Yesterday was a rather surreal day.

It started off with lack of sleep which tends to affect the mental faculties a bit.

So I half dozed for the morning.

Then I cut the grass, for the second time this year. That is a long process as we have a lot of lawn, and even though I have a tractor mower, it still knackers me out a bit. So we now have a lovely lawn and a five foot high pile of grass cuttings.

In the afternoon our K8 turned up with the grandchildren and we had a lovely afternoon sitting in the sun and watching the granddaughter chase bubbles on the breeze.

So far – a normal sort of day.

But then things got strange.

I am a complete newcomer to Skype, and have only made a couple of calls on it. But I suddenly found myself involved in a podcast. In America. And this was being recorded for broadcast, so I had to watch my language. I was chatting to Brianf, Jefferson and Dr. Don. Dario tried to join in but there were problems with his connection. So I was the only European representative in America. A big responsibility!

So here I was, sitting in my armchair, chatting to people I have never met. It was like joining a table of people in a pub, and picking things to talk about. I had read these people’s blogs, so I knew a bit about them, and they knew a bit about me, so we weren’t total strangers.

Here we were, sitting around this table and just having a chat and a laugh. But it struck me then – where was this table? Mentally, I was over in America [the first time I have been there!], but physically I was in my armchair. I then realised that I was in cyberspace and it was a strange out-of-body experience.

To make matters worse, the physical world kept interrupting the cyberworld. Here I was, chatting away about American television or something, and a friend arrives at the back door [in the country, we always use the back door], to I had to rapidly materialise in the real world, like something out of Star Trek, and greet the friend.

“Sorry” says I, “but I’m chatting to a group of friends in America and they are recording it live”

She looked a bit taken aback, but she knows my eccentricities and beat a hasty retreat. But Sandy got out so I had to chase her around the garden to get her back in again.

And then I had to de-materialise back into cyberspace again. I don’t know how they survived in Star Trek because this beaming business is mentally very tiring, and confusing.

Another problem with cyberspace is that I was there mentally and verbally, but I couldn’t see anything. It is amazing how much we rely on visual clues when chatting. You can tell by a persons demeanour when they are about to finish what they are saying, or whether they want you to shut up. People might subconsciously raise a finger if they have something to contribute. But in cyberspace, that doesn’t happen. So there were a few silences, and a lot of interrupting. All the normal rules had gone out the window.

At the end of it all [and it went on for a couple of hours], I was completely exhausted, both mentally and physically.

I collapsed in my other armchair, and Herself tried to bring me up to date on a film she was watching.

But of course, my life is never that simple. I then had to try to round up a very excitable albino deaf boxer dog that had got trapped in the garden. He had found a hedgehog and was dancing in circles around it.

And having restored the boxer to its rightful owner, I had to sit in the darkness and wait for the hedgehog to uncurl, because I wanted to photograph it. I like hedgehogs.


I waited ages. Then I nipped indoors for two seconds to get a glass of water. When I came out again, of course the bugger had gone.

I’m writing this now [indoors] and there is a tit flying in circles over my head. He’ll find the door eventually, but he just adds to my surreal existence.


And they say life is quiet when you retire….


Addendum to the above..

The resulting podcast can be heard at The Jefferson Davis Podcast. Thankfully, it has been heavily edited!

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I have found cyberspace — 15 Comments

  1. I screamed into the microphone several times, particularly towards the end when Doctr Don went off. Are you telling me you heard nothing?

  2. Not a whisper. I felt really bad about that. And lonely.


    I felt like a cat amongst the wolves sometimes, and I needed help!

  3. Grandad,

    Cat amongst the wolves? Considering you’ve exposed Tibbles to the world, I’d be more worried about the poor wolves 🙂

  4. Unfortunately Tiddles [and get his name right – he’s touchy about that] doesn’t travel very well in cyberspace. He gets cybersick which is like seasickness only a lot worse.

  5. I’m sorry to hear you felt uncomfortable. Though I also felt there were some odd bits to the conversation yesterday. Hopefully Jefferson will edit them. He does a very good job of doing that.
    I enjoy having you or Dario(hopefully both in the future) on the show with us. You guys give a different perspective and that is a good thing. We are also trying to get a guy from New Zealand on as well. Maybe in the future we can figure out how to make it a video conference call.
    So please don’t feel like a European representative but instead I hope you can feel like Grandad instead. so how is Tibbles doing?

  6. TIDDLES!! Not Tibbles. That really p*sses him off [and that’s not a pretty sight].

    Actually the thing that made me most uncomfortable was the feeling that Dario was cut out. I have this bad feeling that I would start to speak when he was talking, without realising he was there.

    Video? Forget it. I don’t want to be seen setting fire to my microphone while trying to light my pipe.

    And I do feel like a Grandad. Very much so, today.

    Incidentally, if there is a next time, how about a bit earlier? Herself was not best pleased!! If we recorded at nine in the morning? You lot would have to get up at four, but that’s your tough sh*t. And if you bring New Zealanders into it, we are going to have GREAT fun picking a time.

  7. Would you believe at one stage I actually began singing Sweet Home Alabama in the hopes that you would hear me?

    I heard everything – there were a lot of monologues – but clearly you didn’t hear me. And I was just starting to like that microphone …

  8. And in relation to your comment on my post earlier, in case you don’t check back, there will be Civility Enforced badges on the blogs that subscribe to the BCC.

    Much as it kills me to refer to this word, but they look so gay.

  9. I too am sorry that you felt like a cat amongst a pack of wolves. I remember the first time I talked to someone on Skype. It was for a radio show, and I was so anxious that I could barely utter a whisper.

    It is my job to keep people from talking over other guest on the show, but I wasn’t doing a grand job on Saturday. But, I hope to have some sort of system worked out by next week. Perhaps, I could run an electrical probe to Brian’s house, and shock him every time he doesn’t shut up. Of course, I’d have to do the same to Dr. Don. 🙂

    I hope that we can get the audio problems worked out by next week. I spent quite a lot of time Sunday, polishing the show up. It is ready, when you get time to listen to it.

    I genuinely appreciate you, Dario, Dr. Don, and Brian for being on the show. I hope that you’ll join us in cyberspace again next week.

    Thanks Grandad.

  10. @Flirty – My dulcet tones can now be heard on-line. I have added the link to the main post at the bottom.

    @Jefferson – That was a tongue-in-cheek remark. You all made me feel very welcome. I suppose what I meant was I felt a bit strange surrounded by all those American voices! It was a very interesting and enlightening experience. My respect for the “ordinary” American goes up another couple of notches.

  11. Grandad,

    I listened to the podcast and I think you held up your end very well.

    When they spoke of Don Imus and Reverend Sharpton,etc. no one could expect you to know about these happenings that are so unimportant they would never make International news. When the subject turned to more general topics, you had interesting points to make.

    As they used to say in the Cagney, Bogart films

  12. Aw! Thanks Nancy.

    I had a quick read-up before the show so I knew a little. But it certainly wasn’t on the news over here!

    And as someone else said

    “You have warmed the cockles of my heart !!!”

  13. You might like Jajah better than Skype.

    With Jajah, calls to other people on Jajah are free.

    But even if you pay it’s verry cheap.

    The difference betwen Jajah and Skype is that on the former you use your own landline or cellphone and do not talk thru the PC.

  14. Thanks, Henry.

    In fact I have no problems with Skype, and like Jajah, the calls are free [two hours onto the US – boy!! What would that cost on a landline??!!].

    If Dario reads this he might be interested though?

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