Sister Act

I heard this week that a Spanish nun has been sacked from her religious order for spending too long on the social networking site Facebook. It seems that 54 year old Sister Maria, who had been in the organisation for 35 years, was enjoying making friends from all around the world; six hundred in total.

It is hard to resist imagining it was like a scene from The Sound of Music, where the more senior nuns break out in to song with a melancholic rendition of ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria’.

Sister Internet, as she was known by the other residents of the convent, now lives with her mother and plans to visit some of the places she has become acquainted with whilst surfing the net.

It probably shouldn’t surprise us that computers have become so popular with such a wide variety of people. Our dear friend Mel, who is several years into his retirement, has joined the growing band of Silver Surfers.

Mel was an ambulance driver for most of his working life and has seen many changes over his lifetime. He tells me that when he first started in the service they still had ambulances with mechanical bells fitted.

The speed of change in technology is breathtaking and one wonders where the next century will take the human race.

Consider for a moment that there was a mere 84 years gap between Karl Benz offering the first commercially available car in 1885 and Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind as he landed on the moon in 1969.

Back then, when Sister Maria would have been more likely singing ‘I am thirteen going on fourteen’ she must have been aware of the moon landing would probably not have understood its significance. Teenagers would have been more interested in pop music rather than lunar landings.

The compact cassette had only just arrived on the mass market and so most of our music was still on vinyl. My own teenage record collection took up three LP cases and several boxes for singles. I guess that would have been around 1500 tracks and would have filled the boot of a small car.

Today I have a mobile phone that can hold twice as many songs and fits into my jeans pocket. Oh the speed of change!

I was discussing the development of mobile phones with my daughters just a few ago and they were amazed to hear that back in the sixties my parents had our first phone fitted in the house. It was what was known as a party line. This was a way of having a more affordable phone line by sharing it with someone else in the village.

Before being able to make a call we had to check that the other ‘party’ was not speaking to someone. This all seems so very old fashioned now.

Although I look back with fondness on these times I would not swap any of our modern gadgets that have come to enhance our lives: mobile phone, dishwasher, computer, internet, satnav, George Foreman Grill, not to mention the advances in medical science.

To quote another song from the Sound of Music ‘These are a few of my favourite things’.

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