John Halewood-Dodd column

John Halewood Dodd.
John Halewood Dodd.

Telephone technology has me absolutely amazed at what we can now do with these tiny handsets.

For example, last week I was at a football match and my daughter Sasha, who is currently travelling in Vietnam, was able to ‘Face Time’ me.

Although she was in some remote Vietnamese village, and I was at the equally remote Giant Axe, we were able to have a lengthy chat whilst at the same time taking in each other’s surroundings.

For all the benefits of these advances I feel that some allow mobile telephones to take over their lives.

We have all witnessed people on trains and buses, in the street, and even in bars and restaurants who would require surgery to separate them from their handsets.

This is worlds apart from my childhood when the vast majority of households didn’t even have a landline.

Six homes on the street would use the number of a friends parents who had a telephone.

As calls came in the entire household would rush to the neighbours house to gather round and strain to hear what the caller had to say.

My parents didn’t have a telephone until I was in my late teens, and my father in particular was unfamiliar with the nuances of how it worked.

I recall how I had fancied this girl for ages and now we had a telephone I plucked up the courage to give her my number and suggest that she give me a call so that we could arrange to go out.

Remarkably, she called two days later and my father answered, although he did have the receiver upside down.

She asked if I was in and my father said he would check.

We lived in a two-up, two-down terrace, and I was sat next to him, but in order to appear nonchalant he went along with the charade.

Everything seemed under control until he unwittingly put the phone down and the call was ended. That was the end of what could have been a romantic episode in my life as we had no way of retrieving callers number in those days.

Given how some allow ‘phones to now run their lives I wonder whether my old dad knew what he was up to all along.