scribbles tagged ‘on the phone’

SatNav desertion

Monday, May 25th, 2015 | tags: , , , , ,  |

SR 70 WISt Paul’s, Minneapolis, Duluth, the bigger cities of Minnesota, appear deserted during the spring weekends.

This Memorial holiday weekend I decided to drive ‘Up North’, a local spring tradition, in search of the populous. The Interstate out of Minneapolis was full of pick-up trucks loaded with, or trailing, ATV’s (All Terrain Vehicles). The smaller, State Routes, had signs for ATC crossings with mud tracks leading to and from them.

I left Minneapolis after work, with a B&B booked about 2.5 hour’s drive away, according to the land lady and my SatNav. I should get there before sundown. Traffic, and having to slow down to avoid hitting the deer who jump out from the forest to wander across the road meant the journey took longer than planned.  I learned that many ‘Roads’ in the wilds, of Minnesota and Wisconsin, are not ‘paved’, ‘tarmaced’. They’re mud and gravelled. They look like roads on the SatNav, but really they’re ‘tracks’. I guess keeping them in decent condition isn’t worth the expense for the local city. Those ATVs are useful.

As darkness fell my SatNav announced that it would no longer give turn by turn guidance.


It bailed on me, in the dark.

I have no map of the wilds of Wisconsin.  I panic’d, pulled over into a soft verge and reached for my cell phone. No reception. Bugger.

ThreeSisters B&BI grabbed my Surface 1. It still showed the Bing-delivered route directions that I’d checked before leaving. Phew. I worked out where I was, memorised the distances, road names and turns then drove on.

A pleasant surprise to find my pre-SatNav skill of memorising maps and directions was still in good working order. I pulled up at the Three Sisters B&B just before the tavern opposite, Gliders, stopped serving it’s hunger quenching pizza. Just in the nick of time. Pizza to the sounds of ABBA and a host of frisky frogs. Cheerfully surreal.

The landlady joined me for Pizza and told stories of her life, those of her 2 husbands & 4 children. Awesome, such a friendly and open hearted place.

SatNav desertion
2 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

crackling on the phone

Saturday, July 19th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

I love my mum

She’s 78. I’m banned from mentioning aging. She moans about her 93 year old sister being ‘needy’ wanting mum to come with her on weekend coach tour breaks. Apparently, even if they have separate rooms her elder sister is an insufferable talker who’s deaf. Hmmmmm…..   it’s been remarked that I take after this maternal aunt. Must remember to listen, even when I’m deaf.

Mum and I chat a couple of times a week. This is a new thing. It started when I was made redundant in 2009 and I nominated mum as responsible for knowing that I was ok on a day to day basis. Having no regular schedule, there was no one to ‘miss’ me. I called mum at 7pm each day and she had instructions and neighbours numbers to follow up with if I didn’t call and didn’t return her ‘why haven’t you called’ calls.  Obviously all this safety infrastructure was not put into emergency action. What it did do was it gave me an excuse to call mum every day, for no real reason. We’d chat if something occurred to us, or just share hello’s if not. A nice habit. One I’ve kept up on a weekly basis since then. A habit that’s been easy to increase since dad died.

Since dad died our calls have been more light hearted and chatty. I’ve enjoyed them much more.  They make me love mum even more.

Over the last year the quality of her voice over the phone has changed. I can’t tell if this is my expectations and fears or an actual change. She is still a quick thinker but the ‘crackle’ that I associated with old people dominates what I hear. I hear what she says, but the voice is not the her voice of my youth, and later adulthood. It’s the voice of a delicate old lady.

I love my mum


crackling on the phone
2 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

estimating the odds

Monday, June 30th, 2014 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Seattle, 2006, I’m 43. A weekend phone call home. Dad always triages the phone calls. One phone is next to his computer. He doesn’t chat, but I’m prepared with a question primed by my annual medical check-up

“Dad, how old was mum when she started the menopause?”

