A Blackberry

în Cornwall...

A parallel universe?


I always thought a blackberry was...?

Sometimes, but not often, I think I've lived in Cornwall too long. There's a different dimension running counterpart to my life, but one to which I'm not remotely synchronised. There are spaces in my knowledge when it comes to things like mobile phone and broadband connections that I can't quite comprehend and to be honest, sometimes I've no idea what's going on. When I overhear conversations between my sons they speak another language with a vocabulary using words like bluetooth, roaming and quadband that translates into gibberish. Although I quite like 'in-fusion' as it sounds like a herbal remedy.

I'm not deaf, daft or been diagnosed with dementia and it isn't a deliberate retreat into a non-technological void; it's something that's happened as 'the appliance of science' has been so rapid and the trade-off, is living in my chosen part of Cornwall. A while ago, by a 'while', probably twenty years ago, we owned 'the only fax in the village' because of the nature of our graphics business. We were using Apple computers when an apple was thought of as having apocryphal properties to keep the doctor away. The innovation of mobile phone capabilities has left us behind because we can't receive a signal due to the geography of the village which looks out to sea and is at the bottom of a hill. And as for broadband connections, it would be quicker to light bonfires round the headlands to broadcast a message than to wait to download a hefty file.

It will be years before the elderly copper wire is replaced with fibre optic cable, although, if the BT website publicity transfers to reality, 80-90% of Cornwall will have super-fast broadband by 2014, with alternative technologies for those outside the 'fibre footprint'. The quirky paradox is that not more than a couple of miles along the coast an armourered cable, linked arterially through sub-marine spurs around the world, emerges from the depths of the sea bed; it travels beneath the beach, across the moors into the complex of the Earth Station, bringing immediate international news and information. The digital signal decodes into TV, phone and internet information and communicates via a microwave link to the Post Office Tower in London, provides information as it occurs. If I sound impressive in that previous sentence, I don't know what it means either, I "phoned a friend"!

Transatlantic cable comes ashore Cable as it enters the earth station My special place Woody having fun

As the cable comes ashore it runs under the sea wall and up the valley and is within a short walk of one of my favourite places. It's somewhere on the Lizard and is where I've rambled for more years than I care to admit. I'm not revealing its whereabouts - not even so much as the OS grid reference as I like to keep it secret. Originally a tract of boggy, marshy moorland where nothing significant grew apart from black withies which were coppiced for making lobster pots in bygone days, until the enterprising farmer who owned it, applied for a grant from the Woodland Trust to plant trees in around 30 acres which was too wet for crops or grazing. Now the trees are maturing into a seasoned woodland, interwoven with random tracks, pools and dense cover for wildlife.

Advances in technology are so complicated and fast it makes me dizzy and I really don't care that to access the internet our connection has a penchant towards being moody and that I'm using a senile, see-through iMac in a very pretty turquoise, I don't need to know what the wires and grey and black bits inside the case are for as I love the design; iPanic at the thought of owning an iPhone, iPad or iPod. I prefer my world to be a harmonious, contented place where I can touch the pulse of the changing seasons and escape to a sun-warmed rock, my dog's head resting on my knee, listening to the skylark, watching a baby frog in the grass and the metallic-green, darting dragonflies flitting across the pond.

I'm often asked by 'Googlers' who click their way into my website, if I think they should take the plunge and move to Cornwall. Of course, I could never advise, but if they are prepared to embrace a different way of life that isn't all about speed and the latest gadget, they are welcome to share this synthesis of diversity and simplicity.

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