Opinion Australia

One man’s view of how the world might be.

Archive for the ‘Reminiscence’ Category

Life changing experiences

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Most of the media commemorations of the 9/11 attack on New York were written and published yesterday… ours memory is slightly different so waits until today to write.

It was seven years ago this morning that I switched on the television. The wife was on a business trip and I never sleep well when she’s away so was up early. The sight that greeted me was a plane flying directly into the second of the two towers. I stood there for an hour hardly moving as events unfolded and more news came in of places ‘disappearing’, and the White House being attacked. Then the towers collapsed and like everyone else I was totally lost for words or any way of expressing what I was feeling.

For me the issue was more personal that many watching the dram because the business trip the wife had taken was to New York for the first time and I had no idea where she was in the city… and had no phone number to try to contact her on.

Neither of us were unaware of terrorism of course. Having lived in London and having survived a few near misses from IRA bombs over the years, we weren’t totally naiive about the possibility of being killed… but this was different, maybe because we were so far apart.

For obvious reasons it took a long time for her to call and reassure me all was well and she was in fact a long way from the centre. Nevertheless it was enough for me that she *might* have been sightseeing and *might* have got caught up in it all. Besides, there was no way of us knowing that she wasn’t caught up in some all out attack on the USA!!

She tried to leave immediately but again, with all flights cancelled it wasn’t an easy process. Eventaully she got a flight thru Japan and got to Oz safe and sound.

Thing is, despite her being in no danger whatsoever, we were both very traumatised by it all. Her company (IBM) did absolutely nothing to help her get over it and we’ve just had to cope. However, even now, all these years later, is something to do with 9/11 comesΒ on the TV… Β she gets up and leaves the room.

Can’t say I blame her. When I look at footage of the buildings collapse or reports of new evidence and similr, *I* still get cold shivers up and down my spine thinking what could have been.

So this is my memory of 9/11 albeit a day after everyone elses.

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Written by welshdog

September 12, 2008 at 1:41 pm

More Fings…. etc.

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I was again having a ponder about how life has changed over the years when I began considering how much the mobile phone has become an integral part of life for many… if not most… of us.

Twenty years ago the wife and I lived in Central London, however she worked in Croydon which for those who don’t know, lies just outside the main Metropolis. To get there she’d walk to the local tube station and catch the train out against the main flow of people who migrate *in* to the City to work each day. This gave her an easy run both ways. Because I wasn’t working, I used to latch the lead onto the dog and walk down to the station with her in the mornings, and again in the afternoons to meet her on her way home.

Sounds a simple life and it was… except on the odd occasions when she was delayed in work, missed the train, or there were problems on the track or at the station (either end). The result was chaos. Neither of us knew what was happening to the other and there was no way of us communicating to let each other know! πŸ™‚

Ok it wasn’t a regular occurrence, but I did occasionally find myself waiting at the station for an hour not knowing whether to stay, go… or walk to another station. Quite frustrating. Occasionally she’d arrive at another station and simply go home because she’d have no idea whether I would be waiting… or would have gone home myself.

Times change.

Not long after we arrived in Australia we accepted the need for a mobile was quite reasonable so bought one of the old Nokia ‘bricks’ and neither one of us has never been without one since.

The spread of the internet seems to have mirrored the penetration of the mobile phone into the lifestyle of everyone around us and now those little ‘extras’ that have been introduced over the years has simply enhanced the utility of mobile phone ownership to the extent that, for me at least, live without the phone has become almost unthinkable. I’ve become so used to being able to access the Internet to find information on any subject whatever that it’s become a way of life. Having that access spread to the phone was perhaps the single biggest improvement since the introduction of the phone itself.

For me the phone is no longer just a way of keeping touch by voice. Yes it is still used for speech… but making actual voice calls is becoming less and less important. Over the years snail mail (via postal services) has been abandoned, and even online I’m using the old ‘POP’ mail less and less and have moved to Google Mail. Because of this, and because the phone can access the internet, I can access my email via my phone.

Effectively this means the wife and kids and I can all email each other with essential but non-urgent information easily and quickly without having to distract ourselves from whatever task we’re doing. Keeping in touch has never been so easy. simple… and non-intrusive!

Strange though now to think back and recall how stressed we used to get when we were unable to contact each other when now I have a phone that works for voice calls, but is also a calendar, watch, alarm clock, camera, mobile radio, cinema, music player, address book, calculator diary, games player. It also carries business software such as a word processor and spreadsheet etc. Add in that it is also an access point for the Internet that apart from my email, also allows me to find things as diverse as current news, cricket scores, cinema times, or the weather and you can see just how far the technology has come.

The newest devices are now linking themselves to satellites which allows GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to let you know where you are at any point on the planet and help you find your way to any other point on the planet. This has its downside for people with ‘work’ phones because it can be programmed to report your position back to your employer which might not be such a good thing if you’ve nipped into the loca for a lunchtime pint! But still, for the rest of us it’s a boon. πŸ™‚

Right now I can stand in an unfamiliar town square, take a photo with the camera, email it along with the address as found by the GPS to anyone I want to let them know where I am. I can even video my surroundings and send them *live* to someone else’s phone or to a computer.

Of course part of the reasoning behind this increase in functionality is the push for ‘convergence’ where one small device will carry out to some degree *all* the technological wants and needs of the current crop of technophiles. I’ve no idea how far this will go, but I suppose the extreme case has to be the implanting of devices internally with hard wired connections between system and brain. What a thought – literally! πŸ™‚

I’m not claiming any of this is a good thing, after all as a species we managed well enough for a million years before all this arrived… and of course there is no conclusive evidence yet regarding whether the constant bombardment of wireless transmissions our brains receive at close quarters is harmful… nor am I suggesting it’s wholly bad. I’m just saying that as far as mobile communication devices are concerned I think we can honestly claim that “Fings *ain’t* what they used to be”! πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

July 28, 2008 at 8:28 am

Vale Beryl Cook

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Sad news today about the passing of the highly regarded yet still under rated artist Beryl Cook who died qietly last night aged 81.

