Friday, 7 August 2015

Times have changed

but, alas, I have not completely changed with them.

As you know I have recently bought a new landline telephone.  The setting up of it has been painful to say the least.  Various teething problems were ironed out quickly (without the handbook I might add) by my son.   And yesterday I felt rather proud that I had managed to plumb in sixty or so contacts and actually ring one of them back so that I knew I had done that right.

My next job is to get the answer phone bit up and working.   I have just read the instruction booklet twice and decided that to avoid a nervous breakdown or a crisis of confidence I shall have to call on my son to help me there to.

But it did set me thinking about the days when life was so much easier.   Does anyone else remember the old red telephone coin boxes where you put twopence in slot A and if there was no reply then you pressed button B and got your twopence back?

In our Lincolnshire village the parson had a phone, the doctor had a phone, and maybe a smattering of villagers had a phone.   But other than that everyone used the public telephone box.  That box was about half a mile from our house, but there we went in the unlikely event that we wanted to communicate by phone.  Nobody we knew had a phone so it was usually only to call the doctor.

Urgent messages came by telegram, sent through by telephone to the village post office, written out by hand by the village postmaster and then brought round on his bike.

We kids spent out long summer holidays out on our bikes, sandwiches in our bike bags, not expected home between breakfast and tea, free to go as far as we cared to bike.   We never thought about hanging around over screens of some sort all day - television, i-pads, mobiles and the like.   Texting was something we had never heard of.

Gosh, wasn't life simple and uncomplicated?

22 comments:

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

My granny only got a phone relatively late on, so used to hearing the pips as she called from Brecon on the village call box.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Do you remember Party Lines when several people shared one line? Imagine anyone having to wait to use their phone nowadays!

Terry and Linda said...

I think in a way today's kids have lost lots of things.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Countryside Tales said...

M's grandfather, living in rural Western Island when M was a boy, had a telephone number that was simply '3' :o)

Gwil W said...

My mother had a weekly appointment the red phone box. No one would dream of occupying it when it was somebody else's regular time. By the time we children were almost grown up and using the phone we had to learn to stand patiently as someone, usually I have say a woman :), nattered on for what seemed like hours. And then a few years after that there came the vandalism and phone boxes with wires ripped out and handsets smashed and stinking of beer and used for urinating in usually I have to say by drunken men :(, and often so often 'out of order'.

Cro Magnon said...

When I was small I would lift up the phone, speak to the lady at the one-person exchange, and give the name of my friend who I wanted to speak to. If he wasn't in she'd tell me so, otherwise she'd connect us.... and probably listen to our conversation too. Surrey village life in the 1950's was pretty good.

the veg artist said...

I was a country child with lots of farming relatives and at least a dozen cousins, all within walking distance. The assumption was that the kids were on one farm or another, would be fed by grandmother or one of the aunts, and would be home before dark by lane or field. Not one of these homes had a phone - so who would they ring? I do think that children of today are missing out on so much, but we can't go backwards, can we?

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I sort of agree....but when the phone or the internet break down I find I disagree.

A Heron's View said...

Oh Pat the phones in the old phone boxes were an absolute gift to me. We used to make free calls by pushing in a flat lolly stick to trip the mechanism, another ruse was to tap out the total number of digits to make trunk calls to anywhere you wanted to, provided you knew the area codes that connected one place to another.
Thank you for reviving my boyhood memories.

donna baker said...

While I never remember not having a phone in the house (I had a pink princess dial phone) I do remember playing outside all day long; jacks, skates, bikes, stilts, swing sets. Never went inside till dinner time.

Joanne Noragon said...

My childhood was very similar, except our phones used a nickle. My girlfriend and I spent an afternoon at the movies and save our nickle to all for a ride home, only to find the cost of a phone call had doubled to a dime. A nice lady supplied the missing nickle. We had to adjust out candy budgets after that to end up with a dime to call home.

thelma said...

