Titchy Jo

all about me, my boys and my adventures in Canada

The wonders of modern technology

on 15/08/2013

It’s a rare rainy(ish) morning in the summer holidays and cabin fever started kicking in about an hour ago, every single piece of plastic tat we own has been strewn across the floor, I’ve read Thomas Gets His Own Branch Line what feels like about thirty times and now the gruesome twosome are using my bed as a trampoline.  So what else is there to do when the boys are distracted but have a sneaky look on You Tube?  I just spent five blissful minutes blocking out the shouts of ‘oh no there’s a dinosaur coming’ engaging my mushy brain and watching a video of Tim Minchin discussing the balance between humour and existentialism in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  Of course, I only ever use it for this kind of thing.  I have never, no way, ever, wasted my precious time watching cats dressed as sharks riding automatic hoovers. I have absolutely no clue what ‘Charlie bit me’ means and have definitely never ever seen a video that in any way resembles a Gran ruining a wedding by accidentally throwing Pimms over the bride (though that last one is excruciatingly sad, awful and hilarious all at the same time, so “a friend” told me).

This started me thinking about what our time in Canada would be like if we didn’t have access to modern technology.  It would have been a far scarier prospect and we’d feel a lot further away from home.  Social media has made the world a much smaller place, I can keep in touch with my friends and family on facebook, instagram photos of wherever I am before I’ve even left, tweet my random thoughts and find out those of Stephen Fry, catch up with news online – both world news and local news from home.  I can watch British TV shows on Netflix, buy birthday presents online to be posted directly to someone’s door, and most importantly find out what z-list cast members of reality shows I’ve never watched are wearing on their summer holiday.

I didn’t even have a mobile phone until I left university, to set up my first email address I had to go to the house of the only boy in the village who had the internet.  It wasn’t THAT long ago when I was at uni and went on a trip to Mexico.  In order to make our one obligatory phone call home to the parents we had to go to a phone office and purchase a card so we could make a short crackly call that had just enough of a delay to make it sound like everyone was cross with one another.  The language barrier caused a slight problem when Neil tried to buy his card from the female attendant by pointing at the only phrase in our guidebook that contained the word Ireland, “Besame soy Irelandes” – Kiss me I’m Irish.  I think she wondered how he was intending to pay for the card. Why they chose just that phrase to print is also a bit of a mystery…though it did get him the phone card.  Now at the touch of a button we can make freakishly futuristic video calls – to anyone, for free.  It’s amazing.

The other day we ‘FaceTimed’ my parents who had the Mo Farah race on the TV, they just turned the camera around and we were able to watch it and cheer along with them.  It’s been wonderful for the boys.  Toddlers are notoriously bad on the phone, silent heavy breathing at best. But with FaceTime and Skype they can play with their cousins and friends, pull faces, show them their toys and generally keep up their relationships.  When we visit home or people come here it’s as if they have only just seen them.  The same goes for me and Neil, when we manage to meet up with our friends in the flesh we can skip all the ‘so, what have you been up to?’ ‘how’s Canada?’ nonsense and basically cut straight to the important stuff – which seems to mainly involve childish jokes and good natured ribbing (and there we go – even as I write ribbing I know that somewhere in the world at least one of my friends is smirking at the tenuous innuendo – and I hope you are, that is why you are my friend and why I love you).  The only downside is I have to tidy up my house (or at least a small corner of it) before calling home.

My Grandad recently wrote in a letter to me that his own parents would have thought modern technology was unreal science fiction.  If tech has come on so spectacularly in my lifetime I can only imagine what it must be like for him.  I’m not saying he’s old but when he was young he could have shot Downton Abbey as a fly-on-the-wall documentary.

Just a note to Casper and Theo – boys this will blow your minds – when I was your age kids TV was only on for about an hour a day, we couldn’t choose what we wanted to watch, we only had three tv channels that actually worked (as a treat we sometimes watched The Smurfs on Channel 4 but they always looked as though they were in a snowstorm).  Oh yes, and our first computer game was just text loaded onto the tv screen by a tape (ask me what a tape is – it was what we had before CDs, while you’re at it you may as well ask me what CDs are, ask Granny about records).

Here’s the ‘Gran Pimm’s’ video if, like me, you haven’t seen it…


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