Sunday, June 04, 2006


The sound of silence. That's what I heard when the clock radio cut off in the middle of a song on Saturday morning. I knew what that meant. The electricity people had been right about when the power would go off.

I got up and wandered out to the kitchen. Nowadays nearly everything you use plugs into something. I looked around. Refrigerator. Microwave. Kettle. Computer. Toaster. Video. All so much useless metal without the vital spark to power them.

They'd advised us to heat some water the night before and keep it hot in a thermos. We tried that but our old thermos wasn't up to keeping water hot all night. Managed to make a cup of luke-warm tea that was better than nothing, but we ended up going out for brunch across at the little coffee shop at the Coles shopping centre.

They actually took two hours less than scheduled to fit the new power-lines. It was positively exhilarating when I opened the refrigerator door and the light came on!

What's the old song lyric - "You don't know what you've got till it's gone"?

This really is the 21st century! Last night Julie's friend Jan sent her a text message on her mobile phone to say that she'd arrived safely in Dover, England. She then asked if we could look up on the Internet the address of the hotel she was going to stay at!

So you had her sitting in a coffee shop on the coast of England while two people in Australia used various search engines to locate the website of the hotel she was seeking. And then sent the information to her phone by SMS.

Talk about your global village...

"How much is it to text to Britain?" wondered Julie. "I'll find out."

"One way or the other," I commented.

Kay and Chris were here on Saturday afternoon. Kay was vexed by one of the television stations and waxed eloquently on the subject till I had to blow my referee's whistle to quiet things down.

Without meaning to, I annoyed her more than somewhat just before she left. She had asked if she could borrow one of my Stargate DVDs and I shrugged. "As long as you remember to return it and in good condition," I said guardedly.

"Of course it would be in good condition," she replied. "When did I ever do otherwise?"

I should have thought before speaking, but given a direct question the answer popped into my mind and I heard myself saying "Well, there was that paperback Thunderbirds and the Ring of Fire you borrowed in 1973..."

"What about it?"

"It looked like someone had taken to it with an electric carving knife."

She recoiled as though I'd slapped her across the face. "There are two things that I've never been guilty of," she moaned. "Cruelty to animals and mistreating books! Anybody who knows me will tell you that." She shook her head. "I don't remember the book, but I'm sure that never happened."

"Well, that's the way I remember it," I said in a neutral voice, but she was still muttering about it as she left.

I think I really upset her this time.

Nice to see that the Nine Network has such confidence in the Star Trek franchise
Enterprise. They've finally stirred themselves to show the first episode of the 2004 season ["Storm Front" part 1] but they don't seem too fussed about it - they're running it at 1 a.m.

Not a great time-slot for a first-run programme. Typical of the way that the networks treat anything that doesn't have instant mass-market appeal nowadays.

If this was the way things always worked, the original Star Trek series would have been cancelled in its first month. They would probably have replaced it with Big Brother's Amazing Survivor Wife Swap Idol.

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