Sunday, 23 October 2011


Mate's mum died.  Got the message on Facebook.  Didn't have the mobile number to text the bereaved.  Had to actually get out my black book of (proper) telephone numbers and look it up, and dial it on one of those quaint appliances that stands there quite redundant in the hallway. 

What a sweet and old-fashioned process! I hear everybody used to do such a thing. 

My moleskin phone book, immaculate with crisp pages, compared to my mum's of twenty years, faded and dog-eared from constant use. 

What about those telephone diaries that had an actual dial on the cover?  How chic were they?  You wanted someone with the initial B, you had to stick your finger in this receptacle.  They never really worked properly.  They seemed to get stuck a lot.  Still hanker for one though.   

Took me right back to 1970 when we first got a telephone. With the round dial and everything.  Took you about five minutes to dial a number, usually getting the last digit wrong. 

Standing proud and new on our telephone table by the front door.  The only ones in our street to possess such a sophisticated item.  One of the reasons our phone bill was so low, apart from the fact we didn't know many people who actually had one, was that it was so bloody freezing in that hallway!  Of course you kept it short!

I used to ring my mate in Norfolk and you had to go through the operator.  Loved that.  Was sorry when those stupid STD codes came in.  That was the highlight of the call for me! 

The second highest was when my mate, 200 miles away, asked why I was shivering?  (Her's was in the kitchen, a rare thing then).

Sometimes I would have to speak to my cousin on there.  I don't know why.  Could never stand the bitch.  The feeling being quite mutual, there would be a silent eerie echo on each side.  My mum standing over me (never quite knew why), would urge me to say something.  Then the cousin would join in with the same sentiment.  Witches, both of them! 

Found their number, dialled that long and inconvenient code to Southend.  Bastards weren't in.  Couldn't be THAT upset and bereaved, could they? 


Stigmum said...

Ooh you take me back Jen. They sell retro phones now for a squillion pounds tho I keep all my numbers on my mobile and scraps of paper! Long gone the address book (though should try to find it) Sorry your mate's mum died. Not in ey...does their phone have an answer machine (technology's moved somewhat faster than some of us!)?

Polly said...

lol way too funny, we continue to maintain our landline even though we probably don't need it anymore, i once used to love being on the phone but now I avoid it at all costs, i think Ive gotten unsociable in my old age. I talk jibberish with the boys all day, who needs to do it during the night too.
Now The Slap. I haven't read it, I have had such mixed reports. They have turned it into a TV series here in OZ and two of my bookclub friends who have read the book tell me to watch the series instead - big call from two book lovers like me. So what to do? I will cave in I think. Tell me what you thought? Is it worth the read?

Jennysmith said...

Hi Stig, yes, I've seen those antique things too. No, adress books seem a dying art. Also remember when answer machines were state of the art!

Hi Polly, yes I know what you mean.

Yes, it must be the same series that's due to start here on BBC4. Not sure I want to watch it, it won't be the same as the book.

I, and several people I know, really liked it. I mean, some bits flagged, but I really got an insight into Australia and it's system, and about the Greek community. I'd give it a go if I were you xxxx

A Confused Take That Fan said...

You are so funny. Sorry your mate's mum died. I remember my first phone number was 5066 and we had a cream telephone with the dially numbers. I loved the sound as they whizzed back around after you'd dialled. Those were the days that if you were out - no one could get hold of you. Like when I had concussion at school, my mum was shopping in town for several hours blissfully unaware I was having head x rays in hospital!!

dulwich divorcee said...

Oooh I remember those Trimphones with the warbly ringtone, they were the height of cool and of course we didn't have one .... hope your friend was ok (probably in the pub)