“56 and we’re still suffering!” She was 66 at the time

I was still giggling when mum picked up the extension line…

estimating the odds
1 vote rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

come and see this

Saturday, April 12th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

Mumzie just phoned to find out what TV programme I was watching and suggest that I change channels. Then she hung up. Do I need to get a life? Or is there something strangely comforting about the informality and brevity of the conversation, as-if mum had just called me from another room. Yes, I like that call from a virtual room emotionally nearby

come and see this
1 vote rating 4

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mind the internets

Thursday, August 8th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

DangerPeople that live on the Avenue get their internets from some classic, antique, overhead telephone lines supported by pine poles placed along the pavement/sidewalk – ‘telephone poles’ as I used to call them in the 1970’s

During the road resurfacing each telephone pole was provided with it’s very own yellow sign. I never saw any particularly tall highway maintenance equipment. Nothing tall enough to interfere with the telephone lines. From a safety, phone service protection, perspective these signs may have been redundant. They did convey sense of the workers being careful, caring about our services and being very systematic.

mind the internets
2 votes rating 4.5

2 bits of fabulous banter »

trying. trying. trying. trying. trying. trying. trying. success…phew

Friday, August 2nd, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

After an inordinate number of attempts I managed to connect to my home wireless and add my gmail and Hotmail accounts to the iPhone. With each attempt I paid more attention to my tapping, typing, accuracy. The phone doesn’t reveal the passwords for a full visual check, I watched each key-tap to make sure the immediate visual feedback confirmed that I’d tapped the key that I actually intended to tap. After 3 or 4 attempts I was 100% confident that I was providing the right passwords. On average I miss-typed one character in 8. Normally miss-typed characters were on the left hand edge of the keypad. I don’t have overly large fingers. But some of the failure attempts appeared to be with the right password entered. It was impossible to predict when accurate password entry would succeed or fail. Craziness!

Each success was a major relief followed by downing numerous cups of tea from a well brewed pot.  Sheer persistence together with focus on my finger movements paid-off. An unnecessarily time consuming, effort consuming and frustrating experience. Both my previous phones connected first time. If they can work effectively for me then Apple should be able to work first time too.

Problems with the iPhone:

  • Key pad character target area too small or sensitive, compared to HTC Android or Nokia Lumia 830
  • Unreliable connection technology compared to HTC and Nokia

HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone 5The hardware is beautifully styled, I do like looking at it and holding it, more than the other phones. I’m so superficial that the effect of the styling is incredibly strong. Apple have got the ‘desirability’ and some ‘delight’ in use as part of the user experience beautifully executed, but they’ve seriously under-delivered on usability in so many ways. It’s interesting how forgivable the inefficient usability is, given the desirability and delight.

trying. trying. trying. trying. trying. trying. trying. success…phew
5 votes rating 4.8

4 bits of fabulous banter »

why do innocent people need privacy?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 | tags: ,  |

I don't do mornings before 6amAttitudes towards the idea of privacy have changed radically across the last 30 years. People talked about privacy as if it was considered a natural right. Something valuable.

Now the attitude appears to be that if you’re innocent you don’t need privacy, if you want privacy then what are you trying to hide? Life is staged in public. Staged on the internet.

State organisations have changed their laws to align with this new highly public way of being. For example, the USA ‘Patriot Act’ allows the US Govt to write a letter to communications service providers in order to get access to, private (?), communications.

While this lack of privacy can be used to protect me, it can also be used by people who’s prejudices prevent them from seeing innocent differences.

I like privacy, I now consider it a luxury and a growing rarity.

why do innocent people need privacy?
8 votes rating 5

6 bits of fabulous banter »

Finns aren’t chatty

Friday, April 12th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

Home phonewendy: I talked to dad on the phone last night

mumzie: yes, I was here darling, I heard

wendy: that’s a first! we don’t normally actually talk to each other on the phone

mumzie: I know dear, he normally says “that’ll be wendy, you answer it” and hands me the phone


Luckily, I learnt in my teenage years that talking with dad is only warranted if there is valuable knowledge to be shared. Talking to me is not something high on his list of priorities – why would he want to do that?!

Today I called because mum’s brother-in-law has just died. Mumsie talks to move her feelings around, sometimes I wonder how on earth they ended up together, strangely, they fit together extremely well. Dads silence and mums chatter.

