Things You Learn About Mobile Phones

I don’t think I had to learn they were a damn impost, that seems to be one of the notions that came already installed with own personal software. My kids of course were the first to get them in our family and inevitably the original one was foisted upon me when my son upgraded for the first time! I didn’t take it with me but left it where it belonged on the Hallstand. With it I felt like a dog on a leash, always under the control of someone else but in my case someone who could remotely command my attention just by dialling their phone.

Then came the time my father was ill and I wanted to be within reach so the phone found it’s way into my pocket. One of the astonishing things I learnt after quite a lot of frustration was that to switch it on I had to use the same key that ends a conversation and incidentally switches it off. Nowhere in the book did it tell me that!

Now I have grandchildren in a “single parent situation” with their mum working full time & I want to be able to support her so the phone has actually allowed me a bit more freedom. I can go about my business knowing that if I’m really needed I can still be fetched. It does though leave me vulnerable to grandchildren with unrealistic ideas of how grandparents fill their days.

So far I’ve managed to shield all attempts to set me off on the “Smartphone” route, I think it’s like stepping into quicksand and the phone company is doing all the sucking!

Yesterday I made a new discovery about my mobile phone. Over the weekend suddenly I couldn’t send texts anymore, it would say “sending” for ages then politely ask if I’d like to retry. I have an identical phone sitting in a box (another story) so charged the battery and swapped the sim card but the result was the same. Repeated Google advice was to take it to the supplier.

The guy in the shop was very puzzled since I could still make calls. He went through all the settings etc, eventually asking if he could remove the battery but didn’t bother when I told him I’d already had the same result with another phone. Then, he checked my account online and discovered I only had 23c left on my Pre Paid account which wasn’t enough for a text message. I learnt that even when you have no money left for a few days you can still make phone calls just to cover the possibility that they might be emergency calls. An interesting little fact about that is, Deaf people who rely on text messages as a way of communicating would have no such access to emergency services.

My phone is now recharged and up and running again what a shame it’s not that easy to do the same for me!


Hitch-hiking in New Zealand

In 1968/70 a friend and I decided to go to New Zealand. We had 6 weeks holiday so planned to spend 4 weeks touring around the south island and 2 weeks around the north. We had to go from from Adelaide by train, I guess to Melbourne, there were very flew direct flights from here in 1969. We landed in Christchurch and stayed in the Youth Hostel. At that time they were very basic places, all dormitory accommodation, shared bathrooms and a communal kitchen. There were young people from all different places, no families or older people used the Youth Hostels then. I had a khaki canvas backpack, nothing like the fancy ripstop ones you can get now let alone a bag with wheels. I presume our sleeping bags were attached somehow because there wouldn’t have been room for clothes with the bags inside.

We had no transport of our own so when it was time to move on we found our way out to the main road south and stood with thumbs out. I don’t remember ever having to wait very long for a ride.
From our entire holiday the things I remember most are the gorgeous rainforest area of Stewart Island, the impressive mountain areas, the lush farms of the Canterbury region, soaking in the hot pools at Rotorua, the community there and hiking to Youth Hostels that always seem to be on top of hills. There is one more thing I’ll never forget, it was my friend meeting a boy she fancied in Timaru. I agreed to give her a week to enjoy his company and the Youth Hostel was where we spent Christmas Day. All the travellers chipped in to buy food for Christmas Dinner but I spent the day sick in bed.

After a week the love affair was still going strong so I made the decision to move off on my own. It was an uncomfortable feeling standing alone beside the road, thumb out. I hitch-hiked to Mt Cook and stayed a few days. While I was there I met a Tour Guide and was invited to join a group flight, landing on the Tasman Glacier which was lucky for me and also met an American “draft dodger” working at the resort.

My friend and I must have agreed to meet up again at Invercargill because there were no mobile phones and posting letters would have been impractical. When I arrived at the Youth Hostel in Invercargill a week after leaving Timaru my friend was there. She’d travelled by bus and had decided that if I didn’t arrive she was going to fly straight back home. Seeing the boy in an entirely new light when staying with his family she had decided he wasn’t worth staying around for.
Together we made it all the way up the west coast, across to the north island, right up to Kaitia at the tip then back down to Auckland and home again. If I see anyone hitch-hiking now I think they’re taking a big risk but for the young me that was just an appetiser that sent me off on a much longer journey.

You didn’t know that about Nana did you?

Don't try this!
Don’t try this!

On the Tasman Glacier.
On the Tasman Glacier.