Virginia Barton

18 February 2017: Yet another gizmo



18 February 2017


“You don’t mean you’ve never seen The Crown? Oh but you must, you absolutely must.”

“ Where is it?”

“On Netflix.”

“Where’s that? Wherever it is we haven’t got it.”


I was dissembling; I had heard of Netflix but suspected that it would introduce wall- to-wall viewing, and considerable expense. I was right on both counts.

“I’m going to get it for you right away, Gran; You will so love The Crown and all the other stuff. We watch it heaps.”

“Is it as good as Downty?”

This most savvy of granddaughters didn’t deign to answer.


True to her word, the persuasive Blossom ordered the kit and set it up, and arranged the rental – which mysteriously had just increased, wouldn’t you just know it?

She left me with a large-print booklet of her own making, colour coded, written in simple phrases with many exclamation marks, called: Gran’s super brief manual on how to use … etc.

It begins:

Turn on your television.


This is not the first time I have written of my fondness for gadgets. The temptation to upgrade, trade in, buy new, or just acquire another one is almost irresistible. Are there other nearly 80 year-olds who feel as I do?

Once mastered, a new gizmo makes one feel younger. My texting is legendary, so much so few can understand it. This latest little beauty adds to the clutter on the coffee table. It is minimal, black, and nestles (yes! Nestles!) cosily in the palm of the hand. Other “remotes” (for that is what this is) appear clunky by comparison.


But also on the coffee table are three sets of specs, long, middle, and short distance.

Navigating to a specific channel before losing the lot, requires a feat of optical legerdemain not usually associated with nearly 80-year-olds. However, by the time Blossom comes again I hope to show off a few skills. To these youngsters it is as nothing – on par perhaps with our skills at … well what? It seems to me they can do everything my generation did, and more.

(Hang on, can they harness a pony to a trap? Stitch a French seam? Make a decent pair of socks on four needles?)


Incidentally, we have now seen The Crown and it’s simply terrific.






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