Finns aren’t chatty
1 vote rating 5

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No, No, No….Yes

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Repeat 3 times:

me: Hello, my name is Wendy House. On Wednesday 29th August during my appointment at the fracture clinic the Dr told me that I would have my first physiotherapy session next week, which is this week. The receptionist told me that I would recive a letter with the appointment time – I haven’t recived a letter and I’d like to check what time my appointment is.

I’ll forward you to the [name] department.

Reach the Physiotherapy department and eventually get a good result:Physio

They shouldn’t tell you to phone us.

me: They didn’t. They said I’d get a letter, and I haven’t so I decided to phone you.

They shouldn’t have said that – we don’t send out letters.

You’re not on my system. Hang on while I look at these files.

Oh! you’re right on the top with a note to phone you and make a direct appointment – broken arm. It will take some time to enter all this data but I can make the appointment now. Will 11.40 on Thursday suit you?

me: Yes. Do I go to the same place as before? The fracture clinic on Floor 2.

No!  Go to physiotherapy.

me: So I’ll walk in the main entrance and ask reception to point me to physiotherapy?

No! They could send you anywhere. Are you driving?

me: (giggles) No, I’m on foot

Go to accident and emergency, stand at the entrance facing the main car park and we’re on you’re left

me: Thankyou

No, No, No….Yes
1 vote rating 4

5 bits of fabulous banter »

direct land lines

Monday, April 30th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Dungeness lighthousewendy: do you have a mobile phone?

mumsie: yes, dad has one

wendy: take it with you, it will help us meet-up, when I get off the train I’ll send you a text so you know I’m on my way


The next evening there’s a message from mum on the landline phone. This phone is now used only as a direct line to mum and dad

mumsie: ….we’ll charge-up the phone overnight on Saturday then switch it on a 8am on Sunday morning….

at this point I realise that using the mobile phone is not part of my parents everyday life.  I’ve probably caused a bit of a kerfuffle, house discussions about how to use the mobile phone…

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5 bits of fabulous banter »

blow wendy blow!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |


Home phoneWhen my landline gets a call where the caller doesn’t respond to ‘Hello?’  ‘is anybody there?’ I suspect an automated system has dialled my number. My number is on the UK’s “Telephone Preference List”. Membership of this list makes it illegal for marketers to call my number. Hoorah! The list works for me.

When  I get a call that starts with the silent treatment, an automated dialer, I LOUDLY blow into the reciever. This prompts the system to put a person on the line who decides to either:

  • speak – ask for the previous registered owner of this number then try to sell me something using a rather dodgy east Asian accent.  If I have time I play with them, trying to get information about them, without giving them any information about me.  Normally they just get angry and rude.  When I’m bored of the game I ask them to take me off their lists – they say they can’t – I tell them they’ve broken the law by calling me.  They hang-up.  I believe that I am doing a good service to society by keeping them talking to me rather than talking to someone who might fall for their naughty dishonestness
  • hangup – I suspect they recognise me as the lady who wastes their time when they’re phishing. I feel like I know them quite well now. Certainly no friends or people from organisations that provide me with valuable services have complained about the loud noise they sometimes get when they phone the wendy house


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11 bits of fabulous banter »

Haven’t you done it yet?

Monday, January 9th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Southern Electric harassmentSouthern Electric sent 3 identical text messages

All sent within one hour. Despite my

  • overwhelming need to please others (ahem)
  • effort to dash back home and read my electricity metre (sspppppllllltrrrr)

I failed to comply with their instructions promptly enough to avert this repeated messaging eperience. Like McAfee, Southern Electric appear dedicated to using modern technology to harass me, uneccessarily

Tush and hurumph



Haven’t you done it yet?
1 vote rating 5

2 bits of fabulous banter »

one choice

Friday, November 25th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

My choices are – The Royal Berkshire Hospital!  Well that’s easy, I think I’ll use the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Choose and Book. Not online

The NHS provides an awesome online ‘choose and book’ service for booking hospital appointments. Every patient is provided with a login. The Royal Berkshire Hospital foundation trust Gyneacology department doesn’t use this fabulous service.