It is a lovely thought being out all day as a child, and finding your own amusements but it would be difficult today, although of course mobile phones keep us in touch. Since moving out to the country Pat, LS's mobile doesn't work in the village; sometimes you can get reception if you sit on the bench outside the church. But when we go into Pickering, we sit by the river and listen to all the messages then, the landline is a godsend though...

jinxxxygirl said...

HI Pat!

I can remember pay phones... that cost 25 cents then the price went up... to 50 i think... I do rememeber playing outside all day... freeze tag, pickle, redlight/greenlight...mother may i, as i got older it was bike riding and hiking... I could be gone all day and no one would worry until supper time.. such is not the case today.. To me its easy to look back and see certain things as life changing events.. where would we be today if we didn't have all these screens, telephone, mobile , ipads... what would we have done with our time? What new discoveries or inventions would we have made because we spent that time day dreaming up new ideas instead of numbing ( or dumbing) ourselves down by games on phones or surfing the internet.......what if we actually had to converse with someone while waiting in line...? What new people we might have met or networked... I think the human race has really been done a disservice... Hugs! deb

SandyExpat said...

We did not have a telephone in the house when I was growing up. No one else did either so it felt quite normal. The country does not seem quite right to me without the red phone box.

As a child I also enjoyed long days biking about with so much freedom and no worries but times have changed and not all for the better. The country is so built up now and so many cars on the roads. As someone else said there is no going back.

We keep our land line in the house and the reason is for the ability to make what here is a 991 (999) in the U.K. emergency call. Seems like we need this more as we grow older. Hardly anyone rings on the land phone any more other than unwanted political or sales calls - most calls come thru on the mobile.

It took me some time to get used to texting but there does seem a place for that. Yesterday I had a short text from my 7 year old grandson. Call me old fashioned but I do not understand the need to be on the phone non stop. I never cease to amaze when flying as soon as we land or even taxi in the people who immediately pull out the phone to either text or call someone.

Interesting and thought provoking blog.

Tom Stephenson said...

We had a phone. I knew two numbers by heart - our own: Woking 2576, and Scotland Yard's: Whitehall 1212.

Mac n' Janet said...

We had a phone, but it was a party line and it seemed like the other folks were always on it.

Hildred said...

Had a phone - Edmonton was very advanced with its City Telephone system. What I find so sad about the situation young people find themselves in today and how much they are missing is the security of being able to spend a day outdoors exploring and wandering and learning, and the dreadful obsession with instant communication, which seems to me to be very superficial and not the basis for friendships that are built on spending time together.

Hildred said...

Had a phone - Edmonton was very advanced with its City Telephone system. What I find so sad about the situation young people find themselves in today and how much they are missing is the security of being able to spend a day outdoors exploring and wandering and learning, and the dreadful obsession with instant communication, which seems to me to be very superficial and not the basis for friendships that are built on spending time together.

Hildred said...

Had a phone - Edmonton was very advanced with its City Telephone system. What I find so sad about the situation young people find themselves in today and how much they are missing is the security of being able to spend a day outdoors exploring and wandering and learning, and the dreadful obsession with instant communication, which seems to me to be very superficial and not the basis for friendships that are built on spending time together.

Midmarsh John said...

Ah, the good old days when a phone came in any colour you wanted as long as you wanted black and the phone book had large enough print so you didn't need a microscope to read it.

I remember as a youngster one way of supplementing meagre pocket money was to make a tour of some town telephone kiosks pressing button B in each to see whether anyone had forgotten to get their money back.

The History Anorak said...

We didn't get a phone until my sister left home to go to college. There was a box at the end of the road if we needed to make calls. I remember the price as 4d, not tuppence, but I remember pressing button B to see if we could 'win' the price of some penny chews!

Heather said...

Those were the days Pat! I can just about remember being reprimanded when I was 3 or 4, for bothering the operator at the telephone exchange by lifting the receiver of my grandmother's phone just to have a chat! Granny had a 'daffodil' style phone where you lifted the earpiece from it's cradle and spoke into the 'trumpet'. The public call box was about a mile away.
My cousins and I would make dens in the hedges and take our meals out there, and when we were a little older we were allowed to go into the wood to play. We all survived without harm or injury.