As George (Transit Notes) reminds us, EM Forster in her novel "Howard's End" reminds us of the importance of connection with one another - how well that fits in with what the farmer and I were talking about over lunch today.
Maybe every generation throughout history has sat over a meal and chatted about how times have changed since they were young. And maybe every generation has said that the changes in their lifetime were the most momentous. But, really, regarding 'connections' between individuals, there can never have been changes like there have been in the last fifty years or so.
In my father's youth, you married someone from within an area of around five miles or so. What other way was there of ever getting to meet otherwise? My mother lived eleven miles away and my father walked over after work to see her until he had saved up enough to buy a bike.
In my youth only 'important' people had their own telephone (and then it was often a shared line). We had a Judge in the village, a doctor, a vicar and a businessman - they all had cars but I don't remember any more. And the businessman drove so slowly that my brother once overtook him on his bike!
If you needed to phone someone urgently you walked to one of the only two phone boxes in the village - and pressed button A (and if there was no reply button B to get your twopence back).
So how did we connect? Well we visited our friends and relations, I suspect much more than we do now. Our leisure time was taken up with Barn Dances, Drama Groups, Choirs, All kinds of church activities - plenty of connection there in more ways than one (Postman's Knock anyone?).
And we wrote letters. I had a pen-friend up until the day I got married - her name was Diana Wickens and she lived in Bexhill on Sea - a place which seemed an awful long way away to me. I wonder what happened to Diana.
Any presents we received had to be answered with a thank-you letter and all aunts and uncles had to be written to at birthdays.
But compare than with connections today. We fly all over the world for holidays, on business, to see friends; we think nothing of getting in the car and going to the coast for the day (in my day it involved two trains and a long wait to complete a journey of thirty miles).
Very few people are without a telephone and similarly without a car. As the years go by less and less people manage without a computer. And once you have a computer a whole wealth of connections open up - e mails, Google, Facebook, Twitter and of course - best of all - Blogland. Who would have thought that I could have daily chats with friends in America, Australia and South Africa? Only connect indeed George.