I used my one choice and phoned the Royal Berkshire number

  • phone menu not working….
  • I called a different, direct, number. The nurse was unable to access the internal computer booking service. Helpfully, asked if she could phone me back after she’d rebooted her computer…

Several phone calls later I’d pinned down an appointment time with the consultant of my choice – on the NHS!  How do you choose your consultant? A tricky question for a non-specialist. All I could find was another public website, NHS choices, that provided me with all the staff names in the department, and  included ‘quality’ ratings as awarded by the hospital to their own staff.

one choice
1 vote rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

one small letter can mean so much

Thursday, October 13th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

The wedding practice-party mingle in the sunshine outside St James and St William of York church. I skirt the party and slip into the substantial entrance porch of Pugin‘s psuedo Norman church. A handsome young man in the porch is talking on his mobile phone:

I’d just like you to take the “a” off the end of my name. At the moment it looks like two girls are getting married – Nicola and Alexa. My  name is Alex not Alexa. Please just put it right

I imagine the wedding with the grooms name miss-spelt as a girls name. If they are having the rehearsal, the wedding is probably fairly soon, I am impressed at how well the groom maintains a semblance of calm as he delivers his plea


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2 bits of fabulous banter »

land lines

Friday, October 7th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

The telephone pole’s spider silk lightly clings to the nearby houses

Burder street telephone lines

I wonder how long this will last when a substantial swathe of people find it easier to get connected and  manage thier bills using a “Pay as you go” mobile phone – no connection charge, no deposit if you have no credit history….

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3 bits of fabulous banter »

Loughborough is full

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

I called 6  hotels, all fully booked, none knew of other local hotels with spaces…

In desperation I discovered that Loughborough had a tourist information centre with a telephone number!  The automated answer machine message told me that the answer machine was ‘full’ – unable to take any more messages

Apparantly, the local University’s “Freshers Week” has filled the town to bursting

A lucky call connected me to a working-mens club, converted into the sort of hotel that has permanent residents. Bargain price. Such a bargain I knew it was seedy before even seeing the place

Which of these hotel services do you think I tried out?Sunshine hotel room charges

I didn’t add any holes in the doors, judging by the holes already there – they come at a discout rate if you bulk-buy:

Sunshine hotel room

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4 bits of fabulous banter »

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

Saturday, July 9th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

White phone boxMaking sure you got your phone calls was a complicated affair in the days before cell phones and answer machines. Especially for a teenager. This is just one of the problems I encountered – after coming home from a long, fun night practicing with the marching band:

Mumzie: Graham called while you were out

Wendy: Graham! Which Graham? What did he say?

Darn, now mum knows there are several Grahams in my life and he might have told her something personal.

Mumzie: there’s more than one Graham? He didn’t say what it was about dear, just said to let you know he’d called

Double darn

Clearly this is a discreat Graham. Can’t pick one out from the rest based on that description. So now I have to work out in which order to phone them back. Then how to start the conversation without giving away that I don’t know if I’m returning a call, or calling them for the first time? Then I have to work out how to advise mumzie on taking future calls from Grahams, to help her work out which one called without saying “which Graham are you?” which would make each of them feel insignificant, and they’re not. They’re all special in different ways

Life’s so complicated!



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trading life times

Sunday, June 26th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Window & wrought metal workAs we walk through the underground to the main Paddington station an announcers loudly fills the tube with a mumbled message. Jan covers her ears. The announcers voice was too painful to listen to

wendy: all trains to Reading are delayed

Concourse displays specify Delay, Delay, Delay….  Hundreds of people stand with their eyes held by the display. Murmurring rises. Jan pulls out her HTC Desire

Jan: Delays until 6.30pm, why don’t they tell me that at the station, why do I have to go to the web to find out

Wendy: can you send me that link for my phone

Jan: Um, err, probably, I’ll try

Our shoulders drop. What shall we do with this time at Paddington? Vicky looks near to tears

