We were in a time that was pre-internet, pre-mobile phones and there was no landline in the valley at that time. Our contact was a phone call every Thursday evening at 7pm UK time initially made by Mum and Dad from the international phone box in town. Later we rang the house phone of friend’s they had made instead, again every Thursday evening at 7pm, as soon as we returned from our children’s swimming lesson. It is hard to imagine in this day and age of instant contact that this was only 25 years ago. Today I am in contact with my children and grandchildren most days, we send each other pictures just seconds after the photo was taken and it doesn’t matter if we are not in same country, it is still instant. We use texts, emails, ‘whats ap’ and facebook; I can even send a message via my phone to the little ones’ cuddly toys to be played to them; sometimes we even talk on the phone!
Despite there being a telegraph pole positioned right outside their house, it would be nearly two years before Mum and Dad had their own landline phone. One day workmen turned up, erected new poles in the valley, one just a few yards down the road from the villa. A few days later the phone lines were hung on the poles, missing out the original pole outside the villa. When shown the old pole the workman shrugged and as the lower part was encircled by the front wall they just cut the pole down at wall height and carried it away, leaving the bottom meter still in the wall. To my knowledge it is still there.
Mum later described those early days as seeming like a great adventure into the unknown. It was exciting and brave heading off to a foreign country with a different language, different culture and different food. She says that today’s technology has robbed the younger generation of the chance to experience that feeling, that today it is so normal to move around and so easy to keep in touch and the cultural differences with our continental neighbours have blurred and merged as we eat the same foods and drink the same wines and the world is smaller. Maybe she is right.
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