Beryl Cook - Art ClassBeryl’s pictures had a quite unmistakeable style featuring ‘fat ladies’ and otherwise ’rounded’ characters which brought to life many a social gathering. She didn’t really do much painting before the age of 40 but she has been in high demand since people have become more acquainted with her work. Despite this she never received the critical acclaim she might have.

Beryl Cook was awarded an OBE in 1995 but regardless of her fame, kept quietly out of the limelight.

Bearing in mind what passes for art these days her work has always been refreshing in its simplicity. Her humorous perspective will be missed.

Written by welshdog

May 29, 2008 at 9:56 am

Posted in Reminiscence, Society

Tagged with , , ,

Life is a strange thing.

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Just chatting to the sister on Google chat about the pictures she uploaded to the gallery of our mother as a young girl. It made me think just how ‘sad’ life is in general. Perhaps sad isn’t the right word, but it’s how I felt.

In mum’s pictures she’s there as a young girl with her entire future ahead of her with not a clue about her future… just enjoying her life as it was with no understanding it would, or could, ever change. And now here we are more than 50 years older than she was then…. and looking back at the pictures of our own youth.

The sister said it’s as well sometimes we *don’t* know what’s ahead of us which is true of course. We might decide not to bother if we did. But then… it would pinch out the loop because if we could avoid doing what our ‘future’ said we *would* do then it wasn’t really a true picture of unfolding events! πŸ™‚

That diversion apart, it just makes you think about life… the universe… everything. Life is a strange, strange thing to go through. I just wish there was some point to it all.

Written by welshdog

May 21, 2008 at 8:22 am

Family Forum Fixed.

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Well the forum might not be ‘fixed’ but it has at least been created. No doubt a bucket of configuration will be required before it all works spiffingly but… as I write… I have at least password protected it.

I’ve bridged it to the gallery too… and will soon sort out how to access it easily via the forum pages rather than the ‘copper’ directory (which will make the photos ‘private’ as well). Yes I could do that now… but then you’d need another set of passwords… and who wants to have to keep entering different passwords every time you access a website? Boring!!

So… the forum is at http://lewmat.com/forum and as far as I’m aware, currently you can’t get in there… hahaha…. oooh the power… so if you do manage to, let me know sooner rather than later ok?? πŸ˜€

Getting back to the subject at hand… we can either share one password… or each have our own. Makes no difference to me, but currently as *I* have to manually register any of us who joins we may as well all share one password – so email me and I’ll register/activate you and send you the password. Okie?

The forum is pretty basic right now but I have 20 modifications (including a chess game – if it works) to add tonight and tomorrow, and also several different themes so you can select your own favourite. πŸ™‚

Catch ya later!!

Written by welshdog

May 19, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Reminiscence

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Tell me if you’re getting bored with this train of thought? Better yet… add a few comments in that’ll set me off in yet another direction! πŸ™‚

I’ve remembered what it was that started me off this time. Yet again I’d remembered the old, old TV series “Champion the Wonder Horse” (a series from 1955’ish) and again wondered if anyone but me still had any recollection of it… or the theme song which still pops into my head now and then when a ‘sound bite’ that uses a phrase from it disturbs the memory.

Now and then I’ve looked for some trace of it on the internet but it was only the other day I found that You Tube not only has the theme tune but a video of the opening titles! Magic! πŸ™‚

Champion the Wonder Horse!
Champion the Wonder Horse!
Like a streak of lightnin’ flashin’ cross the sky,
Like the swiftest arrow whizzin’ from a bow,
Like a mighty cannonball he seems to fly.
You’ll hear about him ever’where you go.
The time’ll come when everyone will know
The name of Champion the Wonder Horse!

So if you remember Champion, and want to draw back the veils of time… visit You Tube. Enjoy. πŸ˜€

Now… who can tell me where I can get a recording of the short theme to ‘Willy Wombat’s Treehouse’ as sung on Muriel Young’s show? Oh… a wibbly, wobbly way… to Willy Wombat’s treehouse!!

(hmmm…. I wonder how a wombat got up a tree??)

Written by welshdog

February 27, 2008 at 8:31 am

Posted in Reminiscence

Remembering Fred Emney

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I was thinking today about Fred Emney who was a well known and quite famous comedian and character actor. I read a little about him and discovered his father, (also an actor and also called Fred) died whilst appearing in a Pantomime a week after slipping onstage on some soapsuds that were part of the act he was performing. Fred was aged 17 when this happened. Sad that.

By the time I was able to store a memory of Fred he looked pretty much like the picture below, but a search on Google Images shows that in his youth he was quite a good looking guy.

Fred Emney Still, this is my memory of him and this picture *is* pretty much how he sits in my memory! πŸ™‚ For some reason though, despite knowing he was an accomplished pianist and composer, I associate him with a Euphonium! Why with this strange old instrument is beyond me. I can’t find an obvious link, but I suppose there is one somewhere. πŸ™‚

Actually, apart from some short bio’s covering a few bare facts there is really not much to be gleaned from the web about his life and achievements other than telling us he was born in 1900 and died Xmas Day 1980. In fact I doubt there are many people out there who remember him at all!

Still, *I* remembered him… and fondly enough to write this little missive. I wonder what he was life in ‘real life’?

Written by welshdog

February 27, 2008 at 7:33 am

Posted in Reminiscence