Vicky: I’ve got a softball game at 6.45pm

Jan notices  a slow, stops everytwhere, train to Banbury, a 90 mins rather than 25mins journey to Reading. We run, weaving through bewildered would-be passsengers, to platform 11.  Crushed against the train waiting for the doors to open, carried by the crowd onto the train. Midsummer heat, commuter sweat crammed into a carriage designed for half this load. People wearing black and grey.  I manage to climb onto the luggage rack, a seat! Jan and Vicky are swept apart into the standing-only isles. Two ladies near me don’t look like commuters, one wearing a cheerful pink dress, another wearing a jade outfit. Pinky bends down and peers into the lower level luggage rack

Pinky: there’s a child under there…

Jade: It’s a BOY

Synchronised smiling, the childs boyness explains his desire to climb into the luggage rack.  I ask the colourful duo

wendy: does anyone know what caused the delays?

pinky: A suicide on the line

wendy: how do you know?

Clock on Paddington StationPinky waves her Blackberry phone, She uses the Blackberry for the whole 2hr journey, raising her eyes only to answer my occassional question then say goodbye as she leaves the train. There are few conversations on the train. Most people appear deeply engrossed in bright phone screens. From my perch I can see 4 i-phone  screens – text conversations, games, reading the news

I make several attempts to start conversations with the people near me. They moan about how inconsiderate the suicide was, interrupting rush hour travel. Then they sink back into their hypnotic phones. Suicide on the line, one person traded the life they had left to give todays commuters some unanticipated travel time

I feel the need to use this precious time, someone-elses life time, wisely

trading life times
1 vote rating 5

2 bits of fabulous banter »

Do Androids dream of electric wendys?

Monday, June 20th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

While standing in the isle of a FGW commuter train from London Paddington I watched the young man seated beside me using his Blackberry phone. It looked like a mini Windows 95 – text-menu list overload! My gut reaction was yuck! The young man navigated the text-heavy grey menu with impressive speed. Clearly an experienced user.

Some of the things I love about my Android HTC desire are the way the designers have managed to

  • Use pleasing interaction styles –  I can gesture with flicks, stretches, squeezes. I can drag and drop all sorts of things across screens. I can use short and long presses on the screen to find different button behaviours. It’s fun to explore and learn
  • Create a simple, versataile information architecture. I don’t have to learn then relearn where everything is because everything is in a sensible place that’s easy to find and find again. The navigation system is clear and simple
  • Allow me to easily find and install useful, innovative, fun, relevant Apps. It’s my phone and it does what I want it to do!
  • Avoid looking like Windows 95, no battleship grey, no long text menus with uninspiring fonts
  • Include fun animations like the windscreen wiper blade running across the screen when its raining. I love how the designers have taken the notion of a dashboard design and then added a winscreen wiper extending the metaphor with humour. Fun!

My HTC Desire in the rain Hoorah for Android!

Do Androids dream of electric wendys?
1 vote rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

beep beep

Monday, May 30th, 2011 | tags:  |

friend: your left breast just beeped at me

wendy: new phone in cahoots with my computer calendar, a pleasantly vibrational conspiracy of reminders

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the control key

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

Time-off work to have a cold involves:

  • drink gallons of tea
  • sleeping
  • sneezing
  • working from home
  • making phone calls to co-ordinate town planners reviewing my pre-planning application for PV roof tiles
  • answering 3 urgent phone calls from “24/7 PC Care” about my infected PC -sounded like fraud
  • reporting potentially fraudulent phone calls to the local police

The potentially fraudulent phone calls were fascinating, I was trying to keep them on the line to find out about them  without revealing much about myself or my computer. It was tough. They quickly became irritated by my questions and in all 3 calls they got angry and hung up on me.

The calls went something like this:

Potential Fraudster: Hello, I’m from 24/7 PC care and I’m calling you because we’ve noticed that your computer has an infection

wendy: how did you find that out?

Potential Fraudster: Because you are a windows registered user

wendy: Oh, you have my registration details, so you know which version of Windows I’m using?

Potential Fraudster: No, we don’t have your registration details, but your computer shows as infected

wendy: how do you know my computer is infected

Potential Fraudster: if you turn your computer on and go to…

wendy: can you give me your company registration number and a call back phone number?

