collection of fountain pens and different ink depending on my mood. It costs me a small fortune in postage stamps but it's worth it.

My last post was about oral non-face-to-face communication but when I was a youngster letters were still the way almost everyone communicated with their relatives and so on who didn't live nearby.  

Then came The Internet and home computers which allowed us to send emails. Email was cemented in the public consciousness with the notorious “you've got mail” sound of email arriving for AOL users, which formed the cornerstone of the 1998 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romantic comedy, "You've Got Mail".

Then, for me, came Blogging in June 2007 as a way of communicating what I was doing in Scotland and New Zealand to my friends and family in the 'other' country.

In 2004 Facebook arrived but I was never part of it until 2010 when it was possible to 'post' your Blogger post on Facebook using Networked Blogs. That was discontinued by Facebook long ago but I stayed on Facebook though I rarely post.

As well as emails we could text each other on our mobile phones.

Twitter (Now called X and owned by Elon Musk) arrived 21 March 2006

WhatsApp (Meta) arrived in 2009

Facetime (Apple) June 24, 2010

Instagram (Meta)  started on 6 October 2010.

Messenger (Facebook) in 2011

Telegram (Pavel Durov and Nikolai Durov) on the 14 August 2013.

TikTok (ByteDance) in September 2016.

In 1944 (the year of my birth) a simple letter in the UK was 2½d which is the equivalent of 56p today. In fact a first class stamp today for the same letter is £1.35. However, except for  communicating by landline or mobile phone which are usually included in monthly rental these days all the other methods I've mentioned above are available "free". 

Of course many of the platforms and apps I've mentioned can be used for free voice calls as well as messaging 

What writing this post has done is make me realise that our old concept of communicating using post and landline phone is now verging on irrelevant despite the fact that we communicate much more than we ever did. 

I suppose the next thing would be a "Beam me up Scottie" scenario.