Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Last night we made our first call to our daughter over Skype: is it a bird, is it a telephone? Funny how Star-Trek-level technology has actually crept up on us. Although we used my laptop, we could have used my iPhone, which would thereby have turned into the sort of device that Capt. James T Kirk would recognise. Well, OK, we can’t do the beaming-up thing yet, but it is a start. In anticipation of what I suppose we can still reasonably term “a call” I had been reminiscing with a friend over email earlier in the day about the limited ways available for us to communicate with our folks when we were at university. In my case there was a grotty pay phone in a grotty corner of the grotty Junior Common Room, from which I used to make a weekly call to my parents, always preceded by a conversation with the operator to reverse the charges: well my orange needlecord loon pants only had small pockets, you see…

"But what I'd really like is an iPhone."

RAF greatcoat, popular with male university students in the mid-1970s, although I never owned one.
Girls were often to be seen wearing old fur coats, rather ungallantly called "dead bears" by me and my friends (the coats, that is, not the women).

Our dear daughter is settling in well, although work proper does not start until next week. She is sharing a house on campus with four boys, who, she assures us, are courteous and thoughtful. We will probably visit her soon, as she would like to have her bike available; by the time the car was loaded with all her things last Saturday, there was simply no room for the bike.

I have been pretty idle in terms of physical activity today, although I did manage six press-ups and persuade the bread machine to produce a loaf. I have had two visitors: my good friend P in the morning and my brother in the afternoon. P is a great enthusiast for film and received the happy news when he was with me that he had been accepted to do an MA in screenwriting. To assist me with my (blush) writing ambitions, he lent me two very useful books on the writing process: quite a rich seam of expertise to mine.

My brother and his wife set off for a short break in France tomorrow, so we discussed various practicalities relating to the house, including the continuing search for a builder to help us with the problem of young starlings falling down the chimney into the wood-burning stove. We do not want our visitors upset by having to deal with dead birds as soon as they arrive (after all, we don’t enjoy being confronted with feathered remains either).

My friend, John Penny, is in the final week before the Ipswich Half Marathon on 25 September in which he is raising funds for WM research in the UK. Amazingly the funds raised have today reached £1000 (plus Gift Aid) and both he and I are greatly encouraged. I think also that we have today identified a small research project that will be an ideal recipient of the funds and I will let you know when this is eventually confirmed. Many thanks indeed to all who have contributed so generously.

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