Fraudster: Yes, after we’ve finished mending your computer, see the key on the bottom left hand side of the keyboard marked c t r l That’s the control key


Be careful out there

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7 bits of fabulous banter »

cover-up – love’s alibi

Monday, February 14th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

Watching American Gigolo for the first time, when it was released, was fascinating. Mainly because of the reversal of commonly portrayed role gender roles. A man as prostitue, beauty and clothes obsessed, victim of clever people, concerned with making other people happy. The camerawork was also extremely good.

Call me anytime, valentine

Blondie sang call me

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media management

Friday, February 11th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Engadget recently posted excerpts from a Nokia internal ‘Burning man memo’ from its new CEO Stephen Elop originally published to all Nokia employees. Essentially the memo describes Nokia’s current declining market position, attributes this to lack of management and leadership. This information is not actually anything new or suprising, not really news. Two days later the British national newspapers all contain exerpts from, and an analysis of the memo. Most of them appear to have missed the point, understimating Elop’s skills, by calling this a ‘Ratner‘ moment. Ratner jokingly denigrated the quality of his businesses products outside any plan to change that quality. It is fairly obvious, that Stephen Elop has been doing what he was employed to do, analysing and planning a strategy to rectify Nokia’s current declining share of the phone market.

Stephen Elop has a wealth of experience of fast moving, competitive business. His former job was President of Microsoft’s Business Division (Microsoft Office etc). Elop joined Nokia in late September 2010.  He’s scheduled to announce Nokia’s strategy later today. The ‘burning man memo’ release is so clearly a step in the media management to hype the coming announcement. Any Microsoft President knows that a memo or email to all staff is sure to be released to the press, they write their memo’s with that knowledge – they are written as press releases.

For me the story is that in approximately 4 months he can learn the internal business processes, influencers and work with the senior management team and partner companies to develop an achievable, convincing, publishable vision and plan for changing the companies direction.  Assuming it will be all those things, that’s impressive. The public version of this plan comes at today’s conference. The UK National press has all joined in on creating free publicity hype around this plan before they even know what it is. Elop is doing a great job of media management, and the press don’t even seem to realise he’s doing it.  Even I’ve got wrapped up in the story. Doh!

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receipt confirmation

Thursday, January 27th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

SMS text acknowledgementPeople who have recieved one of my hand written letters have all used their phone’s to let me know, on the day the letter arrived. I have recieved texts and phone calls, its lovely. Lovely because they are not automatic, system generated, confirmations. They are exhuberantly happy, personalised, stories which make my day brighter.

Sometimes automating functionality, like message-reciept can remove the communicative properties that add value beyond knowing that, they remove the knowing how. An automated reciept confirmation would let me ‘know that’ the message was recieved but not give me any clue to ‘how’ the person experienced recieving the message.

From the above text I know that the letter recipient recognised my writing before even opening the letter.  She knew it was from me. I can reasonably infer that she was happy at this point before even opeing the letter, then she expresses how enduring this experience is for her. Definitely something worth my doing again. Before phone usage was common, the main way that I knew a letter had arrived was when I recieved a letter written in response, often days, weeks, or months later.

By contrast, here on the blog, I suspect the emotional impact of my writing is less durable. Partly because it isn’t personal. A blog post is for the author or an audience, not for an individual. I only know ‘how’ the post is recieved when people take the time to write a comment or click on the hearts to illustrate that they like it. Many more people read the posts than leave me feedback on how they experienced it.

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Saturday, January 15th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

SheffieldTardisIn the cult BBC drama ‘Dr. Who’ the Dr travels in a time machine called the TARDIS (type 40) that uses a ‘chameleon circuit to change its outer visible form to fit with the local surroundings.

Unfortunately the chameleon circuit broke when the TARDIS was disguised as a 1950’s London blue Police box. They are essentially a mini police station for use by Police people, and members of the public can use them to (phone) call the police. Police boxes were first used in Albany NY (1877) soon after the telephone was invented! The first boxes in Britain were placed in Glasgow (1891).

By the time I was old enough to visit London (1970s) the London police boxes had long since been removed.

This green police box is alive today, in Sheffield!

