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
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"!
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
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
this page to a friend