Seeing this Box kept me happy for weeks, I hope the photograph does something pleasing for you too …

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antique communication devices

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Why I love England #16:  red telephone boxes

Red antique English telephone boxesJust around the corner from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden is this fabulous row of antique communication devices. Many people 20 and under will never ever have used these. Why would they need to? They carry their own phones with them. In the 80’s a row of phone boxes like this in a city centre would have a person in each box talking and maybe one or two people outside, checking the change in their purses, waiting for their turn to make a private call.

According to this history, in the 1980’s most homes didn’t have landline phones.

In 1987, the post office, who deployed and maintained them, systematically replaced these red boxes with a more modern design with more glass and open to the air that reduced the likelihood of the box being used as a urinal, or the subsequent pungent smell. Pew! I remember the smell!  Some villages protested against the replacement and managed to hold-on to this much loved older design. But sadly, most red boxes were removed.

I guess they are still useful to a few people for actually hosting a landline call, they are also useful for keeping warm, dry and quiet for making a mobile phone call. It’s wonderful that the local council, as many councils in tourist areas, have decided to leave them here and maintain them in such good condition. For the tourists, and people like me who can be heard bubbling


antique communication devices
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8 bits of fabulous banter »

soft on the phone

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

…bring bring…   …bring bring…

Hello, wendy house speaking, how can I help you?

can I speak to wendy house please

yep, that’s me!

Wendy?! you sound so different on the phone, all soft, I thought someone else must have answered

even my parents don’t recognise me on the phone, don’t know what happens

you’ve got a nice phone voice

who am I talking to?

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position eliminated

Saturday, July 31st, 2010 | tags: ,  |

the first and only text message waiting on my phone when I woke that morning read

my position has been eliminated

It didnt read

  • I’ve been made redundant
  • I’ve lost my job
  • They’ve got rid of me
  • They’ve cut my job

No words of anger, no tremors of fear, no tissue of tears.  Just the 2 words which feel like they are being pretentious because they have 3 or more syllables.

position = job

eliminated = cut


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fell into a Glen

Sunday, June 27th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

In less than 2 minutes I’d fallen deeply in love with a youngster, he must be all of 30yrs.  His name badge says Glen. A good name, other members of the wendy house family are called Glen, but that wont cause a problem.  Glen can solve problems.

He smiles, talks sense, makes constructive left of field suggestion, shows me diagrams, puts different phones in my hand while he uses a real pen to do some quick maths on a sheet of paper. He compares the prices of different solutions for me.  I’m totally hooked.  After this brief and productive conversation, this performance, we make a date for next Saturday. I bounce out of car phone warehouse with an abundance of teeth reflecting the hot glow of the summer sunshine.  Maybe I should propose on Saturday.  Before or after I’ve purchased something, what’s the ettiquette?

 Well done Reading town’s carphone warehouse, your staff recruitment strategy is excellent.  Looks like I’ll be dropping my service relationships with t-mobile, Orange, and BT all in one go for the ‘TalkTalk’ service that some of the Wendy House family are already using.  Hoorah

Thankyou to Happy Frog’s friend for pointing me to the carphone warehouse

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too sunny too explain

Saturday, June 26th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

wendy: I’d like you to sell me some sort of package that would suit me, I’ve got a pay as you go cell-phone service provided by Orange and a contract wireless mobile dongle provided by you guys.  I’d like to have a single bill to one cellular service provider that is cheaper than having a service with Orange and with t-mobile.  What can you do for me?

t-mobile sales staff (tmss): we dont buy-out contracts, you’ll have to wait until your contract with Orange runs out

wendy: I don’t have a contract with Orange,  I have pay as you go with Orange, I have a contract with you

tmss: I don’t understand, could you explain again.

wendy: (explains again, points at the t-mobile dongle in the store advertising the package I’m using to make sure the sales staff understands)

tmss: so you want a phone contract with us?

wendy: I don’t know what you offer, I want you to sell me something that enables me to have internet access from my laptop and a service to my cell phone,  please, just try and sell me something.

The sales staff still looks baffled.  There are two other potential customers standing next to him,  they’ve been watching and listening.  As I watch the sales staff look confused and fail to sell me something I feel guilty. Maybe he could sell them something.

tmss: can you explain again?

wendy: don’t worry, I give up its too sunny outside to be in here…

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